the lawyer writer

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Friday, March 10, 2006

They'll Never Invite Me To A Party Again

I think it's time I confessed: I'm an Indian girl who doesn't get along with other other Indian girls.

Okay, that should be qualified. I happen to like and love a very select group of Indian girls, the ones I grew up with. To a certain extent, I'm still the oddball of the group--not just for leaving Northern California for so long, but because it was inevitable that I would be the expatriat, always feeling like a little bit of an outsider. I'm a compulsive writer, and all compulsive writers become expatriates, to a certain extent. We have to step outside to look in.

But however much I'm out of touch with these girls, I don't really question their loyalty. They're not catty or competitive. There's not a mean bone among them. I've never experienced such loyalty, such solidarity in the face of the worst life deals out: death, heartbreak, scandal. I really don't care if we don't listen to the same music (although their allegiance to J.Lo is really getting out of hand) these girls, along with a few select boys, are family.

So those Indian girls, naturally, don't count. But outside of them, I can honestly say, I don't really seem to get along with Indian girls as a awhole. I get thrown out of their parties or snubbed at the door or accused of flirting with their boyfriends. And admittedly, I am the one who shows up with six people or bottles of cheap vodka, but I am NOT flirting with their boyfriends, who tend to be preppie investment banker types with a permanent leer in their eyes. Around most Indian girls, I always end up feeling that I'm talking too loudly, laughing too much, viewed as an ungainly combination of tomboy and slut. I have felt like this at Indian social mixers and bhangra clubs and weddings and Wall Street networking events, a sense of slow unease as I realize that, except for the person who brought me here, I would once again be standing the corner, leaning on a while and trying to look cool while no one talks to me. Or, alternatively three or four suave types circling like sharks, asking me what caste I am. Smooth, fellas, real smooth.

Because, I can say without a doubt, that Indian girls are exclusionary. Even my girls, God bless them, can't always be counted on to make an effort to a newcomer (explaining inside jokes, asking questions, including in conversation), but at least I can count on seeing new faces and no judgments. In other areas, I've gotten the cold shoulder and the murderous stare, and everything in between. And while they all brag about how much they like sex, they seem to have colossally bad taste in men, and while they claim to party all the time, the buzz seems to begin and end with a few beers. Nobody walks the walk, but they sure can talk.

The Indian girls I have liked and known, I have usually met individually, not in packs. There was V. who I lived with, with the 30's pencil thin eyebrows and 0% body fat, her friend T. jolly, openly, happily slutty. Both dated only black men. N. who I met recently, is the first in a long time to radiate smartness without snobbery, something that always leaves me cold. Another thing I like: experience. An Indian girl with a taste for adventure experiences as much as she can, something an acting teacher told me, in a private meeting. She could tell that I had lived my life in a bubble. It's been thirteen years, and I've done everything I can to step out of the bubble, to experience the good and bad things life offers to an Indian girl. I'm not interested in meeting people with too many rules and hypocrisies, whether they're Indian girls or not. But they usually are.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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4:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Life qupte that I like "I am not my sister's keeper, I am mysister. To see more of my life quotes and dish on Starting Over visit me at ##

4:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, what happened?

3:20 PM  
Anonymous O said...

Hang sure there was another indian girl you lived with... L wasn't it ? Didn't I date her for a while ? Don't quite recognise her from those descriptions...

4:37 AM  
Blogger rads said...

Came here through the link DIN posted on Mutiny. But honestly speaking... have you met them all? This sounds more like an all or nothing. ...and yep, I thought of our desi sisters the same way you are at one point in time! :-))

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Msichana said...

I agree. I am indian who grew up in Africa and I saw the same thing. I don't understand where some of the ethnocentricity or even the complete need to branch out arises from.

Kudos on breaking out of the shell...I have been doing the same for the past 8 years! As Joseph Cambell said something along these lines, 'if you don't like the culture you are in, go make a new one'.

9:09 PM  
Anonymous tamasha said...

Giiiiiiiiirrrrrllllll... Everyone asks me why I don't have any Indian girl friends... I'm going to point them to this post.

10:22 PM  
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1:45 AM  
Blogger Aranyi said...

dude... im in bombay and i feel the exact same way... the vassar education i internalised as opposed to the babson/BU/NYU/get out of college and marry rich variety makes me stick out like a sore thumb here! but you described it incredibly succinctly.... I always felt as though I were too loud, too slutty, too tomboyish, and laughed too much. Why? Ive been quite been able to make it out.

3:01 AM  

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