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post graduate? not married? living with boy?! Hai Hai, Besharam!

January 17, 2005

besharam = 'shameless'. that's me, right there, one word has summed it up. total thanks to ultra-desi memsahib i met on the bus. {yes, i ride the bus, i like to think of it as enviro-friendly, you may think it scrub-stylee}

"the following takes place between 6 pm and 7 pm"...
i'm riding along and i hear someone calling, "neha-ben, vay don't you come jaain us re?", it's my desi bus pal, rajeev. the "us" is made up of one confused desi (trying hard to be the darkest shade of brown around), his father the double desi (trying even harder to make my white colleague disappear), and ultra-desi (moral saviour of all clueless buffoons, like myself). so u.d. strikes up a monologue with me, she's from bangalore, moved to dubai for 7 years, then moved to t.o. with her family and has been here 3 years. she used to worry about her young daughter, the choices she may have made in a public high school here. she worried so much that she sent her kids back to india.

i tell her a little about myself, how i moved here when i was her child's age, how i moved back to dubai. how i was glad because i was happy in school and did not have the ususal north american distractions (sex, drugs, that devil's music and so on). u.d. kept nodding so vigorously i began envisioning a hemorrhage. i also began thinking she might have been missing her daughter because she kept patting my back (!). she said i came back here at the right time, all grown up, fulled with the values my parents imparted. this part is very true. then...

she say: are you schooling? you must be lonely?
i say: i'm actually working, i get homesick sometimes but not really lonely.
now, she begins to look a little less agreeable and a tad bit more confused...
she say: oh, i see, do you live alone? what do you do for fun?
i say: i live with my boyfriend, i hang out downtown with my uni friends for fun.

she say...no, she don't say...she spit..."boyfriend? you live with a boy?" a complete change of expression from mothering to blathering, followed by an exaggerated swalloing of bile. D'OH! i should have just said "i'm a prostitute and really dig a bit of crack on the weekend". oi yoy yoy, did she ever feel good about her child-rearing ability. now she begins to think i'm a slag and starts questioning my parents feelings (read 'abilities'). at this point i take my leave, muttering all crazy-like to myself.

how is it that such routine items of my daily existence are able to draw definite judgement calls from complete strangers? how is it that ultra-desi mem in 2005 is able to make up her mind with such precision? chop chop, this part of mind that identifies with me is gone for good, HAI-YA! this part of mind that knows change is bad, gets promoted.

tomorrow, i will ask after her daughter. she's all alone you know? lonely, like me, living in a city infamous with the college crowd. nothing but her values to keep her company in the very city i actually made my very first excursion to a disco (ever!), many many years ago. poor dear, just wait till she finishes school, she'll be begging a wedding.

over & out.

posted by Neha
8:10 PM


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