I left India in 2004 and landed inPortland, Oregon. The first week outside India I was thrilled to see any fellowIndian on the streets of the USA. I greeted every Indian I met with a smile whose warmth and emotion is perhaps best reserved for long lost twins andseparatedlovers reuniting on "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire". My greeting had varying results. Some people acknowledged my smile weakly after looking around them to make sure I was looking at them ( or maybe they were looking for closest exit) or surprise/ shock followed by putting their head down and walking away with a ever quickening pace. Soon I realized that since I went to graduate school and my degree was in engineeringIndianson streets was not a yahoo moment but something that I should come to expect (We did form two thirds of the population of most of my classes).
So the general "Indian spotting" got old for me. I made some Indian friends but did not stalk all the Indians who had enrolled in my college or rented an apartment in my neighbourhood. I settled down and opened up and the Indian thing was soon a lot less important.
I have, however, noticed a quirk that first appeared in college and though it is dormant for the most part, rears its head every once in a while. There is no way of saying this without sounding weird but I find elder Indian parents just irresistible. My stalker alter ego, it seems did not disappear altogether -- it had only morphed itself. I am not normally a very friendly person and it takes me time to actually get a good conversation going. But with the parent type introductions, communication etc was just not a problem. I found myself brazen in my introductions and almost forceful with conversation - "Hello Aunty!!! ". InOregonwith its relativelysparseIndianpopulation I once followed akanchivaramsaree cladmaamiaround in the vegetable aisle offering to help carry stuff until she looked uncomfortable, suspicious and shuffled off to the checkout counter with what I suspect was only a couple of bunches of coriander (not the most convincing grocery list). When I shifted to New Jersey with its large Indian population I found I was much more at home. So I thought all my India withdrawal symptoms had disappeared altogether. Little did I know.
ThisSundayhusband and I went visiting old friends and lo and behold I found the mother was visiting them. All my old symptoms were back. Hello Aunty!! I followed the lady around and watched her dole out 20 fluffychapathiswith total absorption. I gushed non stop throughout the meal and kept offering to serve the lady the food she had prepared while spilling food on her lovely shawl. I enquired about when she was leaving for India and came up with different occasions for them to visit us. I also made mental plans about how I was going to get myself invited again. After spending a good hour behaving in this fashion I reined myself in and said my goodbyes. TheIndiafever had clearly not been cured completely.
And if I am honest with myself, this fascination of mine is probably not just about missing India. Though I will never admit to missing my mother to her face, I do wish we could spend more time together so we could disagree about every single thing under the sun say over a meal I made that she is still complaining about. I have visited fairly often and we do a lot of arguing overSkyebut it hardly as good as the real thing. I think I might actually admit to missing her if I say do something drastic like act on my whim of kidnapping of my friends parents or start making crank calls Ka Ka Ka Kiran style. Until then.....
Recipe - Made dabeli this weekend. I did not contribute to our dinner table much this last week.We went out a couple of times and the husband has cooking bug so insists on cooking almost everyday. I am going to milk it while it lasts :)