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When India, Born in America, Comes to India.

I am from India. It has been a while since I have been enjoying the American hue in California, The United States. I am a graduate student pursuing my passion in English Literature and also a mother to nine- months old baby boy. I write this article reflecting on how the American and Indian worlds feel different for my son.


In America, Nanit surveillance camera, Amazon large playpen, Chicco 5-in-one stroller, and two faces- mummy’s and daddy’s, mark my American son’s paraphernalia. This paraphernalia is replaced by countless family members working as watchmen, a muddy patio where all the compound’s children play together, and warm laps when he comes to India. Things change here. Garner’s ready-made puree for toddlers is replaced by freshly cooked dalia and khichdi, freshly cooked by his Nani and Daadi. Avocado, sweet potato, and broccoli somehow never make it to the menu. ‘Clarified butter’ becomes ghee and is mythically infused with magical powers that solve anything from cold to fever. A cute plumb lady who has entertained all kids in my family (myself included) now considers my son daily as a professional masseuse, bathes and decks him up spick and span at 9 a.m. She even does his laundry for a reasonable service fee and showers him with love and blessings. If my son is not playing on the patio with his colony friends, he will be found enjoying his Daadu’s and Naanu’s lap in place of a swing. When going for walks, he needs no baby wrap carrier because there is always a queue of people eagerly waiting to hold him in their arms. My son enjoys the full attention given by everyone who knocks on the door to do some chore. This includes the amicable domestic helpers, the gardener, or simply other kids who drop in to pull his cheeks and queue to take him in his arms. Undoubtedly, when in India, my son spends his days as a King commanding absolute adoration.


This is how India feels different from the USA. In the USA, I fill my son’s days and nights. Not only am I his mother, but also his masseuse and playmate. I bathe, cook and feed him. I take him out for walks in his Chicco stroller and become his 24x7 hour friend. There are times when sleepless nights and endless chores exhaust me tremendously. But the milk bottles must be cleaned; his food must be made; his laundry must be done; he must be given a bath; his colic must be appeased; his toys must be washed, etc.; other chores must be done too. The house must be cleaned, food must be prepared, laundry must be done, groceries must be stocked, and my heavy graduate school assignments must be completed. All of this must be done along with the endless household errands. Work is such that days turn to nights and nights to days. Some days I am too exhausted even to bathe him. My body aches, but I must and do persevere. Admittedly, there are times when I am too exhausted to treat my son as a King. Late nights when he refuses to sleep and I am battered and struggling to keep my eyes open, I become a little rude to him at times and feel too guilty about it. Besides, when I play all these roles in my son’s life, things feel tough, but the challenge continues. 


Nevertheless, when my son lives in America, some beautiful things happen. Playing diverse roles in his life, I get to spend endless time with him. I can participate in every mood he experiences. I can enjoy walks with him. Furthermore, I can relish every single expression his face makes as if they are all exclusively mine to claim. In cooking every meal for him, I know precisely what his tastebuds tickle to and what exact proportions. In giving him his daily massages and baths, I can experience his tiny limbs grow inch by inch as if drawing growth from my own hands, as I can also feel his hair gain length in centimetersAs a constant watchwoman to my son, I have seen a phantasmagoria of a delicate one-day-tiniest baby to a nine-months-old naughty crawling boy, without a miss. Moreover, out of all these joyful moments, the most beautiful thing about raising my son in America is that my husband actively plays the role of a loving father. He wakes our son up, showers him with all his love, takes him out for walks, makes him eat his meals, cleans his milk bottles, changes his dirty diapers, does his laundry, and, if need be, even cooks his food or bathes him immaculately. He patiently pacifies our son in the middle of the night while I may be fast asleep. He eagerly pampers my our son sometimes even more than me. If, as an all-time caretaker to my son, I get to witness every milestone of his toddler phase, so does he. 


Indeed, America gives me the priceless gift of watching my husband become not only a caring father but also loving mother to our son. This is how my American son, born to Indian parents, experiences India and America in utter joy.


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Tags: Indian American Indian# #disapora#NRI#American


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