Dawn News

Smokers’ Corner: The taxi driver

Recently on a visit to New York I was being driven in a taxi across one of the stunningly diverse and animated city’s many avenues.

The cabby was a middle-aged, working-class Pakistani.

We didn’t talk much, mainly because while driving he was attentively listening to a FM radio news channel.

After some news about the upcoming American Presidential election, the newscaster turned to the next big story of the day: The mob attacks on American embassies in Libya and Egypt.

Triggered by the sudden emergence of an amateurishly made film based on a rather clumsy (if not entirely silly) strain of Islamophobic bigotry, the anti-US riots soon spread to more than 20 Muslim countries.

Nevertheless, on that very day, the riots were still contained within Libya, Egypt and perhaps Yemen. So as the newsreader went into the details about the mob attacks, the Pakistani taxi driver’s forehead at once became the scene of a tense frown. He shut his eyes for a few seconds, sighed and shook his head in hapless disappointment.

“Day in and out,” he began (in Urdu), “the Muslim communities in America work so hard, so very hard... for money, for our children, but mostly to show Americans that we too are hardworking, self-made citizens who have values as strong as theirs.”

I remained quiet. He still wasn’t sure if I was a Pakistani or an Indian. He briefly glanced at me trying to figure this out, but didn’t ask.

“We’ve had to do so much in the last many years,” he continued. “Every time we feel that our community has proven to the Americans that we mean no harm, that we are peaceful and decent and willing contributors to the economic well-being of this country, our brothers back home, just by indulging in a single act of violence, push all our hard work back. We have to start all over again.”

This time I decided to speak: “I understand. You are from my country, Pakistan, aren’t you?”

“Yes!” He answered, suddenly excited. “How did you know?”

“Your Urdu has a very Karachi touch,” I smiled. He laughed: “You are from Karachi too?”

I told him I was. But I was more interested in his story. He didn’t say much. However he did offer me ‘desi tea’ at a restaurant called Handi whose board outside suggested it served ‘authentic Indian, Pakistani & Bangladeshi cuisine.’

As it turned out it was a greasy joint famous among South Asian taxi drivers. The tea there was awesome. And so were the clients. Indian Hindus, Sikhs, Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslims as well some Egyptians and Jordanians. Most of them were taxi drivers, but I saw at least one South Asian NYPD cop, a young woman but I am not sure whether she was an Indian or a Pakistani.

Founded by a Pakistani couple some 15 years ago, the place buzzed like a poor man’s South Asian utopia. The TV switched between Indian and Pakistani news channels, and as people chatted among themselves, one could hardly tell the difference between them. Who was Indian,  Pakistani or Bangladeshi?

Only when people said goodbyes could one tell. ‘Khuda Hafiz’, and even a few cries of the concocted ‘Allah Hafiz’ underlined the men’s religious leanings, all mixed with ‘Ram, Ram’ or ‘Dhaneywar.’

Posters surrounded the wall at the entrance. Posters about ‘Pak-India Cultural Shows’, concerts by visiting Pakistani singers, Eid and Devali gatherings, et al.

As we sipped tea, the driver finally told me that he moved to New York from Karachi in 1990. He didn’t say how or why, but it was only a few years ago that he got his American citizenship.

“For almost fifteen years I didn’t meet my parents back home,” he told me. “But with Allah’s grace, I earned and saved enough to send them money and a ticket to come visit me last year. They loved New York,” he laughed. “Inshallah, now I have enough to go back to Karachi and pay them a visit.”

“Pakistanis really work hard here,” he reminded me. “Especially men like me who come from poor backgrounds. And we send back a lot of money to our country. We prove to the Americans that we mean well, that we appreciate their system that gives opportunities to men like me. Hard work pays off in America. I’ve seen some very humble Pakistanis become millionaires in America through sheer hard work.”

I politely redrew his attention to the anti-American riots in the Muslim world. He shook his head again. “What can I say?” He asked, rhetorically. “There are fools (pagal) all over the world.”

