The Middle-Eastern Teen Scene | Teen Ink

The Middle-Eastern Teen Scene MAG

May 24, 2009
By Mahnoor Saad BRONZE, Islamabad, Other
Mahnoor Saad BRONZE, Islamabad, Other
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

I live in Pakistan. That's right, sound it out: Pa-ki-stan. You might have heard of it on the news – the place where the whos-its are throwing bombs on the watcha-ma-call-'ems. And no, it's not Iraq or Afghanistan, but we're getting there.

What is it like, really, to be a teenager in a third-world country? Well, for one, we know all about life across the seven seas, thanks to the friendly neighborhood cinepax (yes, that's what we call our movie theaters), Hollywood, and Hillary Duff. But since our films haven't yet evolved very far, and Bollywood doesn't really give our side of the story, let me fill you in. Consider this the East's version of the Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.

Everyone loathes getting up in the morning. However, I am not as fussy about it as my brother, who, despite being in medical school, still refuses to set his alarm and depends on the entire household to wake him. It is considered a family success to get him out of bed and into the shower in less than 30 minutes with minimal shouting and zero water throwing. And blessed is the day when we get to our respective workplaces and schools on time because said brother got ready with a few minutes to spare.

And that's just the start of my day.

I share the school bus with a bunch of kids whose brains have progressed from peanut-size to walnut-size during their 12 years of education. On a good day, they may discuss the merits of constipation over diarrhea. On a bad day … well, I won't go into that. You'll just have to take my word for it when I say that it's a relief (no pun intended) to arrive at school.

School is a whole different ballgame here. For one, our teachers do not give detentions. Also, there is no designated lunch time. Hence there are no “cool” or “dorky” lunch tables. You just grab a bite to eat whenever you can. Third, we have no mascots or (gasp) cheerleaders. There are some groups of people who hate other groups of people, but the worst that happens is generally a cold war.

On the downside, our yearly grade isn't based on a series of exams throughout the year. To be sure, we have tests and midterms, but they don't count toward our final grade. That hinges on one big exam at the end of the year that's created by Cambridge University in England.

After school I'm faced with the age-old question: How do I spend my time not being bored today? Starting my homework, until absolutely necessary, is simply not an option. But neither, it seems, is hanging out with friends at a place that isn't home.

You see, teenagers worldwide have the same basic problems: pimples, chemistry assignments, measly allowances, and a shortage of clothes. But there are some problems that we face in Pakistan that you couldn't even imagine. Our parents don't let us go out with friends, not because they think we might drink or do drugs, but because they fear a bomb may blow up at any minute. That's hard to argue with.

And so I, along with my friends, find solace in ­television, our cell phones, and the Internet. You'd be surprised how enthusiastically we follow American Idol. I shed actual tears when Adam Lambert lost! Not to mention how miserable my whole school was when Michael Scofield died on Prison Break. And Rufus and Lily from Gossip Girl, and Brennan and Booth from Bones, had better make something of it, because everyone on this side of the globe is rooting for them. And House … well, all he has to do is go on being brilliant.

Life is busy and full. Here, everywhere. It's funny how we forget the problems of our country. Most of us in Pakistan don't want to worry about ­Talibanization, the government, and the ­economy. And that's one more thing we have in common with most of the civilized world.

The author's comments:
The grass is just as green on the other side...

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This article has 100 comments.

Alaintia said...
on May. 5 2010 at 8:56 pm
Thank you so much for providing this piece for us to read. I live in the U.S. and i am always wondering what other kids, around the world,  have to go through that is both similar and different to my culture. Keep on writing because you definitly have a talent for it.  

sunshinesam said...
on May. 5 2010 at 8:08 pm
i agree. it really shows how life there is not that diffrent from ors

zsally55 said...
on May. 5 2010 at 7:23 pm
i usually don't read anything like this or comment for that matter, but something caught my eye about this article and it really fascinated me. thanks for showing the similarity between teens all around the world because i think most of the time people stereotype teens based off where they are from. this was refreshing to see how kids are kids....and nothing like the time in history or location will ever change that

on May. 5 2010 at 6:48 pm
MUSICisLIFE1429, Munster, Indiana
0 articles 3 photos 24 comments

