Given the upcoming trip to India there are several things I am not looking forward to. Most notably, conversations with well-wishers and family friends. [And all you Indians out there thought I was going to be another NRI whinging about the pollution and the corruption and other such stuff!].
So I thought of what I could say in response to some of the questions I just know will be posed to me.
Family friend/Well-wisher: So, when are you planning on getting married?
Me [Putting on a very sad face]: Oh well, uncle/aunty, you see, marriage in Australia is not yet legalised for me and my partner. Same-sex couples are only allowed to have civil unions.
Aim of this response: To get them to shut the fuck up about marriage! I’ll get married if and when I want to!
Family friend/Well-wisher: So, when are you going to settle down?
Me [With a puzzled look]: Settle down? Of course I’ve settled down. I’m no longer living on the streets and eating food out of garbage bins like when I first left home. I no longer have to sell myself for money to get warm clothes. So yeah, I’ve settled down now in a unit unlike before.
Aim of this response: See previous aim. Stop asking ridiculous questions people!
Family friend/Friend/Well-wisher: So all your friends are getting married. What about you? You don’t want to get left behind…
Me: Really? They are all getting married? Let’s see…when was the last time I did something they all did. After the 10th, all my friends took up science or commerce; I took up arts. After the 12th, all my friends took up engineering or computers or business studies; I took up psychology. After my undergraduation, all my friends decided to go the US or the UK or continue in India; I came to Australia. Do you see a pattern here?
Aim of this response: To knock some sense into people who think they apparently know me oh-so-well!
Family friend/Well-wisher: You’re already 27 year old…if you don’t get married now, it’ll be too late to have children!
Me [With a surprised look]: Oh! Didn’t anyone tell you…I already have a daughter. You don’t have to be married to have kids. She’s a year and a half and I didn’t bring her over because we couldn’t get her passport in time. She’s with her father. He and I are not together of course but he’s still her father…
Aim of the response: Similar to all of the above. To shock people into shutting up!
Friend: So how long have you been working as a psychologist now?
Me: 3 years and some months
Friend: So do you think you could psychoanalyse me? I have all these problems…
Me: Well, you have to undergo years of therapy and unfortunately my psychotherapy skills don’t work if I’m not paid…in dollars…
Aim of response: I do not “psychoanalyse” anyone. No one uses psychoanalysis here anymore. Please don’t base what I do for work on Hollywood.
Family friend: Hmm…you seem to have become darker than last time you came over.
Me [Excitedly]: Really? You think so? You see, I tried so hard last summer to get a tan and succeeded really well and apart from the parts covered by my bikini I have a stunning tan all over…unfortunately, it’s been so cold the last few months, I’ve been unable to hit the beach…but it’s so kind of you to notice my tan! All my white friends think it’s fab too!
Aim of response: To show them I don’t give a fuck about my skin colour.
Family friend/Friend/Well-wisher: What’s the racism in Australia like?
Me: Not even remotely as bad as it is here…because they don’t pick on my skin colour, they don’t advertise to me that I need fairness creams, they don’t tell me I’m too dark to do a certain kind of job, I haven’t been told I’m stealing their jobs…
Aim of response: Stop pointing fingers. Check out the racism that exists in India first.
Family Friend/Well-wisher/Friend: So now that you’re all Aussie, India is really bad, huh?
Me: Well, no…I still love Indian food and have always complained about the attitudes of some people here and the littering and pollution even when I lived in India. So it’s not because I’ve become Australian that anything has changed. And yes, I’ve always hated the Indian cricket team since I was 12…it has nothing to do with going to Australia.
Aim of the response: Honesty
I’m sure there will be a zillion variations on the marriage conversations because after all, according to everyone in India, I’m way over the hill . Also, since some people brought that up the last time I visited and the dark skin and the racism bit, I’m expecting the same stuff again.
Has anyone got any more humourous tips for me?
Until next time,