C. That’s the grade I would have given me and M’s communication a year ago. It would have been a solid C. I know this may sound confusing but even though we love one another and we get along well for the most part, our communication styles are different. I think this is because we were raised to communicate very differently. I’m very open and rather no nonsense. I believe in sharing my feelings no matter what and M is quieter. He holds things in and topics that would generally warrant a discussion for most people usually stay tucked in for him. M says this is cultural. I say I agree to a certain extent but the communication style that he exhibits can easily be applied to others from around the world. That being said, I’ll give you a few examples of what I mean.
Here’s a simple one. ..we talk to M’s mother.. if M interprets, I know I’m not going to get half the details. Amma can talk for 10 minutes straight and I’ll ask M what she said and he’ll say…’oh she said her foot hurts.” I’m a detail gal so knowing everything she said helps me understand her better. My solution? Years ago I hired a translator so that Amma and I could talk between ourselves without half baked interpretations.
Another example.. a repairman came to our business and was quite rude to M. I politely tried to point out the guy’s behavior but M never stood up for himself. Both my sister and I finally got so fed up with the repairman’s attitude towards M that we handled the situation ourselves when politeness didn’t work so well anymore. M’s response? To say, yes he noticed but he didn’t see the purpose in saying anything. For me, I felt it was important to address for several reasons.. 1) I don’t want the repairman to think it was okay to come into our place of business and treat us like crap whenever he felt like it. and 2) To let the repairman know it’s not okay to treat anyone like that regardless of whether its a business or not, especially when we were polite to him. I understand that some people you can’t change but…and my last example of how we communicate differently..
The other day we had our date night and over dinner we discussed family and marriages etc. Both of M’s sisters had arranges marriages and I was asking them who arranged them and how the process went. At some point I asked him how Ambili and Minnie felt about being arranged. He shrugged and asked ‘what do you mean how did they feel?’ It’s not something you discuss you just do it. He then went on to say that here in the US, people are accustomed to talking about choices and how they feel about them whereas there in India people sort of know what is expected of them. In other words his sisters got married without complaint. I cannot imagine marrying someone I had only seen or talked to a couple of times. What is slightly more irritating about this subject is that M went on to say that he refused to go meet families to be arranged except on one occasion where his mother begged him to so that people would say that he at least went to one arrangement meeting. He says he went only because of the love for his mother but he never went on another one again. What irritated me about this story was the VERY OBVIOUS sexism. He had choices his sisters didn’t. He could talk about what he didn’t want but his sisters couldn’t. WTH?
I’ve heard from many women over the years who are married to Indian men and complain about what appears their lack of concern over very serious subject matters. M and I have had this experience and he has explained to me several times that his silence on things have nothing whatsoever to do with how he feels. He says he doesn’t want anyone to feel even worst about a bad situation so he keeps his comments in. I feel sometimes it’s moreso a matter of if he doesn’t talk about it, then perhaps it won’t exist. He has a happy go lucky attitude about everything.
Today I give the communication between me and M a B. A solid B. We talk more because I understand him a bit better and he understands my need for details and expression. Until the next blog my lovelies…