Speechless in a restaurant

August 18, 2006 at 2:07 pm (Amusement, Pakistan, Personal, South Asia)

Last night I went out for dinner with Mom and Dad. As he was serving our dinner, the waiter asked a very innocent question: “Where are you from?” My mother clammed up. I also hesitated. My father was silent. What do we say?

I wanted to confirm if we got his question right. “Where are we from?”

He replied, “Yes, where are you from?”

My mother was still silent, looking a little shocked. I was hemming and hawing. My father, with a slight touch of amusement in his voice, finally answered, “Pakistan.”

When the waiter left, my father pointed out how Mom couldn’t respond. She responded in Urdu, “It just doesn’t come out of me any more. I can’t say it any more. I can’t say I’m from Pakistan any more.”


  1. jayne said,

    During WW2, my grandfather stopped going by his given name (Adolph) and always answered AJ when asked his name. The fact that his English was not good didn’t help either.
    It is probably even harder for your mother if she has family in Pakistan.

  2. Christopher Taylor said,

    That’s sad 😦 There’s nothing about Pakistan in and of it’s self to be ashamed of but I can understand the discomfort your parents feel. They should say AMERICA!

  3. Michael van der Galien said,

    CT: I agree. If they live in the US, just answer in what city one lives. Say ‘from here’ or something.

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