This time I arrived so late in Sydney from Melbourne. We had been on a Christmas party and arrived in Sydney at 10.30. I did not book a taxi in advance since I did not expect any taxi queues at this time. Of course I still had to wait for 5 or 10 minutes, but it was not too bad. A big Toyota taxi rolled into my dock and I got into the taxi. Muhammed and I started talking about this and that and it turned out that he was a computer hardware engineeer.
"I used to work for a private company in Paramatta. They employed me when I was just graduated. But they did not pay me well"
"No? How much did you get?"
"Only 15 dollars an hour. He said that it would change and 2,5 years later I was still on 15 dollars per hour. That is when I quit"
Muhammed lives in Sydney since 7 years with his wife and his kid that is 18 months old. He was telling me about his family in Pakistan.
"I got a sister doing her MBA. My brother is studying computer science. I got another sister studying medical. "
"How many sisters and brothers do you have?"
"We are 11. 6 sisters and 5 brothers."
"Wow, that is amazing! Your mother must be very strong! How old is our youngest brothers and sisters?"
"The youngest brother is 12, my youngest sister is 18"
"Ah ok, so soon there will be no more kids in the house"
"Oh yes. There are 9 kids there now. You know, two of my sisters have 3 kids each, one of my sister have 2 kids and one of my brohters have 1 kid. Some of them are still living in the house."
"Wow! Soon there will be like 50 kids when all your brothers and sisters get kids."
"No no, only 12 kids now. Only 12."
"Do you not miss your family?"
"Yeah, you know, my parents have 13 bedrooms in the house to host all the family from time to time. Two of my sisters live nearby and come and stay the weekend. In the winters we all gather indoors around the well where we make the bread and we keep warm that way. It is in amazing feeling!
Here in Australia everybody live separate. If anything happens in the street in Pakistan everybody would know. Everybody will help. There is no difference between families, we are all one big family in Pakistan, everybody helps. It is not like that here. Everybody is separate. That is different. "
"Oh yes, it sure is"
And I was trying to picture myself in that image. 10 brothers and sisters. The parents never reaching the time when all kids have left the home, new grandkids replacing the own kids. Totally different way of living.
"So Mohammed, how many kids are you going to have?"
"2 or 3 maybe"
"No no no. It was different then. Now it is too expensive to have kids like that. And according to my religion it is not up to me to decide how many kids I get. It is up to God. "
"Ok, but you just told me you are going to have 2 to 3 kids?"
"Yes, you can plan. But I cannot decide. God decides. "
And we have reached our destination. I pay my bill and get out of the taxi
"Thank you Muhammed, have a great night"
"You too. Thank you, it was nice talking to you. "