I am a woman and I can carry my own luggage, thank you

Published: January 15, 2014

"Madam, do you need a porter?" PHOTO: CREATIVE COMMONS

An airport can be a good starting point to begin learning about the culture of any country. Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Airport is much the same.

I was motivated to write about this seemingly trivial topic because of the sheer frustration that I felt on arriving at this airport. The experience left me wildly exasperated, and what I am about to give you is a microscopic account on the matter to make you understand my ordeal.

After a 12-hour flight from Canada, as I was making my way towards the baggage collection point, I saw a string of porters looking out for potential customers. One called out to me saying:

Madam, porter chahiye?

(Madam, do you need a porter?)

I declined the offer but to my amusement, a group of them formed a circle around me, asking the same question. It was not like I had declined the offer based on the porter’s appearance or approach, so I assumed it was pretty obvious that when I said ‘No’ to one, I would not let the others help me either.

I refused them all as politely as I could but as I walked on, I found to my dismay that mindless persistence was the norm among them and I continued to be hounded by one porter after another offering to take my luggage. I still maintained my cool and turned them down in as civil a manner as I could.

Waiting at the conveyor belt, I finally saw my two pieces rolled on to it. In anticipation, I stepped closer but as I did so, several gazes shifted to me. I ignored the discomfort I was experiencing and went on to lift the first piece with a normal amount of effort.

In the wake of my apparently ‘daring’ accomplishment, several porters stepped closer to me.

I felt as if I was on camera and every movement of mine was under scrutiny.

The inquisitive gazes continued as I hauled my second piece off the conveyor belt as well. Then, one of them broke the silence with yet another request to carry my luggage. I was beginning to feel harassed now and told him to go away in an agitated tone.

I noticed that his face had lost all colour as he walked away. He knew that other people had also noticed my irritation towards him and his colleagues and apparently, women are not allowed to get angry, no matter how pushy anyone is.

As I turned around to exit with my luggage, I heard them talking about me to each other and their comments were loud enough to be heard. In not so kind words, they had concluded that I was a snob.

This was my welcome to Lahore.

And this was not the first time that I have had to go through this anguish. Every time I land at Lahore airport, the same tense atmosphere prevails. I know that hiring a porter would probably save me all this undue stress but I wonder what the real problem at hand is and what its solutions (if any) might be.

To me, this senseless affair seems to be a deep-rooted cultural bias towards women’s independence. In a foreign country, you would approach a porter if you needed assistance, just like if you needed to buy milk or eggs you would go to the grocery store.

But here, this is definitely not acceptable.

I would have attributed a desperate financial condition to such behaviour had the men travelling with me experienced a similar pursuit. However, this had not been the case and it clearly had to do with me being a woman, and the conviction that I must need help in the absence of a man by my side.

I understand that many women would not want to pick up heavy baggage and I might do the same at times, but it is certainly not something set in stone. I believe that most Pakistani women do not travel alone and many use porters, which possibly reinforces the belief that women cannot be independent.

Moreover, these porters are not the only ones in our society who are devoid of exposure to an open-minded culture. Even when women go to over-crowded market places, they have to watch out for themselves. And then, of course, there are places where you would simply not go as a woman, without a man.

I find it sad that women are often not encouraged to work, pursue their dreams, or walk in public alone, even among the more educated class in Pakistan.

Although the displeasure for women’s independence is frowned upon at all levels of society, its evidence can be traced in even trivial instances such as the described baggage chase at the airport. It is such subtleties of daily life that can speak volumes about prejudices held against women in our society.

Although I wish for an immediate change in perception among our people, on a realistic front, it is not likely to take place anytime soon since the beliefs and convictions are so deep-rooted.

And so, my welcome at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Airport only serves as an unpleasant reminder of the harsh realities of women’s lives in Pakistan.

