I noticed a number of times when I have been granted ownership of the vast landmass of America, including its culture, population, interests and quirks.
I find any objective questioning and/or reasoning can grant me ownership.
All I have to do is hang on to my mother’s hand and question why on earth she is preparing Payasam for the n-th time, and she would say her voice dripping with incredulity – “In YOUR America, you may do it differently, but we make payasam when the son-in-law visits. “
“Yes….but this is technically part of the same visit, we just went out yesterday! Besides, do remember that I am very much an Indian citizen. Should I show you my passport?”
“I cannot serve food without sweets when the sons-in-law are here!” she would voice in a tone of finality, and go about gathering the ingredients anyway.
“There’s another thing! Why do you have to serve? People can perfectly serve themselves!” I say to no one in particular. But since I now own all of America, why should I worry about who serves anybody else food?
When I am not visiting India, I can still feel rich anytime! All I have to do is call home. 70% of the time, It would be the occasion of some festival. We don’t begrudge any of the 3500 Gods/Goddesses their birthdays, or anniversaries or the general tendency to want to keep awake through the night. There is of course a special sweet dish to mark every occasion, and all I have to do is ask the reason for that particular savoury on “X Jayanthi” or “Y Krittikai” and immediately America becomes mine!
In MY America, I don’t have to do anything – except get to work early in the morning, slog through the day and jog back home for a back-to-back session with classes and children and the dishwashing and the cleaning and the cooking.
4 thoughts on “When America becomes Mine”
Why do you think home-makers in India are busier than the highest paid corporate executive in America? When I get a few extra holidays, I get lazy and even bored…that NEVER happens to mothers in India!
Also you are blessed with a husband who is not such a foodie…mine keeps lamenting that he misses India for all its festivities and sweets!! With someone like him for a son-in-law, I don’t think Amma is going to review her well-formed opinions!!!
Very thought provoking blog.
More than the obvious message of why-question-the-tradition part, I liked the message about women’s role in the family irrespective of where they live.
Just for the sake of argument, if mothers stop following tradition, I think there will be an inertia which will make everyone to continue to expect payasams and seedais from them for a period of time (without thinking whether we really need it or not).
That is the thought/fear which makes women/mother/men to continue what they are doing for years.
But what we don’t realize is, we are all creatures of habit. And it just takes time to get out of it.
So moving from eating payasams to not oat meal breakfast though difficult is not impossible.
I am LOL Saumya, very well written. I just complain and feel bad when anyone says ‘In your America’ but this is a good twist. Also saw Jayashree’s (not sure if its your sis) note here. I am not sure if she is right about Shree.
Well NeedCuisine….it is all relative. Jayashree is my sister, and she says Shree is not a foodie, which is true actually. He is not very particular about the way things should be cooked etc.