I feel rather babbly right now, and my sweet wife is sleeping off her nausea while my sweet baby is sleeping in the other room.
This weekend was another family wedding, this time for my cousin Dimple. I can sum up the wedding like this: it was mostly a mess, and full of awkward and maddening obligations, but at the end of it she and her husband were deliriously happy, and I was glad to be a part of it.
The weekend was tough because Jyotsna is being hit hard by this pregnancy, and the driving and the traveling and the late nights take a toll. And, of course, having an almost 10 month old makes every action three times more complicated, most notably staying out late. (Late defined as past 7pm, mind you.) Honestly, Annika did amazingly well. She got passed around like a hot potato, and stayed reasonably even keel even til the late hours. Jyotsna and I are at least similar in the sense that we’re happy to give her up to other people to cuddle and play with – none of this, “Must have my baby within arm’s reach” thing for us – and ultimately I think it benefits her to bond with her extended family and friends.
I think that’s what I appreciate most about Indian weddings. There’s lots of glad-handing and small talk, but seeing familiar faces – ones that I’ve known since childhood – coming together gives me a sense of belonging that’s hard to duplicate any where else.
Sure, the web of interconnectivity that exists in first /second generation Indian culture can be maddening. It’s a double edged sword – for every occasion where you have the depth of connection and resources to rely on, there is an occasion when that connection relies on you for something. You can’t have one without the other. I see that dynamic with my parents and their generation in spades. Our generation has it to a lesser degree – I’m blessed with a number of connections to peers, but it seems that sense of commitment, obligation and connection is attentuated somewhat by a number of factors. I wonder what it’ll be like for Annika and her generation, will that sense of community be diluted even more so? Probably, but making sure she has every opportunity so that the widest number of people love and know her is one of my primary obligations as her parent.
Anyway. It takes leaving the comfort of home to get a sense of perspective of my own life. I wish I didn’t so easily get caught into patterns of worry and anxiety, but I have habituated patterns of thought that seem to stay in their own well-known orbits. They get perturbed out of them when I leave home for a while, and it gives me a chance to see things from a different light, a different way of thinking about them. Coming back home, though, the thoughts tend to fall back into place. Not always, but usually. The sense of possibility fades, and I’m back to the same old grind. I hate that.