So I Married a Desi…

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 2:00 am 31 comments

Desi (pronounced Day-C) is a Hindi term meaning Indian national.  The odds were stacked against us when Hubby and I tied the knot or mangal sutra*.  Numerous cultural and religious differences struck fear in the hearts of both of our families.  While there are definitely challenges, we are both better people having found each other.  In fact, I have acquired new and special abilities as a result of our version of East meets West.

Five Skills that I  Acquired Since Marrying a Desi

  1. I Can tie a sari with one hand behind my back – no, not really.  I need both hands… and a safety pin is always appreciated.
  2. I can cook a variety of Indian dishes such as palak paneer, pav baji, sambar, chole etc. but have somehow failed to master the skill of mixing white rice with plain yogurt to make a decent curd rice. Go figure.   It’s always the simple stuff that gets me.
  3. If I listen attentively, 8 times out of 10 I can discern the difference between Hindi, Tamil, and Telegu.  I won’t know what anybody is saying, but I can tell you which language they’re sayin’ it in.  I can also count to ten in Hindi and Tamil.  This is especially useful when… I’ll get back to you when I can come up with something.
  4. I got the subtle allusions in Slum Dog Millionaire.  Did you see the characters in the film filling plastic water bottles in a restaurant kitchen and then put a few drops of Krazy Glue on the caps? 
  5. I can hang on to the back of a vespa scooter with one hand, while trying not to let my knees hit pedestrians, bicycles, busses, cars, auto rickshaws, and the occasional buffalo while holding shopping bags in the other hand and keeping my dupatha** from flying away… while looking stylish  the entire time (OK, maybe not really looking stylish).

  It may look like just a scooter to you – but in India it can double as a mini-van!

Five Things Hubby Has Learned Since Marrying an American Sista of  Caribbean Descent

  1. He can now pronounce the word van as “van” instead of “wan”.  And by the way, my brother’s name is Wayne not Vayne!
  2. American women are not lazy, contentious, or housework averse – just his wife! 
  3. Apple pie, and baseball are very important to the culture: because I like them.
  4. The art of the multi-state, one or two nights in each destination family road trip. (We try to get around as a family – see La Quinta  for a whiff of the fun!!!)
  5. This one was a joint endeavor:  When I learned to read and write the Tamil alphabet, I was able to read and badly mispronounce words whose meanings I did not understand.  Hubby who speaks but doesn’t read or write Tamil, would decipher and translate my mispronunciations.  After about ten minutes we would have read and understood an entire Tamil sentence!  Ladies and gentlemen, that’s team work.   I have promptly forgotten the alphabet after having no exposure to it in daily life…  I could always learn it again!

Tamil alphabet

There are a total of 216 characters in the Tamil alphabet including combinations with vowels (image from here)
To view my modest henna or mendhi skills please see Planned Coincidence.

* mangal sutra: traditional symbol of marriage worn by women
** dupatha part of a lady’s attire consisting of a long scarf


Entry filed under: Family, humor, marriage, Miscellaneous Stuff, Our World, Pop Culture. Tags: , , , , .

Waiting for the Rain Ahhh, That New Camera Smell!

31 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mom Gone Mad  |  Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 7:03 am

    Era, You funny!!!:-)

    And as for Vespa, I’m sure you looked like a total movie heroine on it with the your hair flying in the wind and all!

    Now I’m waiting for that pic.

    • 2. Era  |  Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 7:23 am

      That pic does not exist. However, the next Vespa driving lesson will be duly documented. 😀

  • 3. cindy  |  Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 7:53 am

    Its great that you have so much to learn from each other!

    And, may I say, cooking Indian food is quite a wonderful thing to learn. I LOVE Indian food…and chicken tikka masala is my favorite thing in the world. But, if I want Indian food, we have to go out and get it since we have no idea how to make it properly. My husband has tried before with various internet recipes, but we never get it right…

    • 4. Era  |  Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 7:58 am

      If you have access to an Asian market (and I should probably be more specific and say Indian/Pakistani market), there are tikka masala spice mixes that make it really easy to get that unique flavor.

