Brownian thought space

Cognitive science, mostly, but more a sometimes structured random walk about things.

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Chronically curious モ..

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Family Notes

Even before I've landed in India, my mom gets a call from her aunt in Houston, TX. "Do you remember my friend Mrs. Somethin-or-the-other? She has this daughter...". See where it's headed? Some aunts here do that. Like my mom's other aunt in Pune who invited her over and pressed her with some ginger biscuits. The next day she called
Aunt: Did you like the ginger biscuits? Mom: I guess... Aunt: So, my neighbors have this daughter; she's a whiz at making ginger biscuits. Say, why don't we go meet her?
See where it's headed? My grandfather, here in Bombay, sometimes doesn't quite get it. He used to be an opthalmologist, and is one of the proudest men who ever took the hippocratic oath. Yet somehow he can't quite seem to link a heaving and coughing (with such wrenching ferocity that I sometimes feel he will turn inside-out) with his "occasional" cigarette. As I was comfortably seated in the bathroom for a well-deserved quiet moment with my book and an easing of the bowels, I hear the following conversation that has left me puzzled:
Gramps: Where's M? Mom: He's in the toilet. G: What's he doing there? M: Umm.. he's in the toilet. G: Is he shaving? M: No; he's in the toilet.
At this point, thankfully, he went off for a smoke. But not much later, he quizzes me about American life.
Gramps: You know, I see that in all these American films, people are always going out and eating and drinking wine. So I suppose that's what everyone always does? Me: Yes. And they all carry guns, and New York is regularly invaded by aliens. G: So are you part of the American culture? Me: Yes.. but I haven't seen any aliens yet. G: Oh.
Sometimes I think he doesn't get it. As the bathroom incident might have suggested, Indians tend to be rather uptight about most bodily functions. We do it a lot, as the last census and the Mahim creek indicates. Still, when my dad was telling me about someone I knew when I was little (I'd broken his leg (this boy's, not my dad's) by mistake. He now lives near my parents' place in Pune and is a big tough guy. I need to go make my peace), he mentioned that his (said boy's, not my dad's) older brother was married and "blessed with a son". Really, I only associate "blessed with a son" with this incident about 2007 years ago, somewhere in Judea, but as far as we are concerned, it's a commonplace incident. Lucky thing Judea wasn't in India, eh? Everyone is "blessed with a son" here...

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