Sanam Malik

Sanam Malik

A graduate from the University of Toronto and a freelance writer, she tweets as @SanouDoll (twitter.com/SanouDoll)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Maxwell

    And then you complain when men do not hold doors for women.Recommend

  • Rathore

    The author’s causal connection of porter’s chasing a passenger for hire to the infringment of women’s rights in Pakistan is absurd at best. The underlying assumption that men are not chased by porters is incorrect as I have had to stave off porters myself being a man…so much so that there are porters who manage to pick your baggage before you are able to tell them off. This is a case of unsolicited services (just like forced windsheild cleaning at traffic stops) and not a case of incorrect perception of women’s ability to pick their luggage. The article actually reveals the author’s tendency to detect women’s rights infringment even when there is none!Recommend

  • Javeria

    you are being extremistRecommend

  • Sheema Khan

    How lame! :/Recommend

  • Waleed

    let me share one of my experiences while i was departing from Lahore..A woman in the queue was yelling what a country… nobody steps forward to help a woman to put the luggae on the conveyor belt. so the point is women are always complaining!!! Secondly, the porters might have bugged you which i agree should not have been the case, but by the end of the day they make a living out of this.Recommend

  • Kamala

    Wow..so much to complain. First this has nothing to do with gender. You would buy designer clothes and bags but you are not ready to pay some bucks to a porter in your country of birth.Recommend

  • Batool

    I faced very similar circumstances when I arrived at Allama Iqbal Airport, also from Canada. As my connecting flight was from Dubai, most of the passengers on the plane with me were those who had come from Umrah. It was a very different crowd than what I was accustomed to.I felt very out of place in jeans and a tee-shirt. These were people from the working class who had worked very hard to save up money to go visit the Kaaba. For many this was also the first time on a plane, and could not fathom how I, a young woman could be travelling so far from home on my own. At the Airport the authorities also seemed to have trouble categorizing me , and would switch me from the “foreigner” to the ‘Women” line over and over. It just did not make sense to them that I could be both a women and a foreigner.Recommend

  • Gurl Power

    Next time whey u change a flat tyre don’t forget to tell us all about it.Recommend

  • Hmm …

    I agree with your point of view-can add that you being a pretty lady,must’ve added to their motivation to pursue you in the guise of offering their services.Recommend

  • Iftikhar Ali


  • ovais

    Yes i agree with you but then i always help and pick up a females luggage every time at the airport and that is having manners. Recommend

  • Abdul

    But why pious Pakistanis go to Dubai after Umrah? Recommend

  • Nadia

    I have been travelling for years, mostly for work and almost always carry my own luggage and no one ever bothered me … porters do ask if I need one but once I refuse no one bothers … May be its pretty women they treat this way because i have had no issuesRecommend

  • Salman

    Sorry to bust your bubble but this has nothing to do with you being a woman.Recommend

  • Saad

    Grow a brain lady. Pakistani labourers are persistent but they’re only trying to earn a decent day’s wage. They are equally as persistent with men. Don’t make a feminist drama out of it. You emerged from the international Arrivals lounge and the porters are smart enough to assume that 1) You’re loaded and probably generous and 2) that you have little or no idea of the prices in Pakistan so they’d get a more than decent tip for their effort.
    I am sad I read through so much nonsense.Recommend

  • Amused

    Quite an idiotic, overly exaggerated piece. Sorry.Recommend

  • Me

    Oh please, those porters hound everyone not just women. I was with my family at the airport and the porters where constantly persisting my father to let them carry our bags. Can’t believe a blog has been made on such a non issue.Recommend

  • MHZ

    I am a luggage bag and I find this offensive and sexist..
    Why are porters not allowed to carry me just because I was this woman’s luggage?
    Stop discrimination against Luggage bags.Recommend

  • ahmed

    man connecting flightsRecommend

  • Ahmed

    Why is ET blog so full of first world problems lately?Recommend

  • Chauvinist

    What a timely
    article. I was thinking to write about how modern Pakistani women have learnt
    the art of twisting facts just to get what they want or just to get attention
    or may be just to pass a judgment. I am not accusing the author alone here but
    this is how Educated and westernized Pakistani women have largely evolved in
    to. If their men do not allow them to work they accuse them of ”killing their
    dreams” . But unfortunately if an open minded man thinks that his wife/sister
    should work, Suddenly the woman realizes may be his husband/brother is not man
    enough to support her financially. Perhaps they just needed to be left alone.
    And when that is done it backfires as
    well, because they feel ignored.

