I am Indian

 “Are you from China?” 
 “Can you speak Hindi?” 
“What does snake meat taste like?” 
“You must be a Buddhist!” 
“Is your dad in ULFA?” 
“Are you a Chinki?”
 “Oh! so you must eat momos for breakfast, lunch and dinner”
Most of us from the North East living in other parts of India are used to this line of questioning from well-meaning friends to curious colleagues and at times the nosy neighborhood Aunty.

I am a petite 5’2 with hooded eyes, blunt nose and reddish brown hair. I wear shorts and speak English with a slight American accent and I am an Indian from the North East.

In my 3 years in Chennai, I have stopped being infuriated at such remarks/questions and always address these inquisitions with utmost politeness. However, I have never stopped wondering how Indians can be so ignorant about their own country!

Perhaps I am tolerant because I have never been subjected to disparaging slurs or could be they were lost in translation – as the extent of my Tamil only covers conversation with the auto-wallah – I do not know.
Hari, from office, once remarked, “You are surprisingly civilized for someone from the North East!” That was 2 years 8 months ago. Today he cooks Masor Tenga and Omita daal as well as my mom!

But I digress… because this post is about meeting the in-laws. 

Having dated for a couple of years, Nitin proposed and I said yes! When we broke the good news to our parents they were – shall we say – slightly apprehensive. Given that Nitin belongs to a conservative Tamil family and I am an Assamese, we were lucky there were no outright oppositions or threats or worse – tears.

So when Nitin’s parents flew in from Dubai for Diwali, I decided that I should try and charm them over dinner.

On the d-day, I cleaned and dusted till every surface sparkled before I threw myself whole-heartedly into preparing a feast. I was putting the final touches and patting myself on the back when the bell rang.

What! Was it time already?

So immersed I was in preparing the perfect dinner that I had lost track of time and had missed out on changing out of my shorts! I made a split second decision not to keep my guests waiting at the door, took a deep breath and opened the door. Needless to say three pairs of eyes almost popped out of their sockets.

Not how I wanted the evening to start.

As soon as they were seated I excused myself to go change, apologizing as sincerely as I could for my lack of time management. I had originally planned a very traditional attire complete with bindi and flowers but I could not very well go to such extreme transformation... It would look like I was trying too hard (which I was) and more importantly there was no time! So, I threw on a simple salwar suit and joined my might-never-be in-laws.

After a few awkward attempts at conversations I decided to serve dinner... At least eating would serve as an excuse for not talking, I thought. Fortunately, the mood visibly lightened at the sight of food – fluffy white idlis, crispy dosas, tangy chutney, spicy sambhar, rice, murgir jool (an assamese delicacy) and for desserts peetha and creamy sweet lassi!

Suddenly everyone was praising my culinary skills … Nitin later told me his parents had expected to dine on noodles and momos … as well as my housekeeping skills. They even appreciated the simplicity in my clothing! The best part is – conversation flowed!

Like the good folks at Lufthansa likes to say – “There is no better host than an Indian” and “Nothing says home like a truly Indian meal
It was an unforgettable evening.

In our differences we are the same... We North-Easterns are #MoreIndianThanYouThink!

PS: Nitin and I got married last December! 



This post is my entry for a campaign by Indiblogger and Lufthansa

No comments:

Post a Comment