What attracted you to Vox?
It can sometimes be difficult to find your place and a sense of belonging in a new city, a new country, without a stable structural environment like a work or college setting. Thus, it was actually a good stroke of chance and luck when I met someone from Vox Culture at a Halloween gathering last fall. Breaking into conversation, I learnt about their mission to solve social causes in creative ways, and I talked about some of my key interests related to writing and travel, as well as my background in marketing. I ended up discovering a space where I could contribute through my skills and also break into the fold of the intriguing metropolis of Houston. It was an inviting place for like-minded creative professionals where I felt I was needed, and where I could belong and make some difference.
What is your favorite ice cream?
Chocolate fudge brownie. Brownie chip chocolate fudge. Choco chunk brownie chips... Doesn't matter how outrageous and ridiculous the flavor is, but if it has the word chocolate in it, it's for me!
What are your favorite things to do in Houston?
So far... Walking around the museum district, discovering new hiking trails in the city's green spaces, taking in the aroma of coffee while listening to the ambient music in cafes, and stumbling upon bits and pieces of what Texans call Texas! With less than a year in this gigantic city, I'm still wandering about, trying to explore and find stuff to do.
What are some main differences between living in Houston and Pakistan?
Life in Pakistan is very different from what we witness in Houston, and America, in general. The sputtering throttle of an auto-rickshaw darting its way through winding lanes of chaotic traffic is one of the norms in major cities of Pakistan. The hustle and bustle of an exploding population packed in congested metros results in this chaos, with motorcycles and cars sometimes even dodging traffic on the wrong side of the road. The sight of a donkey cart or a herd of cows crossing the road is also not unheard of. The men, almost always men, leading these animals will often be sweating as profusely as their sources of livelihood, working in sweltering heat for the major part of the year. Their measly wages can still get them a decent meal at a roadside hawker's eatery, perhaps a mix of chopped fruit with spices or some lentils and bread, served by a child who never went to school. A cup of tea and lively gossip usually follows, from topics as diverse as corruption allegations on the government, performance of the national cricket team, and a recent bomb blast in a certain part of the country. All until the power on the rusted pedestal fan runs out, and they feel its time to return to work. Some expensive cars might park in front of the roadside tables, and their occupants will calmly walk past the unkempt chairs to a large department store behind them. Life can be cruel and difficult for many Pakistanis, but yet beautiful in the way it just goes on past their so many troubles.