    Open your mind a
    little bit because condition of educated women has changed but their sensitive
    and biased mind set of a repressed weak creature persists. Give space lady you
    are eating the air of those Women who are
    actually repressed and are really under the scrutiny of male dominated families

  • tariq

    This has nothing to do with women. Men face the same situation at Airports & Bus terminals specially in Lahore (Airport, Daewoo Terminal & Railway station). Please don’t stereotype.Recommend

  • Faheem Z. Choudhry

    it is sad and quite rude/annoying and intimidating at times, porter need to be trained, and they do same with males i had to literally rudely stave off them, but in their defence all they are trying to do is make some money for their family (Includes wife and daughters).Recommend

  • Faheem Z. Choudhry

    in most cases connecting flight to jeddah are cheaperRecommend

  • Fraz Naqvi

    Dear Miss Malik! I guess the particular incident you have narrated has nothing to do with you being a Woman….. Its the psyche of Porters, waiters, hawkers etc (may b due to poverty). When you go to a market with some eating places around, you’l see a bunch of kids Forcing you to buy something from their shop. H Block Market is an example if u happen to visit it..The same attitude is witnessed by Each and every one of us whether male or female… Dat is my personal view as i’ve gone through the situation many times.. Ya dats another part that sometimes your fellow travelers or males around you won’t let u pick up the luggage etc.. Its out of courtesy and respect for women (keeping the pervert looks and touchy feely efforts aside :P )Recommend

  • SR

    handled my luggage at karachi airport by myself lots of times, never had a problem or gotten a second lookRecommend

  • -SHAGY-

    First World Problems!
    Here are my two cents:
    1. Porters have to make a living so with a female passenger arriving from abroad they assume that they will get to make a few bucks therefore everyone followed you. They do the same in Islamabad airport and follow you even till your car and if nothing else try to pick your luggage up and put it in your car for you…and has happened to all my relatives and myself arriving from international flights; male or females.
    2. Just because you are a woman and that is why you think they were harassing you…you should consider yourself lucky that in Pakistan men still step forward to assist a women, whether its picking their luggage, vacating a seat for them, changing a tire for them etc. I actually miss that kind of treatment when I am abroad…so learn to appreciate a few good things that are still left in our society and culture.Recommend

  • Nasir

    ET ! there are problems more serious than the one mentioned here. Actually this ‘problem’ is not worth mentioning in a newspaper…. I have traveled a lot in and out of Pakistan and observe this, AND i have just accepted this behavior…Recommend

  • http://www.infopakistan.pk/ Khurram ShahzAd

    You judged them and you judged them wrong. It have nothing to do with so called “women’s freedom to carry their luggage” or women’s rights, its just they thought you as their potential client for services they were providing. Plus besides whatever you say they would have had the past trends and culture in their mind. Trends they had in their mind, more women are tend to hire a porter. It have nothing to do with “woman should not carry the luggage”.
    This story is too much far fetched and have less to do with the reality.Recommend

  • Waqar Qureshi

    haha NadiaRecommend

  • Waqar Qureshi

    I wonder who taught the porters of Pakistan the word “snob” lolRecommend

  • A.Ali

    I remember landing at islamabad airport, i met my family outside, there was a guy pretending to be a porter in plain cloths and no matter how much i refused to let him take my luggage he took it and walked with us to the car. Being so annoyed i didn’t give him a dime. you are lucky they didn’t try to take it forcefully. LOLRecommend

  • Omer Khan

    I think the porter pushing to get luggage is not just for women. I have experienced the same in Islamabad as well, with some not even asking but reaching for the luggage to pick up!Recommend

  • Ali Ali

    they are poor and need as many jobs as they can get in a day to make a living for their family.Recommend

  • Wateva

    Are you for real? You had a small (accordingly to you unpleasant) experience of sorts at a Pakistani airport and decided to write an entire dramatic article about it? Lady we are battling some real issues here in Pakistan (terrorism, poverty, crime, corruption etc) and your princessy rant about fending off porters does not help. Those porters didn’t surround you out of a sense of patriarchal domination, they did that because they are desperate to earn a few extra bucks to ensure they have enough to feed their family at the end of the day. Get a reality check while you’re living in Lahore.
    P.S. I am a girl, living abroad who frequently travels to Pakistan Recommend