But then he said something culled from the wisdom of a hardened New York taxi man: “I’ve had both Muslim and non-Muslim clients in the back of my cab who talked rot about other religions. But does that mean I run them over with my taxi?”

He continued: “But you know, if you live long enough in America as I have, you’ll find that Americans, both Muslim and non-Muslim, black, white, brown or whatever, are highly tolerant people. It’s our politicians and maulvies back home and some ‘padres’ (Christian preachers) and Jewish preachers here, who like to make trouble.”

Then, he asked, as if talking to himself: “If such fools are not taken so seriously here, why are they taken so seriously there (back home)?”

I remained quiet. His frown returned: “I maybe an American citizen now, but my roots are in Pakistan. My parents still live there. As I said, so many Muslims here also work hard to improve the image of our people. But then we feel like liars and frauds when our brothers back home attack Americans and Europeans. What will that achieve? The West continues to prosper and rule while we go on destroying ourselves.”

I wanted to talk to him a bit more, but he seemed to be in a hurry. And before I could ask him whether all the men at the restaurant thought the same way as he did, I got my answer: As soon as a Pakistani news channel on the TV there began reporting the Libyan embassy attack, one of the waiters quickly but casually changed the channel. It was as if he didn’t want the ugly, raging reality unfolding in their lands of birth to puncture the world they had worked so hard to build for themselves (and their families back home) in the United States of America.

Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and Dawn.com

He tweets @NadeemfParacha

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (70) Closed

Sep 23, 2012 08:29am
It seems we made a mistake in calling it "Arab Spring", rather it should be called "Muslim Autumn" the season just before it goes into "Muslim Winter". It is said that people get the Govt. they deserve, if such is the case, the less that is said about the Islamic nation, is better. The Islamic nations are out to prove their paranoia & xenophobia to the world and thus alienating themselves from the world!! When will this madness end?
Sep 23, 2012 06:06am
If I was a Pakistani living in the West I would be cringing in my shoes. Cant help but sympathize with many of them who pass themselves off as Indian.
A Vetta
Sep 23, 2012 03:41pm
Dear NFP; I read your pieces often. Now, they remind me of an Urdu couplet by the poet Aslam. ?Khoogre nalan samjh kar mujh ko, Aslam, Akhir, Tang Aa K mary aahoon ney be asser chor diya?. (Convinced that I addicted to cries (complaints), my cries lost effect). Any solution, please?
Sep 23, 2012 08:31pm
May I say that your story of Pakistanis in front of PIA counter resonates completely with me? I was at JFK to fly to India on Emirates and the picture was no better. In fact I tried flying even on Lufthansa and after a few hours, you cannot enter the bathroom any longer. The smell is overpowering and the floor is inundated. Poor stewardesses as the Indians (and I am one too) think it is someone else's job to clean up after them and/or does not know how to use a bathroom. And then wait, once the aircraft lands, it is immediately a mad scramble to get out.... There are more things that unite us ...the Indians and Pakistanis, only the religion thing is different...LOL.
Sep 23, 2012 08:46pm
They were no protests in Saudi Arabia either but would you say Saudi Arabia has a tolerant culture? This episode has nothing to do with culture but with education. The ones protesting are 95% uneducated and unable to critically analyse or understand an issue. The educated ones amongst us understand the purpose of the video (ie to provoke a reaction) and have simply ignored it with the quiet disdain and disgust it deserves.
Sal Cordeira
Sep 23, 2012 08:53am
The movie " Innocence of Muslims" was badly made, an insult to movie makers. Bad movies are made every day. However, it was the reaction of the Muslims that was the real insult to womankind and mankind.
Sep 23, 2012 06:30pm
There is nothing wrong for a native from Indo/Pak are calling himself/herself Indian/Pakistani or anything else,I often travel in New york as I'm retired,most often cab is either pakistani or sardarji,they are both very well behaved,they are extremely friendly,I tip them good,always talk to them in Urdu,they often think I'm muslim or Pakistani,I tell them guys from Hyderabad(daccan) are very well versed in Urdu,and me even know read/write urdu,since now I'm reader of Dawn and Tribune,well informed than most Indians.I think we can have reasonable friendly relations if we can avoid repeat of 11/26 and concentrate on trade and commerse,and stay away about merit or demerits of our respt,religion,we will be better off.To me we can do well,if we do not talk religion,there is no common ground,to be honest one need not have one,what common ground between A jew & Hindu,but we get along just fine.That is good model to follow,neither better nor inferior.Nice day.
Sep 23, 2012 06:38pm
The dawn is much better,tolerant than TOI,I often have to rewrite 5 times before they will publish one,they are very strict ,they have to survive in sharl infested waters,I hope you will understand their limitations,they are in business for very long time.They are survivors,and I do not fault them,I used to write in Tribune,they give more slack,but I stopped there as it is infested with very rude and out right rascals who do not think twice in abuseing in most foul language.You will never see me there,you are good,i enjoy your comment,nice day.
Sep 23, 2012 07:59am
Muslims are free to come back home or move to other Muslim country, they are not doing me any favour. pathetic victim complex.
Sep 23, 2012 05:10am
Nice article.
Sep 23, 2012 07:10am
A fantastic little piece, NFP. Says so much.
Sep 23, 2012 06:21pm
Dear Nfp, with all u r rational mind how did u miss d point . Your taxi driver, looks , talks sensibly because he is a tiny minority in US. He will be d first one to smash a wind shield of a bus, torch a car,attack d kafirs if had been living in a Muslim majority society.
Sep 23, 2012 07:27am
I dont understand the point of proving our selves to others? What about your self? the problem is that Pakistanis have disowned everything, but they are ready to prove their worth in front of a Gora or an Arab. They are always looking for an excuse to cheer or lament, still a slave. Just for once do what you like and own it.
