Is she mad, as in insane, I wonder, and ask, “I cannot afford to live in California. First of all, I spent $3,000 trucking my shit half way across America. I’m sure a coast-to-coast move will cost $6,000. I may lose my current security deposit if I vacate early and then I need first and last month’s rent and a security deposit for a Callie apartment. Do you think I have $12,000 sitting around?” “Forget your stuff. Just take two suitcases and go,” my cousin advises. My shoes alone need two suitcases. “And what? Start all over? I have friends here and I am building a life, albeit very slooooowly, but a life none the less.” “But you are miserable there,” my cousin says. “No, I will be miserable in California with no friends and no furniture. And what kind of man is going to marry a woman with a sad job and no couch?” “Then I think you should move to India. I can definitely find you a good job in Bangalore and there are plenty of Indian men for marriage.” “If I’m not willing to move to the West Coast of my own country, what makes you think I want to move half way around the world and land up in the middle of yours?” I ask my cousin. Silence.
I hang up with Bangalore Cousin and call my brother. “So I am booked for India,” I say. He is quiet for a moment, which is not unusual for him. He is the diplomatic one who EVERYONE on both sides of the family, and I mean EVERYONE, adores. Little do the unsuspecting rellies in Delhi realize that beneath that polite and calm demeanor lurks the quick wit of my slightly sarcastic brother who wisely prefers to keep his comments to himself. Rather than engage the socio-paths, he nods and takes another samosa, the number one way to win a Punju lady’s heart --- eat her food. I on the other hand tell people to bite me (this is when I care about them or their opinion of me) or I ignore them (this is when I don’t care about them or their opinion of me). There is nothing subtle about me.
“Why are you going to India?” he finally asks. “To meet with a pandit and fix my matrimonial stars,” I reply. “I see,” my brother says, sighs and speaks again. “If that is what you want to do, then great. And not to sound like Dad, but I don’t think these pandits have a clue. They say one thing and then the opposite. I understand there are no guarantees but this roller coaster of ‘you will get married, you won’t get married’ is really stressful on you, Mom, Bangalore cousin and Massi. And I don’t know --- I don’t care if you get married or not, as long as you’re happy. Are you happy?”
I don’t think a happy person spends a month’s rent on airfare to ask a stranger to predict to whom and when she shall marry. And I don't want to admit this out loud to anyone, even my brother who I KNOW has my back, but this is the action of a desperate person seeking resolution.