Saturday, November 25, 2006


There I am, innocently standing with my mother in a queue in Sainsbury's when suddenly an asian woman wearing a headscarf approaches me. She thrusts a multipack of Pombears (if I recall correctly) in my face and begins babbling away in Urdu. Sad as it may be, I cannot speak nor understand Urdu so I am rather shocked by this somewhat rude intrusion into my solitary thoughts and begin to edge away towards my mother. The lady (L), realising the scenario, turns to my mother (M) and the following conversation ensues (it was later translated for me by my mother):
M: What's the matter?
L: She no speak Urdu? No speak? (this in broken english)
M: No, but I do. What do you want?
L: I was wondering if these crisps are halal? Can I eat them?
M: Yes they are. We eat them
L: Oh, OK, thanks
(pause whilst my mother turns to pay)
L: Is she your daughter? (indicating me)
M: Yes
L: Masha-Allah. So where abouts in Pakistan are you from?
M: Erm, we're not actually from Pakistan, we're from Africa

L smiles and nods, but it is clear from her expression that she does not believe or does not want to believe that we are not from Pakistan. Because, as we all know, if you wear a headscarf then you can speak Urdu and if you comply to both of these conditions, then you are from Pakistan. Obviously.