  • yumna

    oh get over yourself and learn to be a little thankful!!!!Recommend

  • safdar UK

    hay Sanam i reckon u got to do more research on it. this time ur appear to be wrong in suggesting that porter chased only women in offering their services at the airport. there is no denying the fact and i m kinda agree with u that this happens only at Pakistan airports, in developed world like Canada, where folks do on their their own on the airports and household work, this is not what u expect to observe. so that u r right, coming to the women freedom, i reckon u appear to be bit wrong, they chase all those who appear to be “potential customer”, they can equally offer their services to men as it happened to be many a times on karachi/lahore/islamabad airports. so plz do not judge(judging is considered bad in developed societies which u mentioned living in) on the basis of just one incident. thanksRecommend

  • Shail Arora

    At least you were able to collect your luggage from the conveyor belt without any adventure, unfortunately, it’s actually a nuisance in Indian airports, regardless of the fact whether you are a male or a female. There are no porters though.Recommend

  • bridgeseller

    Leave it to the feminist to turn the porters’ quest for a living into a gender issues fluff-piece. Congrats on proving the stereotype true.Recommend

  • AZKhawaja

    There have been many ridiculous and asinine blogposts on ET, but this one surely takes the cake. Recommend

  • Lolaturarticle

    This is quite possibly the dumbest thing I’ve read. People are merely trying to make a living, your rights aren’t being infringed, people are trying to feed their families. You’re a little too first world to understand the struggles of normal Pakistani people. Please try to understand your surroundings. Recommend

  • Sami Ullaah

    I think the problem lies in you replying politely to them. This is not the way of the Azwaaj-e-Mutahiraat. ( Mothers of believers )

    Had you adopted the approach mentioned such, you would’nt have had this problem. I hope you read this comment and try this the next time you come to lahore :)Recommend

  • Salman

    A close friend of mine recently lost his girlfriend because he said to her “we are dating so much should we start sharing the cost of money spent on dates” she said “what an idiot, I thought you were a gentleman”
    I wish more women can think like you. Recommend

  • zeta

    Pointless blog by some elitist.Recommend

  • Yousaf Haque

    @Author::You can easily make a best seller.You know the art of creating a mountain out of a molehill.Good luckRecommend

  • zeta

    Author, Sorry to break it to you. You actually sound like a snob to me. You linking women’s rights in Pakistan to bunch of porters wanting you to hire them is astoundingly ridiculous.Recommend

  • Malix

    non issue, got so many comments. I wonder what else a pretty face can do………Recommend

  • Ali D

    Sanam Malik ..this has nothing to do with you being a woman …the porters are trying to make some money. They approach men as well ..Recommend

  • Atiq

    Ms. Malik, have you ever heard “when in Rome, do as Romans do”? As I understood, you are a graduate of UoT but don’t forget culture of your ancestors. Respect & value it.Recommend

  • Amir

    Sanam: You have a valid point here. I Agree. This happens to us too but nothing like what you’ve mentioned. Pakistani Society is a male dominated society and women are not only vulnerable but they harassed everywhere And airports are no exception.Recommend

  • Hammad

    Oh please lady, stop trying to be Canadian? Just sick and tied of you wannnabees!Recommend

  • kublai

    Heh Heh Heh Heh,.. NadiaRecommend

  • Parvez

    There will be many a time that you will encounter SMALL incidents like this………..the smart thing is to recognise and treat them as SMALL incidents.Recommend

  • Haan Sona

    The writing is not only insightful into the experiences of women in public situations, but the comments cement the obtuseness of the men commenting regarding issues that face women.Recommend

  • kublai

    No, the author has the right to express her opinion.
    Regardless of how convoluted it is. It is her perspective.
    In the not too distance past, I have seen women working at
    construction sites doing their allocated jobs Out in the fields,
    planting, harvesting etc. She is entitled to express her views.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    I don’t know why everyone is being so harsh. I can see your point of view. It is uncomfortable to say the least to be hassled by anyone trying to force their services on you regardless of their reason.Recommend

  • Zazu

    This is what I witnessed at Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore.

