Voice of America, February 20, 2014

Story of Pakistan: Finding Love by Ayesha Gilani

Greetings viewers and welcome to Kahani Pakistani’s brand new episode! I am your host Ayesha Gillani. In the previous episode, I spent Valentine’s Day with you and we visited the chocolate lover’s festival. But today, I have a story to tell you that’s very interesting.
Why is it interesting? Because it is about you!

On my Kahani Pakistani Facebook fan page I shared my views with you (my viewers) about Valentine’s Day. Many viewers told me that they don’t like Valentine’s Day because it represents romantic love.

From the start of time people have been searching for their soulmates, their significant other, their future husband or wife. Actually Eve was created from the ribcage of Adam, so we literally are searching for our other half.

Valentine’s Day celebrates this quest for eternal love. But love is not just limited to romantic love. It encompasses that love which we have for everybody in our life, the people that we like.

So in the previous episode you saw those little, lovely kids making Valentine’s card for their fathers, mothers, grandpas and grandmas. Just like on every Valentine’s Day my valentine is my dear mother, my nieces, my sister and my best friend Faiza. However, many viewers said that we should show love, appreciation and respect on a daily basis, to which I responded that it is right. But in life’s routine we sometimes forget what to do. We are humans after all.

So I thought, due to your comments, why not spare a day to show the people how much I love them on a regular day? Today is neither Valentine’s Day nor Mother’s or Father’s Day. So my viewers are inspiring me everyday. This episode is dedicated to those viewers who take out their time to make comments on my Facebook fanpage. I love you guys and thank you.

In the previous episode, I spent the entire day at the chocolate lover’s festival. However, there was so much that I couldn’t fit into one episode. So in today’s show I will share those stories with you that I couldn’t share in the previous episode, and more about the quest for eternal love.

Love, affection, infatuation. Sounds like an Indian movie title, doesn’t it? But that all comes later. The first step is to meet someone and understand them. There is a trend in America nowadays that is helping this process and it’s called speed dating.

I went to an event where I could share this phenomenon, but when I went there something really unexpected happened. There, the whole concept is to avoid rejection, but when I went there I was the one facing rejection. Why? Because whenever I asked someone for an interview on camera, everyone said “No”! and I felt very sad. Just kidding!

Let me introduce to you the president of Professionals in the City, Michael Karlan. Thank you so much for having us today.

Michael- Thank you for coming!

My pleasure. So tell me, what is Pros in the City?

Michael- Pros in the City is a group that provides the opportunity for people to interact with others in a social setting.

Now tell me about the event going on tonight? What is happening behind us?

Michael- This is our speed dating event. In this event every man talks to every woman for four minutes. This way, every man meets every woman.

What’s the success rate for these type of events?

Michael- We have had many people get married through these events. What happens is that 20 men and 20 women are present here, and as a result of all these people meeting, there are a lot of follow-up dates.

What do you think compels people to try this version of dating? Because it’s a growing trend. More and more people are doing speed dating.

Michael- The problem with online dating is that you cannot completely get to know an individual, as you see them only on paper. When you come here and meet someone then you can quickly tell if you like them. You speak here for 4 minutes and you can then interact after that through email.

Do you have any advice to give to people who are looking for their soulmate?

Michael- One is just getting out there. If you don’t like something you can simply leave, but you should try by getting out. Another thing is to experiment and try different strategies. For example, if people talk about different topics and talk about their feelings, they can better develop a connection with each other. But you know this only by trying different things.

What is love to you?

Michael-This is a difficult question. I believe attraction and respect is the basis of a healthy relationship. I think if you are really looking for something serious, then you need someone with who you share a connection. Most people don’t want to be alone. But they also want to a have a relationship with someone they can truly be happy with. Therefore, it is important to keep on meeting people until you find someone you truly like, rather than simply to find somebody so you are not alone.

I found a Desi. She speaks Bengali but we’re all brothers and sisters any way. This is Shapna. Shapna, tell me about why you’re here today.

Shapna- People who live in Washington DC are so busy in making their family, education and lifestyle better that they don’t have time.

How many events have you done with Pros in the City? Is this your first Speed Dating event?

Shapna- I’ve been here many times.They have a wonderful function on New Year’s Eve, and I did comedy in that.

Can I put you on the spot for a second? Tell me a joke.

Shapna- I don’t tell a jokes, rather I talked about my family, about love, and I talked about how I am searching for love in different places and my mother scolds me like I am a child.

What are you looking for in a life partner?

Shapna- I am just a simple Bangladeshi girl looking for love in a big city. I am looking for a person who likes the culture of his motherland, who likes to make a family and he should understand the lifestyle of DC.

Do you have plans for Valentine’s Day?

Shapna- Well, I am here so I am hopeful something will work out.

Well I’m sure whoever you end up with will be a very lucky man and good luck on your quest to find love.

And now let me introduce you to Claudio. Claudio, how did this go I saw you going around the room doing a little bit of speed dating. Tell me about your experience.

Claudio- This is all very good. I met many good people. It was quite intense in the start and tiring, too, but it got fine later. I liked it.

Do you know a lot of people who have done speed dating? What were their experiences like?

Claudio- They had great experiences. One of my friends got married this way.

That’s nice. How long have you been trying speed dating? Is this your first event?

Claudio- I am here for the first time. I was asked by a friend to come here.

What is it that you’re looking for?

Claudio- Someone who is light hearted and likes fun. Someone who smiles a lot and is dedicated, who looks like a happy person.

Do you think you’ll have Valentine’s Day plans with any of these women?

Claudio- I really want to do that.