Wednesday, December 10, 2008


As the year draws to an end, a certain migratory Indian descends on his hapless desi relatives turning their peaceful third world existence upside down in his attempt to assuage the guilt of abandoning his roots.
Picture this event unfolding in your living room.
The doorbell rings and before you can finish your ‘hellos’, your NRI visitors have flung themselves at your in-laws feet, almost toppling them over in their attempts to get blessed. Then, long winded pleasantries about every obscure member of the family are enthusiastically exchanged with a few tears thrown for those dearly departed. Next, follows a passionate speech and a power point presentation on how you should rectify the dismal state of Indian affairs.
By now, your mother in law is completely smitten by this family of patriotic Indians who live in decadent America but are so full of sanskaras unlike her immediate family, that she sits glaze eyed and tongue tied soaking in every word as if they were pearls of wisdom…You grit your teeth, paste a smile and try to distracting the adrenaline pumped Indians with small talk and plates of savories, but that just seems to fuel their fire.
‘You are soooo lucky to have help!’ they gush extra loudly every time your sour faced help turns the corner. You cringe because tomorrow Shanta bai, Laxmi bai and the driver are sure to hold you to ransom.
‘Now if I had someone to cook and clean for me, I would have written a Booker not just a blog’ the wannabe writer throws a jealous look at you.
‘Oh how I miss my mother in law’s cooking! Her puran polis were the best!’ sniffs the mother. Your stomach turns in fright as you catch the venomous look that shoots your way for banning this high fat item from your dinner table last week.
And the going gets worse by the minute.
‘Life is soo lonely there. It’s all work no play. Can’t afford going to a salon. There’s no one you can call your own. No one cares for you. I wish my kids had their granny around. Yadda, yadda, yadda…’ the relentless monologue continues like an annoying mosquito buzzing around your ear.
By now, your desi life in a polluted, overcrowded metro battling terrorists and oily politicians seems to resemble one a hellava giant rave party versus the lonely, dishwashing, microwaving existence of these hapless immigrants.
‘Why don’t you move back beta? Am sure your parents need you’ pips up mom-in-law innocently.
The silence is deafening.
There is flurry of throat clearing and bouts of coughing as the NRIs hurriedly gather their wits and exit visas. Suddenly the patriotic bunch is in a tearing hurry to get the hell out of your home.
‘You see…ummm…it’s too late now’ mutters one. ‘ummm, the kids just won’t be able to adjust to the water, the food, and all this….chaos’ adds the mother.
And as quickly as the desi dekhava was donned, they shrug off their responsibilities to family and country, and hurry to catch the first flight out!
You put your feet up, turn on a Bollywood number, grab a samosa and announce, ‘All right everyone, you can relax now! The attack of the NRIs has been neutralized…till they turn up next year’