FIL-MIL Mehfil: My mother in law’s quandary
My mother in law sat down in the lounge chair in the beach under the umbrella that I had rented wearing her traditional Indian saree and all that. (I can’t get her to move from a saree to a more comfortable churidar – let alone jeans or long pants or shorts).
She sat down, surveyed the whole beach full of Fourth of July beach-goers and quickly realized one simple math: she had, on herself, more fabric of cloth than all the other beach goers, put together!! Unlike the Niagara Falls, there was not a single other Indian to be found as far as the eyes could see on that hot beach horizon to bend that mathematical curve. Curious, she asked me “Why are they all dressed like that”. To completely throw her off, I said “Oh! They are all jealous of us. They are trying to get tanned in the sun to get their skin to look like ours”.
Well, that did not compute in her mind either. For, she responded with another intriguing question “Tobey amra keno sabaan ghose-e mejhh-e oder moto hobar chesta korchhi”? (Roughly translated, “then why are we all trying to scrub ourselves down with Sandalwood soap to get skin like theirs?”
Touché! That was the richest irony ever!!
(For my non-Indian friends, in India there is a very interesting culture where your skin color seems to matter a lot. Fairer skin is somehow considered superior. In looks, during matchmaking etc etc etc. )