Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How confused am I?

Hmm... I bragged about my brilliance and the award bestowed upon me by 2 unsuspecting souls.. and I got a meager response of 7 comments. So apparently I gather that my brilliance is neither appealing nor does it ring true.. Not to mention the shadows it casts on the rest of the world!
But then I have obtained the bragging rights fair and square... so I will continue to do so! But since I cant dedicate yet another post to this.. I have decided to move on.. from brilliance to confusions (I knew this would seem more realistic to you!)
(Pict Courtesy: http://www.koolbadges.co.uk)
I have finally finished reading The Namesake by Jumpa Lahiri! Why so long? Apart from the fact that I keep being accosted by Cheeky for a slice of my time.. not to mention all the other things I have to do for the two men in my life! Another factor for the delay was the attack of Deja Vu. Why you ask? After all I am Fresh of the boat Desi Mom.. what else do I need to be attacked by Deja Vu on reading this book?
And I have reason to worry too.. when Cheeky was a wee thing of 2 he once told a stranger that his name was "Ronak". I was amused but in the hustle and bustle that was my life those days, let this observation slip through my scatter brained self! A few days later sure enough when he was asked his name by a friend he claimed it was "Ronak". I wondered where he had gotten that impression. After all we had spent the better part of 9 months arguing about a name for the little imp. We wanted a name that was Indian, traditional, modern and which would hold up in a place like America without getting obscured when it rolls of an American tongue. So after a lot of deliberation and careful thought (bah!! not to mention hair tearing arguments) the name was chosen and put on the birth certificate. Also on the 28th day of birth uttered three times into the wee ear thereby officially sealing the deal. Yet here we were just 2 years later and this little brat was renaming himself! He claimed he liked the name "Ronak" better and wanted to be called that! (Pict Courtesy : mindflirting.wordpress.com)
A couple more years have passed and he has learnt to live with the name his parents decided for now. He no longer likes "Ronak" he claims and for now he has not thought of any other way he would like to be called. But as I sat reading The Namesake a loud gasp escaped and I asked M what he would say if after High School our son re-baptized himself to "Ronak". No one takes me seriously of course, so if the inevitable happens I will just learn to live with it! But dont expect me to be happy about it!

Meanwhile I have been coming across a lot of articles about ABCD's. I had always found the term funny without actually relating to it. But now that I can start relating to it, I think its wrong!! They are not confused, we are the confused lot! This breed we call ABCD although very alien to us, are very clear in their allegiances and are not confused even the teeny weeny bit!

This summer when we were in India, a friend of mine gifted Cheeky with a Sherwani.. he thought it was "awesome" and I breathed a sigh of relief. This guy had never seen a sherwani, and thankfully I did not have to sell the idea to him. So I let him adorn the awesome clothes and told him we are off to a Birthday Party. "Alright" whooped Cheeky! Clueless that I am, I never thought to tell him that it was a 1st bday "Ayushhomam". The surprise on Cheeky's face began when I turned up in a shiny Saree to go. "Why are you wearing that?" he asked. "That is what people wear here" I answered shushing him up for then and cursing myself for not heeding to my friends and turning up in jeans for every Indian party or temple we ever went to! After all they had warned me this would happen! At the party the surprise grew when he saw a crowd of hundred's. What kind of party has so many people? My son immediately retreated behind my legs and quietly inquired "Has the cake been cut?". I had to explain this was not a cake cutting but a praying party like the pictures he has seen of his first birth day! (pic - choiceindiasherwani.tradeindia.com)
Then came the real surprise. Leafs laden with food. "Hey whats that?" the imp asked! I explained that this was how food was eaten looking around to make sure no one was listening to my son's ignorance of Indian ways. Can't have the Indian Mami's telling me on how to bring up a kid with appreciation of "our customs". But when Cheeky asked loudly "So do they eat the leaf now?" I gave up! We went and sat down to eat and Cheeky was seen asking the server mama "Excuse me sir may I have a spoon?". Sure enough the guy produced a spoon and much to the amusement of the party this little guy proceeded to eat with a spoon off a leaf and 5 minutes later was seen whispering "Don't they have happy meals for kids?"
If you are thinking this is the story of an ABCD, you are wrong! Recently Cheeky's cousin celebrated his birthday. When informed, he wisely asked "So what kind of party was it Indian or American". So in his mind he is very clear.. I am the confused one! (pict courtesy: flickr.com)

Then there was the Independence day. July 4th I baked a cake and we had a picnic lunch with a couple of Cheeky's friends! Come August 15th (Indian Independence day) I was guilt ridden in the tug of war that is my mind! So I suggested that we bake a cake. Cheeky obliged me and mixed and poured and did most of the preparation all by himself. We cut the cake singing Happy Bday to India! A few days later Cheeky asked me .. "So when is Australia's Independence day? Lets bake a cake for that!". Aaah, the 3 countries he is aware of. One that he lives in, the other that he originated from, and the third one owing to the fascination with Kangaroo's (Roo's hometown) and Koala bears.

