One tight one

July 25, 2008 at 9:44 pm Leave a comment

If you’re single and making decent money in the US, you probably do some or all of these things on weekends- you go to the mall to shop, you go drinking with your friends, if you’re religious, you go to the temple, if your parents are hoping you’ll get hitched this year at least then you go on what I like to call- ‘shaadi-dates’ (but what should actually be known as “mental-illness-inducing vortices of awkwardness.”) Occasionally, you’ll go visit other single friends in nearby cities or states so that you can go with them to the mall, drink with them, and swap stories about their mental-illness-inducing vortices of awkwardness.

But the one thing you’re sometimes FORCED to do on weekends is a Walmart run or a Target run. THAT is when the sh*t hits the roof, for me anyway, and makes me realize that perhaps the reason I am not married yet, is because my subconscious won’t permit me to enter the state of holy matrimony, which is only the first step towards the decidedly UNHOLY state of maternity!

I like to think of myself as a sensible, kindly individual, one that likes children for the most part. I enjoy babies. Like to count the tyres they have on their chubby arms and legs. I like to tickle them and make them gurgle with delight. I like asking toddlers silly questions and hearing their adorably intelligent answers. Seeing as I share a lot of their interests- Avatar on Nickelodeon, PSP, Gianormous amounts of ice-cream- kids and I, we get along pretty darned well. But then, all of a sudden, along comes a weekend demanding a Target run.

Desi kids at Walmart/Target/ Kmart seem to me like they’ve suddenly either discovered the existence of a previously unknown nasty side, or like they are their own evil twin, whose purpose in life is to embarrass their poor desi parents who cannot even resort to the standard desi fallback of ‘one tight one’!

I talk only of the desi kids because the very first week that I set foot in this country, I knew, so long as the parents here continue treat their kids like mature adults/ friends/ thinking partners/ drinking buddies, no good can come of it, and no kid will behave in a supermarket. The old Indian standby of ‘one tight one’ is a non-existent concept here. And more’s the pity. I’ve seen plenty of angelic blondes and cherubic brunettes kicking and screaming who could’ve done marvelously with one.

I have a theory about why desi kids go insane only or particularly at Target and Walmart. They look around. The see the gora angels and cherubs on the floor, banging their little fists, kicking out as the hassled gora parents says “Jeremy, sweetie, don’t bang the floor with your fists, it’s unsanitary”. In the face of that superb bit of parenting, Jeremy continues to bang the floor, and throws in a face blue from holding his breath for good measure. Little Aryan or Nikita [and by the way, why can’t Indian parents in the States do a better job of naming their kids?] looks over, learns that parents may be controlled by such simple yet wonderful means as breath-holding and fist-banging, and decides to try it out at the first available opportunity.

Poor unsuspecting parent of Aryan/Nikita, in the home linen aisle suddenly hears, “Papa, can I have the toy/ game we just saw?” “No, you have enough toys at home” says responsible desi parent. “Waaaahhhhhh” goes the now-wise desi kid. “But I waaaaaannnnnt ittttttt. I don’t have spiderman. Everyone has spiderman! I waaaaannnttttt iiiitttttt.” Parent turns around, shocked, looking a bit like they’ve just seen their dead grandmother, and tries to pacify the child with “But beta, remember, we bought batman last week? And we have to run home now, or we will miss Spongebob!” To no avail. The whining turns into wailing which can soon turn into a full-blown tantrum.

Parents looks like they wish they’d never given up the use of contraceptives. Parents look at each other with open hostility, as though to declare “this unattractive whiny/waily quality our offspring is currently displaying comes from YOUR side of the family!” Parents’ look changes from shocked to accusatory to murderous. They know what would put an end to this. One tight one. Unfortunately, they’re in Target. And Target is in the US. Target is not a good place to administer a dose of ‘one tight one’. So they do the next best thing. They tell the child, “if you don’t start behaving yourself in exactly 1 minute, you’re going to get one tight one, as soon as we get home.” Child, blissfully unaware of the mysterious ‘one tight one’ continues to wail.

Parents forget about shopping anymore, grab their little, howling bundle of sorrow and runnnnnn out of Target. Mommy straps Aryan or Nikita in, extra tight. Papa drives like the fuzz is on his tail. They get home in record time, to the loud sounds of spiderman-deprivation. They get into the house, and that child, that beloved angel, that little American baby, finally becomes a desi-they’ve learnt what ‘one tight one’ means.

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The OTHER men Charge of the Little Boy brigade, OR ‘Mommy take care of me’

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