Sunday, April 15, 2012

Let the Countdown Begin - 15 Month Update

I'm officially beginning my countdown to exit now. It feels great to be to this point. Well, to me it does. hubby's becoming kind of sad and withdrawn. He's talking less and less these days and that's how he acts when he is sad.

I have quite a list prepared for things to do while I'm home. Planned so far:
  • 2 high school graduations (decked out in an overpriced, over decorated Indian kurta of course)
  • Girls night at my girl Jen's 
  • Girls night with my mom and foster sisters
  • Music wars with my brother (we break out all our old 70's/80's/90's music and see who can find something the other doesn't remember. The neighbors HATE us for it and now India has taught me the value of a loudspeaker. *insert super evil grin*
  • Shopping with my niece
  • Mani/Pedi by the most awesome Vietnamese artist ever to grace a salon
  • 4th of July Fireworks!! I'm going somewhere awesome for this one, I'm just not sure where yet
  • Dinner with the girls from my old work. Oh how I missed salad days!
  • Photo's with my dad
I'm sure there's a lot I'm missing. If possible I'm going to try to meet up with some gori's while I'm traveling to all the states I'm going to. I'm planning on visiting a LOT of people that I've missed. That's the best part of going home. Now, like a good daughter, I must con my parents into loaning me the car hahaha!

This month has been interesting to say the least. Looking back in retrospect I started out this past month with a lot of hurt and anger. There was more going on in my life than I knew how to deal with. I can't say it's all cleared up but with this rebellious streak and a little ass kicking I've gotten better. The stress free week has really been helping and it had to be done.

I'm bound and determined that if this has to be my home (even for one more day) that I'm going to live comfortably here regardless of what the neighbors think. I'm not doing anything illegal or even wrong and the people who do have a problem with it are just going to have to get over themselves. I made it through the adjustment phase where I was learning what is real and how to live here and now I know enough. I heard an interesting quote the other day about India. It was saying how all these societal norms seem good in thought but they rarely ever work out in reality. That quote was spot on.

It would seem my husband was raised to think that nothing bad or wrong ever happens here. He's not the only one so I don't fault him. It seems a good majority of Indians think this way, even the ones who watch the news and know better. So in his mind all these things he was taught about how people are supposed to be are true and he's never taken the time to see the reality. I have and now I'm living it. So I shall wear my pjs around the house if I want. After all I've now seen Chachi and one of hubby's cousin roaming this house in nothing but a towel. So if that's acceptable then my spaghetti straps are of no concern. (Which btw MIL has seen me in and not said a word or gasped in disbelief.)

I will also be buying my own personal car when I come back and driving wherever I want whenever I want. At current use of the family car is almost always rejected and the same favors will be returned when I get my car. Say a prayer for me because most of ya'll have seen traffic here and if not, here's a video I shot so you can see what I'm going to try to drive in.

Daytime traffic
Nighttime Traffic

So yeah, I need prayer lol. I learned to drive in a quiet neighborhood and I've never driven in a city with more traffic than Pensacola, Florida and even then it was all organized. Here there is only chaos.

I attempted yet again to fix the food/kitchen issue and was again denied use of the spare kitchen. I can't just use it, there's nothing in there but the counter tops and Chachi's junk. I'm not given up yet. I already have a kitchen table picked out, plans to kick Uncle ji and Chachi out of one of the rooms outside of the kitchen (because they have 3 rooms just to store all the kids old toys that no one has touched since before I came here) and I'm getting a refrigerator whether they like it or not. It's going to take me at least until 2013 to get out of this country permanently and I'm just not going to keep dealing with this crap any more. I get the concept of communal living and I know it doesn't work for me.

I think I'm over doing the good wife thing by western standards. Compromise doesn't work here. It's a very self centered culture so when you compromise all you're doing is making it easier for them to get their way. From what I've seen in this city and not just in this family they have no compassion toward others. It's all about their own individual wants and needs and they don't see anything wrong with stepping on someone else to get it. Most of the time they don't even seem to realize they're stepping on someone because all they think about is whats in their mind at that moment. Since that's how things work here I shall do the same. As the saying goes "When in Rome." Only in this case it would be "When in India, do as the Indians do." Only in my case I won't be following all the dysfunctional societal rules.

So that leaves me at an impasse. I can't be the person I was in the US because it doesn't work here an I refuse to try to be choti bahu. In the US I would wear ladies business suits and heels but that would be stupid here. This experience is redefining me....or rather, forcing me to redefine myself. I'm not so sure I like it or what I feel I'm becoming but the only thing I can do for now is continue on this journey and keep learning. Someday all this knowledge is bound to be good for something.


