A Journey In Black and Indian Love

A Peek inside the marriage of an African American woman and her East Indian spouse

Drumroll Please! April 15, 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve made a blog post.  I could give you an array of reasons why I’ve gotten so behind on so many things including this blog but you all go through the same things yourselves day in and day out… there’s kids, work, family issues, and just general lack of prioritization.

 

I do have some news to share with you lovelies that aren’t part of the Facebook group… M and I are expecting our first bundle of joy together in August. We found out the day after Christmas while we were Gosh how far we’ve come and oh my LORD how old do I feel right now. Heehee. The fact has not escaped us that by the time the twins start high school we’ll be potty training too or the fact that by the time Baby A. starts kindergarten, the twins will be graduating from high school. WOWZA What were we thinking?!  I jest but only half-heartedly. I can’t say there aren’t anxieties about having a newborn after all these years (me) or being a first time parent (M).  However, we are excited about the blessing our union is about to produce.  

 M and I also celebrated our sixth anniversary in March.  Time has flown by so very fast and it seems that when we look back on our love struck younger selves we’re watching someone else’s life. Ahhh young love.

Nothing too much more exciting that I’d like to share right now has happened over the course of the last few months. Life has definitely not been boring that’s for sure!  I think I’ll wrap this up for right now. I hope life has been treating you all very well. I’d love to hear from you!

If you haven’t dropped by the Facebook group (Blindian Love), please consider joining the group. There have been some interesting discussions lately.  For those of you in long-term serious Blindian (Black + Indian) relationships, after being part of Blindian Love for a while, you’re eligible to also join Blindian Love Couples. Until the next blog

 

A Taste of Home March 30, 2011

When M and I met, I was the type of girl who always ate the same things over and over again. It was rare for me to venture out from my preconceived notions of what constituted great flavors. Then I moved to India and despite the suitcase full of food I brought over to satisfy the kids’ palate, it wasn’t going to be enough. I had no other choice but to expand my taste buds (and cooking skills) along with my mindset toward the culture. I’m glad I did.

The heady, full-bodied spices of Indian food beckoned me into a world of taste I’d never experienced before. I finally fully understood what the phrase, “A taste of home,” really meant.  I knew M’s taste of home (fish curries, biriyani, etc) was drastically different than my taste of home (fried chicken, dressing, etc) and one was no more important or tastier than the other.  They were just different…like we are. But just as we make the differences in our personalities work within our marriage, we do the same thing with our meals.  At least two to three times a week, I cook something “Indian.”  The rest of the week is filled with a blend of Americana, Mexican, and Italian foods. .  If I must say so myself, I’m becoming quite the Indian cook thanks to a variety of recipes and lots of experimentation.

My time in India gave me an appreciation for foods I had not had in years. When I was growing up, my grandmother would always get fresh vegetables from the local farmer. I learned to shell peas and shuck corn under my grandmother’s watchful eye.  I watched her carefully cook and can these foods. My grandmother’s way of cooking with love stayed with me and as a result, I love to cook…I always have, but somewhere along the line canned goods and boxed meals became the norm. For a busy working mom, they were quick meals with decent tastes.  Only during special occasions or holidays did I find myself dedicating the time and love to cooking a meal.  Then I moved to India where sound of the vegetable walla calling out each morning became the norm. If you want a canned good there, you really have to seek it out.  I was in awe of the fresh veggies I saw neatly lined up in bright bursts of color. I wondered why we didn’t see more of this in the U.S.

Then it hit me. We Americans have a very different attitude toward food than Indians do. We gorge on food and it becomes the focus of holidays, occasions etc. We’ll take any excuse to eat and we want it fast. While Indians celebrate, they don’t always celebrate with feasts of so much food that they can barely wobble out. Instead, they focus on a few dishes filled with lots of flavor.  While, M. enjoys eating as much as the next man, he’s always commented on how we always have so much food at different events. He says he will never understand America’s obsession with food- the very thing that’s supposed to nourish our bodies –not help ravage it.

I came home with a new attitude toward tastes, cooking and food in general. My spice cabinet and drawer are lined with the likes of cumin, turmeric, tamarind, fennel and more exotic blends.  Now, like my grandmother, I cook from scratch with the freshest ingredients possible. I have earned my mustard seed burn stripes to prove my dedication to perfecting my curries.  I take my time cooking and savoring my meals.  My reward has been a 20lb weight loss and a husband who jokingly says his AA wife shouldn’t be able to cook Indian food as well as an Indian woman.   Until the next blog!!

