Sometimes after I have finished yelling at my kids, I wonder what it would be like to be in their place. Then my imagination goes a little wild and takes on different personalities, like a desi teenage boy. Here is an article I wrote for Dawn when my imagination was him.
Yo! You have crazy parents dude? Man I’m telling you they don’t understand anything. It’s like after 30 their brains stop working. And if your parents are Desi, man you have the worst type of parents ever! Desi parents? They speak desi, they think desi, they act desi, they spend desi. You can’t help but think “Yo old man why are we here? You should have kept us all in Desi Land!” And they tell you they came to give you better opportunities than they had. But man they can only think with desi brains and all those opportunities go out the backdoor. All my white friends, they don’t have it half bad. They’re lucky man. At least their parents speak the same language. Don’t believe me?
I had a pain in my tooth, had it for days man. Kept telling my mom I’ve got to see a dentist, you know what she tells me?
“Aye Allah! Who knows what that man will do to you putr! Here put this in you mouth.” Then she shoved a broken clove into my mouth and shut it so hard I almost bit my tongue off.
“This tastes like ‘bleep’ Ma!” And I tried to spit it out but she grabbed my face in her hands. Dude you won’t believe the hand muscles desi women develop from kneading all that dough!
She made me stuff cloves in my tooth for one month. Then the dentist told me I’d have to get a root canal. My old man wasn’t too happy about that. Not the pain I’d go through. The cost man! Dude, desi parents have desi wallets. Literally. My old man bought 42 wallets from his last visit to Desi Land. He got them off a thela for Rs45 each. That’s less than 45 cents. You can’t imagine his joy when he tells everyone he meets how much he saved on those wallets. You can’t imagine mine either. Anyways he tells the dentist,
“Just pull the tooth out! He doesn’t need that one much, he has plenty of others.”
“Mr Chaudry we need to eliminate the infection otherwise…” says the dentist.
“Otherwise what? No one will be willing to give their daughter’s hand in marriage to him?” says the old man.
That night he tried to pull my tooth out himself with a pair of pliers. Lucky for me I’m the only son and my mom beat him off with her rolling pin. Those desi wallets are like black holes, nothing ever seems to come out of them dude. Asking desi parents for money is like asking the cute white girl in your class to a high school dance with you. The answer is always ‘NO!’ Desi parents wait till Boxing Day to buy you stuff. Yeah they don’t give you the money. They take you shopping dude.
“Oh putr, look at this! 70 per cent off! And in your size too!” says Ma.
“Ma it’s got a picture of Justin Bieber on the front, everyone will think I’m ‘bleepin’ gay.”
“Tauba tauba! All that ‘bleep’ was not enough for you? Now this ‘bleepin’ stuff!” She’s least concerned about the Chinese couple who have covered their kids’ ears. “What is wrong with being happy? And he is such a decent boy, look at that innocent smile.”
“Ma! It’s something a kid would wear.” I try to drag her away.
“Are you not my kid?” The old man asks loudly and everyone in the shop turns to look questioningly at Ma.
“Man! Stop being so loud Dad, come on…” I try to drag them both out.
“No, this matter must be settled!” He glares at me then at Ma. “Is he not my kid?” By now there is a crowd wondering at my legitimacy. I pick up the Justin Bieber T-shirt.
“Alright! I love Justin Bieber and I want to buy his ‘bleepin’ T-shirt because I’m happy ok?” I scream and everyone gasps.
The seven dollar shirt hangs in my closet. Justin Bieber smiles at me every time I open the door to get the Rs800 Leisure Club shirt my cousin managed to send me with the old man.