What I want to desperately do is to rant about all the troubles I had to go through to get to my intended destination for study or the soul wrecking arguments with my dad that made me feel like the most guilty person alive on planet Earth ( trust me I felt like I might have smuggled drugs to Russia ).
But that is not what I want this article to be about. I want to help you navigate your way through a similar situation you might be in or will be in the future or are just a curious breed, bear with me anyhow. Also I am a girl so this might be more helpful for all my ladies out there ( we all know it’s more difficult for us, I’m not even arguing )
Anyways as a successful doer of said task, that is to have convinced my strict desi dad to have sent me abroad to study as a girl, the first girl in the family, the youngest one to ever do so and did I mention a girl? I will like to share my wisdom for the future generations of risk takers to come!
1. Choose China!
I know this sounds like an extremely narrow approach as it might not be what you are looking for but trust me, desi dads are all about Pak China friendship corridor and that same love is what you will have to use in your stride, it will make them forget about the fact that it is still a foreign country that eats lizards for dinner and is thousands of miles away that you are sending your precious child to. Let me tell you, if they hear the evening radio in their car where the Chinese guests try to speak Urdu and be all cute, like my dad does, the odds are in your favor.
2. Do Your Research!
I mean this one should be obvious! By research I mean proper scientific research with spreadsheets and everything until you reach a final conclusion, and then be prepared to present that research to your dad, use a projector if necessary (kidding). What desi dads want is your safety and for that they need to be assured what you are going to do is worthy and well safe. They also want you to put an effort in it so they can be affirmed that you really ARE serious about it and are not just planning an escape. And for that you need to be prepared for any questions coming your way.
3. Share Stories!
In my case half the battle was already one in this particular department as there are many other young individuals from Pakistan who go to China every year for higher studies (you can also find similar loopholes). There are a whole lot of stories of other people that you can share with your dad.
What a desi dad is particularly worried about is the question of getting there safely, he will be worried someone might kidnap you or put drugs in your bag ( tip: lock ALL your zips ). But if you tell him how there are so many other people who travel in groups each year, it will give him a peace of mind long enough, to at least consider sending you.
I didn’t meet my group until I got there ( China ) but my desi dad doesn’t need to know that! Point’s simple my friend, it’s a game, it’s all a game, basically a battle of arguments and you gotta win. Before the actual admission process and interviews, this desi dad VS breaking boundaries dilemma is also what you just have to nail. And then it’s Ja Simran Ja from there on.
4. Embrace Risks!
I know desi dad and risk don’t go hand in hand, but you my friend have to be convincing in your risk. You have to prove yourself, that you are brave enough to enter into unexplored realms. That you will have the courage to face what your decision of novelty has to offer.
Like when before leaving, I was driving with my dad to the passport office one day, and he asked me where to turn next, I said ‘ I don’t know, you’re the driver’. He stopped the car by the side of the road and said, ‘ Well is that what you’re going to say to the driver abroad while you’ll be completely unaware of the wrong directions the driver might have taken you in?’ . Now I agree desi dads make everything more dramatic but you have to stand your ground and not chicken out of your decision by being scared and agreeing with your dad.
Well what I said was, ‘ No dad, I will be more alert when I am with a stranger, while being with you I feel no threat’.
What I understood from that was that you have to be mindful of the risks undertaking your decision as you won’t be spoon fed away from home. You have to show that independent spirit. If you wan’t something badly you have to embody it fully literally ( see The Prestige for understanding this reference )
5. Well, OK a Little Emotion Works!
If you are convincing enough to your desi dad ( who tend to have big hearts ) that why this means so much to you? What are your aspirations? Take it as Letter of Motivation you write to the universities for admission. Yes it is a serious matter, your dad needs to see through you to trust you! Also a little drop of his own past wont hurt ( tactics ), how when he was young and he went to fulfill his dreams.
Make him feel nostalgic, and use that nostalgia to garner that emotional energy out of him to feel your pain, well not exactly pain but you know what I mean, right? Especially if you have decided to embark on a similar adventure like I did!
Trust me it’s all worth it!
My conclusion is that you have to understand your parents, you must have good communication, you have to be convincing so they can feel satisfied with your decisions, because they want nothing but the best for you, and then leave the rest in God’s hand.