Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Indian hospitality is not a joke.

Meh, I finally convinced myself to start. I guess since I got my phone today (it has Hindi letters and numbers on the buttons!), I should just commit to being in contact with people. I'll start with my first day with my homestay family. So… my group (22 people, two of which are boys) is all dressed up in our salwar kameez suits that we bought from the same store, so most of us are in different colors of the exact same outfit and we’re standing on this deck watching different families come in to collect their children. We’re like orphans on the line to adoption. When I meet my mom, she automatically hugs me, which makes me feel super great since hugging NEVER happens in India. From here out, I just make a constant line of mistakes. First, the rickshaw driver she brought is the size of my left thigh and he’s lifting my suitcase packed with 5 months of stuff. Of course she brings a nicer rickshaw that doesn’t have an open back for people or luggage, so he wiggles it into our foot room and my host mom politely asks “Where will we sit?” So the whole way home I sit with my legs on top of the suitcase so she can be comfortable. That was a super fun ride. We made small talk as I bounced around on top of my suitcase. My group and I decided that in order to take a rickshaw, you should wear a sports-bra; I hope that characterizes the ride enough. So we get home and she shows me around and fixes me a half coffee half whole milk drink that gives me the worst stomach ache. I then proceed to eat the snack she gives me with my left hand, the soiled hand, the one they warned us to never eat with. Oops. My mom introduces to me to my “brother” Yeshu who is 18, super shy, studying mechanical engineering and my Dad who is this really gentle skinny man with a colorful beard. She takes me to her friends house for the monthly “kitteh party” that all the ladies on the block have. They each put in money to play super feminine games (one is whoever can write down the most accessory and clothing stores in 2 minutes wins!) and then sit around eating sweets and chatting. Everyone is really dressed up and gossiping. I sit awkwardly and don’t actually play nor can I eat because all the sweets have milk. I smile like a trophy wife and sit in my yards of starchy fabric. For dinner, they take to me a friend’s house where I do the exact same thing. My mom talks to me occasionally, but mostly, she talks about me in Hindi to all the people staring and wondering what’s with the white chick. That night I unpack my room, which is bigger than any room I’ve ever had and is this really tacky pale seafoam green color, and I go into the second closet to put away my shoes. First I see this newspaper article with my last name in the headline-- always exciting-- and then I see a perfectly polished shotgun and stack of bullets. My room holds the ultimate household protection. Indian hospitality is no joke.

No comments:

Post a Comment