I believe our teen years are the most important ones. As teenagers we always try and work out who we are and where we fit in. We question things, try and so-call ‘find ourselves’ where we look at the different labels floating around us, and question where do we belong? How well do these labels describe us? Do we fit into these labels/boxes? Or do we reject them? Is there an actual need for these labels that ‘supposedly’ describe us best?
Muslim,British,Pakistani,Coconut,Confused desi- these are the many labels that I have been associated with or others have for me.
Coconut- brown in appearance but apparently white inside *rolls eyes*
Confused desi– derived from the Asian term ‘des’ meaning homeland. So if we’re a ‘confused desi’ are we muddled as to where we come from? Or where our homeland is? I was born in Britain, so was my mum and my dad has lived here since the age of 15. So is this not my ‘homeland’? I have been told by some that I shouldn’t see it that way. That in fact Pakistan is and I should see it as my ‘homeland’. Thus the term pops up ‘confused desi’
I’m certain I’m a Muslim first and foremost. I’m British well according to my passport. Since the day I was born I’ve been surrounded by Pakistani culture being brought up in a Pakistani household accompanied with Islamic ideals. But I don’t think I’ve felt as if Pakistan was
my homeland or quite felt connected with the ‘motherland’. I have always felt anxious and pressured (at times by society/individuals) that I should feel something and see Pakistan as my ‘homeland’.
Every 2-3 years my father insists on a summer trip to Pakistan with the family. The summer of 2010 particularly stood out for me and had a profound affect on me. During this trip I discovered I felt a sense of belonging and could identify with the culture and way of life in Pakistan.
When our grandparents and relatives emigrated to the west they brought with them little pieces of their culture and customs. Many would argue these have been watered down as the years have passed. But visiting ‘back home’ I got the opportunity to absorb the wholesome flavours of the country, the heritage, architecture, and art.
Many Pakistanis don’t have a lot of money but they are united. Individuals work hard to simply stay alive and feed their families. I think we’re all occasionally guilty of being absorbed into the consumerist, capitalist, image obsessed world. We sometimes forget to stand still and look around us to appreciate the beauty of life that surrounds us.
We’re all technology obsessed. Constantly expecting quick service for everything! Pakistan’s electricity is prone to constant black outs. Therefore using the internet can become quite frustrating. Many people there are poor and can’t afford much but they share one thing that money can’t buy, love. They love and care for each other.
Britain will always be my ‘homeland’ but during summer 2010 I gained a second home in Pakistan. I think I learnt to stop worrying about the various labels and appreciate what I have. Embrace the differences in cultures. I may have two wardrobes; Asian and English but I don’t have two identities. I let east meet West 🙂
People Stop for a minute, put the phone/laptop down and look up, watch the bright colours of the world. Smile at each other and appreciate life!