The next morning I wake up and find this email from my cousin:
A few days ago, Kehar Singh (Post 4) and I had a long conversation on why I ask about your dating scene and that I should back off this subject for a while. I am CCing him because this topic is shut with me for any further discussion and you need space from me.
Without getting too philosophical and saying that I understand what you are going through - I am emailing my point of view.
By sharing a regular Indian woman's point of view I am only trying to make you see the other world. You are an American but Indian and all Indian women are very very giving. We have had no other options so far. Check your mum’s and my marriage. But if I don’t push you - no one else cares enough to do so or is either scared of you or intimidated by you. No one says the truth to you on your face. But I have the guts to say it.
You are a smart and a strong woman- hang in there - I will take a back seat for a while. Wish you luck and fulfillment of your dreams.
The words are blurry. I don’t know when I started crying. All I know is I can’t stop. What if I don’t want to sacrifice myself to a man just be to a Mrs. I am educated, attractive, and funny. Am I not a catch? Should I not expect to find a man deserving of me? With my own eyes I have born witness to what wise women have endured under the umbrella of desi marriage. And I don’t want to be like my cousin or mom. Their lives are not enough for me.
Between crying and gasping for air, my lungs and ribs begin to hurt. Shit man there are a billion Indians, we invented arranged marriage and the Kama Sutra so why is this hard for me? Dear Durga, what if I am the problem? Is there something repulsive about me that I just don’t know? Am I too picky? What if I already met “the one” and didn’t recognize him? Will he come back? Or did he marry some else already? When did I become so insecure?
I re-read the email and again start sobbing at how final her words sound. Our bond is unbreakable. She knows my secrets and I know hers. And yes, I do, I really do, want her to be honest with me. But how from Minneapolis to Manhattan can she fault every action I advance? And how exactly does she think we can just stop speaking? We’re family.
It is like asking me to cut off my gangrene-infected arm. At the end of the day, it is still my arm.