Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Could the Hokey Pokey really be what it's all about?

Yesterday I was suffering an Existantial Crisis of Self. I spent all day wondering what exactly was I doing in Iowa, and why do we bother to work so hard, and what's all that really matters in the end?

Take my cousin who just got married, for example. She lives in Mumbai, just got her college degree a few years ago, had a great job at a bank, is now married and prepared to be a housewife for the rest of her life. She's the happiest person I've ever met! She's moving to a small coastal town that her husband's family basically owns, 15 hours up the shore from Mumbai, and will live there forever.

In my (extremely conservative, extremely traditional) Indian family, the girls are all married off by age 21 and have never worked. When I told one of my uncles that I didn't know how to make chai, he almost had a stroke. I tried to explain that I don't really drink chai, I like coffee better, and he was like, The chai's not for you, it's for your husband! Which prompted riotous laughter from me.

Could that life really be that bad though? All of my cousins are so happy! Whereas myself, and all my other med-friends, are generally miserable and spend much of our time bitching about life, excepting the 3% of the time when there's not a looming deadline or shelf exam and we're drunk off our asses.

One of her husband's cousins is a business student in Mumbai and his mom had apparently tried to talk to my aunt about setting me up with him. When my aunt told me this, I snorted my Thumbs Up through my nose. That just would not work, the top most reason being that I live in America and he lives in India, but more importantly, because I'm not spending the rest of my life washing his underwear and taking care of his kids!

I spent all day yesterday trudging around frozen icy Iowa and feeling sorry for myself. (Mostly while walking the dog. I love that little guy but he has got to learn to poop faster.) What am I doing here? Why can't I live in India? Would it really be that bad to just get married and have babies? Why do we kill ourselves for our career? I was really starting to reconsider Mumbai-Man. Wouldn't life be so much simpler? Wouldn't I just be happier? Maybe I could finish up my degree and do a residency in India ...

Well folks, I'm glad to say that dark period is over, I think the weather had me really depressed yesterday, but today I'm happy and reasonable again. That life might be relaxing and fun for a few weeks but then I would have gone bonkers. There's something to be said for getting up everyday and getting to do something you chose to do. It sucks a lot of the time but it always gets better, and you just have to find something that makes you happy and keeps your battery charged.

Besides, I like having more fun things to look forward to than the next 13-hour long wedding or religious event.

Here are some photos from my trip!

All of the "unmarried girls" had to hold this little curtain over my cousin as she greeted her groom. So it was me and a bunch of 14 years old. Being freakishly tall, I'm hiding in the back somewhere. If you could see my face though, I'm sure I'm wearing an expression of agony and rage.

Becase you see, it's this big 'fun' thing for the bride and groom to greet each other, and people like to sing songs and tell jokes, and we were holding that stupid curtain for an hour and a half straight. I thought my arm would fall off. And then I would have to beat someone with it.

My cousin's 13yo daughter was showing me around the park where the wedding was, and she was so excited to show me this. We turned the corner and I was like, "Oh my God! There's a goat peeing on that chair!" She looked wounded and said she was actually trying to show me the fruit sculptures. I felt really bad, so I took a picture.

(But seriously. This was a nice wedding (for where we were) and there were goats and dogs running around everywhere. They handed out chocolate ice cream at some point and I saw dogs chasing little kids for it.)

This is my cousin's 5 year old daughter. They live in Japan. Nothing special, I just really love this picture.

This was at the Mehndi party a few days before the wedding. There's the bride on the bottom left there, hers went past her elbows, and on her legs it was all the way up to her knees. That's my hand on the right there. I was getting all disgruntled and itchy so I took my mehndi off after like 20 minutes. (But I still got a nice dark color! You see, the trick is to not wash your hands or get them wet in anyway for at least a few hours. I didn't even take out my contacts that night so I could keep my hands dry.)


David G said...

cheer up rupes! much love baby...

Rohin said...

Your cousin's kid from Japan's haircut is too cool. Funky five year old.

We all have marriage-thoughts-dark-period-things, although I'm guessing girls think about it more than fellas as you normally get the shittier deal. I'm looking forward to getting married very much but my gf wants us to move to India. Hmm...

Having said that, squat toilets pose no problem for me (see what I mean about girls getting shitty deals?)

square peg said...

I don't have thoughts like that very often, but I feel so anti-feminist and reactionary when I do! Thinking about the future makes me happy but thinking about career planning vs. family planning really stresses me out. Medicine is like a train you can't get off of without ever being able to get back on again. Sometimes I'm envious of you males!

Rohin said...

Medicine is becoming an increasingly hard career to take a break from whichever sex you are, at least that's the case here in the UK.

Sure, my reasons to take time off medicine are more unusual than having a kid, but I'm now being warned against taking even a year off.

BidiSmoker said...

I can totally empathize with your views of your cousins. I'm not saying that women should be domestic and men work; I think what's appealing to me in India is the willingness of people to put the family's interests above their own. You could argue that they overdo it, but the fact of the matter is that being married to an Indian does not mean living like our parents. I have noticed my sister and many other Indian girls have very negative views of Indian men, like we are exactly the same as our fathers. Especially the ones in America, have absolutely no problem with career women, my own mother was a doctor and I would hardly respect a wife who had no ambition greater than cooking and cleaning.