Thursday, January 27, 2011

286. SITA DID IT. WHY CAN’T I?

I have been staring out the window watching the banyan trees and concrete buildings blur together. This reverie has fuzzied my thoughts that I don’t notice we have stopped until I hear Massi say to the driver, “Please bring some sweets from the shop.” She hands him a 50 rupee note and he smiles before departing. His smile is genuine and I feel he won’t mistreat my widowed aunt. India is a tough place for single women – spinsters or widows.

As silence settles around us Massi says quietly, “It must be so hard to live alone, yes?” My aunt is very proper and would never speak of personal matters in front of the help. We both know, in India, even the trees know my secrets.

I have always thought Massi to be wise; but she has a dozen nieces so I never really realized that she would recognize pain in me. I like to think I am a pretty good con-artist, disguising my disappointments, losses and pain in a thick coat of humor and happy-go-lucky. It is not often, like now, that someone can steal my words and render me a mute. “It is hard to live alone – for this I know all too well,” she whispers. “It is not easy to do what you did. To take a chance."

We’re not looking at each other. Thank God. I have been on the verge of tears for twelve days. The pressure to appear secure and upbeat for my maternal family is exhausting. We’re so involved in one another’s lives it is borderline emotional incest.

Massi speaks again, “I have money, house, and food. But I am alone…” In the almost 20 years he has been gone, no one on Mom’s side of the family refers to my uncle anymore. We have never recovered from his loss. “I can only imagine how hard it must be for you to live in that Big City. No car, no family, no help. No one to talk at night. No one to eat dinner with. You must be feeling great depression, I know. But you must have faith in God. My beta, you must have faith in God. For God is great."

Oh. My. God. I have to speak. Now. Words must form in my brain and fall out of my mouth. Brain, I command you to think! Mouth, make words! Brain. Mouth. DO. SOMETHING. ANYTHING. Acknowledge Massi. Speak. But I cannot.

“I used to say to God, please, give me one more thing. I have so much. I know. I should not ask. I am not greedy. But please bless my son with a child. And he did. Two children. Now I keep asking for only one more thing, God. Please one more thing…” There is no reason for Massi to tell me her wish. I know it is for my matrimonial settlement. It is why I have traveled 10,000 miles and spent $2,000 in the middle of a recession.

I expect unconditional love from my parents. My mother no longer flinches when I drop the f-bomb in traffic. No one will ever truly “get me” the way my brother does. He can hear one word and know whether to push me away or pull me back. If I need a liver or a kidney, he’s my best DNA bet.

But to hear my aunt praying to her God for my settlement breaks my heart all over again. It must be hard for Massi to love me when I am not of her body, but of her soul. She must feel so powerless against God when she so desperately wants me to find my mate. I can’t bear her worrying for me. I want to be strong like Durga. Maybe I should just marry the next man I meet and put Massi and my parents out of their misery. Sita did it. Why can’t I?

19 comments:

Adventurous Ammena said...

wow.. did u cry?? I am now!!!

Mirringa Mirronga said...

I am as speecless as u were...
Amazing post... amazing girl!!!!

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Sita did it (married the first man who came along and strung the bow etc)... but Sita also sang the blues ... later on!

Sunny said...

Very touching.

I didn't get the Sita reference, I think my mythology literacy is pretty high. I must have missed something.

101 Bad Desi Dates said...

Dear Adventurous Ammena -

I was overcome at the moment and for some reason most of the people in my family - both sides - are stoic and in control of their emotions. I don't know if it is an Indian thing and my being American makes me emotional - I don't know. So they don't cry and I don't feel I can in front of them. No doubt, I will burst later.

xo,
Desi Girl

101 Bad Desi Dates said...

Dear Mirringa Mirronga -

Yes, it is amazing that I was rendered speechless! But thank you for your kind post. Somedays it is hard to put myself out there so I appreciate your kind words!

xo,
Desi Girl

101 Bad Desi Dates said...

Dear Another Kiran in NYC -

I LOVE that movie - Sita Sings the Blues! I love those characters who dialogue the who way and that song the sons sing "Rama kicked his wife away ... " makes me laugh each time.

xo,
Desi Girl

101 Bad Desi Dates said...

Dear Sunny -

Let me just state that I some might find my views on Hinduism to be blasphemous. That is my disclaimer. And if after what you read this comment and you are like "what is wrong with this girl?" - this is my take away. Feel free to disagree, this is just how I feel.

And what I meant was I don't think, based on what I have read and been taught about Hinduism, that Sita had a choice in Rama. Right, I mean he shot the Golden Bow and what "won" her in a contest.

And then she follows him into the forest, walks thru fire, and in the end is banished, pregnant into the forest and by the time Rama realizes what he has lost, she is swallowed back into mother earth from where she came. I mean this women endured so much and what did she get in the end? From my perspective she suffered in the name of being an obedient daughter, wife and mother.

I think Sita settled, bc he was the one who strung the bow.

My two cents!

xo,
Desi Girl

Amira said...

Hey Desi Girl,

Well, I certainly understand where you are coming from. My father and Grandmother are having a hard time with the fact that I'm not married yet (at the ripe age of 26) and have a few kids. He's so upset that my sister lives in germany and has 3 children whom he has not been able to see.
Some days it makes me feel bad and I question my search for a suitable husband. I'm also realizing that bad experiences in the past may be a factor that are blocking me from actually letting someone close, or even selecting someone.
So, I guess if G-d wills it, you will get married Hun. We may have to settle for Mr. Good Enough in the end, who really knows?

