“So Mom wants to come visit me,” I say when Desi Brother picks up the phone. “And?” he asks. “Dad is in India – this would be a good time for her to visit you,” he adds. “But my apartment is small. There are tons of steps and a long walk from the subway,” I say. “How small? She is not coming to stay in the Plaza, she knows this,” he says.
“Is it my fault that I want her to be comfortable?” I ask. “No. It’s not. It is your fault for wanting it to be perfect. It doesn’t need to be perfect,” he says. “Fine,” I reply. “Can we talk about Dad?” I ask. “Sure,” Desi Brother replies. “What’s he doing in India?” I ask. “Be more specific,” Desi brother says and sighs. “He just got better. I mean he could not move a year ago, now he can just get by using a walker. What is he doing going back to India?” I demand. I am fretful he will fall ill again - and his recovery took a huge toll on my mother's health. “You try and reason with him when he makes up his mind,” Desi Brother mutters.
“What if he gets sick again? His immune system is not as strong as it once was. I think this is a very bad idea. And there is no one there who will take care of him,” I say. “Well, he's there now and it's too late,” Desi Brother says and sighs. “You cannot control him either. His going there is not perfect either – and out of your control. I get it, they are getting older, and you want to take care of them, but they are adults. They are going to do what they want to do. They can no more control you than you control them.” Okay? Really? When did he become the sensible one? Well scratch that. We’re both sensible. I am emotional. This is why my family lies to me when it comes to anyone’s health. This is why they wait to tell me bad news. Is is my fault care?
“They are getting older, Desi Brother,” I finally say and add. “I just wonder when they start to enjoy life. Slow down. Take a vacation.” The fact of the matter is that all they know is slogging through life. They survived the Partition of India and Pakistan. Grew up in Delhi tenements. Got the hell out of India, to end up in Minnesota. Dad started a business that took over our lives. All they know is how to push and drive. Maybe if they sat down and kicked their heels up – they wouldn’t know what to do with themselves. “I guess that is just not them,” I finally say. “Nope. Not our parents,” Desi Brother replies.