December 8, 2010


Pink Floyd, Atom Heart Mother 1970

My Pakistani ex-boyfriend used to pinch my cheeks and call me "golgappa"Golgappa (or pani puri) are little, fried flour "balloons".  You poke a hole in them, then fill them with a spicy, sour water and a few bits of channa (chickpea).  This ex-boyfriend called me golgappa because I have round cheeks and a fierce temper.  A temper that he encouraged - he even taught me a fair amount of curse words in Urdu (gaalis) to accompany this temper.  For all that I can complain about that ex-boyfriend, I am glad that he appreciated my independence, my outspokenness. 

And yes, it was no small irony when 18 years later while pregnant by my very Indian husband, I found myself craving golgappa like crazy.  I was running to the Indian chaat place throughout the week - I would simply think of golgappa and my mouth would water and there was a yearning inside, deep inside, for that spicy, sour concoction.  I remember one time showing up and finding out they did not have golgappa that day. I thought I was going to cry.

Anyway!  I know that Manoj appreciates my independence as well.  By the time we married, I had already owned a house by myself and in general, have always been far more knowledgeable on sensible things of that nature. We have a running joke where if we are bickering, I will retort "If you had wanted a sweet, docile simpleton for a wife, you should have had your mummy pick you out a nice Indian Girl from the Internet."  Of course, we start laughing because we both know damned well that the "simpleton" part of the Indian Girl Stereotype is so very wrong.  Gentle Reader, if you ever meet an Indian Girl in a dark alley, I suggest you run the opposite direction.  Quicker than you can say "docile", that Indian Girl will whip her sari to the side and cut you like a little bitch. 

Ah, but I kid Indian Girls.  I hope they don't mind.  Ahem.


Mostly, I am okay with being the responsible party.  I enjoy making the decisions, being the person in our house who contacts repair people, who deals with service folks. Quite simply, I like being in charge. Sometimes, though, I wish I could sit back and let Manoj take care of things.  I dream of a being That Girl who has a Manly Man who does things around the house.

And then yesterday happened.

I had run to the grocery store for emergency run of garlic (because yes, if we run out of garlic, I cannot cook.)  On my way home, I got a call from Manoj asking for an ETA.  Immediately, alarm bells stand on high alert.  Turns out, there was a salesmen.  In......our.....HOUSE


Manoj does not do well with salesmen and when one comes to our house, I will trip over my own damned feet in a mad dash to beat him to the door.  He is such a bleeding heart, so completely and utterly vulnerable to the heartless ambush of a salesman. And his heart bleeds more copiously as the outside temperature drops (seriously, who the hell goes door to door in 30 degree weather??!!)  Oh, and if the salesman is under 3 feet tall?  Even better.  Sucker!

With all of this in mind, I put all the ponies under my car's hood to work in a vain attempt at averting disaster.

Too late. 

In two weeks, we are changing cable providers. A deal that means we are going from a single, quad-tuner DVR with ATT U-Verse to TWO SEPARATE, dual-tuner DVRs with SureWest.  Keeping in mind, that Manoj does not entirely understand how to even set up a season pass on our current DVR and realistically, does not quite understand the ramifications of essentially having TWO separate systems in DIFFERENT rooms in our house.  Despite all of my logical arguments that our current system was just fine, fine, no really!

After the sales guy left, Manoj sort of tip-toed around me the rest of the evening in an attempt to mollify me, pointing out that we can get Showtime as I have always wanted (Nancy Botwin! Dexter! At last!).  It worked.  While I am not happy about changing providers (and figuring out how I am going to watch a ridiculous number of shows stockpiled on the old DVR, shows I was saving for the dead airspace that accompanies the holidays), I did appreciate that he realized that I gave the saleman a run for his money and ultimately, saved us a bit more money. 

The next time I groan because I am saddled with yet another responsibility in this house, I am going to remember the vision of that salesman sitting in my dining room, enjoying a beverage, relatively secure in the knowledge that he had already convinced my husband of this so-called great deal.   Sure, I gave the guy a hard time, but half the battle is getting into the house, right?



Alecia @ Hoobing Family Adventures said...

My husband is a sucker for children selling things as well. Luckily they don't usually sell things that are that expensive. Cable companies should really look into somehow avoiding child labor laws for some pint-sized salespeople who could probably outsell the adults...

Olivia said...

In my house, I am more like your husband and my husband is like you. He is the negotiator and finder of all deals. I however, have been known to ask my husband to stop negotiating because "the sales guy already came down X dollars." Actually, that only happened once because of the look on my husband's face. Now I keep my trap shut until a deal has been made, then I go over the contract and terms.

D. Jain said...

Ha, that's funny, my MIL is staying with us and just told me the other day that she was obsessed with golgappas while she was pregnant with my husband.

My husband is the opposite of yours when it comes to bargaining/dealing with salespeople. He lives for getting the best deal on stuff, for talking salesmen down, for wringing out every last penny possible. It's like a sport for him! ;-) Meanwhile, I feel embarrassed to ask for discounts (or for raises, etc.).

Faiqa said...

"If you had wanted a sweet, docile simpleton for a wife, you should have had your mummy pick you out a nice Indian Girl from the Internet."

Dude. I use that one aaallll the time.

Also, mmm, golgappas...

LL said...

This made me laugh. My dad is the exact same way. If he ever answered the phone when it was a telemarketer it'd be a thirty minute phone call, with him listening politely, and gravely considering all the pros and cons of whatever they're selling. If it was my mom, it was a firm, polite, and BRIEF "we're not interested, thanks." Same thing with the front door. After we ended up with way too many girl scout cookies one year (no such thing, I say), she barred him from purchases over $20. Good luck with your new cable!

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

Ha! I have been known to shriek about submissive girls off the mothership, though every desi girl I know is a glinty-eyed minx (including my own village-raised mom) so what I want to know is...where are all these submissive village girls desi parents are always on the hunt for as it regards their Golden Boy. Because mostly I think 99% of desi girls are faking it till someone puts a ring on it.

Meagan @ The Happiest Mom said...

I used to be a bleeding heart for salespeople, but after being burned/annoyed a few times I've become quite ruthless. I've even been known to yell down from an upstairs window "NOT INTERESTED! NOT COMING TO THE DOOR!"

For the first 5 months of my last pregnancy we lived in a large city with a huge row of Indian restaurants a few blocks away. I lived on that food. Then we moved to a small town in my sixth month--a small town with ZERO INDIAN RESTAURANTS.

I actually cried, once or twice, for want of a samosa.