A Journey In Black and Indian Love

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

India Trip Report March 27, 2010

Well, we finally have another trip to India under our belts. Out of all of the trips we’ve taken, I have to say that this one was by far one of the strangest in terms of things being out of whack for us.

I should have known things would be different when we got to the airport at 5:45 for our 6:15 flight. I can’t tell you what threw us behind because I honestly don’t know but fortunately we were able to make the flight with few problems. The trip was longer than usual because Continental has changed up the route that we generally took. It was an uncomfortable flight and when we finally landed in Delhi we discovered that my cell phone and a couple of bottles of medication were missing. We knew it was on the flight we had just gotten off of and we immediately went to the Continental office but they claimed nothing had been found.

Fast forward from the CRAZIEST taxi ride I’ve ever had and we land at the B and B which starts 8 days of M griping about everything he possibly can. “The soap is too small-what is this sample soap?!”, “The water is too cold.” “They want us to pay 40 ruppees for this?! Are they crazy?” blah blah blah.

I finally had an utter meltdown on him about the 6th day in because I couldn’t take the constant whining anymore. He was coming across as a spoiled Americanized brat.  Sure, I had my own complaints but it was only about the traffic and the way the drivers were insanely navigating through the streets. At one point during a particularly rocky rickshaw ride, it suddenly occurred to me just how much God protects us on a daily basis. Here I was riding in an aluminum can with no seatbelts in traffic where no one obeyed traffic laws, where everyone was racing to cut the next person off and it occured to me that I could die in this situation. For some reason in India, I become much more of a risk taker because I know certain things are related to culture and there’s very little I can change.

One of the best parts of our trip was my meeting with my in-laws.  For you long time blog readers you may remember me saying there was one sister of M”s whose husband openly told me they were against our marriage from the very beginning but he never told me why even though I asked repeatedly. I only met the sister and her husband once after our marriage and it was three years ago. Since then, whenever we visit India, I have refused to visit because I wanted an answer about why they were against our marriage. I don’t do fakeness and the last thing I was going to do is meet with someone who didn’t care for something that is such a major part of my life.

Anyway, since the last time I refused to meet with them, they pulled the kid card on me, meaning they kept telling me through M how disappointed their kids were because they had not met their American auntie.  When I have learned about M’s family is that they don’t believe in apologies the way I do.  Rather than apologize and say ‘we’d like to meet with you’, it was easier for them to use their children as a catalyst for another meeting. I’m okay with that because I understand.  I honestly believe they didn’t think M and I would last for as long as we have. Much of it has to do with M’s past as a wild child. They didn’t think he was ready for such a huge committment. I have since found out that the other reason is because I was a divorcee with two children, taking their precious never married brother.  ROLL EYES.

Anyway, I digress. We met with a great number of conditions on my end. I confess I was nervous for a number of reasons.  I shouldn’t have been. The visit was awesome.  I could tell M’s sister was a bit nervous too but evenutally we all warmed up to one another.  The kids are absolutely adorable and I immediately took to my niece Manya. They are both bright loving children.

M”s sister tried to stuff me with food. She even fried chicken for the first time because she thought I would like it. I later asked Manoj if it had anything to do with the stereotype that black people love fried chicken and he was mortified. He said “no way! If she knew there was a stereotype she would never have prepared it.” At one point when I was in the kitchen helping his sister, she said to me, “I like you, you’re all about family.” 

The  night before we left,  M and I took them all out for ice cream. The brother in law and I talked business, politics and family.  He told me, ‘  Even though we only met twice now, we’re close.’  That meant alot to me.  When we were parting from one another, everyone welled up a little bit.  Manya and I blew kisses at one another and I gave all of them big hugs which they aren’t accustomed to. I explained to them that I’m a hugger and do that to show them I love them. The kids just lit up at that.  Manoj’s sister and I exchanged a few whispers with one another and off we went.

We took lots of pictures of the trip and I even recorded a rickshaw ride. This brings me to my next piece of gut wrenching, sickening news. I lost my camera on the trip home.  The last place I remember defintely having it was in the Houston airport where I was trying to convince Manoj to take a picture in front of the big cowboy boots they have near the tram.  He refused so I took a picture of the boots themselves. We were on concourse B and stopped at the McDonalds which according to my investigation since, may have been where I left it.  I’ve called both the airports, talked to lost and found at Continental and even called the McDonalds where an employee working that day remembered seeing a small black bag that was left behind which she says she moved to the counter where they leave things passengers leave behind in case they return. She says she remembered a man picking up the bag. I have no way of knowing if it was mine or not. I can only hope and pray that the report I made both via phone and through Continental’s lost and found form online will lead me to the return of the camera. I’ve let everyone know they can keep the camera, I only want the sd card. I’m even offering a reward for it. I was looking forward to sending the pictures to Manoj’s mom because they would bring her so much joy.  Right now the only tangible memory I have from the trip is a newspaper I bought back home with me.  So sad.