Sep 23, 2012 07:30am
Basically it indicates a deep inferiority complex of the Muslims in general & Pakistanis in particular.Inability to face the modern world due to illiteracy ,social discontent,backwardness,find an outlet in antisocial actions.Lack of respect for law & order is also another factor.
Ali Bhatti
Sep 23, 2012 07:42am
@arcane What rethorical nonsense! The writer is talking about a Pakistani working in the US and using that country's system and benefits to benefit himself. And he is right to say that ever since Muslims have become so hostile and violent, it becomes very tough for the Muslim Diaspora in the West to prove that they are different from those out to destroy everything in sight back home.
Sep 23, 2012 06:12pm
Mr Faisal.. you said the truth, and only truth.
Capt C M Khan
Sep 23, 2012 09:15am
I have seen so many movies in which christians nuns/priests engage in sexual acts, have also watched een numerous movies of Jewish and Christian prophets doing the same. No one takes notice. Only the hate spreading extremists take this seriously and become a nuissance to thier own country.
Sep 23, 2012 11:23am
Why are we always apologetic on being Pakistani. I don't say violence is right but protest we must!
Abdus Salam Khan
Sep 23, 2012 01:03pm
To understand the Muslim psyche, the following couplet from Iqbal puts it in a nutshell. He makes Satan instruct his disciples thus: Yeh faqa-kash joe mowt say darta nahin zara rooh-e-Muhammad iss kay baddan say nikaal doe ( This starving Muslim who has no fear of death Remove the Spirit of Muhamamd from his body!} This evil film was an attempt to do just that. So let us remember that since Muhammad(PBUH) came as a Mercy unto all mankind, we also follow his example by being a mercy to all mankind. Let us not burn and destroy, rather, we should present the loving face of islam to all mankind. I commend the taxi-drivers of New York for doing just that. And I condemn all the Mullah-led zealots who have used this incident to burn and destroy.
Sep 23, 2012 02:47pm
so what's your point?
Krish Chennai
Sep 23, 2012 05:41pm
Aw, Guru, maybe he was born before 47, and felt similar to what LK Advani expressed, when it came to his election id turn, said he was from "undivided India". Give a chance, will you !!! And even otherwise, do remember, it is still referred to "Indian sub-continent", for whatever it is worth.
Abdul Rashid
Sep 23, 2012 04:30am
Nadeem Paracha possesses an incisive insight in to the culture and psyche of Pakistani folks. I solicit his wisdom to analyse the causes of Pakistanis turning effective and law abiding citizens after moving to foreign countries, as against being corrupt, rowdy and parasitic while at home? I am asking this rather odd question because his today's column stressed the repeated claims of his cab driver in New York that the Pakistni community is performing as good as the local citizens. A Rashid, Rawalpindi, e mail: abdul.a38@gmail.com
Sep 23, 2012 03:23pm
Why must we protest , should we not offer durod and ignore the idiots you tube video with the disgust it deserves and it will die it's own death. As of right now we have adhered exactly to the script written but the makers of the video.
Sep 23, 2012 10:01pm
it is about 91% ,but the other observation is on the dot.Same with Pseudo liberal leftist Indians too.They hate USa,but their Children all live in USA,including MMS and Sharad Power.Check it if you do not believe,I know my information.
A. Nabi Baloch
Sep 23, 2012 01:23pm
Bhatti Did you ever realize that Indian Muslims work even harder to prove themselves patriotic Indians when pakistanis were causing trouble in India. The first ten years after partition things were very difficult for muslims who did not migrate to Pakistanis.
Sep 23, 2012 07:59pm
The same people who torch the US embassy one day will line up outside it for a visa the next day.
Sep 23, 2012 10:16pm
That's right!
Sep 23, 2012 12:56pm
dear Crayo, It doesn't take a movie or a cartoon to spark violence in Pakistan and many fanatic countries. Last week, in Ghaziabad (India), a muslim mob burnt down a police station and police vans , and six died in police shoot out, over a piece of paper found from trash, that was hyped upto the level of Blasphemy. So, you are still living in a state of denial when you say that it was the movie that caused the riot. Maybe this week's riots were caused by the anti-hate movie, but what about the last week's riot, or suicide bombs that will occur in october or november?
Sep 23, 2012 10:11pm