Anonymous said...

Because you have integrity, my desi sister. I read your posts diligently. So many of your posts resonate deeply with me because I am an only child of Sikh parents. When my parents were trying to marry me off, we always had to contend with too many 'she's too " I was too educated, tall, outspoken, smart (really???), an only child, too thin etc. Like you, I wanted to marry an Indian and also like you, just couldn't get married because i should. Finally, I just decided to be true to what i really was. Married a (non-Indian)great guy who was not intimidated by the fact that I was an only female child of Sikh parents and smart, moved to the US (CT), started working at a hedge fund and living the kind of life i should, with no apologies. My parents are (now) glad i did. My motivation to leave all that behind? If i had a daughter, I want her to live her life fearlessly. Today, my 3 year old daughter lives that way and I am thankful for that. Live fearlessly, the universe will reward you for what is RIGHT for YOU!

Anonymous said...

take it from someone who settled and is now living a daily hell in court and custody battles and everyday burning from a vindictive ex - the matrimonial bond is meaningless if it is not entered into wholeheartedly with an true love and committed. settling was the worst mistake of my life and my family and I are paying very dearly for it now. don't give up. don't settle.

101 Bad Desi Dates said...

Dear Amira -

You know at 26 I was NO WHERE near being ready for marriage. But I can appreciate parents who love is so much that they think being married is how we will be okay. Right? I am sure they things "a nice man will care for my daughter."

I have the debate between Mr. Right and Mr. Right Enough. I think I become weak under the influence of my peeps in India - I think A LOT of them settled - and made out more or less okay.

But that pull to do things for other is tough, it really is.

xo,
Desi Girl

101 Bad Desi Dates said...

Dear Anonymous -

Thank you for your kind words. It is easy to feel beat down when all your strengths are used against you and packaged as a weakness -- she is too smart, too tall, too educated, too fair, not fair enough, doesn't cook round enough rotis.

And I thank for the validation. I think about little Indian girls, the second generation like my niece. I guess I know she is lucky bc my brother is totally normal and loving and her number one male advocate. Good for you and your daughter and your parents - sometimes I do think that I am not destines to marry desi. In some ways it bothers me that I wont have that Hindu-Sikh-Punjabi bond with my mate.

Then again when I date American desis I dont have that with most those guys other - not a Sinhdi fellow and I have that much more in common other than that our parents hail from Bharat!

You are right though - I should give myself a break and I feel mny gut is saying "danger" I should listen, rather than regret.

I hope life is CT continues to bring you blessings. I sincerely thank you for sharing and appreciate your post. So glad you are reading and resonating with me!

xo,
Desi Girl

101 Bad Desi Dates said...

Dear Anonymous -

I am SO sorry to hear about your horrendous situation and dreadful ex. Thank you so much for sharing and I am going to keep you in my thoughts. I hope Durga is watching out for you, ready to give you her strength.

I will not settle - and I truly appreciate your willingness to be so open and frank. I know only I will think about what you write, but so will all the others who read!

Please be well and strong, life can really stink sometimes and whatever lesson you, will make you stronger. That is what I believe when I feel my faith shaking.

xo,
Desi Girl

101 Bad Desi Dates said...

Dear Amira -

p.s. I agree with you - whatever God wills is what will happen - you can do a lot of things to position yourself for life, but in the end it is up to God.

xo,
Desi Girl

Anonymous said...

I know as a parent it is miserable and so unhappy to see their girl not married before they pass away. Also the siblings family life is more happy when their brother and sister is happily settled with thier life partner. Otherwise the family as a whole will never be happy. My advise will be to start a live in relationship and see how it goes, it is always good to have a live in relationship before you tie the knot. You will know the person, family, sex, finance everything inside out before getting into something you assume will be right afterwards. We don't have to be sita but can surely be happy than lonely.

101 Bad Desi Dates said...

Dear Anonymous -

Thanks for your perspective. I am sure this is hard for my parents. I don't really know what my brother's take is on this - and frankly he is married with family - so how much time does he spend on me? I dont think that much, nor do I expect him to - but I think I need to think about what you wrote. It is a collective even though we are individual parts of a whole.

More soon!
xo,
DG

LeharPepsi said...

Reading your comment, I like the way you think about your brother’s life that he is married and you live him alone as a good sister. I have been married for 4 years and my sister in law tags along and invites herself everywhere. She will offer him to give pedicures herself- YES PEDICURES. Isn’t that abnormal to give her married brother pedicures? She comes over and follows him around and only talks to him. She calls him only on the cell phone practically everyday and talks to him when I am not around. Hopefully she grows up, gets married and will carry herself better, but it causes a lot of fiction in my married life.
I have been reading your blog for sometime and I am in love with it. I will still suggest to look through every aspects of relationship before settling down.

101 Bad Desi Dates said...

Dear LeharPepsi -

Aw, what a sweet thing to say about me, I hope Desi Brother reads this ;) but he is my brother, def not someone whose nails I shall paint! I mean yes I love to spend time with and chat with him - he is my brother - but we have lives and we should live them but stay connected. How do you deal with that? I would be mortified if my sister-in-law felt the way you do.

And yes, mental note to self - def check out all relationships!

xo,
DG