  • Khawar

    I am not a woman (nor do I like one) and I experience the same “harassment” each time when I visit Pakistan from Canada. It has less to do with your gender and more to do with the stereotype that you carried with you.Recommend

  • Khawar

    Nailed it.Recommend

  • THE

    This shows the mentality of our “upper class people”. I have lived in and visited a lot of countries before I moved to Australia and I was really disappointed that they don’t have porters here at the airports. I was pushing two trolleys with kids in hand after almost 18 hours of travel and it wasn’t a good experience. But Miss Malik was so bothered when people were asking to help her that she wanted to write a blog about it. I agree that laborers in Pakistan can be persistent but that’s just because they also want to make a living and feed their families which includes wife, daughters and mother.Recommend

  • imad khan

    It’s like you threw up this article, because you couldn’t find anyone to complain to.Recommend

  • Omar Qadir

    @ Sanam Malik….I agree with your experience, and I totally understand what you wanted to convey as message. Now I have also read many comments down here by people who are able to read English paper through the lines, but unfortunately unable to eat it.

    Please, keep on writing as you are motivation to change this society.Recommend

  • Wasim Abbasi

    It has northing to do with gender. Porters at Lahore airport are quite pushy to men and women. They are more polite to women than men..Sorry , no substance in this blog. She does not know Lahore culture..Recommend

  • Fahmida

    I’m from London and I experienced this just last year. I travelled by myself to Pakistan because of exams later than my family & that mentality hits you straight away. I had no issue with porters, I have the issue with the staring eyes and me by myself pushing the trolley is quite a sight apparently. I even wore shalwar kameez and a scarf on my head to avoid being recognised as a foreigner by others. Another woman with a tiny baby was alone from Canada; she wore western clothes and had her baby tied on to her front, quite to the attention of speculators. And this man, catching sight of her neck, couldn’t stop staring and as a result hit himself against the wall. Yeah, I was observing a lot and it made me sick. Anyways, during the trip, visited Haripur (where I’m from) and Islamabad with my family where all women wear hijabs and my aunts all wear burkhas and niqab and my cousin kept saying I was being “over”, how was I being over? Because I didn’t mind walking down the shop to see all the clothes or walking by myself to take a photo of the beautiful sights or speaking loudly. I was shocked. And even with hijab on, people will stare and sadly I was a victim of sexual harassment from grabbing to remarks. Overall, I didn’t really like my time there and next time if I do come (which I want to for charity work only In Sh’ Allah) I will wear the Afghan burkha, although I won’t be accepted as a woman anyway and be considered low and second class and some sexual item, they won’t be able to see me and I feel this is the only way to not get stared at. But I totally understand where youre coming from and the comments that are telling you that YOU are wrong are coming from men AND they don’t experience it for obvious reasons.Recommend

  • Syme

    Porters hound everyone at Lahore airport. It has nothing to do with sex or “machoness”.Next time please observe closely and see how they chase everyone.What an irony, at departure people hire their “services” to get through all the barriers and checks quickly.
    If you happen to visit the toilet or canteen at airport, that’s yet another story. I am not complaining rather I am feeling homesick :)Recommend

  • Nasir

    All I’m going to say Sanam, I didn’t even realize that you’ll get such harsh comments! I only read first 7 and I have no heart to read more in total of 28 comment!

    I guess the writer will not share her ordeal with you jerks!! Give our lady a break! You anti-American, Anti-Canadian and Green Card wishers!! LOLRecommend

  • Necromancer

    This bog is hilarious you have quit some imagination……..Recommend

  • jin

    and yet another pakistani born and raised girl who went abroad for a brief period and returns home with a complete makeover of a ‘ now that I have a foreign stamp, lets bash Pakistan for all the petty issues I can find, and discover new issues along the way!” attitude. First of all, was your return home was simply to write an anti-pakistan hate spreading blog or was it because of truly love your city? Because if it was the latter, u wouldnt be representing Pakistan like this by write a hate mongering blog on an international website . Every country has its fair share of probelms. Im a guy, whenever i walk into a gali ka mahola, 20 muhalley wali aurteyn yell at me, but u dont see men complaining. stop being a pessimist and making imaginary issues out of thin air. People in this world live in far worst conditions and all u have to complain about is how a group of men who offered u to help gave u a big amount of stressed. Pakistan is actually really been given a bad name thanks to these hate mongering blogs from liberals like yourself.Recommend

  • jin

    these r the kind of pakistani women who once settled abroad will happily pay hefty tips at restaurants/ salons because its all humanity and conforming to the Canadian values and being part of society, equality and the law BUTwhen it comes to their own countrymen, they cant stand to look at them in the eye. #SHAME!Recommend

