“Don’t go, Didi,” they tell. “Full Indian you are looking. So nice. Stay. Christmas you come with us only.”
“I know,” I tell them, half groaning from the thought of tearing myself away. In my tone of voice they can hear the “but….”
“No, Didi,” they say. “Don’t go.”
It would be so easy to stay in India. My heart is at home. I am loved, welcomed. I will be missed. I would be perfectly content to permanently trade my blue jeans for a sari swishing lightly around my ankles. I could even face rice and chapatti for my daily sustenance for years to come and be satisfied. The Indians, they don’t ask me if I am coming back; they ask me when. I have to tell them I don’t know.
One guy tells me, “You should get Indian boyfriend.”
“No,” I say. “Never even in US have I had.”
“Yeah,” he say, “While in India you should try something new. I know one guy who is looking wife. When shall I tell him you are free to talk?”
He is only teasing, but others are serious. They tell next year I should come back, only I should come as two. The village women in the slums are even more persistent. They say I should come back with baby. [Aside: India is not the place I would come if I were a woman discontent with my singleness because Indians have a tendency of reminding you of this fact on a daily basis.]
It would actually be very easy for me to marry in India. One: I have white skin. Two: I wouldn’t have to wait for someone to fall in love and work up the guts to ask me out. Simply I could say I was ready and ten different people would jump to arrange. Now, for all of you who just panicked, don’t worry. Marrying an Indian man is the furthest thing from my mind and my heart at this moment; marriage to a man of any color is still far from my aspirations. But I am saying it would be quite easy.
I wonder about staying, but right now I am only feeling the tug of human hearts, not the whispering of the Spirit, urging me to settle. My flesh could choose this path quite easily. But no matter whether I go or stay, one half of the world will be upset with me. My only comfort is that neither India nor the US is ultimately my home. Keeping my thoughts raised toward heaven is the only way I can stand to say good-bye.