Tuesday, November 3

My New Family

At breakfast on Halloween, I'm told that I am supposed to go to the first birthday party of my mother's nephew. Instead of dressing up like Pat Benatar for a Halloween party, I dressed in a nice new salwar kameez and celebrated like a Bangladeshi. Shuyojit, my 'cousin's' first birthday was held at a restaurant around the corner from our house with about 40 friends and family. We took over the place--well, Shuyojit took over the place walking around and investigating the koi pond and other tables. With him was the entourage of 15 people wanting to coo over him, hold him and take a photo with him. He was well-behaved most of the night, which was surprising for me because the last few times I met him, he cried at the sight of me. "You have new face," says my mother Dipali.. The white devil, perhaps. But today, he blew me kisses so I was satisfied.

I liked living in Banani by myself, I liked my freedom--but this new place is too wonderful to go back. My mother Dipali is an excellent cook, even though we have power struggle over who will scoop my food: my independent, American little stomach vs. the massive scoops of a Bengali woman. And I love having someone to talk to, my 13 year-old sister Hia. She practices her English and I practice my Bangla. We are both dancers and goof around all the time (she knows salsa!)

Below are some photos of the birthday party, and Hia and myself being paagli together on my MacBook...

Most of the time I just stumble over my Bangla until I think my message gets across. They probably think I'm nuts, but I always give them a good laugh...

Example: it's normal for a mother to serve her whole family and guests first before serving herself. She scoops food onto Hia's plate, then goes to mine. Being the independent little woman I am, I insist on serving myself, in part because I fear the huuuge scoops she gives to me--it's hard staying fit on a diet that consists mainly of white rice! One day, she told Hia to scoop her food herself--but Hia couldn't hold the big spoon! She is so accustomed to having her mother do it that she spilt the food on the table. Dipali turned and said, "You're like your father--he can't scoop either." So I start crrryyyyyying from laughter with this image of my head. I take the spoon from Hia, turn it upside-down so the rounded side is up and try to scoop the lentils as if I've never seen a spoon and say in Bangla: "Why can't I eat? Why can't I eat?" as the lentils roll off the spoon back into the bowl..

I tell you, man, we cried for 10 minutes laughing our asses off. So simple but laughter is so beautiful.


  1. The Mac Book pictures just made my day. it's like home!!!!! hahahaha <333

  2. Yes, I love the pics also, especially the last one. I wonder how many "relatives" do you have around this planet!!!!! Love you one and only Mama xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo