“You’re doing what?” I demand into the phone and toss my bag onto the dining table. I have just returned from round one of apartment hunting on the Upper East Side and flop into a dining chair and kick off my shoes. “Daddy and I are going to India,” my mother says. I have mis-heard her, I think, so I ask again. “You’re doing what?” I demand, only loudly this time, because surely talking louder will fix this. “Going to India. Daddy and I are going to India,” she repeats.
“Mother,” I begin. I hear her suck in her breath so she knows from my tone I am annoyed. “Yes?” she asks slowly. “Why are you going? Is someone on Dad’s side getting married?” I ask. We didn’t grow up poor by any means, we were not rich either, but it was expensive to for both my parents to attend the weddings of my cousins. And both of my parents had businesses so that was an issue too. So most of the time my dad went to the weddings of his nephews and nieces. Whereas, my mother has only attended one of her niece’s weddings. “No, no one is getting married,” she replies.
“Then why are you going? And you better not tell me because of some potential project or something equally stupid,” I bark into the phone. My poor mother. I am sure she had hoped for some nice, sweet, desi daughter who got married and moved to the ‘burbs 10 years ago. Instead she got me. “Daddy wants to meet some people,” my mother replies.
“Mother – he can’t walk properly and you have health problems – the plague still breaks out here and neither one of you have strong immune systems. What if you get dengue?” I demand. “Does your son know about this?” I ask. God help my brother if he knew they were planning to go to India and didn’t tell me. “No,” she says swiftly. “He does not. I am telling you first. We will be careful.” “Mother you are the one who tells me that a person can survive a plane crash but a single leaf can land on them and kill them…” “We will be careful. I will meet with the doctor, we’ll take enough medications, we’ll be fine,” she replies.
Yes, but that is what we thought when Dad went to India and look what happened to him? And he is the healthy one of the two of them. And I am not ready to be an orphan.