R is for Ridiculous Roommates


Like any angst-ridden teenager, leaving home for college was indeed liberating. With a glorious sense of being emancipated, I packed my bag with an XXL army jacket, a pair of skinny jeans, a toothbrush and a mammoth-sized collection of books. My mother forewarned me of the homesickness I would experience once I stepped into my dorm. I ignored her pragmatic wisdom and reached Lahore via Daewoo. Imagine the joy of an American Pakistani kid like me, fascinated by the abundance of goats and buffalos in rural Punjab, bursting with excitement about her academic future to a Daewoo hostess who was a little scared of my over-enthusiasm.

So I reached my hostel and met my warden. Now I may not acknowledge your observation yet but most Pakistani wardens usually expect their prospective residents to be promiscuous girls chewing bubblegum with their mouths open. Much to my warden’s surprise, not only did I show aversion to confectionery sweets but I also stood with my legs closed and did not flirt with the gatekeeper. After establishing an angelic impression, I was happily introduced to two other girls. One hailed from Sialkot while the other was an overtly-atavistic citizen of Gujrawala. I confused them with my American accent and coarse Punjabi simultaneously. I even managed to offend the Sialkoti with a few crude jokes my relatives told me.

Long story short, I learned that there are types of roommates in local hostels. Here they are as I am, yet again, categorizing another Pakistani assemblage.

Haleema Hijabi from Hafizabad:

She’ll inform you of the atonement that awaits you in the deepest pit of hell through direct and indirect modes of communication. She’ll make sure you realize how immoral you are for exchanging history notes with that geek in class. You’re naïve if you try befriending her because she doesn’t shake hands with Satanists. Oh and sorry but sickening misdemeanors related to Haqooq-ul-Ibaad are not sinful deeds when she’s busy doing them. Like backbiting, lying, stealing, etcetera.

Paindu Parveen from Pakpattan:

Four letters: K.I.S.S. But she refuses to listen. Now that she’s away from her conservative home, she can rock her neon colored shalwar kameezes and render me blind. I encourage her to enhance her English vocabulary and I appreciate her receptiveness but why does she have to exert her efforts in sending romantic English text messages to Ilyas who is busy chatting with Haleema Hijabi, who once told me that flirting is haraam? I demand answers.

Batooni Batool from Burrewala:

Talk is very, very, very cheap for Batool. Something she initiates at ungodly hours.

Nadeedi Nichoo from Narowal:

She’ll eat anything. From the scrumptious carrot pudding your amma made just for you to the bricks in the wall. At the end of the day, she’ll whine about being hungry and leave you speechless. Let’s call her panphage from now on. Pan = everything. Phage = eater.

Mehnati Mehwish from Mian Channu:

A diligent student has the passion to excel but nobody said you should rob your roommates of decent sleep, Mehwish. It’s 4AM, there are no midterms but she’s preoccupied with studying the distinction between pronouncing ch in chandelier and ch in charisma. Oh, look. The sun’s coming up.

Gulmina Khan Achakzai from FATA:

Don’t you just love diversity? Well, Gulmina doesn’t. Don’t even think of showing interest in her ancestry because she’s sick of your patronizing looks. Even if they aren’t condescending, she still believes they are. But she’d love to give you a hardcore lecture on how Pashtuns are so better than Punjabis. If nothing else, “we’re light skinned.”

And for male residents:

Tharki Tariq from Tonsa:

This guy is a proud owner of a huge porn collection in addition to some very crass text messages and he’s not the least bit ashamed about it unless the warden finds out. He might even start his very own production house but he has geography homework to do first.

Charsi Chaudhary from Chakwal:

Loaded with cash and political power due to his MNA daddy, Chaudhary sahib isn’t here to study. When he’s done with smoking up in the football field, he forces his royal presence on you with a golden chain around his neck, in a heavily-starched white shalwar kameez. He’s the Don of the hostel and the warden can do nothing about it.

Humble Hussain from Hunza:

Barely able to strike up a conversation in coherent Urdu, Hussain is a good looking, somewhat shy young man from Hunza. You wonder why he took sociology when all he can talk about is how amazingly delicious dried fruits are up in the Northern Areas.

Badbudar Boota from Bhalwal:

Buy him a bar of soap before the entire hostel dies.