I’m tentatively planning another trip to India in the next three months and this time we’re taking the kids with us.

I think I’ve written enough for this post. I hope everyone is well. Until the next blog….

 

India Or Bust January 24, 2010

M and I will be returning to India soon for a visit. I’m nervously excited.  Even though I’ve been there so many times and know what to expect, it’s been a longer length of time since our last visit…almost a year. I’ll be spending more time with my in-laws than I ever have before. It’s one thing to talk to someone on the phone all of the time but yet another to be in person. In face to face situations, you see expressions and feel the emotions more.

I’ve noticed the last couple of times we’ve gone back to India that M seems to be a bit more uncomfortable with aspects of the culture. He’s a lot more impatient and is easily irritated by the things that I see as just part of being in India. For example, the traffic drives M nuts now on a level I don’t understand. We’re usually not in a rush to get to anywhere, we KNOW before we even head out that there’s going to be traffic and heat so why be so irritable about it? I think some of the convienences of being here are making him in some ways become the very type of person he likes to avoid in India. M doesn’t see it that way. I hope he finds his place of zen on this trip. It’s hard to believe that in a little over  a month ,M and I will have been married for four years. There are days like today when I look at him and I’m still in awe that we chose one another. It’s a journey some days.. we both laugh sometimes because we have such a different type of relationship than we’ve both experienced before. I’m just glad we chose to make the journey together. 

I have a Facebook group update. I know it will be slightly confusing and I have a feeling that I’ve probably created a bit more work than I’m ready for in one way but there are now TWO Facebook groups. One is for Black and South Asian couples only. The name of it is Blindian Love Couples. My hope is that those of us in Blindian relationships can find common ground and support in the commonality. This is a group for couples only.

The second Facebook group came about as a result of several emails I got from several readers who wanted to communicate with other Blindian Love Blog readers but may not be in a relationship. The name of the Facebook group is Blindian Love.

I look forward to getting to know some of you readers outside of the blog. My email address is blindianlove@hotmail.com if you have questions or comments about either facebook group. Until the next blog…  

 

July 4, 2009

I came across this post as I was purusing through blogs that other day. Hello Ji is Hello sir in Hindi. If you’re interested in finding out more about the Indian culture and an Indian’s perspective on various issues, this is an interesting place to start. 

I’m interested in your comments and thoughts after reading this particular blog post.

http://helloji.wordpress.com/2008/04/03/missing-daughters-of-india/#more-263

 

Until the next blog, Happy Independence Day everyone

 

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.

 

Long Time No See June 1, 2009

I can’t believe it has been so long since I’ve had the opportunity to write on the blog. I appreciate all of the comments and the outreach from people who like the blog.

This past Memorial day, M and the kids and I went camping with several other members of my family. Overall, the weekend was okay except for one major glitch. My youngest aunt called M, Osama as he was walking out of the RV thinking it would be a cute joke.  Thankfully, M said he never heard her. However, other family members did and laughed. I immediately put her in check and told her the remark was extremely tacky. I also asked her how she would feel if someone from his family called her a derogatory name.  She didn’t say anything but I got my point across very very clearly to her and the family members who laughed. I am thankful that M has such a cool personality. He takes everything in stride and never holds a grudge.  I did notice that M and my mother had more camaraderie. Thankfully, despite the sporadic ignorance on the part of my family, he said he had a good time.

In more happy news, we booked our family vacation to Walt Disney later in the year. It’s going to be a busy year of travel because we just recently signed for some commercial property for our business and we have to take a trip to China and we’re thinking of combining it with the one to India. I think the kids are more excited about Disney than anything else. Here’s a tip for all of you who have been thinking about going to Disney some day.. Now is the time! Disney has some unbelievable package deals right now.

I don’t know if I mentioned this before but M is by trade a mechanical engineer with a concentration in automobiles. He was working as a process engineer when he was laid off a few months ago. Thank God we were preparing for something of this nature. It’s been months now and M complains daily about how nothing is panning out for him because of this economy.  Thankfully, we were preparing for something of this nature. We’re hoping the opening of a brick and mortar wholesale business will be successful. In the meantime, I try to keep M’s spirits up. Not having a job is emasculating for him and I try to make sure he knows that I understand and I don’t hold anything against him. As far as me and my kids are concerned, he is still the head of this household. That being said, M now feels that because he’s not working he cannot take part of major money decisions. We have to go back and forth three or four times before he will finally make a decision on an issue related to money. It’s frustrating.  I want him to remember that no matter what happens, he’s still the husband and father. That doesn’t change because of job status.