Favorite Quote:
Practice doesnt make perfect. Perfect practice make perfect.

this is such an eye opening article into what life is like for a teenage pakistinian. thank you for this fantastic contribution

on Apr. 23 2010 at 7:18 pm
angel2745 BRONZE, Sacramento, California
3 articles 1 photo 32 comments

I usually start my comments with "Wow" but since this was so amazing I will put my feedback in underline and I don't ever do that ;) Hehe :D

This was really thought out, I loved it!!! :D

Mahnoor Saad said...
on Apr. 15 2010 at 3:53 am

Wow. Nice to know there's another mahnoor out there who knows what I'm talking about xD

And again, thank you all for taking out time to read my article. Its means a lot :)

Mahnoor said...
on Apr. 14 2010 at 4:16 pm
First off, lol, this made me grin. Yeah, I'm a Mahnoor, origin; Pakistan, living in UK. I get what you mean. Nice to have some one with plentiful brain-cells and an awesome style of writing. Keep rocking. ^^.... or writing. Y'know what I mean.

on Apr. 6 2010 at 2:39 pm
Emily.Anne BRONZE, Marblehead, Massachusetts
2 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today."

great article!

a few months ago, i met a foreign exchange student from pakistan.  his family back home was in hiding, just because he was here in America, studying. his story really touched me.  Thank you for sharing yours!

p.s. I shed tears when Adam lost too!

on Mar. 31 2010 at 2:03 pm
TiberiusPlushenko BRONZE, Littleton, Colorado
1 article 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
All power corrupts: Total power is kinda cool!

It's amazing how you live


on Mar. 14 2010 at 4:16 pm
VioletsandVoice, Spiritwood, North Dakota
0 articles 0 photos 170 comments
very interesting and well written. good work!

emrldshine said...
on Dec. 15 2009 at 9:39 pm
emrldshine, Alameda, California
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
Well written and a great story..the part about the bomb was good..Most pple here dont ever have to think about terrorism and the fear of getting killed or losing a loved one..

Bt since we lived through it all,,that makes us better human beings,,or at least it should have...

on Nov. 22 2009 at 4:10 pm
E.L.W. PLATINUM, Glen Allen, Virginia
31 articles 0 photos 59 comments

Favorite Quote:
Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels.
The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes -
the ones who see things differently.
They're not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo.
They push the human race forward.

This is a really well written article! Great work!!!!

on Nov. 6 2009 at 1:22 pm
Estar-Forte BRONZE, A Little Dot On A Map, North Carolina
2 articles 5 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Happiness can meet you in forms of insanity, but at times you must look madly for it."

You are wonderful in your words~!

Cherry said...
on Jul. 16 2009 at 10:01 am
Good Stuff Moni. Keep writing. You are doing the family proud!

Faisal said...
on Jul. 1 2009 at 1:08 pm
Very well written article .Keep up the good work.

Rehan said...
on Jun. 25 2009 at 3:31 am
I've just read the written piece by Mahnoor. Simply fabulous is the only comment I've for her effort. Keep writing!

Kainaat said...
on Jun. 23 2009 at 6:44 am
My friend forwarded the Teen Ink link. Wow! It's amazing to find hundred of well written different thoughts by young writers. I've skimmed a lot of articles, fiction and poetry. Well-done Teen Ink. As far as Mahnoor's effort is concerned. It's brilliant! I wish her to fly high in future.

Shaheryar said...
on Jun. 20 2009 at 3:27 am
Simply thought provoking. The reader has to agree with Mahnoor's experience.

shahab said...
on Jun. 19 2009 at 1:41 pm
a reflection of teenage frustration.very well written article.

shameem said...
on Jun. 18 2009 at 1:02 pm
It was so wonderful to read the unwritten message by a young girl. I wish her all the success and sincerely wish people and governements to focuss on those things she has written in between the lines. Well done Mahnoor.