Thursday, November 17, 2016

Some pointers for survival.

I am going to write the South Indian girl's guide to living with a white boy (or girl? I don't know enough about living with white girls). Based purely on anecdotal evidence.

Here are a few things. 

1. They will try to put their big feet on everything- on tables you might eat off, on you, on the nice chair you do your best to keep clean. This might even be with shoes on. Or even worse their mum will do this. And to keep things pleasant you will have to swallow that shriek of outrage and gently maneuver them out of that position.Or suffer.

2. You will have to be polite when the mother of your relatively aware white boy wants to put on a safety pin in solidarity with People of Colour. I understand white people are anguished about Trump as well, and maybe everyone in your church is wearing a pin, but  church full of white people, with one token Indian named Bob is part of the problem. I will make this a while chapter- things the white mum or your white boy may say or do. How to navigate without losing your mind, the goodwill of this nice older lady, or making your white boy feel terrible for being the progeny of old white people. My take is he can't help it. Just as I cannot stop my nearly 70 yr old Indian father from saying racist things without meaning to. All I can hope for is that he doesn't vote for Modi again .

3. Food- there will be an entire chapter about food.
How to turn his endless bottles of salsa into the tamatar-pyaaz component of your sabji or chicken curry.
How not to turn purple when your nice Southern boy suggests putting a ham hock, or some sausage in with your lentils to give it some fat.
How not to cry inside when he takes your biryani, puts cheese on it, wraps it in a corn tortilla, and eats it with chipotle sauce.
How not to murder someone when they look at the paneer you made, all on your own, from glorious full fat milk, from American cows as big as Indian cars, and say "It's just like Tofu right?" NO IT BLOODY WELL ISN'T. Just like how not all white people are the same....
There will also be some ranting about pound cake and it's incomprehensible popularity.

4. You will have to train them into getting used to you stealing their towel occasionally. Actually I don't think a lot of other people do this. This is not a brown girl thing, it might just be me.
Also- housekeeping and gardening. I grew up with grandparents who were enthusiastic gardeners but I have never encountered anything like the suburban American's passion for lawn maintenance. Just seems mad. 

5. A relative that you encounter only at family gatherings, like Thanksgiving and Christmas which are coming up, might ask you if Indians pay income tax. Yes. And we have had the concept since before this country was called America. Next?

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