Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dear Tropical Storm Danny

Dear Tropical Storm Danny,
You sure like to rain a lot. But its ok, I don't mind, because I don't have to walk around in the city.

Instead I'm visiting the comic family in Boston who have a cat that likes to follow me around and sit on all of us. Some members of the comic family like to imitate how their cat constantly meows. Today we made stuffed mushrooms and it was a bit difficult to not lick my fingers in the process. Earlier we went to the Indian shop and I witnessed how my phupi and phupa buy their meat - by being very animated and loud. The cashier guy at the front left the shop for something and so my phupa stood behind the counter and pretended to be the cashier. In the meantime my phupi bought what she claims is the best aachar that I will ever eat: "Punjabi Mango Pickle" made by a company called "Mother's Recipe." I'm taking it back to NY with me.

I've been told recently that its quite remarkable that my whole extended family still speaks Urdu/Hindu predominantly. I always took it for granted that all the adults in my family speak only Urdu to each other, and for the most part, to their kids as well. In my family if you don't speak Urdu well or have difficulty speaking it, you basically get teased. But no one really minds getting teased - when I was growing up it was a catalyst for me to speak and learn Urdu. I forced my parents to speak to me only in Urdu when I was about 10 because I didn't want to get teased anymore. And it worked, though of course my Urdu could definitely improve.

And so I've always taken it for granted that my whole family still communicates in our native tongue, instead of the language of the colonizers. I realize now though that many South Asian families, especially in these States, have practically abandoned their native languages in an effort to assimilate. I guess my family members are more stubborn to stick to their ways - which in this example, is a good thing.