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Interview with Manzoor Tahir and Javed Choudry

Tahir, Manzoor
Choudhry, Javed
Fehl, Kristin
Date of Interview: 
Overcoming obstacles; Relationships with people and places; Cultural identification
Manzoor Tahir, with his cousin, talks about life in Pakistan.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Kristin Fehl interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
KF (Kristin Fehl): What is your name?
MT (Manzoor Tahir): Manzoor.
KF: What's your last name?
MT: Tahir, T-A-H-I-R.
KF: ( )
MT: It's OK.
KF: ( ) OK, when did, um, how long have you been here?
JC (Javed Choudhry): Eight, eight years.
MT: Seven, eight years.
KF: Where are you from?
MT: Pakistan.
KF: What part?
MT: Punjab.
KF: What brought you here?
JC: Opportunity.
MT: Opportunity and business.
KF: Business, is there no opportunities for you in Pakistan?
MT: They are in crisis in the moment.
KF: Did you, um, did you have to serve in the military there?
MT: Sorry?
JC: // No. //
KF: // They // don't have mandatory military service there?
MT: // No. //
JC: // No. //
KF: How much of your family lives here?
MT: About the whole, whole family.
KF: Your whole family came over?
MT: Uh-huh.
KF: When did you start learning English?
MT: English? When I was a kid.
KF: When you were // little? //
JC: // He was // little.
MT: Little.
KF: They teach you English in Pakistan?
JC: Yes.
KF: So you knew it when you came here?
JC: // ( ) //
MT: // We both did // at school here.
KF: OK, but, um, can you speak any other, other languages?
MT: Only a little Urdu, Pakistani language.
KF: What is it called?
MT: Urdu.
KF: Urdu?
MT: Yeah.
KF: Those are the only two?
MT: // Yeah. //
KF: // And // how old are you?
MT: I'm 44.
KF: 44? Do you, um-?
MT: Do I look like? [Laughter]
KF: Have you done any traveling in the States?
MT: Yeah.
KF: Where did you go to?
MT: New York.
KF: New York.
MT: Chicago.
KF: What's your favorite place?
MT: What?
KF: What's your favorite place?
MT: Long Island.
KF: Long Island? [Long pause] Do you all celebrate Christmas?
MT: Yes, we do.
KF: Do you have Christmas in Pakistan?
MT: We do.
KF: Uh-huh. What religion are you?
MT: I'm Muslim.
KF: So then you're not Christian, but so you do Christmas anyway?
MT: Yeah, we do believe in Christmas tree.
KF: You do? Tell me about a Muslim holiday.
MT: Muslim holiday is, uh, Eid they call after Ramadan, you know, to fasting.
KF: Uh-huh.
MT: We celebrate our day, they call Eid.
KF: OK. I don't know about Muslims. What do you all do? You pray to Mecca? [Laugh]
MT: // Yeah. //
JC: // Yeah, // we pray to Mecca, only to one god.
KF: Do you do that every day?
JC: We // pray. //
MT: // Yeah. // Five times // a day. //
KF: // What // do you do when you're working?
JC: Working? We take a break.
KF: Oh you do?
JC: We pray like, we supposed to pray 12 o'clock, we can do it three o'clock. [Break]
KF: Tell me about another Muslim holiday.
MT: Other one? When our prophet was born, Muhammad, then we celebrate, it's a holiday.
KF: And what do you do for that?
MT: I just, I mean, we go to mosque and pray.
KF: Have you ever been to Mecca?
MT: No, I haven't.
KF: Not yet. Are you required to go?
MT: It, it's not a must. I mean, you don't have to if you can't afford it. If you don't have enough money then you-.
KF: You don't have to go?
MT: You don't have to.
KF: Are there any Muslim churches here?
MT: Over here? Yes, we do have mosques. They are called mosque.
KF: Where is that at?
MT: I haven't been so far.
KF: Yes, but is there one here in Charlotte? [Tape interruption]
MT: There is a mosque here in Charlotte.
JC: Plaza Drive and, uh, East Harris Boulevard.
KF: There's one there? What, what about you alls' parents? You're cousins?
JC: Yeah.
KF: So where are your parents from? [Tape interruption]
JC: No, they are back home, Pakistan.
KF: So, do ya'll ever get back there to visit them?
JC: Yeah, every year or every other, second year. [Tape interruption]
KF: Is that next to Iran?
JC: It's right next to Iran, right in the middle of India, China and Iran. [Long pause]
MT: ( )
JC: [Laughs]
KF: What's your favorite country?
JC: What's your favorite country? Australia?
MT: Australia.
KF: Australia? Wow. You guys sure do get around. [Laughter] [Tape interruption]
KF: Yeah, that's probably good.
JC: See? You asked for one, now both of us are giving it // to you. //
KF: // I know. // I have to-.
JC: // [Laughs] //
KF: // -Get your name now, too, though. //
JC: Javed.
KF: How do you spell that?
JC: J-A-V-E-D.
KF: What's your last name?
JC: C-H-O-U-D-H-R-Y.
KF: H-R-Y.
JC: Uh-huh.
KF: OK. All right, well, thanks a lot.