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….

 

Thank you, Thank You, Thank you March 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alisa @ 5:04 am

Hi everyone, I only have a few minutes to type out a quick post but I wanted to thank you all for your outpouring of support that M and I received in response to “Mary.” You all give me hope that there’s much more good in the world than there is ignorance. The louder our voices are against people who simply can’t accept others because they don’t like seeing couples not to their suiting, the more we can drown out their ignorance and hatred.  I have so much to update you all about. Write again soon! Until the next blog lovelies!

 

Where does time go? February 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alisa @ 1:35 am

Life has been so hectic for M and I lately. With starting the brick and morter part of our jewerly business and school starting, it has been enough to make our heads spin. That doesn’t include scout meetings for both kids, my regular job and my voiceover business.  I’m thankful to be taking everyting in stride.

 I’m finally beginning to realize some very important facts.

1) My body is getting older and it needs more sleep than the four or five hours max I’ve been giving it over the last three years.

2) I don’t care how much technology and various gadgets are supposed to save time…to me it only paves the way for more time to be taken away. When I was a kid my grandmother cooked everything from scratch on a stove not a microwave. Vegetables were fresh out of some garden and she kept an immaculate house all while taking care of her kids, foster kids and a couple of grandchildren like me.  I’m still in awe of her strength.  Some things I won’t compromise on like cooking full meals for my family. We do eat out occasionally  but I believe dinners should be eaten together even if it’s not at a dining table. Often my family and I will camp out in the den and watch movies while eating dinner together (lately it’s been the Planet Earth series).

3) There’s only one of me and there’s only so much I can do. If I’ve done my best then I’ve done enough and if the task isn’t completed, perhaps there’s always later…if not oh well.

4) Sometimes no words are more than any number of words could ever speak.

5) The family members who are people I would ordinarily never deal with if they were not family no longer have control over my emotions with the whole “I’m family” excuse. I have some family I would never ever be friends with because we are dramatically worlds apart and there world is one which I have no desire to be a part of and I’m perfectly fine with it. It’s taken me  a long time to reach the point where I don’t care how they feel about me.

I’m in awe of the energy and passage of time. It seems just like yesterday that my kids were babies in carriers. Now they are mini adults with all of these emotions and intelligence. They are growing so quickly.

How many of you in the last few weeks have said to yourself or someone else I can’t believe it’s already the middle of September?!  That’s a sign that somehow we’re not slowing down enough to savor the days and truly acknowledge their presence.  I’ve promised to change this for myself.  I’ll have new posts soon my lovelies. ..until the next blog.

 

The Rearing Ugly Head of Hate February 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alisa @ 10:39 pm

Well, we got our first hate post today (under the “About” comments).  I knew it was coming eventually and with all of the ignorance in the world today, it doesn’t surpise me at all. “Mary” says that Blacks and South Indians don’t mix and that relationships like me and M’s make her want to throw up. Hmmm.  Her post didn’t even warrant me wasting the energy to get angry. I feel sorry for people who have so much stupidity and hatred within them that they feel the need to spread it on a public forum. Thankfully, not everyone is like Mary. If they were, M and I would have never married. I respect the fact that she (or he) may not choose to marry outside of their race but to try to push that same old, tired propoganda on others is …yawn.. so boring. So Mary (or whoever you are), I won’t keep you much longer. I just wanted to give you the attention you apparently so desperately deserve and I’m sure you are exhausted because carrying around so much ignorance and baggage has got to be heavy.   To my other readers, I apologize but it’s obvious this person needed attention badly. I’ll get back to my regular post that was planned for today here shortly.

 

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…  

 

A Holiday Recap and Facebook Page Update January 16, 2010

Hi everyone! It’s good to take a moment to catch up with you all. M spent his third holiday season here. This year we decided to do something a bit different and go on vacation.  We spent 10 days in Gatlinburg, celebrating Christmas and the New Year.  It was the best decision I’ve made in a long time because we needed to unwind and decompress as a family unit. We enjoyed nature drives to Cades Cove, shopped, did part of the Roaring Fork Nature trail (the other parts were closed), played mini golf, went to Wonderworks (and interactive science museum) and basically just slept when we wanted, played board games and read alot. Unfortunately, I was sick the entire trip. The crud hit me the evening we got there and  lasted the whole trip. Even though I didn’t feel my best, we still had an awesome time.

 We had the pleasure of spending part of the trip with one of my closest friends Sibreena and her two daughters. They came up for three days of the trip and my mother and her boyfriend came up to spend the New Year with us. I was shocked my mother even made the decision to come up but I’m glad she did because she got to spend time with M and I and the kids. I think seeing us as a family unit put her mind at ease a bit. She saw that the kids and M horsed around and talked together as they would with anyone else and equally as important, she saw that we’re just like any other couple. We laugh and joke ith one another and occasionally snap at one another just like average people in a relationship. Mom saw there’s nothing different about M from the average Joe. He has his particular ways like, he watched CNN and Law and Order fanatically and drank tea and coffee like crazy. He has an affinity for reading and put hot sauce on everything because one of his gifts was a gourmet hot sauce set that had about six different kinds of hot sauce. He and my mother’s boyfriend bonded over this and their love of garlic.

