The Corner Store Man

Broken English was what I knew him as. The man behind the counter was nothing more than a the corner store man. He stood tall above the customers only because the counter made him look tall. Bulletproof glass was the only barrier between him and the customers. “Hello buddy” was said to everyone and each time I died inside because he had an accent. I was embarrassed of him and I didn’t want people to know this man was my father. He was nothing but an immigrant who the customers can mock, make fun of and disrespect. I was a young, shy and quiet kid who usually stood in the background because I didn’t want to be noticed. I remember one day a girl from my 5th grade class walked in and I hid under the counter because I thought I would be judged due to my father’s job and accent.

A bad accent was what I knew him as. The man behind the counter would make me broom and mop the store. I hated these tasks because I could hear the whispers of the kids my age laughing. I remember one day I was mopping and I saw this man throw change at the corner store man while he had his hand out to take the change. I remember people throwing racist remarks at the corner store man only because he had an accent. The corner store man would do nothing but smile back and do whatever he can to make the customer happy. I was so embarrassed because I couldn’t defend him. I didn’t know what to say, what to do and how to handle these situations. Instead I grew distant because I did not want to be at the corner store.

As I grew distant, the corner store man and me would only meet for breakfast and maybe dinner. He would always ask me to stop by and help him but I always was too “busy” or made some other excuse. At times I would wish he could just be a doctor or have a “real job”. While I was wishing what he could’ve been he dealt with body aches, back problems and various health problems. I was so blinded and so selfish at the time that I couldn’t notice he would need my help.

I soon went to college and I forgot the corner store even existed. The corner store man not only got me through college but also made sure I never gave up. The corner store man forgot all of his dreams to see me peruse mine. I followed my dreams of becoming a dancer, photographer and writer. I fell so many times during my undergrad career and he was always by my side to pick me up even when I didn’t ask for help. I was an asshole who was so concerned about what he did that I forgot who he was.

Yes, I proudly announce to the world my father is a corner store man but nobody is better at it than him. Yes, he has an accent but he can read, write and speak in 3 languages. The corner store man is not only a proud storeowner but also a son, father, husband and a selfless man who provided education to all of his kids.

As I write this I am standing at the counter greeting the customers who walk in. This time around my father is drinking tea at home while I try to manage the things he does with his eyes closed. My father is what I will always see him as.

For all of my South Asian readers, whose families are in some sort of a family business, show your parents love and appreciate them. The immigrant life is tough and it is not easy by any means. It’s a new language, new culture and pretty much new everything. Never let yourself be embarrassed of how they speak or what they do.

Relationship Goals?

My generation has wrongful and strange perceptions on many things, but one

phenomenon that surprises me is the phrase “relationship goals”. If you are on any

social media outlet you will often see hashtags or pictures referring to a certain

relationship aspect. These pictures show very cliché things such as a couple kissing,

holding hands, or watching the sunset. On the bottom of these pictures usually

include a cliché quote, which talks about honesty, compassion, trust, and genuinely

being in love with your partner. Call me silly but shouldn’t these things be the

foundation of any relationship? How can the foundation of something that should

already exist be a goal? We should not be applauding things that should already be

present within a relationship.

My generation (including me) should look at the generations before us and

take notes. My parents have been married for 35 years and still counting. My

grandmother held my grandfathers hand as he took his last breath. I also know not

everyone has been in the same situation as me because break ups and divorce

happen. Yet one thing to note is even if the generations before us have dealt with

divorce or break ups, these couples have one thing in common: they fought until the

very end, and divorce was never the first option.

Now a days the dating scene is really annoying because we have so many

different labels. Such as single, in a relationship, it’s complicated, friends with

benefits, casually dating, and so on. The labels are not the problem, its following the

guidelines of these labels is where the problems start. If we all just cut the crap and

just be honest, our dating scene can be something really amazing.

Modern Dating.

