Day 148

Thursday, 28 May, 2009

I really and truly cannot believe I’ve been here for exactly five months!!

It’s been incredible, yet heart breaking for me. I’m so used to having such an easy life in America. I’ve been spoiled in so many ways here in India – mostly by the domestic help. Haha. I dread having to wash my own dishes and clean the kitchen.

It’s funny because I’ve touched on the fact that my mother has always called me dark…I am, for all intents and purposes, the darkest of family excluding my father. So imagine me coming to India only to be told I’ve got a fair complexion. I still can’t get over that. Anyway, I was in the mall the other day and they had a promotion running for Dove’s Skin Lightening moisturizer – they asked you to sign up and then they take a before picture. You would win a chance at becoming the girl they used in their future skin lightening promotion. Since I’m such a brazen hussy, I wanted to sign up…only to be denied. I was told while being shooed away, "You are not dark. You do not need this product." I nearly fainted. THAT IS NOT WHAT MY MOTHER ALWAYS SAID TO ME!!!  So off I went, strangely offended, yet flattered.

In my last entry I wrote about my growing love of fabrics. I had purchased 3 saris. Well, I’ve also purchased 2 suits (salwar kameez). Yes, I’ve gone all native! The best part of this? I can’t wait to get back to the US and jump into my studio to start working on matching jewelry…hell, I’ll even work in gold!

Speaking of gold, Colin and I went to the jewelry district in Delhi last weekend (Bank Street). I didn’t get any photos, but Colin did…oh and as an aside – poor bebe’s terrabyte storage unit crashed and buuuuurned, causing him to lose all the photos he’s taken this past year. He still has the ones he uploaded to pbase, but these were the originals and untouched. I felt so bad for him. Anyway, Colin wanted to buy me some bangles to go with my saris. We found items that I fell in love with, but the price of gold stopped us from purchasing anything. I just had an extremely hard time justifying spending $1,900-$2,500 on 2 plain gold bangles. What gets me here is that even though the company may have purchased the gold jewelry at a lower price than the current market value, they still sell it according to the price of gold that day. In the US, it’s normally a fixed price with room for neotiation…in any store. I’ve haggled for things before and living in India has actually made me a lot more aggressive about it. So now I’m keeping an eye on gold prices, ready to swoop in and buy something at a substantial discount. Also, gold prices here vary according to karat (as it should) – lowest is 18k, where as in the US it’s 12k. Highest here is 22k gold and in the us it’s 18k. Indians do love their gold, though.

In a few short weeks I will be leaving here and going back to the US for 6 months. I’m excited, but it’s the flight alone that deters me. It’s going to be a 27 hour journey. The route I’m taking is a bit different than the previous one – this is a British Airways flight and I will be going from Delhi to London, then London to Phoenix. I will arrive in Phoenix at around dinner time. I have every intention of eating a burger. I don’t care if I’m so jetlagged I fall asleep on my bacon cheeseburger, I’m gonna eat it. Even if it’s a bite! Of course, I am dying for a chicken chimichanga from Rosa’s as well. It’s a tough call there!

I was making a mental list of what I would miss about India…and it is in no particular order:

a) Gauri’s cooking and Gauri herself (she’s so cute! she’s bemoaning the fact I am leaving so soon and keeps telling me she will miss me)
b) Real Indian food…not that watered down bland stuff in America.
c) Spicy food
d) Colin (he’s number 1 in my head and heart, but just to knock him down a peg or 3 I placed him at #4)
e) my seamstress, Ashima Walia, who really does make some of the best fitting clothes for me. I can’t wait to have her make more when I return.
f) The fabric here – it’s in their women’s blood and life – fabric that is so incredibly awesome.
g) The fact that I can wear scary gold metallic shoes and know that there will be another woman standing next to me in the same age range wearing something even scarier.

What won’t I miss?

The pollution. The noise pollution. The staring. The driving. The mosquitoes. The dirt that I can never seem to get rid of. There is a layer of grime that can never quite be eradicated, no matter how much cleaning is done. Men peeing on the road side. The aggressive panhandlers that keep banging on the car window.

I look forward to doing my own laundry. I don’t like how it’s done. I arrived in India with exactly 30 pairs of underwear. I’m down to 18. Somewhere along the way the underwear gnomes have pilfered my drawers. Why? Who knows. I can’t wait to wash my bras in our washing machine and then shove them in the dryer. Why? Because I’ve sent my bras out to be washed every week and for some reason, they keep getting dingier and dirtier looking each time they return. I look forward to blue skies. This perpetual mud brown sky with clinging heat is so depressing sometimes.

Coming back to the US has its downside as well – I’ve got car registration (and registering the car in AZ is never cheap – it’s still going to cost $400 to register that puppy) and car repairs to do before I can re-register it. I know it’s going to cost a crapton of $$ to fix. I’m already wringing my hands in agony…and I know the water heater needs to be replaced. So I know that when I land in the US, I’m going to be dropping serious money to get everything running again. Not a comforting thought…and that is NOT including the $$$ I have to spend for my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary dinner. Yea, nothing like stressing me out the moment I land, right?

In the land of Mommy (Nang Corit to the family), she is excited that I am coming back to the US…but not for the reasons one would believe. Well, she is excited that I’m back because I’m her baby girl, but it’s because her absolute failure at planning has left her stressed and anxiety ridden. I land on the 16th of June (the celebration is the 4th of July) and will be jet lagged, but she’s been putting massive pressure on me to land in San Francisco and not Phoenix. She wants someone to do the preparations. While I am more than happy to do that, I have pressing matters that I have to attend to before I can come to California – car, house, dog. Plus I’ll be so jet lagged I honestly don’t think I can handle her fluttering around late at night. I don’t want to sound like an ingrate or sound selfish, but all I want to do is go to MY house and sleep in MY bed. Plus, she doesn’t have air conditioning…lol

So I told her that I need to land in Phoenix first, then will come to California. She demanded I leave India earlier, like the beginning of June. Absolutely not negotiable – the 14th is Colin’s birthday and I am NOT missing that since I missed it last year. So I’m enduring sulky, surly, petulant mommy. I wish she’d understand, but she can’t see it from my point of view. Ever since I told her I am absolutely not coming to California the moment I land in the US, it’s been a wall of silence. I know she needs my help and I’m trying to be the better person, but she’s so angry that she’s completely terse on Skype. Have it your way. I’ll sleep and catch up on bills, etc. I need to do that.

Do I want to see my family and friends in california as the first things? Yes. But I’ve got obligations I cannot shirk in Arizona and she has a hard time grasping that.

Thanks for the momma drama, Nang Corit. Of course, throughout the entire thing, my father’s such a trooper. Bless his heart for being so patient with my mother. It makes me love him even more.

It’s late, I’m tired so I’m signing out.

– Carina –

Day 155
Day 127

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