Ruminations of a Red Dirt Hussy

October 4, 2015

Yay! It’s a wife.

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 4:06 pm

I had a student once whose parents, for her 18th birthday, bought her a brand new Nissan Xterra. She refused to drive it because she hated the color and had been in a standoff with her parents for two weeks. Either they exchanged it or had it painted, or she wasn’t driving it. By the third week, it was the right color.

Oh. My. God.

I’ve seen situations like that many times since then, and I’m always astonished at the sense of entitlement, the depth and breadth of the demands—not to mention the number of times parents give up and give in.

But this is what happened when I was at work Wednesday.

This young Indian man (dot not feather, and yeah, I know, I need to get some sensitivity training but I’m in a hurry and I truly hope it’s the worst thing I ever say) skidded to a stop in front of my office door, kind of excited and breathless. Not the first man to approach me that way, of course. Oh, all right. Don’t be getting all judge-y on me. Ya’ll made me what I am by encouraging me, and you know it.

Anyway, he was a very handsome young man, well-dressed, even wearing shoes that had to be polished, people. I don’t care how much a pair of tennis shoes cost you, nothing says more about a man than polished shoes. Well, wait. OK. Never mind. I’m not going there.

So he told me he was in my online, his last before he received his degree from OSU. I had to ask him his name 3 times because his first name had 10 letters and his last name had 14, and it sounded lovely rolling off his tongue but no way in hell did I understand it, even in his perfect English. Nor could I have repeated it. I have trouble with “Carol Johnson.”

He said he was on his way to the airport to go home to India, where he hadn’t been in 5 years. I said I hoped no one was sick, and he said, no, no.

“When my brother called, I asked him if my parents were all right and he said yes. I think he might have been laughing a little. I definitely heard my sister giggling.”

Wow. Okay. Kind of weird. India’s very far away. I think. Geography and I are not well-acquainted. I try, but, you know. There’s just so much of it.

I asked when he was coming back.

“Never. At least, it does not seem likely right now. I asked my brother, ‘Should I get a round trip ticket or a one-way ticket,’ and he said one-way.”

The odd part to me is his attitude. He wasn’t pissed off. He didn’t feel jerked around by his family. He just seemed excited and nervous.

I am totally a busybody. Inquiring minds want to know.

“So if nobody is sick, what could it be?” I asked him.

He sat in the chair by my desk, jiggling his leg and fiddling with his sunglasses. “I am not sure. My parents rented a bus, and my whole family is coming to the airport to meet me. All 16 of them.” His mind was clearly racing.

“I’m the oldest son,” he said. “My brother? The one who called me? He is already engaged, and that is not right in our culture. It is a shame to my family if he marries first.” He stared at my coat rack for a minute, then stood.

“A wife,” he said. “Yes. It is definitely a wife.”

And I am not kidding, that guy’s grin went from one ear to the other.

“Really?” I know I squeaked. I couldn’t help it. “A wife? One you haven’t met?”

“It is how we do things in my country.”

So he went to the door, turned and looked at me and said, “Man. This is going to be so cool.”

And then, with promises to email me his few remaining assignments, he was gone. Home to India to meet the woman with whom he would share his life, the woman his parents had selected for him.

Somehow, I think they’ll probably get along just fine.



  1. I can’t believe you wrote something with such a sweet ending. But knowing our students from India, it’s believable! And they will be happy.


    Comment by Sally Bright — October 4, 2015 @ 8:57 pm | Reply

    • I know. I am so sarcastic most of the time, probably because it hurts less to be sarcastic than it does to let the sweet stuff in.


      Comment by Vadasmaker — October 5, 2015 @ 9:04 pm | Reply

  2. Great story, beautifully written.


    Comment by Loulou Harrington — October 5, 2015 @ 11:57 am | Reply

  3. Anyone who knows you, knows you are a chocolate-covered cherry: hard on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside. Just like every other survivor I have ever met! Love and hugs to the gooey side and ” a high-five to the harder side.


    Comment by pony-tale — October 6, 2015 @ 12:19 pm | Reply

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