Monday, March 20, 2006

Goodbye India

Dear Marc, we're home again. Snow is still thick on the ground here, but other things have changed. Two of my friends have just welcomed a baby boy and we've moved into my parents basement while waiting for our own place to be done.

It took many nice flights to get us back to this silly corner of the world. I tried to sum up our Indian vacation in my head, but a mix of jet lag, red wine and terrific in-flight entertainment (thankyou Virgin Atlantic!) made it difficult to concentrate.

But one thing I kept remembering was the tendancy of many an Indian woman to offer their opinion on myself and my children. Sometimes their frank questions about me were directed to Anders:

"Is that your wife? Do you not control your wife? Why she miss one tooth? Why she have black marks all over her legs?"

He could only respond with the truth - that no, he had no control over me.

I was kind of OK with the remarks about my own lack of perfection, but it irked me when the woman who was doing the metal detection feel up at customs told me "your baby carrier is so dirty, your baby will be sick". She was not convinced by my "it's just sand" response.

We kept Joel happy during the 3 hour delay in Goa by offering him cookies. Indian women all around me told me that "he has baby food in his face". I know. He's 10 months old, still trying to figure out the finer mechanics involved in putting the food where the mouth is.

Here's a picture of art from the international Bombay/Mumbai airport. I have no idea what it is, but it looks kind of Koonsy to me.

Now that you've rested your eyes on all those pretty horses, let's head back to the pool of negativity. The list of comments about Joel was long. To the Indian eye, he was looking "too hot", "too cold", "dirty", "mosquito bitten", "hungry", "tired", etc in absurdum. I'm so happy the Indian people let me keep my baby, since it seemed I was in no way the kind of parent they would have liked me to be.

They would often pinch his cheeks in a very hard way, I'm still surprised he didn't protest more often. Vanja, on the other hand is 4 and shy with strangers. She did not appreciate the pinching and the lifting up on various arms.

Anders came to her rescue, pinching Indian men's cheeks and offering them to sit on his arm. Surprisingly, not one grown man accepted the temtping offer.

India in all, however, was a lovely time, as pictured by Joel, the child so neglected by Indian standards:

Must go wash our dirty laundry. All the Indian clothes are too cold, the Swedish winter clothes have been put away in storage boxes since I thought we would return to a warm Spring weather.

My waiting for the house-look will be an interesting mix of skimpy beach wear and my father's thermal underwear. Got any tips on how to make this work for me?

Love love


Lola is Beauty said...

Your post reminds me of a friend of mine who went to India. Her skin broke out due to the food/heat/dysentry and many Indian people came up to her and said 'hello, you have acne.'
Not the best way to start a conversation...

denise said...

dear emi,

welcome home... i think u are a great mom, i myself try mimic u because u never stresses with yours kids and u find fun ans grace in everithing that happens, including bad events.also, joel always looks so happy in the pictures, for sure he is a very happy child!!!! i think indian woman have too much time to take care about others people lives...i dont have time for that do u? i just get some time to read yours posts everiday. i had became a emiaddict...



varanen said...

I have encountered a deep interest by Indians in your own person's welfare (sometimes nice and positive, but, alas, as you mention sometimes annnoying and lacking in respect).

My take is that it's a combination of being frank, honest and not applying the same social framework as the one we use here back home.

However, I have to be frank as well and regarding some of those comments...hmm were they said to my baby-daughter I would have (Ganesh please forgive me) been a bit miffed.

That's OK.

It's OK to be miffed a an Indian woman pinching your kid, suspecting you of being a bad parent after having seen you for a whole of 5 seconds...

Eebs said...

Glad you're back safely!!

Millis said...

Har du sett det hära? (länken längst ner),2789,790273,00.html

Vinny said...

What I want to know is this:
1. How did you lose a tooth? (Is there a wacky tale attached?)
2. Did you purposely take out a tooth because Marc Jacobs makes a fetching line of dental accessories?
3. What are Swedish basements like? Does yours have a sauna and big posters of nordic skiing stars?
4. What does "Har du sett det hära?" mean? My three-year-old thinks it means "How do you set your hair?" Is he a genius?

Glad you're back safe and sound.

~C said...

After reading your blogs for some time now, hearing comments like that almost feels like they are being directed at you (as in me). Im happy that you can keep your composure and act like a lady as Id be leaving 'black marks' on their faces. Ciao.

another e said...

Haha, Vinny, "Har du sett det hära" means "Did you see this?"

But I like your three-year-olds' translation more. And I would also like to hear about the lost tooth.

-e said...

I'll tell you the tooth story one day. Hint: It involves olives.

Christina said...

those horses, mad I tell ya. like a storm of dust and dreams coming out of some wall just not ready for it.