Friday, January 21, 2011


This is absolutely maddening. I travel 10,000 miles and Bhaiya’s freaking driver leaves me at the end of the lane saying he is not allowed to get any closer to my other cousin’s house. I am sure this is Bhabhi’s doing. Making sure I am punished for disobeying her, for demanding to see someone she does not like. But who is she to decide who I can and cannot see in my own family?

I get out of the car and carefully, in three-inch heels not made for uneven Indian roads, I hobble down the street. If I sprain my ankle so help me God I am going to scratch Bhabhi’s eyes out. Chokidhar, the night watchman, sees me and smiles. I have been coming here for years so begins unlocking the gate at the sight of me. As he locks the gate a concerned look comes across his eyes and he asks how I got here. New Delhi is not a place for an American desi who speaks pigeon Hindi to roam about freely. While my direction sense is good, it is not good enough for Delhi. “No no, the car is at the end of the lane.” Chokidhar nods, he is all too well versed in my family’s division. He ushers me into the house and upstairs. This cousin is the elder brother to the one I’m staying with. I am greeted warmly by Elder Bhabhi and we sit down in the drawing room. “You look great,” she says. “You have lost so much weight!” she gushes.

When Elder Bhabhi was young, she was beautiful with fair skin, subtle features and slim waist. She is also much more eloquent and educated than her sister-in-law, Younger Bhabhi. I am not sure what led to the rift between my cousins, but I know I lost respect for Younger Bhabhi when I learned, with her daughters Sweet and Feisty, at her side; she dumped a full dust bin of garbage on Elder Bhabhi’s head.

“You know it hurts us that your dad no longer speaks to us,” she says. “And we don’t know what we have done to upset him that he won’t even call us when he comes to India. Now that my father-in-law is gone, your dad is the closest thing we would have to a father and to be ignored like this…” her voice drifts away so she doesn’t choke on emotion. “But, how great is God, your mother never fails to meet us. Either do you…” she says and tears pool in the corners of her eyes.

Ugh. So gross. I, too, don’t really know why Dad aligns with one cousin and not the other. I feel pretty confident that is has something to do with a $1,000 check Dad sent to Elder Bhaiya some eight years ago where Dad wrote “gift” in the memo space. Unsurprisingly Elder Bhaiya and Bhabhi took the check and cashed it, which enraged Dad. To this day I cannot get a straight answer out of anyone regarding the intended use of that money. But this is the problem with Dad’s family. They insist on operating in a state of smoke and mirrors, everyone lying and telling half-truths. So different than Mom’s emotionally incestuous family where knows everything about everyone. I don’t know what is better --- deceit or full disclosure.


girlsguidetosurvival said...

Followed Gori Girl.

Wao, these are really some pieces of work... People act as if they are going to live for ever. Life is too short for all this. If it was a gift then it is understood it is for encashing :) .

What could be a easy and happy life people really make it hard on themselves, especially women.

This is the reality of Desi Bahus

Your mom and you are doing the right thing keep it up. Even Desi Girl has pissed off many relatives just to do the right thing.

Will return to read more.
Desi Girl

101 Bad Desi Dates said...

Hello Girls Guide to Survival,

OMG, you don't even know the half of it. Just wait for next week's posts of Younger Bhabhi. And I know it - when it comes to money or lending something to somone, you shd expect that they will cash the money - when I give money I dont expect it back - so if I give it what I can afford so I dont bitch about it a decade later.

Yes, for sure happy and easy is how the women in dad's family could act, unfor I think the vast majority of them are filled with competitive greed and insecurity so I stay away from as many of them as possible, esp the ones who say negative thigs about others.

And I know the pressures of desi bahus! I think my Mom is totally normal and treats my sister-in-law, like a daughter - so kudos for Mom for not being insane!

Thanks for the link and reading, come back any time, I'll still be here writing and blogging!

Peace to you as well!

Desi Girl

Sunny said...

Love your line "I don’t know what is better --- deceit or full disclosure".. I don't want deceit and I don't want full disclosure - I just want them to patch up and make it all go away so we can all enjoy being together.

This is so familiar! These petty things petty about not driving you all the way to the house...

101 Bad Desi Dates said...

Dear Sunny -

Are you Punju? 'Cause I don't think we do "patch things up" or maybe that is just my family! ha!

I am so glad my issues are universal for desis - bring relief and relieves my worry that MY family is wacked!

tee hee hee ...

Desi Girl