Here in Florida (USA) we have neighbors from Afghanistan. Our family doctor is Indian. Another friend is from Afghanistan. Together we can go to two Indian restaurants, a Pakistani restaurant (amazing pakoras!), and a Lebanese restaurant. We shop at an Indian market and an Iranian market. They have halal food and goods from everywhere on the shelves. We meet people and their families from multiple countries there. Folks simply just get along as normal human beings.
Abdus Salam Khan
Sep 23, 2012 12:50pm
Correction: India was divided in to Bharat and Pakistan; so if ,I, as a Pakistani, call myself an Indian I am not passing off as an Indian; I am an Indian, bgecause I belong to this sub-continent called India
Sep 23, 2012 10:08pm
It is not that simple,they are tools in the hands of unscruplus politicians and so called religious scholars,it is there bread and butter or is mutton ghost ,chapathy,parata and biryani or all of them.
Sep 23, 2012 08:54pm
There isn't anything remarkable about the Taxi Driver or any of what you observed. That's just how life is in any modern multicultural, tolerant, secular society. People are able to separate the rice from the chaff, keep things in perspective and move on. They are simply focused on making a good life for themselves and their families. Faith is kept close to the hearts not worn on the sleeve.
Sep 23, 2012 09:51pm
You are right,it is not that simple cut and dry or is it paste?Ghaziabad was a very good Example,the authority always take easy way out since 1947,that is no way to run modern nations,we will always remain backward,that way.It was same on 11th Aug in Mumbai,they patted each other on back,saying it could have been worse. As far Nadeembhai observation,it is partly true,and part not so.Our people's problem is very complex,there is not just one cause.We are in essence very retrogressive ,religious dogamatic people,we literally believe everything,I will give you an example,it will offened lot of Indians and my co religininst,I can only talk about my religion and my experience,if I'm not right,it my opinion.I'm not a part of any organised religion,but like Iyn Rand will take up arms to defend my hindu way of life.One can strongly feel that without the 9 yards of overt religion.I know I do not have to believe in the story of Lord Ganesha losing his head and head replaced by elephant one to be patriotic nationalist.To reach the level of awareness of what Rand talkjs about,the society has to reach a level of scientific advancement,education,rule of law,very social and civic solid institutional sofistication,plus very mature democracy,in absense of that,real mature behavior is impossible.We can be religious,yes christian believe that Jesus was born of a vargin birth,without his grace one can not attain salvation,are they willing to burn down Manhattan,no Sir,they do not,that is our differance,we will burn down Karachi or Cairo.How do we reach were West is?If you know that,I will eat your most dirty & smelly soocks.Nice day.
Sep 23, 2012 08:38pm
Very sensible statement. I must ruefully state that I had one or two Muslim classmates at IIM where I had studied and out of sheer callousness and ignorance, I did not get to know them better....my loss.
Sep 23, 2012 03:56pm
Abdus, now that is some ingenious justification. Our passport says "Republic Of India", not "Republic of Bharat". BTW, what does your passport say, does it say India anywhere?
Sep 23, 2012 11:13am
the irony of the whole mayhem is that, those poisonous movie makers achieved exactly what they wanted
Ahmed Sultan (India)
Sep 24, 2012 04:44am
MMS made several deals with US he doesn't hate America. Get your facts correct first.
Sep 23, 2012 04:35pm
Rasheed Sb the answer to your query is very simple. In Middle Eastern and Western countries there is the rule of law and the law is enforced. Our people are laaton ke bhoot that is why they have to abide by the law once they arrive there. All these hooligans of the last few days knew one thing: no one will challenge or arrest them.
Sep 23, 2012 07:08pm
I think khan wanted to comment out their reluctance of calling themselves Pakistani. By all means India today means 'Bharat' an no way does it represent Pakistan.
Sep 23, 2012 04:10am
And that is why we have decided to not allow dual nationality citizens the right to stand for public office, other than all minorities, Baloch nationalists and whoever we feel is a threat to our shallow sensibilities.
Faisal Ahmed
Sep 23, 2012 04:31pm
These very kind of Pakistanis like the ones who drive Taxis in NY and do other odd jobs, who now pretend to be peaceful, law abidding US citizens are the very Pakistanis who burn US flags in Pakistan, destroy public and private property in Pak-the scence which was repeated on the Love Day!, insist US is behind every conspiracy against islam and Pak, but will leave no effort to get to US and Europe even by illegal means. They also recently took peaceful protest against the movie in US and Canada. So Nadeem you should have ask the taxi driver question Shoail Waracih always ask in his progam aik din geo key saath : "Kia ye Khulla Tazada nahi"??? (clear hypocrpiy)
