Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Puppy Times

Second day with my family. I’m like the new puppy you bring to the park. Everyone is transfixed by you and wants to know about you, where you’re from, how old you are, what you’re doing. Except, you can’t speak for yourself, so your owner, or in this case my mom, speaks for me. I can’t understand her, so I sit, look nice and scratch my head. Don’t get the wrong impression though about my host mom; she is fantastic. She is 54 and incredibly elegant and speaks with the greatest Indian British English. She says really genuine and endearing things all the time in English, like “oh mi gahd, what am I doing?” about spilled veggies and “you have ghost pimples!” (goose bumps) when she sits outside with me waiting for my rickshaw to take me to school. She is a total socialite and spends the day talking to friends, cooking, and shopping. One of the first things she told me was her family’s caste: Rajput. No really sure what that means. We go to her in-laws for lunch andthe food is of course fantastic. The brother is this adorable short, round man with a mustache that makes him exactly resemble the little man from monopoly. I try to follow what they do by eating only with my hands and using a chapati as my utensil. You use it to pick up your food and then eat it with your food. The family is all chatting rapidly in Hindi, so I concentrate on teaching myself how to eat with my hands. It’s a lot harder than you think when there’s a proper method and left hand is inherently “soiled.” I start chasing this potato around my plate for a good thirty seconds before I realize that the table is silent. I look up and everyone bursts out laughing at me as I finally pick up my potato wedge and sheepishly eat it. The little monopoly man gives me a fork and tells me it’s ok to use my american tools.

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