Hajra Khan is a Pakistani girl who was born in America and raised in Canada, She is one of the finest bloggers that talk about real issues.She attested to the fact that there is a first generation dilemma for South Asian youths that are raised in the Western culture but constantly tossed into old cultural and traditional customs.We loved hajira’s #Askhaj section and invited her to join us for a Pakistanjournaltalk session.
Can you tell our readers about yourself and your blog?
A: I like to describe my blog as Lifestyle served with a side of Beauty and a dash of Abstract. I like to connect with an audience about various things ranging from food to travelling to societal issues and perspectives. I always wanted to speak about these issues but I also wanted to talk about more mainstream topics such as travelling or fashion. I decided to merge everything and literally `serve` it to an audience.
How do you manage time to run your blog efficiently along with studies?
A: This is so incredibly challenging. There are two components which help keep me grounded in running my blog but also giving time to my studies: discipline and balance. It is very important to remind ourselves that a certain amount of time can be allotted for blogging, content creation and social media. Once you`ve set that time then you need to strongly stick with it. It`s very easy to get wrapped up in writing a new blog post or replying to emails and messages on social media, I have to always stop myself midway when I know I`ve crossed the timer. With that being said, a balance is also a very important element of successfully blogging and getting good grades. There are days where I won’t have any time for blogging, but I know that when that period of heavy school work ends, I`ll be able to jump right back into creating content!
How often do you travel, Share some travelling wisdom with us?
In the last couple years, I`ve travelled quite a bit – over 10 cities in 7 different countries! A couple trips were for work but the majority of them were pure wanderlust! I find that travelling really increases a person’s level of patience and appreciation for life. When one travels, they are forced to be in an ambiguous situation. New city, new bedroom, new food, new everything. Sure, you may know where you are and have an itinerary, but every place you go to will be new and unknown. I find that this really helped me appreciate my lifestyle back home in Vancouver.
What do you want your viewers to take away from your work?
Anything. Whether it`s as small as a laughter from a comedic post or as grand as advice from my advice column or dairy section. My goal is to provide some kind of take way in anything I post.
# AskHaj: How is the response to that, what kind of questions do you mostly get?
The response to this has been very well. I mostly get emails and DM`s on Instagram requesting for private advice. Majority of the questions I get to deal with relationship issues that stem from marriage to parenthood to dating. I find it that most people often time just need that third party person to analyse their situation from a clean and neutral set of eyes to really derive a solution or at the very least alleviate the situation.
– She became a battle ground As they waged war on her skin All in the name of honour But who do you truly fight for Such a selfish conceited act She does not need you To fight for her So instead you beat And break her down To give yourself purpose To validate yourself as a man. Honour by @poeticsingh
Who has impacted you most in blogging and how?
Gosh, there are so many people that inspire me. I think I`ll give the first credit to my mother. She’s a resilient woman that always supports me in an endeavour, even ones which she does not totally agree with. She`s always taught me to think with an open mind and reflects nothing but good into the world.
What is your greatest achievement outside of blogging?
One of my biggest achievements outside of blogging is working on a recent event in which my team and I held a BeautyCon to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. We were able to raise over $1000 for Cancer research!
we are huge fans of your Instagram. do you have any tips or tricks for achieving an aesthetically awesome Instagram page? any social media tips?
Haha, that is very kind! Thank you! My biggest recommendation would be to stay consistent and not give up! It takes time to build an audience. Also, make good use of hashtags and engage with your audience in the comments!
How is it growing up as a Muslim in the west? Is Islamophobia real?
I have lived in North America my entire life. I’ve only been to Pakistan a handful of times but my parents did raise my siblings and me with heavy ties to our religion and culture. I think the most difficult part has been merging both my Western lifestyle with my Pakistani and Muslim background. There are a lot of things in both lifestyles that are complete polar opposites. It’s been hard balancing both since I love my roots and faith but also live in an environment where it’s not commonly practised. Therefore, when I wear my salwar suit in public or go to work and tell my colleagues that I am fasting for Ramadan, I kind of stick out like a sore thumb and become the median of a number of questions. Islamophobia is definitely real. In high school, I was ALWAYS called ‘terrorist’. For some reason, people just enjoyed making fun of me for my faith. It’s a lack of knowledge that fuels this stigma that Muslims are evil. Rather than seeing influential people like boxer Muhammad Ali or female activist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Malala Yousafzai as iconic Muslims; the West decides to focus on ISIS and the Taliban.
Can you name some of your favourite bloggers and explain why they are your favourites?
A few bloggers/influencers/content creators/creatives that really inspire me with their work are: Kainat Ali Khan from @dupattadiaries, Irene Sarah Khan and her husband Waseem Khan, Humai and Atif Ateeq from Happy Monday, Mejgan L. from @mejgan.writes, Madinah Noorai from @burqasandbeer, Maryam Shah from Thread and So (@maryamishah) and my supportive girls Kaval Sultana from @kaval.sultana and Badiya from @kajaldiaries. All of these creatives have their own style of expressing what they do or stand for. I admire them all for their individualism and originality.
How would you describe your personal style and is there a person who is a fashion inspiration to you?
I like to stand out from the crowd. Nevertheless, I do maintain a line between extraordinary and professional as I do like to represent myself in a good manner. I find that my style is mostly expressed through my makeup.
If you could offer any advice to 16-year-old self, what would it be?
Have patience. Life will ultimately allow you to make the decisions and accomplish the dreams that your heart so desires.
What do you miss the most about Pakistan?& when was the last time you visited Pakistan?
The last time I went to Pakistan was 11 years ago! Due to school and work, I haven’t had the time frame to go back but I really want to someday! I really miss the family environment. Our culture fosters hospitality very well which I love!
Do you think that a positive change can be achieved in Pakistan?
Yes. There’s a long way to go before we get to it and a lot of things about Pakistan would have to change but yes, I do think it’s possible.
What do you want more people to be discussing nowadays?
The oppression that women still face in a year like 2018. It occurs everywhere, not just in Pakistan and other 3rd world countries. It happens in the west as well and its brushed under the carpet in the name of honour, respect and other insane concepts.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
Travelling. To see as much of this beautiful world in this lifetime!
If you could raid one women closet whose would it be?
Definitely Saba Qamar’s! Haha, she can pull off anything!
Are there any lessons your work life has taught you?
Communication. You can never have too much of it. Day in and day out I am constantly reminded that the lack of communication or misinterpretation of a certain request or message can really hinder or cause problems for oneself and others around them.
Looking10 years into future where would you like to be?
Id like to be in a marketing career, have a master degree and have been able to make my parents happy. Id also like to be married but we will see what happens haha
If you know every woman in Pakistan is reading this, is there any advice you can share?
You owe no one anything. You are no one’s property. You are your own person. Wear what you want. Be what you want. Go where you want. We have to start doing and showing people that were independent to bring the much needed independent feminine change to Pakistan.
For all of the dreamers out there, the fresh-out-of-college future entrepreneurs, what advice would you give them?
Try what you aim for. You’re going to knock on 100 doors and 99 won’t even bother to check who it is. But one door will. It’ll open with welcoming arms. And once that door open, it’ll be a mansion inside. So just keep trying.