 

Black + Indian=Blindian June 1, 2010

Today, I read a post from an Indian American woman involved in a relationship with an AA male for the last five years. They are contemplating making another step forward and she is torn between love and family wishes and values.

Based on the little bit that the OP posted, I could tell this was a subject to which she  has given a great deal of thought. One of the things she mentioned in her post that grabbed me most was this line “It’s difficult when I have been ingrained in a culture that believes marriage is about two families coming together over similar values, lifestyles, and histories and that love is unstable and unreliable, something that will not be able to hold us together” 

Her words really made my mental wheels turn and I know I may get a great deal of slack for what I’m about to say but at least be open enough to know the thought process behind my words.  I think there is something to be said for arranged marriages. There are lower divorce rates and overall, arranged marriages seem to be more stable. Of course there are exceptions to this as there are in any generalization.

When we date are we not looking for people who share the same values and lifestyle as us? Yes, we want to have that euphoric feeling of love but speaking from experience, that feeling will only take us so far when it comes to enduring the ups and downs of relationships. That’s not to say that love is not important and does not have its place but I believe it is important to have shared values and lifestyles.  Do I think that you can be in love and have the things we desire as far as values, lifestyles and histories go? Absolutely! However, I also see the argument behind arranged marriages- IF all parties involved are okay with it. It’s totally different if someone is forced into a relationship because it’s what is expected of them.  I hope that everyone reading this understands that I believe in love. Love brought me and my husband together but so did shared values.   However, I also can see the argument behind arranged marriages. That being said, I only agree with arranged relationships if everyone involved is on board with the process. I’m a sucker for love and I believe there is a place to create new traditions and histories together but I also believe in respecting the ones that got us to where we are as long as they are not disrespectful or hurtful to others. Therein lies part of the problem with why arranged marriages are looked upon so negatively. When parents or relatives that are arranging the relationships are so ingrained in their way of approaching marriages, that they overlook the feelings and wishes of the person they are arranging, it becomes hurtful. I believe the intentions of arranged marriages and the idea behind them were good at some point but when people impose those their ways upon someone else, that’s a problem.   

Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many people who are thrilled to find couples that mirror themselves. I’ve also met so many people who are struggling to find answers to being in a Blindian relationship. For those people I say this, as I said to the OP. You already know that no one can make the decision that’s best for you other than you. I happen to believe that’s the healthiest attitude anyone can have when it comes to making major decisions.

Believe it or not, you are not alone . In the last four years that M and I have been together I have met at least four other black/Indian couples who actually got married but kept it secret for years. It’s such a sad way to live for them. There are always the questions and thoughts  of ” ‘why can’t you tell your family or friends about me? I’m a good person, they’ll like me just give them the opportunity to meet me and you’ll see’”…or “‘ I don’t like being anyone’s secret.’”  The thoughts of why and how they’ve allowed themselves to be in such a difficult place go on and on.  It’s inevitable that people on the outside pass judgment about relationships like this all the time (and for the record they are not exclusive to Black/Indian relationships). That judgement in itself can add a whole boatload of issues but I digress.

At the end of the day, people make decisions that shape their lives and the futures of not only themselves but of future generations as well.  This life is too short to make decisions based on how others feel you should live your life if it’s not something you’re completely 100% on board with. Make the decisions that you know in the end will bring you peace.  I’m looking forward to hearing your comments on this issue. Until the next blog..

 

Indians and “They” April 20, 2010

I’ve noticed something lately and I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about it. It’s Indians and the word “they.”  I’ve noticed that this is used quite often when they are referring to other Indians.  From what I have noticed, it’s usually used to talk condescendingly or negatively about fellow Indians. It’s as if the person who is speaking isn’t included in the group they are referring to.

 M does it, my Hindi teacher does it, and several of my Indian friends do it. For some reason, this has been blatantly obvious to me as of late. However, I’ve also noticed that by contrast, the people saying “they” don’t use it when referring to the positive things about the same group of people. That’s when they say “we.”  For example, I had this conversation with M the other day where he was talking about how he felt Indians were obsessed with money. During the conversation he would routinely say things like “they will do anything to save a dollar.”  A little while later he was saying what hard workers Asians are. During this conversation he would consitently say “we” and he ended it by saying “we will put in 16 hour days, without thinking twice.” 

