Monday, May 25, 2009

Back to 'settle down'...

I called my mother to tell her I had found an apartment. She promptly enthused about my “getting settled”. Yeah, right! I got maha-irked. Mom lived in hope of our forever-and-ever return to India. By the time I called up my in-laws to tell them the news and heard their glossy whoops and more of you-are-back quips, my irritation was sky high. Barely was the ink dry on our rental contract, and I was already hating the apartment. What signified settling for the moment seemed to have acquired epic connotations.

'I am so glad you are back and settled down in India now…', the roly-poly aunty grinned broadly in approval.

That did it! I am not BACK in India, I fumed inwards. Not to SETTLE down, for sure. This outspoken expectation that our move would be forever left me uneasy, like a boat adrift upon the nautical highs, its compass broken, unaware of which ocean it sailed upon and should storm clouds gather ominously, unsure of the nearest coast. After years of adopting American consciousness, here back in the land of my ancestors, who exactly was I? What was pretense, what reality, I knew no more.

In the afternoon, my mother called and I told her about setting up furniture in our new place and rushing around to get curtains, linens and stuff. 

'I am so glad you are settled now, darling', she said.

Settled? Why is it such a loaded word in India, what did she really mean ‘settled’? The forever stuff? The lived happily ever after variety? What indeed?

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