“Dad wants us to go to a meeting at the hospital with him tomorrow,” Desi Brother says to me when I come into the office carrying coffees from Caribou. This $4 a drink habit really needs to stop. “Meera and Rohit had a daughter,” I say. Seeing as how we are dispensing with “good morning” and going straight to talks of the day.
“Whaaaaat?” Desi Brother asks. “Uh-huh,” I reply. “Weren’t they supposed to have a boy?” he asks. “Uh-huh. They are the only people in the world who I could imagine this happening too. And you know – I kinda wondered. I just didn’t get the boy vibe,” I reply. “So you are physic now?” Desi Brother asks dryly and sips his coffee. “No – it just did not feel right in my gut, a boy,” I say and boot up the computer. “Okay – what is your prediction for the lottery numbers?” Desi Brother jokes.
We quietly drink our coffee for a few minutes and then Desi Brother says, “Dad has a helper, Nate. Outside of the house Dad needs a lot of help. Just warning you." “Okay,” I reply. “Did they tell you that Dad plans to go to back to India?” my brother asks. Ugh. My family, God bless them, but they prefer to not disclose the truth to me. This is because I have the tendency to over-react and freak out and assume the worst. My parents and brother on the other hand seem to know how to keep their emotions in check. “How is he going there? He can’t walk?” I ask. I feel a little distressed that Dad wants to go back to India, where we think he got sick. How will he function there? Do his doctors know? Where will he stay? Is he taking this Nate fellow with him?
“When did Dad tell you this?” I ask and stomp back to my brother’s desk. Desi Brother makes a face. Clearly he has known for a while. “I just thought I’d warn you,” he says. “Well – we’ll see about this,” I snap. “Are you going to pick a fight with Dad?” my brother asks as we hear the back door open. “I don’t pick fights. I just ask questions and try and be the voice of reason,” I explain. Desi Brother makes a face and looks at me flatly. “You and Dad are exactly the same. You guys reason by arguing and having disagreements,” he reminds. “You think a handicapped man should travel to the Third World?” I ask very annoyed. “No, I don’t – but you for some reason, Gidget, believe that you can reason with an old, stubborn and a self-made man. He hasn't changed, so don't waste your time or emotions. You will be the one who ends up frustrated and feeling hurt, not him,” Desi Brother adds. Damn it! When did my LITTLE brother begin making so much sense?
Thirty seconds later Dad and Nate (who I have never met before so imagine my surprise when a young, tall, good-looking, Caucasian boy with looooong dreadlocks walks by) enter the building. It takes Dad another 30 seconds to walk about 20 paces to pass my brother’s desk where I am still standing. This has to be the most 30 miserable seconds I have had to endure in a long time. All I can hear is the sound of the metal walker slowly moving down the hallway. When Dad comes into view he flashes me a huge and smile and says, “Good morning beta, see how much progress I made?”
Tears sting my eyes. All the outrage I felt one minute ago drains out of me. When did Dad stop being invincible and become vulnerable? This really puts life into perspective - it really makes dating the wrong men and missing the A train by five seconds and being stalked by Flyboy so minimal.