On Janmashtami, I asked Cheeky to wear the Sherwani his aunt got him. He obliged me and sat down to watch "Bob the Builder". I prepared all delicacies and put it in front of God and told him that if he closed his eyes Krishna would come eat! So my very amused little imp stood there with one eye closed waiting for Krishna. Then he said "I dont think he is coming today, can I eat?". I try not to argue with his brand of logic. But I asked him if he would dress up like Krishna for me! A few pictures and I could look good among relatives who would praise me for bringing up my son with awareness of "our traditions and customs". I know you are wondering if none of these people really know me? They do, which is why they need photographic evidence! But the imp looked at me suspiciously and asked "Is it Halloween?". What if his mom had tricked him and not said a word about Halloween.. he could have spent the better part of the month shopping for costumes after all! Now that is an idea, shush lets not tell him Halloween will be here soon.. and lets not put up the pumpkins this year.. now if only my neighbors would co-operate!!

Oh well, I try my best to confuse him and he tries his best to make sense of my confused world! And we still live in perfect harmony !!(knew you wouldn't buy that!!)

11 comments:

Fantasies of a Lifetime said...

Li'l imp is the cutest n wittiest of all kids - The proud chiti :D

loved the post. . u really could start writing the- '21st century erma bombeck' :D . . .

rayshma said...

ok... i'm on break... and haven't read this or the prev post.
but there's something for u on my blog.
hop over.
i'll come back and catch up on the 12th

noon said...

Hey Preethi - so did you dress him up as Krishna? KB refuses to wear any kumkum or any such thing on his fore head...he only likes his usual tees and shorts/pants. He won't even wear kurtas. Hoping it gets better. KG on the other hand loves her anklets and pavadais and what not...
What delicacies did you make? Photos of that so we can drool! :)

Neera said...

Preethi, my husband is on call with offshore and I burst out laughing so loud at 'Is it Halloween?', he had to quickly press the mute. This shall remain one of my favoritest Nantu'isms along with the convertible question :)
hmm .so we are confused and they are the clear minded ones, is it ..much fodder for thought!

asaaan said...

You know, I wrestle with that every day. I grew up in Singapore, we celebrated Chinese New Year, going to our friends's houses with 2 oranges, I knew what Ramadan fasting was and how my friends were not allowed to eat till sunset. My Chinese and Malay friends knew all about Deepavali.We celebrated Mooncake festival and Good Friday.

I was never confused, I knew my mum was Indian but I was Singaporean. I(actually all my 3 younger sisters) speak Mandarin and Malay pretty well and now after 11 yrs of marriage, speak Hindi pretty good too.

My kids cant even speak Hindi well and that pains me. A LOT!
Its going to be impossible to teach them about Chinese and Malay customs but dh and I try to do the Indian ones.
Like Rakhi and Diwali are the big ones. Hopefully, the kids will think its cool and do the stuff we make them do :)

will end my long comment here

PG said...

A lovely post! it was fun to read. And I must admit that i have been reading your posts now and then, but I think didn't leave comments. maybe a couple of times? I don't remember now.
Anyways....
Cheeky is a smart little boy!
and I am in awe of your writing talents. :)
will be leaving comments more often now.

Robin said...

We had a similar name-choosing dilemma, since our children's names also had to work in both languages. The cross-cultural balancing act we have to do can sometimes get tricky, can't it?

Preethi said...

Vish - I think Erma was in the 21st century too.. :) yeah Cheeky does give me a lot of blogging material!!
Rayshma - Thanks :) Its raining awards and I love it!!
Noon - KB too? I feel much better now :) Yeah Nantu did end up tying the dupatta for the sherwani over his head, wearing a peacock feather and holding a flute in his hand, not to mention the tilak.. but only long enough to take a couple of pics.
Neera - yeah .. these kids do say the darnedest dont they?
Asaaan - I can imagine.. but I think these kids will turn out ok... its just that we worry too much!!
PG - Thanks for commenting.. will do good to the comments tally {wink}
Robin - oh yes we try too hard for cross cultural sensitivity dont we.. I think you guys did well.. Itai and Maya are wonderful names!

Rambler said...

hey come on..the brilliance of the author and number of comments are not related :)

hmm Ronak ha :)..I prefer nantu :D

Pavi!!!! said...

ur cheeky is sooooooo cute!As cheeky as u expected him to be or mabbe more ;)

n Ronak is a nice name!

Mama - Mia said...

Cheeky is the BEST!! i had such a laugh reading this one preethi!! :D

seriously! when i read such things i cant wait for Cubby to start talking!! hehe!!

and i HOPE he doesnt change it to Ronak! though i dunno what Cheeky's real name is, i am sure its better than Ronak!! :p

cheers!

abha