Now that my date with Tapan is nearing, the desi double standard plagues me (I am willing to bet 50 rupees that Tapan does NOT spend an iota of time contemplating this). Normally my natural reaction is to be myself and date freely. But I don’t think I can, or should in this case. Even though Mom is not an uber-Indian, ultra-conservative mother, I couldn’t bear her “friends” gossiping about Desi Girl, the slut du jour. So I have to think and re-think every move I make with Tapan so no stories of my “shameful” (drinking, dancing, sex, dating non-desis) behavior (if any) make it back to her. I really thought moving to Manhattan would be an excellent way to ensure my two lives never collide --- silly me.
In defense of the aunties in the GIN (Great Indian Network), it is innate for them to don their saris, snack on samosas and spend Saturday nights chatting with their friends in search of potential spouses for their children. Desi match-making has been going on for 5,000 years and a lot of pressure falls on the aunties to find suitable mates for their children (especially the girls). This is why I think the aunties in the GIN can be ruthless at times, a cross between a raging bout of poison ivy and a mob enforcer.
This puts pressure on us kids to be the best desi we can be. We learn at a young age that knowledge is the road to all of life’s successes. We begin by honoring Sarasvati, the patron goddess of education, and never touch paper with our feet. We respect books and know our minds are a gift from God, not to be wasted on drugs, cigarettes and alcohol (oops!). There is no discussion about school, desi kids know to study hard, get straight As and earn admissions into top-notch undergraduate universities that lead to even topper-notch graduate programs that hopefully allow us to tote shiny degrees --- MBA, JD, PhD, MD, DDS. After that, if we studied hard enough and the Gods look favorably upon us, we might land a job title like --- President, Director, Doctor, Esquire, Chief of Staff, Leading Authority. After that, the only thing left is raise a family in an outlandish residence, preferably in a coveted zip code and grill tandoori chicken (or paneer for the vegetarians) on a stately Weber.
Luckily America makes allowances for desi girls, we can push marriage back to 30 or 35 in pursuit of higher education. And because girls are considered Lakshmi, a treasure to be cherished, the Gods celebrate fathers who keep their daughters jeweled in happiness and honor mothers who find suitable husbands. This is why (I think) marriage and divorce matter so greatly to desis --- there is so much riding on proper matrimonial alliances. This is why, again, I remember (like in Post 173) in our god-fearing Hindu culture, women are the custodians of the faith. It is when the women, not the men, enter foreign marriages or divorce, children became lawless and Indian society breaks down.
Leading me back to --- I cannot have sex with Tapan, ever. Or at least until I am sure we’ll get married, which won’t be happening on our second date.