Of bumpy locks and vocal chords

Muslim Matters

Of bumpy locks and vocal chords

(Artwork credit: Catherine Sulzmann)

(Artwork credit: Catherine Sulzmann)

By Butool Hisam

Alt Muslimah

Alt Muslimah

The winter of 2013 was an eventful one for me. As a second-year medical student from Pakistan, I spent two months at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore for a research elective-. It was a time of excitement, wonder and anxiety. One afternoon, after hurrying back to the office from lunch, I stood fidgeting with the office key, struggling to open the door.  A middle-aged lady impeccably dressed  in crisp dress pants and a blazer, who I had bumped into and exchanged pleasantries with the day before, kindly offered to help.

After she and I had managed to unlock the door, she turned to me, a bit hesitantly, and said, “So listen, I have been meaning to ask you….why do you cover your head?” I was, in all honestly, taken aback, but I noticed that her tone was neither condescending nor pitying. Instead it was laced with curiosity. And that made all the difference.

Editor’s note: Butool Hisam is a medical student from Pakistan. She blogs at: http://nurturingfaith92.tumblr.com/ and http://labyrinthine916.blogspot.com/. She also writes for The Express Tribune Magazine (http://tribune.com.pk/author/4399/butool-hisam/) Her views are her own. A longer version of this article originally appeared in Alt Muslimah.

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