Sep 23, 2012 07:41pm
yes, we are all Indian....although, name of our political units are different.....I wonder, why Pakistan did not choose a name like "India" or "west India" or "Islamic Republic of India"....We in here use Bhartiya, Indian and Hindustan interchangeably when changing between Local, gulf (Urdu, Persian, Arabic) and Western language. We are still proud of our history and culural heritage including most of the muslim time. How many Pakistani are proud of Buddhist/Hindu/Jain/Sikh contribution to the land which is called "Pakistan"? this is here they lose right to use name India. They can still use it in ethnic term though.
Sep 24, 2012 07:57am
Correct.. Financial/social insecurity has nothing to do with rampant mayhem going on.
Sep 23, 2012 04:25pm
Sep 24, 2012 01:50am
Just wait for the same hard working pakistanis (muslims in general) to form a 5/10% of population and you see the difference. The same guys will take to street demanding sharia law and better respect from the majority. It's for the muslims to decide how to let go of the "Us Vs. Them" attitude and learn to "Accept differing views". The interesting part is the taxi driver didn't say "The movie maker had a right of expression" rather he conveniently termed the whole thing as "some peoples" mischief.
Ahmed Sultan (India)
Sep 24, 2012 04:40am
So India is respected you guys started calling yourself Indians. Loser Mentality
Sep 23, 2012 09:52am
@ Capt. Khan Well said!! Its a fact that no one can insult me if I don't take notice. These mullahs & fundamentalists keep on searching for the smallest excuse to get themselves insulted because they have no self-esteem or education.
Sep 23, 2012 09:54am
Why a pakistani muslim cab driver in NYC has more common sense than many of the religiously educated Pakistanis ?Our own living culture really matters...
Sep 23, 2012 11:30am
@NFP... How can you put across the opinion of a taxi driver as the lens through which to view the thinking of general American public. Go see the comments given under news reports in CNN and Fox News. They show a completely different picture.
Sep 24, 2012 01:39am
well said. and it's a sad truth.
Sep 24, 2012 01:02am
Regarding the first sentence of your post, even if we were to assume that this person would/could have been ". . . .the very Pakistanis who burn US flags in Pakistan, destroy public and private property in Pak-the scence which was repeated on the Love Day! ...." the question that needs to be asked is WHAT IS THE REASON that this person will NOT do it now . . . . unless you are saying that he was lying? Regarding the second sentence of your post, "They also recently took peaceful protest against the movie in US and Canada", aren't you contradicting yourself!!
Sep 23, 2012 09:22am
@Nadim P I have always stressed on culture of a country . There is no common culture of a religion . We saw mass violent protests in Islamic countries with some exceptions like Turkey , Indonesia etc . Turkey is greatly influenced by Sufism and European society , but sadly Sufism is on decline. Indonesia is an Asian culture .India with 200 million Muslims also didn't see such protests because of its culture of Hinduism .Societies in West are very tolerant and that's why they are here today .And exceptions are everywhere , so don't count it . What Muslim world requires now is Education and tolerant culture .
Fida Sayani
Sep 24, 2012 12:45am
What a socialist is doing in American financial center.
Iqbal khan
Sep 23, 2012 10:39am
80 percent Pakistanis hate America and 100 percent want to go to America.
Sep 24, 2012 01:11pm
What do you mean minority ? it was a minority who took the path of violence. Only that majority is too afraid of this minority in Pakistan. Your comment basically indicates how media brings up the worst from Pakistan.
Sep 23, 2012 11:23am
we cannot do this for some people America is also responsibal for this
Abdus Salam Khan
Sep 23, 2012 04:32pm
There is nothing sad about a Pakistani calling himself an Indian; in fact,he is more deserving of the title of an Indian, because the word India is derived from the mighty Indus river that flows mainly through Pakistan. Remember, India was divided in to Bharat and Pakistan, so each one of their citizen is entitled to call himself an Indian, meaning a person coming from the Indian sub-continent. Sadly, you, the Bharatis have misapproriated the term Indian to mean Bharatis, which is wrong historically and factually.
Sep 23, 2012 04:30pm
Very few Pakistanis hate America as a country, only the policies of it's government. Theres a difference.
Sep 23, 2012 12:15pm
