10 Things Pakistani Expats Do Upon Going Back

Going back to Pakistan is a wonderful experience, no matter how much time you’ve spent abroad. There are some habits that unite us as we come back to the motherland however, no matter which part of the country you belong from.

1.Distribute Chocolates


The oldest habit in the book. It doesn’t matter if the chocolate in question is available in abundance in Pakistan, the expat always brings a ton of it and distributes like a professional merchandiser.

2.Spend Like Crazy


If you’re back from Europe, North America or the Middle East, the currency exchange rate is going to make you feel like a king as soon as your plane touches down in Pakistan. ( Not so much if you’re heading back from Japan or China of-course ). Money suddenly becomes the most disposable item in the world, and you spend it like there is no tomorrow. Burn baby, burn!

3.Wear one Shalwar Kameez


This is true specifically for men living in areas other than the Gulf States. Regular day? That blue Shalwar Kameez. A friend’s Mehndi? The same Shalwar Kameez. Heading out to dinner? You guessed it!

Since Shalwar Kameez isn’t a regular part of their daily attire, one suit is forced to last the whole trip one way or the other. The wear and tear it goes through isn’t bad enough for them to not wear it on the Two Eids next year either way, so why get a new one?

4.Go to Wagah Border


If you’re heading to Lahore, especially after spending a huge amount of time abroad, the trip to Wagah Border to watch the lowering of the flags is mandatory,  because nothing says patriotic like cheering on angry mustached men hell bent on destroying their boots.

5.Get an upset stomach


Years of being abroad have blessed you with a surprisingly weak immune system. This means that Pakistani street food is too ‘strong’ for you – but of course the urge to eat will always get the better of you when you see that Halwa Puri, those Samosas and Pakoras, and those Anda Shami burgers and Bun Kebabs. What comes next is the unsurprisingly large amount of time spent in the washroom, but it was all worth it.

6.Curse the Heat


This isn’t a problem if you’re going back in the winter. But if you’re going back in the summer, all hell will break lose every time the air conditioner stops due to load shedding. You curse the heat and humidity, ruing the day you decided to visit Pakistan in June and July.

7.Gasp at the Traffic


After spending so much time abroad, you’re used to civilized traffic systems. Indicators being used regularly, pedestrians having the right of way and speed limits being followed. Back in Pakistan, there is but only one traffic law : There are no laws.

Gasping in horror at the state of Pakistani traffic is a ritual that goes back to the day the first expat came back to Pakistan. Rumor has that even Jinnah gasped in horror at the rash horse cart driver when he came to the then undivided British India.

8.Ignore the accent shaming


If you’re among the people who have picked up a westernized English accent, you develop a pretty thick skin in lieu of all the classic Pakistani ridicule you will face. Raat will become Rrrat and Roti will become Rrroti. It’s all cool though – a paratha is still delicious as a parrratha.

9.Control your Children


Parents who might otherwise be fairly liberal when It comes to their children during their time abroad, suddenly turn into dictators when they came back to Pakistan. Not for completely wrong reasons though.

“That’s not a pet dog!”

“Put on that mosquito lotion!”

“Don’t eat that!”

You get the drift, right?

10.Be teary eyed on your return flight


Unless you live in the Gulf States, no matter how your trip was, you well up on your way back. That classic Pakistani ambience, the life, colors, the sight and the sound of the land you call home is something that you will never find abroad, and you know that deep down no matter how much you deny it. It may be not be perfect, but it will always be home.

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