“I need you to come to India,” my cousin says. Okaaaaay. Going to India is not like running to the corner bodega and getting a quart of milk. Shoot it isn’t even like going to Minneapolis for a visit. Any desi who has gone to India can attest, this is (generally) a time-consuming preparation process.
First, I have to buy a ticket that costs as much as rent. Then I have to make sure I have a visa, which for me is a non-issue. I usually have a 10-year visa ready for my India trips. And while you might think packing is the final step, you are incorrect. Before I can pack my stuff I have to scurry about town buying presents (that I cannot afford) for my rellies who ironically live better lives in India than I do. Every Western branded item has found it’s way to the Delhi marketplace. With the assistance of drivers, my relatives can now frequent the malls and buy whatever they like. After an arduous day of shopping, my relatives go home, have a servant make them tea while they instruct the maids to clean and the cooks to cook. Here in America I am the driver, servant and cook!
Additionally, I have to, yes HAVE TO spend time with some of my rellies in Delhi (Dad’s side) who I am not particularly fond of, and blowing them off is more of a Catch 22, than an option. I already have a pretty strong personality and Dad’s family is heavy on the socio-paths, so from the onset this is not a good combination. And if I ignore the Desi Dad side of the family they have a tendency to blame America for corrupting my values and evading them. Never mind that Dad’s side of the family is filled with some down right awful and mean people. Or that I get along with 90% of Mom's family. No, no, Dad’s family thinks I am the problem, not them. And worse than being seen as an ABCD, I worry that Dad’s side will blame Mom for turning me against them; she is, after all, the outsider to the clan. Never mind that MOM is the one who forces me to make nice with the socio-paths. So see, I cannot win. Without a doubt I will have to spend at least a few days with the paternal Delhi rellies. Hhmmm, now might be a good time to start an Oxycodone addiction.
“When exactly do you need me to come to India?” I ask. “As soon as possible. I have been talking to a pandit in Delhi. He wants to do a puja but needs you to be present,” she explains. “I don’t know…” I reply dejectedly. Normally I’d jump at the chance at fixing what ails my inability to get married. But going to India is a massive and costly matrimonial star treatment. And I’d do it in a Manhattan minute if I knew it would work. But these powder mixing, tilak wearing, star charting pandits have been predicting my marriage for five years and I still have no favorable matrimonial result, i.e. married Desi Girl.
“I don’t know what you did to whom, but your matrimonial stars are for shit,” my cousin says. “Tell me about,” I mutter. “Look it doesn’t matter, just get to India and we’ll meet with the pandit,” she reassures. “Fine let me look into tickets…but is there any chance I am dating the wrong men?” I ask her. “Probably, but what do you mean?” she asks. “Brown versus white.” She sighs so deeply but says nothing. I am sure she, like me, contemplates my desi dating fiasco on a regular basis and wonders how to fix it