A few minutes later my cousin joins us. “I told Neeta to make chai. So tell me, what nonsense did he say to you all in the car?” Doesn’t she worry that her cleaning woman will overhear and know that they have marital issues. Or worse, what if Neeta tells the husband? My devotion to conspiracy theories makes me suspicious and unable to trust. This is why I could never live in India. I am not shrewd enough. There are too many people paying too much attention, to too many things.
“Not much. He makes mostly nice with us,” I reply. Mom shakes her head and sits back into the couch and her feet don’t’ touch the floor. “He told me I made the issues worse and now his parents are uncomfortable around me,” my cousin says sadly. “Doesn’t he take your side at all? I mean you are the mother of his child,” I argue. She shrugs and says, “He says he loves his daughter and says she belongs to his family and I am not really part of that family. She is his but I am not,” my cousin explains. “So where did the little girl come from if not from you?” I ask. His parents sound like they have village mentality.
Two hours later my cousin calls her husband and daughter in for lunch. They appear immediately, smelling like the wind. My cousin, her husband and Mom talk in Hindi and I nibble on my third meal today, and it’s only 1 pm. “Didi, have more,” my cousin insists. Didi is the Hindi word for sister. Generally younger siblings don’t take their elder siblings names, it is considered disrespectful. My brother has nicknames for me. In fact he so rarely says my name that when he introduces me to a third party it sounds strange to both of us. We both pause a second longer listening as the last syllable of my name lingers in the air and the third party has moved onto another topic completely.“I am stuffed,” I reply. Ninety minutes to meeting Broke Back, my possible future husband. I feel bad for being so excited to leave, but I didn’t sign on for suburban drama. I have enough of my own!