My Culture;My Definition

Yusra Shaukat
Posted November 3, 2017 from Pakistan

It was exactly 20 years back in the month of July. All my family members were eagerly waiting for me because that day I was supposed to leave my first home which was the womb of my mother. Such home, where I was allowed to stay only for 9 months not more than that. Sometimes, I wonder what if we all were allowed to stay there for quite longer. My mother kept me inside her for 9 consecutive months, bearing all the pains just because I was inside her. I was responsible to make her fat, as she was supposed to eat for me as well. Aren’t the babies selfish? Yes, they are but they are also the reason to unite the whole family together and same was the case with my family. It is common in our culture to hand over the new born baby to the eldest of the whole family and in my case I was given to my maternal grandmother. I was brought up in such area where one can touch the fragrance of love all around and today I am taking you to that place for which I am known to the rest of the world.

I belong to one of the most beautiful mountainous areas of Pakistan, known as Chitral. Chitral is derived from the word “Chetrar” which means from the fields. Gradually due to the different pronunciation of people it changed to Chitral. I spent 18 years of my life in Chitral and may be that is the reason I love this place more than any other places. We have such culture, which I am sure doesn’t exist in any other part of the world. One of them is the system of “JOINT FAMILY”, which is very rare to see in today’s world. I myself was brought up in a joint family, where I always experienced love, unity and to be there for each other in times of difficulties. One of the things which I really like about my culture is that all the family members’ sit in a circle for their meals and the food is served to the elders of the family first and then to rest of the members. This way we show our love and respect for our elders. Moreover, to show our gratitude towards our elders we kiss their hands and stand up and offer our place to them. Isn’t it beautiful? Yes it is, because we see our elders as our guardians, our gurus who guide us how to love and to be loved by people around you. It always makes me proud to say that throughout the history of Chitral there had never been a trend of sending old people to care home, so we never felt to build any kind of care homes for them. Instead they live with their family till their last breath.

Since my childhood, I used to have a very close relation with animals and it still exists. In Chitral most of the people have herds which they rare in their homes. Still today whenever I see sheep, cow or any other animal I have a big smile on my face and my friends use to tease me by saying that now I live in Chittagong and an International student of one of the prestigious university of Bangladesh, I should focus things which are more important in my life. But what I believe is that no one else can find such peace which I experience in my village, which I am unable to feel in city life. That is the reason I am thankful to my culture which always reminds me not to forget my cultural values and to take those with me wherever I go. It is the guidance of my family members that I live in such a diversified environment inside AUW, but I still know how to represent my own tradition. In today’s world there are very less people who know how to live a peaceful life. So many people take yoga classes, take pills for their mental peace but I do not need any of these, because I learned the skill of finding happiness in small things from my own tradition. I will be in debt to my culture, as it has helped me to be a good human being and now it is my turn to play my partJ

This story was submitted in response to I Am Thankful for You Because....

Comments 3

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maeann
Nov 04, 2017
Nov 04, 2017

A beautiful place where you can reminisce your childhood and how you have raised from who you are now, Yusra.  It’s nice to also spend time with the old people, listening to their amazing stories how they lived before without technology....hmmm i miss my hometown :)

Yusra Shaukat
Nov 04, 2017
Nov 04, 2017

You know sometimes I think life would be wonderful without technology, but there will be people who will not agree with me. Thank you so much for your encouragement.

Tamarack Verrall
Nov 16, 2017
Nov 16, 2017

Dear Sarah,

You have been raised with many beautiful traditions and in such a lovely place. It is true that there is an assumption that big cities are superior to villages and rural life, and you describe beautifully what is too often absent, in living respectfully with each other, close to nature, and with animals. Of course big cities also have much to offer (e.g. work, universities and the chance to meet and discuss in large numbers) and the internet, which despite its downfalls allows us to be in touch here. What you have given us through your story is a look at what is rarely described, natural beauty and true community. Thank you for sharing this and reminding us that thus exists in your beautiful country.

In sisterhood,

Tam