Am I the only person who has noticed this? I have my own thoughts about why “they” and “we” are used but I am interested in other opinions. I understand the desire to distance one’s self from things that are perceived as negative and embracing the things that are seen as positive but I’ve not seen this behavior on this level before or at least it’s never been so bad that I’ve noticed it before. I’m looking forward to hearing your opinions. Until the next blog…

 

Thanks November 27, 2009

 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. For those that celebrate, I hope your day was filled. We spent the day with family. I’ve been working so much lately that I was more excited about being able to relax a bit than I was about the holiday itself. I believe in giving thanks everyday. I know God has blessed me and my family in so many ways and I feel it an obligation to give to others in some small way.

As we all celebrate the holiday and move forward with the coming days, please remember those who may not have as much as you do and ask yourself how you can help. Sometimes it’s the small things that mean the most to people…so even if it’s raking your neighbor’s yard or buying a winter coat for a child.. give thanks through your actions. Until the next blog…

 

Happy Diwali October 18, 2009

 

M is from Kerala and doesn’t celebrate Diwali but I’d like to say Happy Diwali to all of you who do. I posted the above link because 1) I am thrilled to see an administration that acknowleges this festival given the high number of Indians who live here. 2) I love the brief history given by President Obama about Diwali because even those who don’t celebrate now have this knowledge of why the festival is important to many Indians. 

If you do celebrate Diwali, I would love to know your traditions and how you celebrate. Until the next blog lovelies.

 

A Typical Blindian Day September 30, 2009

Daisy2

 

 

One of my readers got on to me about not posting more regularly. This one is for you Stacee.

There are many people curious about the kind of relationship that M and I have. For some reason, the curiosity tends to lead some to believe that we somehow lead a very different life from others. I really wish that were the case but we lead a relatively common life. Don’t believe me? Take a look at our typical weekday (pulled specifically from today)

6:30 a.m M rises and awakens the kids and starts breakfast

6:50-7 a.m M awakens me

7:25  a.m. M and or I wait with kids at the bus stop 

7:30 a.m. M makes coffee and chats with me as I finish getting ready for work

 7:50 a.m. M heads to our store and within 10 minutes I head to work. 

8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. M works at our store while I work at the station. We talk six or seven times a day 

5 p.m. M or I pick up the kids from school 

5:30  I begin cooking dinner (sometimes M will cook) While one of us cooks the other helps kids with homework. If the kids have no homework, we all hang out in the kitchen and cook together.

6:30  We eat dinner together as a family 

7:15-8:00 Family time

8:00-8:15 kids take baths and go to bed. 

8:30-10 p.m.  Alisa works on voiceover jobs and things for Payson Jewels (right now it’s working on the website revamping for Payson Jewels). M watches television.

10:30 to 11:00 or so M and I talk while he irons the kids clothes.

11:00  Lights out for everyone. 

As you can see, we’re pretty boring. We do occasionally shake things up a bit by going out to dinner or watching a movie etc but what you see above is our typical day. I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into our daily lives. I know to some people it may be a bit “Leave it To Beaver” but it’s not. It’s just who we are. Until the next blog…

 

The Lessons of Friendship August 17, 2009

Friendship 

I love getting older. It seems that with each passing day I realize that I have learned a new lesson or gained new appreciation for something previously neglected.  Lately I’ve been thinking alot  about my friends and how they have become family to me. My best friend and I have known one another for more than 20 years now and I know that whenever the chips are down I can count on her. My other closest friend has only come into my life in the last four years but I know beyond a doubt that whatever I need I can count on her as well. Her family has become my family and the love that they have for one another, I am now thankful enough to have had them share it with me.

For those of you who have traveled the road of broken friendships, you know that true friends are rare to find and when you do find them, you have to learn the keys to good friendship as well. I’m learning to rewrite the definition of family. Do any of you have friends that are more reliable than your own family?  I’m thankful enough to say I do. I have friends who have traveled with me to other countries to hold my hand and friends who have stayed up with me and cried with me when they should have been sleeping. I’m thankful that my backdrop of friends come from every walk of life and every ethnic background imaginable. Not everyone can be labeled a friend but for my lovely bunch, they are more than friends-they’ve become family.

