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Thursday, December 2, 2010

How I Met Your Father (A letter to my children in 3 parts)

Dear Shaila and Nico. I love you guys so much. You see me and your daddy together and we have some pretty amazing moments as a family.

Especially when it's not Sunday and your dad is not watching football.

Moving on . . .

One day I know you will ask about how your father and found each other and “collided” to then forge a life together.

So I wanted to explain a few things to you to understand what all of this really meant - and how you two beautiful (most of the time) beings have come into our lives.

Expectations . . .

Growing up as a second generation Indian-American, your Nana (My father) and your Nani (my mother) had great aspirations that I would follow the traditional path and custom of finding a nice boy through an arranged marriage. Of course, the boy would have to be smart, tall, preferably a Doctor or Engineer. Or just someone who had a job that sounded important. Looks would matter, but as long as he had all his teeth, I don't think your Nana and Nani would have cared too much.

I would then have my perfect little Indian family and I would learn great Indian recipes from my husband (The Doctor's) mother. The sound of the latest Indian movie or show would be blaring in the background as my little Indian children – my perfect little Indian children - danced and sang to Indian songs straight from Bollywood.

Of my own siblings, three out of four had arranged marriages. Your Mumma (mother's brother) in Florida is the only one who went against the grain and married outside of an arranged marriage and to a wonderful woman (your Beth Mammi) who is Irish American, full of her own rich traditions.

I am sure Indian mothers wept when my brother, a tall, handsome, Indian doctor, came off the market.

The Reality

I wasn't having it.

No sirree.

I loved my parents and loved my Indian heritage. But of my siblings, I was the only one born here. I grew up on Coke, episodes of “Three's Company” and lots and lots of MTV. I read romance novels and saw what true love could really get you.

I wanted to go to my prom. I wanted to get asked out on dates.

(This was problematic because no boys ever liked me in middle or high school).

But still! I knew that I wanted to choose my own life partner . . .

I think my parents were fairly certain they could break me of this. They tried several tactics/ Most of them involved yelling at me. Then it moved to quiet conversations about how I could “learn to love someone.” Then there were the statistics on Indian marriages and how few of them end in divorce.

Seriously?” I asked my father.

Of course, Beti (daughter). How many people do you know in our Indian community who are divorced?” Papa answered.

Can I ask you a question, Papa?” Rhetorical. You know I would anyway.


What is the average length of an Indian wedding ritual. You know. In India.”

Well, it could take a few days. Maybe 8 – 10 days. First, you have to . . . “

That's your answer.”

What answer?” my father asked.

Why Indian people don't get divorced. They would feel like jerks after making everyone spend 9 days of their lives to see it end in failure. Way more pressure than here. So what? You lose a day of your life."

"BIG Difference, Papa. BIG." I tried to sound like Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman" but that was lost on him.

Oh, Papa.

He didn't agree. But I am sticking to my point here.

So, see Shaila and Nico - there were a lot of things I was thinking about when I met your father, while your Nani and Nana were scheming (yes, scheming is the appropriate word) to figure out how to get someone to take their last kid off the market.

The next post is going to be about: How I Met Your Father, Part 2 - The Story I will tell you and you better believe. Like as in Santa Clause believe.

And then in Part 3, I will tell you everything. Since you can't read for a long time, I feel fairly secure in this. Plus I will not allow you on the internet till you are at least 16 anyway.

Love you with all my heart.



webb said...

Oddly, altho I agree with everything you were feeling and thinking, the one day versus nine day argument was really lame! High marks for creativity, tho.

Lemon Gloria said...

I love this! I don't know why I'm surprised that three of your siblings had arranged marriages, but I am. You know, in high school in Delhi I would read the ads in the paper, doctor or engineer looking for "homely" woman with "wheaten complexion"... :)

Colleen said...

haha that's great. I love this post.

Sara said...

You work on commission, right?

Big mistake. BIG. Huge.

I have to go shopping!

(Right there with you.)


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