Car broke down Tuesday night. We got it pulled into a parking lot and I went into the Subway restaurant to wait for a tow. (It was a long wait, the weather here has been a bit intense, though it’s much worse in other parts of the US).
I ordered a veggie sub and then an Indian woman came out of the back. She wasn’t directly serving me, but stood next to the girl who was and we kept smiling at each other. Finally when I was paying she got the courage to ask, “Are you Indian?”
“No,” I said, “But I am Hindu. I’m a Hindu who is not Indian.”
“Oh,” she said. “But you look…”
I smiled. “I know,” I said. “I’m a strange one.”
“Your family is Indian?”
“I have an Indian cousin. In-law.”
“But you have sindoor and mangalasutra.”
“Yes. I just got married.”
“So you married an Indian family?”
“No. I’m Hindu.”
I swear, I’m just going to start answering “Yes” to that question!
Okay, so that would probably come with it’s own new set of problems.
I’ve had an idea for a novel for a while that I’ve worked on off and on the last few years about a woman who goes to great lengths to pretend to be Indian in order to live a Hindu life in America. It’s actually supposed to be from the point of view of her daughter, who actually is Indian (adopted), when she finds out as an adult that her Indian mother is actually white and born in America. There are days when I really relate to that mother character! I just don’t know if I will be able to capture her motivation within the book in a way that people would understand why she would do it.