My mom was able to get a glimpse into the relationship I have with my in-laws when she heard me talking to my niece, nephew and sister in law. We had spoken to my mother in law earlier. I’m not sure why she had the look on her face that she did when I was talking to them. We speak to the kids only in English since they are learning the language in school and the sister in laws speak a blend of Hindi, Malayalam and English depending on who they are talking to. We talked about their school and teachers and a party they had over the holiday. I think hearing the conversation somehow removed the veil of mystery my mother had somehow created in her head about how I am with M’s family.

One of the best moments came when my mother (I think to her very own surprise) realized M has a sense of humor when he made a joke about some  potatoes (long story) that had us all in stitches. She playfully told him “M, now I’m ashamed at you I can’t believe you said that!” and laughed as she repeated her punchline. They talked about real estate and the Christmas Day terror attack.  

On the flip side, the worst moment came when my mother made a off color joke about “Indians and their spices and having everything smelling like curry and you know how they are.”  That’s the reader’s digest version of her comment that has been seriously censored for the sake of the blog. When she said it, I immediately swiveled around and said, “You seriously need to cut it out. That was so inappropriate. What if someone in his family made a remark like that?!” She looked surprised when I proceeded to continue to lambast her about ignorant and racial remarks and to think about her own feelings. Surprisingly enough, she actually half way apologized and tried to smooth over the situation. From that moment forward I didn’t have another problem out of her the whole trip.  She did get a little upset with M about letting the kids going out for a walk in the snow with no coats or hats on but even I upset about that, especially since one kid  was still recovering from a cold. 

The funniest moment of the time with my mom came when the New Year rolled in.  My mom, the kids and my niece and I were all standing on the balcony watching three different firework shows from the deck of the chalet. When the New Year rolled in, M looked at my mom, then looked at me and actually shook my hand and said “Happy New Year Babe.” I of course was shocked at the formality but I didn’t say anything. However, the SECOND my mom walked back into the chalet, he quickly grabbed me and gave me a big kiss, saying “Happy New Year!” When I asked what the handshake was all about, he said “Babe I couldn’t kiss you in front of ma.” LOL.  I told him I was pretty sure my mom realized that we kissed and then some since we were married. When I told momma about it later, she thought it was funny that he was going to such extremes to show respect for her.  Believe it or not, my mom, M and I all went shopping together while the kids stayed home with my mom’s boyfriend since he had a cold too. It was a pleasant time.  This trip was beneficial in so many ways. Two people who are important in my life came a step closer to letting their guard down with one another. To me, that was one of the best gifts I could have been granted.  I’ve posted a few of the trip pics above. I hope you enjoy them. 

Now, on to the facebook page information. At the suggestion of reader, I’ve created a facebook page for other blindian couples. The name of the group is Blindian Love. You can find it in the Facebook group search function or email me at blindianlove@hotmail.com and I’ll send you a group information. Right now the group is set up where members have to be approved. I did that to keep out the crazies and any negative comments. Like this blog, I hope this facebook page becomes a place of support and knowledge. I want people to be able to comfortably share pictures and information with one another without fear of any type of negativity or judgement. I hope everyone understands my decision to control the membership for this reason. I’m looking forward to seeing some of you all on Facebook! Until the next blog my lovelies.

 

New Faces New Friends January 15, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alisa @ 4:45 am

Hey everyone, it’s been a minute since I’ve blogged and this post will be short but I’ll make a longer post this weekend. I wanted to say hello to all of the new people who have stopped by the blog and left comments. You are the reason I started this and the reason I will continue to reach out and share parts of our life. 

One of our readers has reached out with the idea of a facebook group and it’s something I definitely plan on doing ..so stay tuned for more information. It’s coming soon. This weekend, I’ll be sure to tell you all about our holidays, which we shared two days of which with my mom on vacation. It was interesting to say the least. I think the time spent together dispelled some of the myths about M but it also made me realize some of my mom’s ideas about him were much worst than I could have imagined. It’s bedtime for me right now so until the next blog…

 

Happy New Year From Blindian Love December 30, 2009

I do hope everyone has had a relaxed and stressfree holiday season. M and I decided to do things very differently this holiday season and get away from it all. I’m glad we did. We had a nice relaxed time and focused on what the season is really about for us- the birth of Christ, family and loved ones. Now we are preparing for the new year ahead.  So my dear readers. I have a question for you.

I’m just wondering.. do you guys make New Years resolutions? It seems as I get older I no longer make official relolutions ..(maybe it’s because I’ve had so many failed ones. Now I just sit and contemplate the prior months and look ahead to things I want to improve in the new year but I don’t promise myself to do them . What about you? If you make resolutions how about sharing them with us?

 

Communication in the Key of C December 1, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alisa @ 5:52 am

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…

 

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…