By far, it was the worst vacation
my family has ever taken. Constant allergies
, constant stupidity, irritating family members, blown money
, nearly getting killed, and getting hit on by a 15 year old girl who didn't know when to quit. We decided unanimously, as a family, that we were never coming back to this hellhole
. But one thing did come out of this debacle of a vacation
; my parents learned who they really were, and more importatly, who they have become.
The trip to India during winter break was supposed to be relaxing. Hang around at our cousin's bungalow, eat lots of good food, play with the kids. Everything went horribly wrong. Before long, my sister, my parents, and I were all questioning what we were doing in this place. Asking that question made all of us learn something about ourselves.
My mother, always the endless bastion of over protection and love. Hearing the words that when I was young, she wished I would grow up and leave to college quickly. She said it in a nonchalant way while talking to one of our family friends who accompanied us on the trip. Luckily I was in the front seat so she couldn't see the pain searing inside of me. My face only told it too well.
But why did my mother hate me when I was young? After thinking about it for a long time, and watching my mother cringe at the blatant sexism in Indian society, the answer revealed itself. My mother was told what to do her entire life. It was not until she came to the States that she realized her opinion mattered. Her profession as a doctor commanded the respect of others. But in India, she was nothing more than my father's wife, despite what she knew or felt. Having a son that would turn out like all the other people telling her what to do in life was not something she needed.
It was not until I was older than toddlerhood when she realized that I wasn't going to become a sexist and commanding Indian man. I was going to grow up to be normal American man. It was not until this trip in India, and this one sentence blurted out by my mother that my relationship with her had finally become clear.
The identity crisis of my father was not nearly as bad. After being so close with my cousins, he realized that he could no longer relate to their mentality. He didn't like the fact that they spoke to my mother, my sister, and I like we were idiots just because we considered ourselves American. Despite my sister being a Harvard grad, myself being at NYU-Stern, my mother being a doctor, we were all idiots in their eyes. My father brutally realized that he was also no longer a native Indian, despite he and my mother being born and raised and spending roughly half their lives there.
Half their lives. Then it became so clear. Half their lives were also spent in the States. Their children were born in the states, and we spoke American English when around each other. We realized that we were a typical American family. Despite the painful and disastrous nature of the trip to the motherland, one good thing did come out of it. We finally understood our relationships with one another.