I have a story I want to tell you guys, but I have to tell you another story first, kind of as a backdrop. It happened maybe 2-3 months ago and I meant towrite about it right after it happened, but I just have no time these days! I wish one of some uber-loyal reader could accompany me on my work commute and transcribe my words because I swear I have like 4 or 5 ideas for blog posts every day, I just don't get the chance to write as often as I get ideas!
Moving on. This background story needs its own background as well. First, there was a time when all desi people I know were reposting links to some Youtube video of a white guy speaking flawless Urdu. I followed the link, watched the video (understood a little bit of it too!) and then watched it with my husband. I wrote about it here. While watching it I mistakenly asked him how my Urdu compared with the man in the video's - not expecting it to be at all similar but perhaps I have 5 or 10 percent of his skills - and then my husband obliterated my years of hard work trying to absorb Urdu.
Another tidbit of background is that we have these friends. They are a maried couple who are both the Us-born and bred children of Pakistani immigrants who came to America decades before Mian did. They were raised here and are very American, but they also speak Urdu and aften wear Pakistani clothes and participate in Pakistani and Muslim events. We met them at a dinner at a mutual (Bengali couple) friend's house and all three of us couples often hang out together as well. When this Pakistani American couple had a baby, we met their parents as well when we visited them and their new baby. Over time, we saw their parents at various dinner parties and events at our local mosque as well. The guy's father puts on a lot of events to promote the Urdu language and once, at an Urdu book sale, Mian got to talking with him. My Mian gets along really well with 'the Uncles' - older Pakistani men - because he is old at heart. He is only 36 and he is already an Uncle.
So this friend's father was helping to put together a Poetry night to celebrate the famous old Poet Mirza Ghalib, and he asked my Mian if he could attend, if he could also help with setup, and if he could please invite as many people as possible so that the event had some possibility of turning a profit or at least breaking even. Mian agreed to do all three. Then he found out that the main speaker at the event was going to be that same white guy from the Youtube video. I was so excited! To which my Mian replied "Oh, but it's thirty dollars..."
(That man is crazy. I've tried to learn his language and he's going to suggest I not go to an Urdu language event because $30 is too much? Let me tell you what some people might consider too much: having to live half your life not understanding what's going on around you. That's too much. $30 is nothing compared to that. I told his as much (perhaps not in very kind words) and he reconsidered. Not that I have stopped telling people about it. And eventually I did not end up attending because of other reasons. It was really far away, someone had to take care of the baby, and I wanted to encourage Chachoo and Dulhan to go rather than stay home with the baby because I thought it would be more enjoyable for them than me.)
Everyone really did enjoy it and it turned out that my Mian spent almost an hour in the back of the room talking to white Youtube guy. He raved about him when he got home. It turns out that the Youtube guy and Mr. Youtube's original urdu professer were the main speakers at the event along with a man in charge of the organization who put together the event. The organizer was Pakistani and a native Urdu speaker and he spoke in English the whole time! At an event meant to prserve and promote the Urdu language! Even over the boos of the crowd!
Some picture from that evening:
|Mr. Youtube sensation himself!|
|Book fari outside the event hall.|
|Mr. Youtube's professor|