      • 5. cindy  |  Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 9:37 am

        I had no idea! We actually have a couple asian markets nearby…I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for the lead! 🙂

        • 6. Era  |  Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 12:47 pm

          Sure thing. Let me know how it turns out.

  • 7. Jax  |  Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Cool. The pictures are adorable.

    • 8. Era  |  Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 9:39 am


  • 9. Ritu  |  Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 9:45 am

    This was really funny. You are almost a desi yourself now.

    • 10. Era  |  Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 9:49 am

      Thanks. That means a lot coming from you 🙂

  • 11. June  |  Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Era! most bonafide desis like me dont know how to tie a saree to apple mehendi and you learnt to count till 10 in tamil and sat sideways on a scooter? You are a full blown desi now.

    • 12. Era  |  Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 12:31 pm

      Awww, thanks June.

  • 13. Sudharsana Srinivasan  |  Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Kudos on the excellent learning. The funniest thing to me is you learning Tamizh from Vasan. LOL

    • 14. Era  |  Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 1:05 pm

      Always something fun going on here!

      • 15. Era  |  Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 1:22 pm

        BTW, I actually know why you spell what I call Tamil as Tamizh, and I can ALMOST pronounce it that way… if I do my tongue calisthenics 🙂

  • 16. Sudharsana Srinivasan  |  Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Ah ! You caught that. You are GOOD !! 😉

    • 17. Era  |  Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 1:26 pm

      Thank you, thank you 🙂

  • 18. Doraz  |  Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Era, it was very insightful of you to share your experiences with all of us! We all could use your take on life! Have fun on the vespa!

    • 19. Era  |  Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 1:48 pm

      Thanks Doraz. I’ll save you a spot next to me 🙂

  • 20. Gary  |  Friday, May 22, 2009 at 12:40 am

    Great post Era! I can certainly see why both sets of parents would be a little concerned about your choices in a partner and I think it’s GREAT that you are happy and doing well. I bet you all have a lot of fun at your house!! 😀

    • 21. Era  |  Friday, May 22, 2009 at 7:29 am

      Hi Gary! We have our share of everything. Fun, concerns, challenges – like any other couple, I guess. But it is INTERESTING 😀

  • 22. emma  |  Sunday, May 24, 2009 at 12:24 am

    i am thinking the counting comes in handy when you have to give warning to you hubby… “Did you leave this wet towel on the floor again? You have 10 seconds to get in here and pick it up, or I’ll……..[start counting here]…”

    • 23. Era  |  Sunday, May 24, 2009 at 4:35 am

      Lol! Why didn’t I think of that? 😀

  • 24. deepa  |  Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 1:58 am

    I am sending this to all my non-desi friends who’ve turned desi by marriage :). Hilarious.

    • 25. Era  |  Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 5:29 am

      Thanks, I hope they enjoy!

  • 26. wordjunkie  |  Wednesday, June 3, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Just saw this post. I’m teaching myself to read tamil right now.

    • 27. Era  |  Wednesday, June 3, 2009 at 12:00 pm

      LOL! I’m glad if I was able to provide inspiration.

  • 28. Srinivasan  |  Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Hi Era, you rock. You are an inspiration to others. Wish good luck with all your ventures… Take care. 🙂

    • 29. Era  |  Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 5:06 pm

      Thanks for the compliment and thanks for visiting my blog. 🙂

  • 30. Juniper  |  Friday, February 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    I really enjoy your blog,

    I can relate to a lot of what you say as I am married to a Punjabi man and I’m born & raised Canadian girl 🙂 I’ve had some trials and tribulations with the cultural differences and its nice to see I am not alone. 🙂

    • 31. Era  |  Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 7:47 pm

      Thank you and nice to meet you.


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