Why is it that Pakistani restaurants in the West always have Urdu news blaring into your heads from their multiple tv sets. You simply cannot have a fine dining experience as they never play light music in the background and use tube lights, which are for offices, to light up the place. Are they afraid to offend customers if they play music? There used to be music before the Zia came along. Contrast this with how well the Indians and Bangladeshis do it. Dawn please publish this as I am desperately trying to tell Pakistani restaurant owners.
Sep 23, 2012 11:29am
Dear Nadeem Bhai Keep up your good work. May the almighty give you long life to bring sense to the citizens of Pakistan.
Sep 23, 2012 08:51pm
Very good observation,it beats me why?Most people who are there know what they are in for,but food is very good.I remember I was a sales Engineer in late 60's for mid town Manhattan,there were many Pakistani boutiqe store(Indian/Pak Cotton cloths was very popular then,it is no longer now),the Pakistani's were lot more friendly(I love to sing Gazals and talk in Urdu,beside I was 99% desi,then),I used to have best of time(2 reasons,I was young,never been corrupted by CHING -_CHING,dollars,so I was just a very nice guy to talk to,,even now i still have that,but very selective,time & knocks does that to you,often),but Pakistani's are just nice(stay away from discussing religion& Cricket),you will enjoy their co,one more thing,no malice here intended,they I mean both male & female way better looking than most people from rest of sub-continent.Females and girls out of the world.Nice day.
Karachi Wala
Sep 23, 2012 12:13pm
As someone stated "when I first arrived in New York about 26 years ago, no one knew where and what Pakistan was. Now everyone knows about Pakistan, and for all the wrong reasons. Before 9/11, Pakistanis were proud users of all the bad habits, tricks and trade learnt back home. They used all the short cuts to get ahead and proudly used and abused the system." These days 9/11 may have softened the bad habits and manners of Pakistanis. People like taxi driver NFP met, try to put their best face when dealing with non "desis" but as soon as they get to the PIA counter at JFK, the Pakistani within jumps out. One can see the same pushing and shoving and most certainly no lines are followed. No sane person should be surprised to see what is coming out from Pakistan these days. Without any doubt it is the result of mixing the religion with the state affair. NFP has written numerous articles about the rise of Ziayyat, JI and Saudi funded Madrasah system, all the right ingredients for the destruction of Pakistan. With each passing day, Pakistanis take to the street to prove it right.
Sep 23, 2012 11:25am
On the other hand there are some like me who poitedly tell all "I was born in Pakistan" yet not once in last 22 years have any one white, black, brown, Jew, Gentile, Christain or an atheist treated me different. Hiding your identity is not the answer. Changing your identity to be an Americanis the only answer. One cannot be an American and some thing else. Either you are an American or still struggling to melt in this great pot.
Sep 24, 2012 08:00am
Not really. These guys have had a chance to see the world and that has opened their minds. It is not a built in gene that causes people to behave like this. It is the intolerant teachings and this taxi driver proves all it takes is for someone to change our perceptions of things.
Nate Gupta
Sep 23, 2012 11:25am
Nadeemji, Next time you visit America, I would like to invite you to be our guest and stay with us for as long as your schedule allows.
Sep 23, 2012 03:02pm
Sep 23, 2012 01:03pm
NFP, an insightful article as usual. I have lived in US for six years, I am an Indian. One observation I have made in last few years is, that Pakistanis in general have lost their self-esteem here; to avoid embarrassment and maybe for economical reasons, a lot of pakistanis here who are involved in day jobs, claim themselves to be Indians in front of western customers etc, which is sad.
Sep 23, 2012 02:11pm
Then would u agree Pakistanis are hypocrites?
lalit bagai
Sep 23, 2012 01:28pm
i made a few comments wrt cyril almeidas article. it was removed by a click by the moderator.disappeared after a short life of 5 seconds. if dawn has such intolerance about the slightest difference in opinion, what must be the mindset of the mob on the streets. i am indian, liveng in danmark. you said that the taxi driver could not see whether you were pakistani or an indian. thats neither of us has a symbol of the crecent or the svastik on our foreheads. i like your article. well done. new york is a great place.
Nisha Rai
Sep 23, 2012 04:08pm
If you say you are an Indian, people will always assume that your are from "Bharat". It does not matter what you assume.