The Fall 2015 semester came to an end and I was sitting with a few of my friends. All of us have different personalities, interests but somehow the friendship has only gotten stronger even though we don’t see each other much. The night usually starts off with making fun of someone until they get pissed off. We all grew up together so we know exactly what to say to annoy each other. My friend Sanjay is a hopeless romantic he falls in love with anything that breathes. As usual he was talking about his “Love at first sight” and I remember laughing because it usually ends with the girl already being married or him getting rejected. I remember telling him the dating scene nowadays is crap. Most of the guys agreed to that thought but for many different reasons.

Dating scene has become this weird chase to prove to the world how happy we are? This craziness to show our instagram followers how good our relationship is. When In reality instagram is just a moment or a mere highlight but regardless we may say things such as “They are perfect” or “Look how happy they are”. Yes they look happy but so much happens behind the scenes after that instagram picture is up. Arguments, not being on the same page or simply taking the individual for granted, all of these things are normal and they happen but pictures do not show that.

My friend Sunny loves to joke around a lot so he looks at me and starts talking about his attempts to get a date while not having to spend a lot of money. From walking up to a girl and complimenting her and getting the “Screw off” look to trying to get a dinner date while being on a budget. It always ends with him being in some complicated situations.

What he meant by this was how back in the day in the time of our parents. They did not have texting or cell phones. If they liked someone it was a lot of work and required effort on both sides. Nowadays a simple “Hey its me” text is the generic way of starting a conversation. That’s zero effort, I still believe if you want a date call the person, have a conversation and ask them to a date. He told me a situation, which made me confused and a little annoyed. Sunny was at a birthday party and approached a girl and got her number. The next day he texted her with the generic “Hey its me” text. She replied back the next morning “Hey I’m so glad you texted me” and he texted her to grab coffee. She said sure and then cancelled 20 minutes before because she wasn’t “feeling well” but the young lady forgot a small detail, Sunny was on her snapchat. Sunny saw her snap story, turns out she was so sick that she went to dinner with her friends. The next day she texted to apologize and asked him to coffee but then he cancelled on her even though he was not doing anything.

This small event shows how our own pride and “better plans” can make things annoying. If she had just been honest from the very beginning it would have made it easier and if Sunny would have given her a second chance they could have worked. In the day and age of being constantly connected to friends we always have the opportunity to make better plans but that doesn’t make it right to cancel last minute.

According to the encyclopedia of Psychology about 40-50% of American families go through divorce because of financial issues, cheating, and unrealistic expectations. So when you date or get to know someone understand the person may not have a lot of money to spend. Understand that if they cheat it will eat them from within. Dating is supposed to be fun and interesting because the thrill of getting to know someone is exciting. I was always told one thing “Beauty will fade over time but the individuals personality is forever’’. Everyone wants a successful person or has some requirements in order to date someone. Everyone wants the finished product but strong people help build each other.

Just like that 3 hours had passed and we had to get home so we could get enough rest before work. Who knows how many “love at first sights” I will hear about or how many cancelled plans Sunny will deal with. One thing I do know is we will always have fun laughing at each others luck with dating.

Some good news!

Kirfanlive is still up and running! When I started this page I promised stories that will follow the difficulties in our South Asian culture. I have been so caught up with the hectic schedule of my summer! I am packed with work between study sessions and summer classes. Due to the recent amount of work I have pushed my posting to every Friday night. I also wanted to let you all know that I am at a loss of words for all the support and love I have been receiving since I started running my new blog. I can’t thank you all enough! My goal is to keep this running strong so help spread the word for my blog by recommending a friend to like and share! Kirfanlive is going to finish the Zoya story regarding divorce by this coming Friday and add some new content that every South Asian can relate to. Lastly, Kirfanlive Instagram has been released which will feature sneak peeks of new stories and images of my journey through my writing career! Go follow me on Instagram, kirfanliveofficial  Stay Tuned!