The NUST Literary Circle, a student body club at my university, is holding a bilingual humor writing competition called The LOL Affair. The following is the entry I submitted. I’ve never written anything humorous before, and I hadn’t even considered taking part until a fellow NUST student, Arooj Fatima, encouraged me to do so. My style borrows heavily from Moni Mohsin, whose book Tender Hooks is the last humorous thing I recall reading. So to M. Mohsin, thank you.
We had three topics to choose from: Guys with Guitars, Amateur Photographers, Americanized Youth. I chose the last one, partly because I think my past in the States and the anti-American stigma I faced when I came to Pakistan would help me relate to the topic.
UPDATE (April 21st, 2012): My entry ended up winning 1st place in the competition. It was an unexpected but lovely surprise!
I’m gonna let you in on a secret. You know that girl in your class? Aray bhai, you know which one I’m talking about. The girl who straightens her hair every morning, and finds excuses to wear clothes 2 sizes too small. She’s the one with the black eyeliner/raccoon eyes, whose always looking into her little hand mirror, to see if her 20 kilos of make-up has started peeling off or not. Now do you know who I’m talking about? How could you miss her? She’s always chewing a piece of gum, her jaw going up and down like a cow’s. And the way she talks, urgh. “Oh my GAWDD. Like, why is that teacher so mean? Stupid cow. Like, what did I do anyway? I mean, she’s definitely, like, soo not getting any attention at home.” Her squeaky voice comes off as a bad Britney Spears impersonation. And don’t even get me started on her Urdu accent. It’s like she’s got rusted machinery in there, the way she opens her mouth so wide. “MOO-JHAY ORDO NAY BOLNI ATEE.” And why does she have to be loud? Just because it’s hard for you to speak, doesn’t mean it’s hard for us to hear you.
And then that fake cutesy acting. Are you 16 or just 6? I know it makes the boys flock to you like you’re the Ka’bah at Hajj time, but girl, you look downright ridiculous when you say ‘sowie’ instead of sorry. Just pronounce your ‘r’s just like the rest of us. After all, isn’t English supposed to be the language you’re actually good at? And have you ever heard that saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do?” To phir, koi kapray to pehen lo. We know Pakistan is a poor country, but while we lack electricity and sanitation, we at least have a booming textile industry. Please take advantage of that and cover yourself up. Nobody likes seeing those love handles.
Also, just because you lived there a few years, doesn’t mean you’re American. Go home and look at your parents. See how they’re still brown? See how they still eat biryani and gulab jamun? My darling gori, we all know you’re really from Gujranwala. All that foundation and powder on your face doesn’t make you seem white, it only leaves us wondering if you face-planted in a bowl of flour. And stop those constant references to when you were ‘back in the States’. We know you went there, congratulations. Now will you please stop worming it into every other sentence?
Oh wow, I’ve gotten carried away. What was I talking about? Oh yes, I had to tell you a secret. That American girl – finally you know which one I’m talking about – she’s really a village girl who dyed her hair and lived abroad for a little. And her outside ‘exposure’ which these silly NGOs are always going on about, it’s made her into a toilet bowl made of gold, uselessly extravagant, and [usually] empty on the inside.