“Dad wants you to come home,” Desi Brother says flatly into the phone. “What? Again? I was JUST there,” I snarl. “Hey I am just warning you. Dad is going to have Mom call you,” he says. Immediately I feel concerned. “Why can’t Dad call? Is the phone to heavy for him to lift?” I ask. I understand that therapy is progressing, albeit slowly, and that this is a tough time for Dad. I feel sad that he does not yet have the strength to open a can of soda.
“No – Dad can’t call you because he doesn’t know your number,” my brother replies. Ugh, now I am annoyed. I have lived in New York for two years. Sometimes I cannot believe this man migrated from Delhi all those years ago, because sometimes he seems more helpless than my niece who is one year old. I understand he is not well, but come on, when he was healthy how hard was it for him to learn my phone number? Does my mother have to do everything? I think his dependence on Mom is dangerous. And, and, and – I bet Dad knows my brother’s number.
“The health care workers came to the house to do an inspection. They made some stupid comment that in case of fire Dad can’t get out,” my brother mutters. “They have lived in that house for almost 40 years and nothing has happened. Now Dad needs someone other than his 90 pound wife to stay with him. And I have a wife and kid - I can't do it,” my brother says. Dad feels fear, which I understand. Some unknown infection attacked his body and hijacked his life. But I am unsure how my being there will help. There is no way I could carry a 200 pound man out of a burning house. And hey - what if I had a husband and kid? And I don’t have $500 lying around to fly back. That last ticket just cost me $800 with all the change fees.
And I don’t mean to be selfish – but when does my life get to be about me? I moved to New York to meet someone and get married and build a life. Is that so wrong? To want a partner and soul mate? Then again, maybe I should just go back and help take care of Dad. I always seem trip along the way and allow external factors run my life.
Take dating for instance. I am sure I cannot meet a nice man for two reasons. One, I seem to attract and be drawn to the demented and deranged desi men. And two, Town and Country. Even when he is busy, wrapped up in his life, ignoring me, or dating someone else – he lives on the edge of my mind.
So how can I meet a nice man, when Town and Country is a lingering constant? And Town and Country is not a bad man – it is not his fault that he is empowered in my life. It is mine. My annoyance with Dad is not his fault. It is mine, for wanting to be an obedient daughter and take care of him, yet wanting to be an independent woman and live my life. Damn it Durga! Why can’t you knock the Sita out of me?