SONDARYA KRISHNAN on what annoys and what inspires about that trip back home to see the relos
I can never understand how people in India can tell I’m from Australia. They know somehow, just by looking at me, and start talking in English. Which perhaps is not all that bad, because I can’t speak Tamil anyway!
But dealing with those aunties, now that’s a completely different thing altogether. They mean well but…
Aunties constantly worry, way too much, about whether you’ve eaten or not. Whether it’s 3am or 3pm, they want to know if you’re hungry. And if you’re feeling full, well, that’s just asking for trouble…!
I’ve had aunties judge me as being an immature kid even though I’m a full time uni student. Yes, thank you, I really did need to be reminded to turn on the light switch before going in to the bathroom, what would I have done if you hadn’t told me?
If I feel like reading a book quietly by myself, I’m judged as being too quiet. When I decide to talk to my friends instead of talking to aunty, then suddenly I chatter too much and don’t spend enough time with the family.
So I’ve lived in Australia for 14 years. How does that make me a pretentious foreigner who turns her head at everything that is India? It makes complete sense how you know everything about me, given we’ve probably spent not more than five minutes talking to each other.
Planning this India trip, I got my own passport, and organised my own flights and visas. So it is really nice to be treated like a little kid while in India. It’s definitely not annoying at all to have to explain my whereabouts at all times and being told to ‘Say hello’ when I meet new people.
But on the other hand…
Food glorious food
Give me rajma any day! When in India, I never have to worry about food; whenever I want something to eat, it’s handed to me on a silver platter (no, literally, the platter is quite often real silver). Now this is treatment I could get used to…!
Having lived in Sydney for most of my life, I don’t see my extended family very much, so whenever I do go, it’s always nice to receive the gifts, whoops! I mean it’s always nice to see the family. (Yes, that’s definitely what I meant to say).
Grandmas who love unconditionally
Unreservedly and unqualifiedly. Like when I tell ammamma that the data on my phone has run out really quickly and that it needs to be recharged straight away, and she drops everything and rushes to do it or get it done. She never asks me why it ran out in a week’s time. (Parents, please note!)
That exchange rate
Let’s face it, I get to do some serious shopping. Buying brand-name shirts for $3 and Lee Jeans for $5 is really just… beautiful. Words can’t describe the kind of happiness you get for buying something at such great value.
As crazy and annoying as India is, I always feel a strange kind of happy at the end of it all. And when I return to Australia, I really do feel warmly about where I have come from. It makes me vow to always uphold the sense of tradition and culture, and live my life in a more meaningful and inspired way.
Then, two days later, I realise I’ve just spent eight hours on my laptop and no one has even asked me if I’m hungry. Sigh! Now I am actually hungry.