A lot of people ask me the question, “Where are you from?” I know most people ask because they are curious about my ethnicity, not because they want to know which state of the Union I identify myself with. But I am never really sure, so often ask, “What do you mean?” I will respond without hesitation once they clarify. In some cases, people are actually asking about the state I am from, after they catch the subtlest hint of what remains of my Jersey accent.
When the question is about my ethnicity, the responses I get range in nature from slight head nods to outward enthusiasm to the highly offensive. Here are a few examples:
“I love Indian food! I love Indian culture. That’s so cool.” An enthusiastic response.
“Wow, you’re pretty for an Indian!” Yeah, that’s a very informed thing to say. No, it’s not.
A lot of my friends don’t remember their childhood. I think that’s strange because I seem to have so many memories of my childhood and I wonder sometimes if my memories are real or just fragmented narrations that I have mentally pieced together through pictures. Birthday cakes, favorite dolls, memories of parties, family and Jordache.
Lots of Jordache.
I think the year that I started to remember with clarity was around 1981. I was five.
That year, my mother took me to India to visit family. It was the first trip that I actually remember, although I had been there before. Going to India was no easy jaunt across the ocean. It was a long flight to New Delhi, with a never ending connection at Heathrow, a bustling place where my mother and I lost our way around for a while. Luckily, my mother was eventually able to steer us to the Duty Free to load up on Dunhill cigarettes for my grandfather during that break, so we got something accomplished before boarding the second leg.
“The timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness. And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream.”
- Khalil Gibran, “The Prophet”
“Last morning, I peed my pants.”
“Last morning, I got a boo boo, Mommy.”
“Remember? Last morning, Shaila hit me.”
These are all things my three year old son, Nico, can say on a given morning. You would think that “last morning” might mean yesterday, or the day before yesterday morning. But no. Last morning can really be any morning that happened in the past. Heck, it might even be an afternoon or an evening.
We have a lot of stories about “last morning” going on in this house. “Last morning” basically is a sum of all our yesterdays; it’s where the accidents of our past took place and where we lay our mistakes to rest.
“Mom, where is your family from in India?” Shaila asked me the other day.
“Your grandparents are from a state called Bihar.”
“Well, it’s in the North.” I explained, “If you were looking at a map of India, it would be at the top, near a country called Nepal.” I explained.
She looked at me blankly.
“Here, I’ll show you.” Rather than pulling out a handy map though, I had something much better.
“Mommy! What are you doing?!!” Shaila yelled at me, diva hands on hips and all.
I had pulled up a pant leg in the middle of the mall, figuring I could find some vein formation on my legs to show her the geographical landscape of India. It didn’t take long to find an imperfect asymmetrical peninsular shape of India on the map somewhere on my right cankle.
I know that things may seem quiet around these parts. And while the blog may seem quieter than usual, things have been anything but quiet around me. Being committed to my full time job and family leaves little time during my waking hours for much except at night and into the wee hours of the morning.
My head, my thoughts, my words, my inspirations are running at a million miles an hour as I’m working on launching a business which I explained a while ago is a dream of mine, called Simply Om. This has confused some who look at it at the surface level.
“Um, so Kiran. You’ve been dreaming your whole life about opening an Etsy shop?”
Technically, no. Although I think Etsy does rock.
Yesterday afternoon, I was working in my office when I heard the kids running into the house with our Au Pair, Heather.
“Mommy, mommy!” Shaila ran in yelling. “Heather is going to be sick!”
I looked up and over at Heather, whose face was three shades paler than her already fair Welsh complexion. She looked at me apologetically.
“I’m so sorry, Kiran. I am not at all well.”
Except when she said it, it didn’t sound like “not at all well.” It sounded like “naht aht ahll wehll,” with her sing-songy Welsh accent. Which I guess still sounds pretty sing-songy even when she is about to be sick.
Now, Heather never gets sick. Well, not really. Other than being a little hungover on some weekend mornings, she is pretty much in top form all the time.
Yesterday was my husband’s birthday. I wished him “Happy Birthday” on Facebook, because this is the way you are supposed to profess your love to a spouse in the world of social media. You have to do things like this to let your Twitter crushes (Shout out to @Cali_Kid_Mike and @TheMichaelRock! No worries. I just stalk them platonically) and your ex-boyfriends on Facebook know that someone really did end up marrying you.
Now, I know that most everyone looks forward to his or her birthday on Facebook. Unless you are one of those people who doesn’t want anyone to know your birthday and you mark that shit as private. Or one of those people who doesn’t have a Facebook account because of privacy or because you are too good for it.
I know some of you guys. Some of you are even friends. I will not judge you except to say that I think you’re really weird.
I am as guilty of loving Disney princess movies as any pre-adolescent girl in my neighborhood. And I love sweet movies about unconventional romance, like Pretty Woman and Bend it Like Beckham. Boy meets girl, girl is feisty and cute and somehow doesn’t realize how beautiful she really is. Boy and girl fall in love, despite social differences (race, socio-economic status, religion). Those differences result in some kind of conflict which are ultimately saved by one overwhelming thing.
And when you go through life, you realize that love is complicated shit. It doesn’t work out as clearly as in the movies and there is no musical crescendo to notify you when you are kissing someone that this is the one. No laugh track when you accidentally bump heads reaching for a pen you dropped. No fairy godmother to dress you up in an outfit that’s just the right amount of pretty, classy and slutty to let him know what a goddess you are.
On Wednesday, John and I are going to see my favorite band, Mumford and Sons. I am extremely excited and this was kind of both of our big Christmas/Birthday/Valentines gift to one another because I got the tickets too late and basically paid an astronomical amount for them.
It’s worth it for us though. Or, maybe I should say for me. John loves them, but not quite as much as I do. I sometimes think there is a 6th sense and that is the thing you experience when a song touches something in you that seems otherworldly. It’s bigger than the sense of hearing, because an amazingly written song can bring all of your senses into sharp focus.
I wrote something about Mumford & Sons a few years ago that I wanted to reshare.