A TIME I HAD TO OBTAIN SOMEONE'S APPROVAL. . .

A TIME I HAD TO OBTAIN SOMEONE'S APPROVAL. . .

GOD SAYS YES TO ME
 I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
And she said yes
I asked her if it was okay to be short
And she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
Or not wear nail polish before returning to India under duress from her parents
And she said Honey
She calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly what you want to
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don’t paragraph
my letters
Sweetcakes God said
Who knows where she picked that up
What I’m telling you is
Yes Yes Yes
                        -Kaylin Haught
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Growing up in New Delhi in the 80’s, I was a card-carrying feminist.  I was a tomboy who scraped her knees climbing trees and falling from them.  I was the lovesick girlfriend who followed her boyfriend into law school because he was going to follow into his illustrious Dad’s footsteps and since I was clueless as to what I wanted to do next, it might as well be a barrister.

My mom who’d lived with my Dad in England for five years before returning to India under duress from her parents had encouraged me to be outspoken.  So, when I went about announcing to the world at large or anybody who cared to listen that I abhorred arranged marriages, she bit her lip and retreated into the pages of her Woman’s Own magazine which was a monthly paid subscription to the London Mail that she’d kept up. 

When she ventured to bring up teaching me cooking Indian curries as all good mothers and daughters were wont to do in preparation of the arranged marriage market that loomed large, I turned her down.  I curled my lip and stated loftily,

“Since I will have a love marriage, I’ll make sure my husband can cook.”

I did have a love marriage.  I was indeed romantically wooed and whisked off my feet. But, when the dust settled, I realized I also did have a set of in-laws to please.  And, no idea of how to cook for them.  Remember, the old saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Well, in the Indian world, the way to a man’s heart and his mother’s is through their stomachs!

That was before the age of the Internet and Google Aunty.  The in-laws were coming to visit for Thanksgiving and I was stuck.  Back then, we had rotary phones attached to the wall.  I had to carefully calculate what the time would be in India; 12 hours ahead, when it was morning here in America, it was already nightfall in New Delhi.  Oh boy!

When I finally managed to get my mom on the phone, she was groggy with sleep and rambling about spices whose name I could barely pronounce, let alone unearth on the shelves of my local Safeway.  Suffice to say, the resulting dinner, bland and under-cooked is not my favorite memory of my time with the in-laws.

It should have come as no surprise when two days later my new husband presented me with a sheaf of take-out menu options.  I folded my arms mutinously across my chest and raised my eyes, ready with an argument on my lips.

“I have a weak digestion, my dear,” he said softly. 

That stopped me in my tracks.  We’ve been happily married for 26 years.  Uncle Yu’s and Hi-Tech Burrito remains on my speed-dial!

 

 

 

 

 

Never Any End To PARIS. .

Never Any End To PARIS. .

The continuing BALI POST; Day in Ubud. . .

The continuing BALI POST; Day in Ubud. . .