(Names changed to protect identities)
My friend is a liberal and very adept at spouting garden-variety philosophy and telling the world how it should live. The sort of guy who says we should all love one another and how he hates people who don’t.
Anyway, his son went to Houston, as Indian sons are wont to do, especially if they come from the Southern states where they establish impressive credentials. The young man did just that and fell in love with this American girl.
After three months of high-octane thinking, he finally broke the news to his uncle to break the news to his dad who could then break the news to his wife (the mother) and generally let them know that the family tree was going to have a spot of bother. He simultaneously co-opted his sister so that she and Uncle could conspire to locate the right moment to break the news that the apple of their eye was not going to marry that girl they had in mind for his visit next month. Actually, wipe that out…the string of girls they had in mind would be accurate.
Anyway, they gently crushed the egg and after reeling about in shock, Mumsie predictably hopped into bed and went into her ‘woe is me, what have we done to deserve this’ routine and ‘what will we tell Rukmini’s parents?’ The father said, “Told you we should never have sent him to Gomorrah, now see, we have an American daughter-in-law.”
The minor detail left out at this juncture was that their son had omitted telling them he had already plighted the troth, tied the knot, signed the register, done the deed, traipsed along to the tune of the Wedding March and he could now legally kiss the bride.
After Mumsie sort of recovered, virtue was dredged and discovered in the fact that at least the babies will be fair and might even have blue eyes and as the colonial legacy and Indian prejudice kicked in, these factors could make the neighbours envious and things were not all that bad as originally imagined.
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Brave faces were bought in bulk and passed around the family.
Three days before their arrival, he let them know inadvertently that his wife was a non-vegetarian and having said ‘wife’ he could not retract his commitment. Mumsie let out a wail, and as the truth sank in, went back to the same bed, where she wallowed in chest pains.
The father, with the standard level of imagination bestowed upon the male species said, “I told you we should never have sent him.”
Ah well, time doesn’t care for such niceties and the flight was on schedule and the family, through the uncle and the sister, were ordered to assemble en masse at the airport and show solidarity to shut the neighbours up.
There he was, coming through the exit but wait…who was that black girl holding his arm? As they approached the girl lay down flat on the marbled floor in a foot touching gesture her husband had said might go down very well.
The only one going down was this beautiful Afro American medical research scientist with features to die for and skin like milk chocolate, only better, and a voice just short of husky that Ella Fitzgerald would kill for. Drop-dead gorgeous with a brain to boot.
Mumsie sort of collapsed. The father shunned his son by pulling back. Everyone sort of yelped and the more cruel members of the family smirked as they thought of the comeuppance awaiting this section of the family in the neighbourhood. Ha ha, go to America and become rich, huh, serve you right.
They came for three weeks. They stayed three days, the third day because he had to get a connecting flight back to Houston.
Oh yes, they moved to a hotel the next morning, because Mumsie went back to bed and Dad started smoking again. And no one came to the dining table.
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It has been nine years. They have never revisited.