As I get older, I’m grateful that I am no longer afraid to let go of “friendships” that don’t work for either of us. I recently had to do this to a person that I realized had been sucking the life out of me for years and finally I wasn’t afraid to tell her this.  I began to notice that whenever I saw her number pop up on my phone that I either rolled my eyes and sucked in my breath before answering or I wouldn’t answer if I couldn’t deal with her latest drama filled antics. The friendship may have worked for me 7 years ago but no longer did we fit. The conversation was awkard and always framed around the soap opera she calls life. After coming back from the trip to Gatlinburg I knew it was time to cut her loose and I did with a dose of honesty that we both deserved.

M doesn’t have friends, nor does he want them..this according to him. I wonder how he goes through this life without having a meaningful friendship. When I asked him about it tonight, he said ‘I’m just very choosey when it comes to the people I want as a friend.’  Apparently,  no one has passed M’s rigorous test of friendship thus far. I try not to pressure him and thankfully my uncles do ask him over to watch football games sometimes during the fall.

This year I’m learning to back off from work a bit and nurture my friendships with those women and men who have really shown themselves to be meaningful. How do you nurture your friendships? I’d love to hear how  you do.. until the next blog lovelies…

 

Standing in God’s Grace August 4, 2009

I’ve always considered myself to be a spiritual person and in the last week I’ve experienced God’s presence in major ways that I had not before. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I was going to Gatlinburg to celebrate my 35th birthday with friends and family. The plan was to zipline, go whitewater rafting and enjoy the presence of my friends. For the most part, the plan was followed but we opted not to go ziplining for several reasons, the main one  being the fact that I almost drowned after being pitched out of a raft on a class IV rapid. Let me explain.

Off I trekked with two of my friend and their families along with my family to the beautiful Smokies that you see above. My family and I enjoyed a day of tubing on Friday and on Saturday we went rafting with USA rafting. I had confirmed that there was only going to be class two and three rapids because I was taking my twins and I wanted something that would be safe. So off we go on the lower Pigeon River with my friend Sibbreena. I should digress for a moment and tell you that Sibbreena only went because I wanted her to go. She kept telling me how she was only going because it was my birthday. White water rafting was never something on top of her to do list but she said she wasn’t going to go on this trip and not do something crazy with me.  Throughout the safety talk she would ocassionally glance back at me and buck her eyes as if to say ‘are you all nuts?’ 

We finally got to our rafting spot and our guide, Travis, gave us the instructions we needed to navigate through our first few rapids. They were a piece of cake but I noticed the water began to have a lot more force behind it as we got further down the river. Sibbreena and I were at the front of the raft and were setting paddle pace. My twins were directly behind me and M was at the very back acting as motor man while Travis guided us.

Travis told us we were about to approach a class four rapid named the “Lost Guide” Supposedly the rapid got its name because guides would sometimes fall out.  We all laughed and told him we were not going to lose him.  I then asked about the class four rapid and mentioned how we were told there were only class two and three. Travis said it was the only four and we would be fine.  When we got to the rapid all I saw was what looked like a waterfall with the water flowing upside down. That’s the last thing I remember after seeing Sibbreena pop out of the raft like Jiffy Pop next to me  until  my faculties came back to me as I realized that I was choking on a mouthful of salty briney river water. The force of the water had pitched me out of the raft too. I looked up to see Sibbreena to the left of me and I began to scream for her to grab my hand.  Another current then drug me back under and when I came back up I was completely panicked. A thousand thoughts ran through my head, including the fact that I had lost a shoe, and to flip on my back the way they said to do in the safety instruction. When  I flipped on my back I  saw two things that made me completely freak out 1) I saw one of my children being plucked from the river. 2) I realized my raft was exremely far away and that the nearest raft to the left of us was quite far off.  When I realized this, another current pulled me back under and it was then that the thought occurred to me that I was going to die on my birthday with my children watching.

Another thing they taught us in the safety class was to hold our paddle up in the air and shout paddle so that if a raft was near they could pull us in by the t-bar.  I realized while underwater for the third time that I still had my paddle in my hand. I popped up out of the water and yelled paddle only to realize the rafts seemed to get farther away than closer. I’ve never felt so defeated before. I began to cry and scream for someone to please help me.  The current originally seemed to be taking us toward the banks of the river and I kept thinking that if we got close enough that we would be able to grab onto a branch.  As soon as I thought this was my way out, the current changed and began to shift us back to the center of the river. I finally heard one of the raft guides yell out “Swimmer!” But I saw no one jump in..(I figured out later we were the “swimmers” only we weren’t swimming at all.. we were being drug by the currents), he then yelled out “Rope!” They had told us in safety training that As soon as I saw the rope being thrown at Sibbreena who was to the left of me, I realized it was going to fall short. Thank God Sibbreena had the thought to take her oar and grab the rope with it.  That’s how they were finally able to fish us in. Needless to say when the rescue raft pulled us in I was in tears and shaking like a leaf on a tree on a windy day.  I thanked God for having protected me and my family. 