  • First World Problems

    stop grovelling up this chick just because shes pretty. She shouldn’t visit a third world country if she and the likes of you are ‘uncomfortable’ of the hassling they face from people trying to ‘force their services’
    What else is she going to complain about? beggars? poverty? hawkers and thela wallas? the shop keepers who keep pleading to you to enter their shops for a bargain? The yelling and pleading and so called hassling is the norm in not just Pakistan but India China etc. It’s how selling is done in this part of the world. She shouldn’t come here if that makes her ‘uncomfortable’
    I used to think you were alot more grounded than that Noman!Recommend

  • Wateva

    Wrong. I am an expat woman living abroad and Im completely embarassed by the article. Sure I have been harassed by porters at the airport (prefer to carry my luggage) but I dont show as much contempt and make such condescending remarks as the author has in her article. I just ignore these guys and they go over to harass the next passenger behind me. If anything it makes me sad that people in my country have to resort to such desperation to beg and hassle you for services (which are mere 100 or 200 hundred rupees) while where I come from people dont blink twice before spending 1000s of dollars on frivolous things.
    In a desperate country, with desperate poverty, no wonder people act so desperately. If you cant show any empathy then atleast keep quiet and not sew Marie Antoinette type non-sense.Recommend

  • Muhammad Ali

    So many negative comments, the male chauvinistic and oppressive nature is to be blamed.
    The lady wants to be a man, but can’t take the words of some common porters, good luck with her.Recommend

  • Lahore Guy

    Ms. Sanam, I hope when you did all this baggage collecting thing, you knew how to dress up in Pakistan NOT to gain attraction and attention instead of Just pointing Fingers on the Norms here! I hope you were Intelligent Enough to do some Homework on it before arriving. Just a Thought Ms. Sanam. No Offence!Recommend

  • Razzy

    C’mon maam this is to be expected in a third world country be it India or Pakistan. These are poor folks and they are only trying their best to earn an honest living. Recommend

  • Maryam

    this has nothing to you being a women. Plus I think the porters are never going to read your blog , if you has an issue you should have tried to tell them all of this then and there.
    I think there wasn’t any need of this blog to say the very least.
    Also if someone at the airport helps me with luggage (fellow passengers) I thank them nicely and move on. and if nobody does I do my job myself…Recommend

  • Asad Khan

    Honey, nobody is saying/suggesting that she is no entitled to or should not express her views.

    The women that you saw working…they blog less and work more.


  • #hatearrogance

    Yes gender issues are one of our problems but this is ridiculous… … how could you possibly be so mean to the porters who are just trying to make a living…. which is pretty tough in this country….. women are their majority customers…. dont blame them…. and dont point fingers at the poor people of my country…..Recommend

  • UOFT Graduate

    liberal women, think that just becuase they went to a university they can speak their mind about anything. Recommend

  • Ali S

    You’re overthinking it. It has nothing to do with the fact that they think women can’t be independent. They were just trying to make some dollars off a young Canadian lady. It’s common even here in Karachi – especially if you’re coming from the West. Even if you give them 100 rupees they’ll say “bibi kam se kam 5 dollar to de dain”Recommend

  • saad

    Why don’t women understand that they are not as physically strong as men? If they have problem with that, fight with the nature!Recommend

  • MyraM93

    I totally agree with you! Everytime i return to Pakistan, i’m usually alone, and yet i never ask for a porter. Its just one measly bag you know. You just need to pick it up and put it in a trolley! Besides…most of the porters really creep me out.

    And honestly, just ignore everyone who’s hating on your blog here in the comments or on Facebook. You’re expressing your opinion- there’s nothing AT ALL wrong with that. They don’t need to read it and agree with it if they don’t want to!Recommend

  • Anwaar

    and our blogs entries are rejected on the basis that they are not up to the standard or does not fit in their categories … :P ….
    please let this comment through :PRecommend

  • golden horde

    This has noting to do with you being a woman and all to do with you being a primadona.

  • amoghavarsha.ii

    have u checked how journalists,media crew behave, when any public figure says no comments politely?
    do u see any comparison?Recommend

  • Nobody

    What does that have to do with anything? I don’t think the author, or any rational woman ever argues that fact. That’s not what this is about.

