So, if it hasn’t been obvious enough to figure out just yet – I’m brown (Indian/Gujarati). Now, I don’t really know the stories or experiences of other Indians that are born in America, but I have often teetered on the edge of acceptance and resentment of the Indian community. The thing is, I consider myself to be unique, atypical, and somewhat independent of the typical desi train of thought. I’ve often found myself ostracized from the Indian community for being this very way, and admittedly, I too have ostracized and unfairly criticized the rest of the Indian community. It isn’t exactly a love-hate type of relationship, but I know it sounds like that.
For most of my life, I’ve grown accustomed to a conservative and square (for lack of a better term) family. There aren’t really many outgoing personalities or characters from my dad’s side of family. On the other hand though, people from my mom’s side of family are different. There are MANY outgoing and loud personalities and more than a handful of unique characters. I mean, when I last went to India and met most of my mom’s side of family, I was taken aback by how openly loving they were. Believe you me, I was not in the least bit used to that. I just wasn’t used to people giving that much of a significant flip about me and my folks. I mean, I don’t think I had ever felt more loved by a group of people than I did then. I mean, exchanging emotions and discussing feelings weren’t too widespread in my home growing up and definitely not in the family that I knew (dad’s side). Maybe some of that helped engineer some of the resentment I’ve felt at times with my own community – I don’t know. I mean, I guess I never felt like I was missing much growing up in terms of the family I had. But after meeting my mother’s side of family, I think I realized how great it would have had been to have a family like that around me at all times growing up. I mean, they genuinely give a damn about me and my folks. I mean, they are so pure-hearted, jovial, and caring. I know it sounds odd and even borderline naive, but I guess I didn’t know it was supposed to be that way.
When I am with my mom’s side of family, I just think that “this is the way it is supposed to be”. I mean, that is the way family should be with one another. They should be able to joke with each other, be honest with each other, get frustrated and angry with one another – and still be there for each other at the end of the day. It may be a pipe dream or maybe really wishful and idealistic of me, but I would like those characteristics in the family of the woman I marry. I’d like to be as open and honest with them as I am with my family. I’d like to be able to get to know that family on a personal level and become a seamless part of the family.
I think all of these thoughts have been brought about by some of my folks who have come in town from the Chi and H-Town. I went to my aunt and uncles place in the Chi a few years back and was left stunned by their simplicity, humility, and kindness. I mean, I just left their home thinking that they were so damn cool, so damn kind, and just good people. So, they are back in town for the wedding along with another uncle from Houston. They’re all so friendly and affable. I’m not really used to it, but I sure as hell can get used to it. I don’t know, maybe in some way, meeting some of my new family helped transcend the pessimism and resentment I felt about the very community I am so integrally a part of. I think that they’ve restored some of the faith in brown folks that I might’ve lost over the years. I’m not really sure – but I know that they’ve helped me experience the type of family and relationships that I only previously thought existed in Hindi films. I mean, my family isn’t perfect and I am probably exaggerating some of what I’ve written, but I know that I feel more comfortable around them than the family I’ve grown up around for 25 years. What that exactly means – I don’t know.
I’m telling you though, this is the way family should be…