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Bateel Skycraper

 

Diary of a bachelor F.O.B Blues

Diary of a bachelor F.O.B Blues

Issue 60 September 2009

F.O.B Blues

“Well I am glad I judge people according to pictures and that my level of superficiality is reaching new heights. Now Ican spend the rest of the weekimagining what could have been.”

I may have made one of the biggest mistakes of my life today, but then again I could just be in a dramatic kind of mood. I was invited to Houston to visit my uncle’s family, and he happened to be hosting some friends from Peshawar that weekend who were on the last leg of their visit to America before returning home. My uncle is always on the lookout or possible marriage material for me, and he suggested that I arrive on Friday so that I could spend three days with this family and get to know their daughter. I am always sceptical of anything F.O.B (Fresh Off the Boat), so I did not take the suggestion very seriously. He sent me a picture of the family and pointed out the daughter in the email, who apparently is looking into different graduate school options in America and Pakistan. He said if I was interested, I could hang out for the weekend and talk to her about American graduate schools, and if I really liked her, maybe even try to convince her to stay for good in the States.

I saw the picture – she was wearing some kind of traditional outfit and I was thinking, “Great, she’ll walk around with this FOB-ish outfit and we’ll be the F.O.B. couple of California.” I was in no rush to come. I decided to take my time and arrive on Sunday when they were leaving, so I would not have to deal with them. Fast forwarding to today, Sunday, the day I arrived here to spend time with my uncle, and the same day they are leaving, I met his friends during their last ten minutes in the house.

I walked up the front stairs of my uncle’s quiet suburban home at about 2.30pm with my bags, fresh off the flight,and the guests were standing outside the front door about to leave, chatting with my uncle. “Beta you’re here! Meet our guests,” my uncle beamed. And there she was, standing next to her parents. A simple, elegant young lady, standing confidently with her chin high and shoulders back, eyes that looked right into your soul, and most striking of all, a very kind smile that appeared on her face just as I nodded my head and said salam. “I’m Zahra,” she said with an accent that was much more charming than I expected based on the picture. “Your uncle mentioned you’re a graduate student in California. It is most unfortunate that we were unable to speak more about that. I study philosophy in Pakistan and would have enjoyed hearing your thoughts about graduate education in the United States.” And of course before I could say anything, my uncle chirped, “OK beta, I have to take them to the airport now. Get yourself settled and I’ll be back soon.” And in about 20 seconds they were in the car off to the airport to Pakistan. And that was the end of that.

What a disaster. Zahra looked very kind and patient and was obviously extremely intelligent and cultured. She had that whole traditionalmodern balance that I wish I had, me being a confused Arab-Desi struggling to pick up whatever piece of traditional culture I can get while at the same time not coming on Friday to meet this girl because she was wearing a traditional outfit in the picture! Well, I am glad that I judge people according to pictures and that my level of superficiality is reaching new heights, because now I can spend the rest of the week at my uncle’s place imagining what could have been. And then there is the fact that there is absolutely no way to fix the situation. What can I do? Fly over to Peshawar and hang out with the family when I don’t even know the first thing about travelling around Pakistan? I can barely travel around New York City without feeling like an eight year old lost in aisle six of a grocery store.

Well I guess on the flip side there is at least one thing to learn from all of this. The next time a highly articulate, elegant and confident aspiring graduate student in philosophy with a charming accent and piercing eyes is visiting from Pakistan, I vow not to make silly assumptions based on how foreign she looks in a picture. As for where I go from here, Ramadan is a good time to take a step in the direction towards being a little less superficial in my approach to life.




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Comments

2 Comments

1

khudakeliye

11 Jun 10, 18:04

Salaam,

I would say, good lesson to learn: DO NOT JUDGE people by their outfits or the way you see or hear them the first time.

It's not because a girl is traditionnal so it means she's out?! :s

also, here again, you're doing the same thing as what you did based on the photo: you're judging based on what it looks.
When you saw the pic, you said "oh looking too traditionnal".
Then, when you saw her, you said:"ohh, look modern, beautiful eyes, smile, and blablabla..."

Have you ever thought that if Allah wanted you to come earlier, you wouldn't have? Still, you were about to miss her but Allah made you meet her?!
Also, if Allah planned that you will marry this girl, no matter what happens, what ou do and when it will happen, you will marry this girl.

Same goes for everything.
It may seem something is good for you or that you like but it's wrong and it may be something you dislike but it's good for you.
Let's Stick to Islamic criteria and we'll be pleased and not torn.

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2

aycheetoo

3 Oct 09, 06:04

oh well, better luck next time. or if you are lucky you may meet her again

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