1. You tell your American friends that the lota in your bathroom is used to water the plants.

“You know…for all the plants I grow behind the toilet.”


2. When your family goes out to eat, your parents still choose a Pakistani or Indian restaurant.

I mean, it’s not like you eat that food everyday or something.


3. At least half of your family suffers from high blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes.

Is it genetics or the super unhealthy saalan? The world may never know.


4. Your mom uses ghee.

Like, for everything.


5. No guest ever leaves your house hungry.

Your mom will stuff them full out of love.


6. When you tell people you’re Pakistani, they think you’re Middle Eastern.

Let’s have a little geography lesson, shall we?


7. People mistake you for being Indian all the time.

Do we seriously need a history lesson, too?


8. Your curfew is completely fair and reasonable.

Just kidding. If you leave to go to a party at 11 p.m., your parents expect you back home by midnight.


9. Your parents only allow you to sleep over at your desi friends’ houses.

All your other friends’ houses are unsafe and their parents cannot be trusted.


10. You’re not allowed to have guy friends.


11. You call new Pakistani immigrants FOBs (fresh off the boat).

And the FOBs call you an ABCD (American-born confused Desi).


12. You go to the nearby Arab halal market to buy meat and the local Indian grocery store to buy vegetables.

The Pakistani halal meat and veggie market ceases to exist.


13. Your parents are always telling you to clean the house in case some random auntie or uncle comes over uninvited.

And sure enough, they usually do.


14. You’re constantly discovering new cousins you didn’t know existed.

Your parents seem to find a new relative to add to the tree at every brown gathering.


14. You are proud to tell people that Malala is the first Pakistani to win the Noble Peace Prize.

There’s a 100% chance that Malala is cooler than you.


15. You are also proud to tell people that Zayn Malik is Pakistani.

There’s also a 100% chance that Zayn is hotter than you.


16. Your parents go easy on your brothers in terms of chores, curfews, punishments…

…and now that I think about it, pretty much everything else in life.


17. Your mom drops mad cash on Pakistani clothes but refuses to give you $20 to spend on jeans.

On the plus side, you have an endless supply of shalwar kameez to wear.


18. Your parents will haggle over anything and everything.



19. Your parents want you to live with them forever and never move out.


20. You call your parents Ami, Abu, Ama, Aba, Baba, Papa, Mama, some variation of the sort (but never Mom or Dad).



21. Aunties hug you and kiss you on both cheeks while greeting you with an extra “Mashallah.”

Even when the last time they saw you, you were the size of a tomato. (Or that’s how she described it to me, anyway.)


22. Your parents talk to you in Urdu, and you respond to them in English.

The best you can do is some broken form of Urdu-English.


23. Your mom watches overly-dramatized Pakistani soap operas in her downtime.

Featuring terrifying and manipulative mother-in-laws, spoiled rich daughters, obsessive and psychotic men…you know, the usual.


24. Your parents think yelling into the phone when talking to relatives in Pakistan will help them hear better on the other side of the world.

Because, logic.


26. 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. is chai time.


27. Your parents have mentioned marriage to you at least a thousand times.

Probably a thousand times this week alone, actually.


28. No matter what people say, you’re proud to be a Pakistani.


  • Erum Jaffrey

    Erum is a junior international relations major at the University of Southern California. As a representative for the Muslim South Asian diaspora, she hopes to bring a voice for underrepresented minority women in the news media.