We live in an area that isn’t as open to racial diversity as it claims to be. I think being Indian is making M’s job search a little more difficult. The way I see it, is that those people who won’t hire him because of how he sounds or because he’s from a different culture are the ones missing out and if someone doesn’t want you for asinine reasons, it’s not the place for you anyway. I’d much rather work in an environment where people respect differences.

Sorry it took so long to post a new blog… more to come so until the next blog…

Blindian

 

Finally!! A guest post from Hubby May 17, 2009

 

After threats to withhold his favorite wings and fries, a few emotional blackmail attempts and a few stares, I finally got hubby to write a guest post. What follows is what my act of convincing produced.  It’s his random thought process about interracial marriages:

Inter-racial marriage/Dating………
Why is there a big talk about inter-racial marriage and Indians?Does anyone really know what type of racial divide we have in India? It’s not the color of your skin. It’s the religion and the caste.Now you might think it is only in hindu community that caste and religion matter so much but .it is not. It is wide in the Christian and the muslim community too.
You can be dark skinned and still be from the higher caste. You can be fair and be from the lower community. End of the day, it is your religion and caste and you are expected to stand by it. Now in India you’d even face problems when you generally date or marry for the same religion but a different caste.
 Marriage in the Indian community is essentially between families not just the two people. Marriages are generally arranged. Even when it is a love marriage within the same religion its still mostly arranged.  Family elders meet and get to know of one another and then proceed.  Now normally anyone would say it is a love marriage but unfortunately it is  still arranged.
Now about dowry.  Does anyone know really what that means.It is life time maintenance money to the husband to look after their daughter.
Fortunately I was born into a progressive thinking family who did think marriage is between 2 people not the family.  Basically I never had problems with my decision. I belong to a higher caste and I am proud of it. But i was never taught in my home that there are two types of segregation in human society. I had friends from all strata of the society. I am a Hindu who eats beef,–but that does not mean my family eats it. I was schooled in a catholic convent. I am happy with whom I am married to.
I dont think marrying from another culture like me would be a norm with all the Indians you all come across.Every area in India has their own do’s and dont’s. If you know what to look for then maybe you can find someone to treasure. It’s actually a complicated situation.
As far as someone who wants to go ahead with this sort of releationship, let me tell you that there are some areas and communities that are more tolerant and understanding than some others. Best of luck for all who’s still searching.
  
 

Breaking the Ice with Mom in law May 13, 2009

Sorry I’ve been delayed with the latest blog post. I spent the weekend working in the backyard and preparing our first mini garden.  The kids are excited about the possibilities of the fruits of their labor.

M and the kids treated me to a really nice mother’s day. I got breakfast in bed with orange cranberry muffins, bacon and fruit. I also got cards, flowers and the opportunity to sleep in, which if you are a parent, you know is an absolutely priceless gift. I didn’t get a chance to see my own mother even though we live less than two miles away from one another. She was out doing her own thing. We did take her gift to her on Saturday. We’re up to a record number of words between she and M. I think they passed around 15 words instead of their usual five.

I don’t think M and my mother will ever have the kind of relationship that she and my ex had and still have. I understand they are two totally different men but the chemistry is definitely far more different than I feel it should be.

M is always on edge around my mother. I think that comes from his knowledge of her previous disapproval of our relationship. Their conversation never goes beyond Hello how are you. This bothers me because there is no extension on either of their parts to get to know the other better.  I know that she no longer dislikes M. She knows that he is a good dad and that he’s good to me.

I do think my mother is more interested than she pretends to be. I’ve heard her mention a few things that indicated she’s been doing research on the culture. Initially she thought M was going make me wear an abaya and bow to him and all of his requests. LOL.. Brahahahaha she doesn’t know her daughter very well.

I’ve invited my mother to come to India with us in December but she is basically refusing. It is my dream that my family and M’s can one day break bread together. Right now the dream seems so far off.

On other brief updates. I’ve finally decided what I’m doing for my 35th. I’m having a friends and family weekend in Gatlinburg. Laughter, fun, games, river rafting, shopping and bbqing are all on tap. Given some things going on right now I felt the need to be surrounded by those I love the most.  I’m looking forward to a new year.

Until the next blog….

 

 
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