  1. Sounds like you have a great time planned, enjoy home, and hats off to you for coming back to India determined to get more space. I don't get why Chachi and Uncle Ji need 3 spare rooms to put all their crap in and you don't get to use the spare kitchen or even have your own fridge, this is ridiculous, it's not like they can even evict you, you are family.
    And you are courageous to attempt driving in India, I still have my reservation taking the plunge 8 years and a half later.

  2. Just back from your city. Small trip to pay obeisance , over in 15 hours. As always, loved the small brick old houses around Golden temple. 

    As for the traffic videos, I could have helped you depict the worst traffic in amritsar. When we reached, there were drunk hooligans driving cars at insane speeds and applying brakes screeching the tyres, boys hanging outside the windows LOL :)  It was dangerous to us, I could imagine your thoughts :)  

    Anyways, great to read your EXACT return party details. Good Luck


  3. Exactly! The worst part is that they don't even use all the rooms on a regular basis. They use one of them and the rest are just full of their crap. I did noticed that they finally cleaned out the baby toys the other day though. It's about time. The kids are teenagers!

  4. Those weren't drunk hooligans, that's normal traffic! Since I made those videos traffic has gotten much worse, especially around the Golden Temple. It's so crazy. We can't even travel normal roads it's so bad these days. And Thursdays, I won't even get started on Thursdays because it's beyond insane.

    I'm still listing details for my return. I ashamed to say it (well...only a little) but there's power in knowing you don't have to return unless things change. And I think it's about time a lot of things get fixed. I know for a fact I don't ask for too much and if it's my money I'm spending then it shouldn't even be an issue anyway.

  5. Don't worry about the driving! I got my Toyota Etios in November and it took me a few weeks but now I confidently drive all over Bangalore! I even drive to office daily and I have only "bumped" 2-3 people in traffic in the evenings. I too am taking an Indian break at the moment and am working for 3 months in the USA and I will say there are so many things I miss about being home in India, but it is nice to be able to do the shopping and eating that I have been missing (that you just can't get in India).

    I also agree that you just need to take over the kitchen and get yourself a fridge! It seems like the easiest way for your health to improve (not to mention your sanity)!

    Oh and time will FLY while you are in the US...I can't believe I have already been in the US 1 month and its only 60 days until I fly home to BLR...enjoy it and make the most of it (which I guess I don't really need to say as it seems you have quite the plans laid out already)

  6.  Wow! Still hanging to baby toys! This is insane clearly with all their kids being teenagers they are done thinking about having more children, I would have gotten rid of that stuff eons ago in their position, so many years later they probably can't even sell some of the stuff second hand to make money!

  7. Ugh, I just couldn't live there.  You're earning good money with your writing though.. can't you just move out and live independently somewhere in Amritsar? I can't imagine it would be to expensive... or is it unfeasible for some other reason?

  8.  How wonderful you're enjoying your break! And thanks for the encouragement. It puts the driving thing into perspective. I think my time in the US is also going to seem too short and I know I'll miss my husband like crazy. There was so much I wanted to do with him there but he can't go. I'm going to be a very busy visitor when I get there though. It's going to be great. I'm just wondering if I will actually miss this place.

  9.  Well, for now (since I'm leaving) I'm just dealing with it.When I come back I shouldn't be here long either. But, I told Rohit if anything happens and I have to stay for a long time I won't be staying in this house -with or without him. He doesn't want to upset his parents and it's difficult to find a decent place to stay here for a couple. There are lots of large houses that they rent out parts of to different people but that wouldn't solve my issue. There's some new flats being built right near our house though and I'm hoping they'll be done by the time I need them (if I need them). We've had the money to move all along there just seems to always be some reason that 'now' isn't a good time.

  10. Yeah, it crossed my mind that finding decent accommodation would be a bit of a challenge.  At least it sounds like you're coming to terms with the situation now, and making headway in dealing with it.  I think I would've gone insane!!

  11. There have certainly been days where I came close to insanity! The only thing saving me is the definition: doing the same thing and expecting different results. I know they won't change but I keep yelling anyway because it makes me feel better. Lol.

  12. Return home as in permanently? Or is this a visit? 

  13. This is a visit unfortunately. It's going to be hard to come back though. I just can't stay well living here and mentally I'm worn down from being sick all the time. I really don't want to come back already but I'm obligated to my husband and I don't want to see him suffer.