Gradually I realized that living in solitude would be a saner option. This is not to label each and every hostel resident as deranged, unhygienic or homicidal; I speak of my experience alone. Today I live in a relatively small room with visually-agonizing pink drapes and enjoy some very interesting conversations with my astute coterie consisting of a door knob and four walls.

This post first appeared on Dawn’s Blog where I work as a good-looking janitor: http://bit.ly/hPS8Uo]


57 thoughts on “R is for Ridiculous Roommates

    1. Agreed. The basic recipe:

      Random listing of types of people.
      Forced stereotypes.
      Some cussing for a bit of spice.
      A little provocation.

      Was no doubt hilarious the first few times it was used in your posts. But after the umpteenth post was written using the same basic formula it started to sound a little boring.

      Looking forward to more posts from you which break the trend and venture in new directions of creative writing.

      1. There is no basic recipe, my disappointed friend. I’ve been categorizing for a long time and I don’t think it’s a trend though I’d love to “venture in new directions of creative writing” or whatever you intended on implying. There are four types-post and that’s pretty much it. I’ll do more if I find something interesting enough. Provocation? I see none.

        I’ll make sure I dedicate the next post to you.

      2. sorry if i’m butting in but i don’t agree with the disappointed dude/woman because this is what people look forward to when they pop on to your site. they want you to categorize others and you stated it in your post too, yawr. the pakistani twitterati was a huge success. the thy dupatta was amazing. the blogger specimen had everyone laughing hard. and now the roommates. did you mean this for hostel people as a gift? just remember not to change because we need more bloggers like you. kthbi! :P

  1. it was fun reading lines and between lines. but i am not sure if its coincident that name of room mate and respective native town’s name starts with same letter and this goes for most of them.

  2. Why are the hijabis always portrayed as mean and hypocritic?! =/ Or are they all really mean?!

    Who cares! I loved the post. Is this your first post on Dawn?!

  3. You know what I love about your posts? It’s that you write in a manner that allows your reader, whether American or Pakistani or both, to relate easily and laugh. Always good food for thought. :)

  4. You just made my day, girl. Hands down one of the funniest and logical Pakistani adolescent, I’ve had the pleasure of reading. God bless you.

  5. Hilarious! Loved it :P and man, your ms paint skills are improving with each post! i’ve been tortured before by a female version of badboodar boota… i so agree ^_^

  6. Hilarious. Cudn’t stop my tears on free huggs. I hope anyone of these dont read your blog.

    You’d probably be meeting more ppl in coming days. Why not a sequel of this post?

  7. Ah! You hit the raw nerve Kasana. :( Hate being a hosteler just because of the nauseating presence of such kind of people. Oh btw my warden kissed me on cheeks when I had teary eyes when mom was parting =P Ehehehe! Ridiculous roommates include crybabies too ;) Your post focused partly on diversity of origins though but well, may be that’s why literally everyone can relate to it, not just hostelers. :)

    1. LOL, what a POST!! Loved it! Shared it! Reminds me of my own time at ICS (Punjab University). The strangest part – much to say, the weirdest part – is that people hate you because you’re unique (much better than the lot, infact) and it kills them – the whole fact of you being so. But the, LOL, seeing the other side, it’s kinda funny hearing all sorts of non-sense alien stories these telltellers spread around. At first, it annoyed me and made me wonder “yaar, logon k paas kasem sey bahut waila time hai!” but, eventually, I got so used to the gossips. It’s like you’re a celeb – everyone’s wants to talk about you. Feel like a Queen, Kasana. Live it up to the fullest! Best of Luck! =)

  8. Lays khanay wali kafir BUAHAHAHA. This is the best way to end midterms! And it makes me fangirl over you a little more. I feel you over the badbudar guy, so many of those at uni. I’ve taken to commenting loudly on why people at uni don’t shower when such people pass me on the staircase. Blegggh.

  9. And L, if i might add, is for Lazy!
    I hope you wont mind if i quote you to make my point:
    “He’s cute and he’s funny and I’m getting bored”.
    i.e. to say that perhaps it is now time to ‘Give It A Thought’ (please ignore the He, would you).

  10. Awesome! never been to hostel but my class in uni was as diversified as this! OH thanx God uni finished! Really for some it is the most enjoyable time but for me it was nerve racking….

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