About the time we began to settle our nerves we were transferred back to our own raft where Travis told us we had to resume our positions. I wish you could have seen the looks on me and Sibbreena’s faces. I turned to Travis and said “You want us to do what?! You’ve got to be kidding me” But he wasn’t. Sibbreena and I silently resumed our positions  and the next rapid we hit was a class III. It was harrowing and I prayed aloud the whole time. Sibbreena told me later she hadn’t heard anyone praying so hard and loudly before. What she didn’t realize until much later was how the experience had shaken me in a way that words can’t explain. Later when we talked about what happened, she told me it was life changing for her as well but that she didn’t regret doing it.

Two more weird things about the experience.. when we got in the raft, Travis handed me both of my shoes that had been in the river..my first thought was “what the hell?! you found time to fish my shoes out of the river but not me?!”  The second weird thing is that the sunglasses I had on my face were STILL on there even after having been drug undercurrent three times. I think it was the straps on the helmet that kept them on. Either way I was surprised.

Since having that rafting experience I’ve not slept without being back in the water. It disturbed me so much that I’m constantly reliving the moments several times a day. It’s not healthy and I realize that despite how crazy others may think I am, my goal is to conquer that rafting route without falling out. It won’t be soon but it will happen one day. I know that if I don’t do it, I’ll have always let that moment define me in negative ways.  I am thankful that my family and friend are safe. Prayer does change things.

Three days after the rafting trip, I had surgery. I had already told the doctor’s I have had my near death experience for my life so they needed to be on point. I was in recovery and had been awakened and M had been brought around when I began to have severe chest pains and problems breathing. I was immediately whisked to the urgent care area where they tore my gown off, hooked me up to some electrodes and began to pump medication in me. I don’t remember a whole lot other than My surgeon suddenly appeared he began to use a fist to rub around in my chest. Another doctor (the anesthesiologist I think) was yelling out medication orders. I soon got physically sick and began to throw up. Well as you know there was nothing to throw up digestive juices which the doctors and nurses said was full of air bubbles. They seem to think the problem was from air being trapped in my chest wall. Before long I began to feel better but they kept me longer as a precaution. Again, I feel I was standing in God’s grace.

M doesn’t understand how these experiences have shaped my thought process about things and how scared I felt and still feel. He said our raft guide was very concerned about us hitting some of the many rocks in the river but that he felt assured we would be rescued with no problem because we had on our life jackets and there were many rafts in the area.  He said they immediately got my son out of the water as soon as he hit it. But what disturbs me is that I don’t recall M even asking if I was okay. Of course he said he did but I don’t remember that.

M’s sister told me the other day that he has always been an internalizer-even as a kid he would never talk to anyone and would brush things off.  I understand his nature but times like this it doesn’t work for me. I need him to understand the seriousness of all of this and how it has really screwed with my head. I’m a bit too close to death these days and I don’t like it.

Everyone keep me in my prayers. I’m sure I’ll be okay but it’s only been a week so I still have some things to sort out. Enjoy the pics from the trip.. Until the next blog my lovelies…

 

MMMM.. The smell of a Curry Filled Home. June 26, 2009

Yesterday I mentioned I had prepared South Indian Shimp Curry for dinner on Father’s Day. M loves seafood (me not so much). I also made salmon croquettes and of course some rice for the curry.

I cook curry often but today was the first time trying the South Indian type curry. I must say it turned out pretty good.  I used curry powder, tumeric, coconut milk, chili powder, tomatoes and a few other items that escape me at this point.

I try to always blend our cultures even in the kitchen. This is a wonderful way to expose the kids to things they would otherwise turn away from. They love trying new dishes when I prepare them. Often I have them help me so that they can learn the fundamentals of cooking. I learned the same way at my grandmother’s knee and my kids love it. 

I’ve posted up a youtube video of an Indian cooking show. The clip is for one of my favorite dishes, dal makni.  I love it with tandoori chicken and parantha. Hopefully seeing it will inspire some of you to experiment in your kitchen.  Until the next blog.

 

 
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