    That being said, @author, this blog is quite over the top. I avoid saying the following statement because I feel Pakistanis say this too much as it is, but this is a perfect example of making a mountain out of a molehill.

    I’m often bombarded by porters at Allama Iqbal Int’l, but instead of getting offended, I accept the help, which by that point in my 18 hour journey is welcome as I’m pooped. I also get the satisfaction of paying a wage well earned to a man who probably needs it. Doesn’t mean I CAN’T handle my own luggage, just means I appreciate the chance of not having to when I can take it. No shame in that.
    Note: Porters are not as easy to come by in a lot of American airports. You have to go looking for them, something I’ve done only twice in my life.
    Khair, you’re entitled to express your opinion and hope you’re thick skinned enough to deal with the comments dished out by some people.

    Cheers. Recommend

  • Parvez

    In Nomans defence, though he does not need it ,lets say……chivalry is not dead.Recommend

  • Riz

    No porter will ever read your complaint on this Blog,
    write in some tabloid newspaperRecommend

  • AR

    You could help a woman and be snubbed for it or you could stand back and watch and still be snubbed for it… aa women! So difficult to handle!Recommend

  • S M Shah

    Really? Poor Porters offer their help and you conclude that, that is a reminder of the ‘harsh realities of women’s lives’? You must really hate the Fakirs, the beggers, and the hawkers and the salesman saying ‘baji kiya dikhaun’…Recommend

  • 2 + 2

    ET only loves publishing idiots. Theres a strategy here, the more outrageously dumb a blog, the more people will flock to comment, the moreclicks and ad revenue ET gets.
    Its all business my friend. no quality to see here.Recommend

  • Dictionary

    the definition of chivalry does not mean to cater to primma donna rants and defend condescending comments.Recommend

  • anon

    only when it comes to money you guys would say that. would you be happy to equally share household chores (cleaning, vacuuming, laundry, kids etc),Recommend

  • anon

    often its the social issues advocates/activists who write the most idiotic pieces on ET. No wonder I have stopped taking such types seriously, on twitter and in real life1Recommend

  • Tanzeel Ahmad

    You rocked man : )Recommend

  • sim

    it would have been much betterm if author has accentuated on the plight of Lahore airport… Only 4 convayour belts in an airport for one of the major cities of pakistan, which can’t handle more than 1 flight at a time….. Well as far as womens’ independence is considered, topic has been exaggrated. To some extent, I concur but it would have been awesome to point out that Pakistan airport staff needs to be changed and there should be check and balance on them, but its a humble request, that if you have wisdom and gift to explain your pridament in such a manner, so please use your power to delineate strategy and tactics to eradicate such problems…Recommend

  • xjumani

    Porters chasing the author does not in anyway explain “can speak volumes about prejudices held against women in our society” – is the author really serious? Talk about exaggerationRecommend

  • Azam Gill

    Offering to carry a lady’s luggage means she’s being treated as one, not as weak and helpless. When I hold the door open for a lady, or let her precede me, I am not condescending to the handicapped!

    If the lady has a hangup about it, it’ll rub her the wrong way, but she will, somewhere down the line, miss being treated with courtesy.

    Discourteous men have already taken the first step towards molestation.

    At the end of the day, porters in Pakistan are only trying to make a buck.

    It’s the men who didn’t offer to help you with your three shocking pink suitcases you should be complaining about – but then the ethos of your piece would have been a complaint about being chatted up!Recommend

  • DorothyP

    How widely has this person traveled? Nearly every country that’s not the US, the EU or Canada has people trying to make some money by carrying bags, getting a taxi or anything else at airports, train stations, etc.. She seems very provincial. Recommend

  • abubakar

    Another article by another foreign writer who thinks just a glimpse of behavior of porters at airport is a reflection of women’s conditions in our country. Porters chase everyone it doesn’t matter whether you’re a male or female, they have to earn money and these are just ways to market themselves, where you came from people genearrly aren’t that desperate about where their next meal will come from , that’s all . I admit that condition of women in pakistan is not as good but I am sure as hell that it ain’t that bad either.Recommend

  • Shah

    Excellent comment you summarized the whole story…Very time I travel the same things happen…Nothing to do tht u r a women and you are not free etc…
    Woman rights are definitely an issue in Pakistan but this was the worst article on it!!!!Recommend