Monday, April 04, 2005

Desi Breeding Machines

Last summer when I took J to the park in the evenings, I often had trouble backing out of the lot squeezed as I inevitably was between limo sized SUVs. Being curious by nature, I started to pay attention the demographics of my peer group that had children like J and were park bound almost every evening.

I lived in a neighborhood with a good ethnic mix. So it was possible to have picked up an Ethiopian recipe and be advised on turning out the perfect sushi at home all in the course of an evening on a park bench. I was not complaining.

Of course I had to notice my brethren , the Desis, The mother unloads herself and the brood from this monstrosity of a vehicle. She looks like a Raggedy Ann after a spin too many in the washer. No dress sense forget fashion or sense of style.

One kid is good, two is better still. I find myself feeling brain dead from the challenges of raising J. How much easier can anyone else have it ? Kids are kids anyways. So after the second kid was downloaded from the rear of the vehicle I turn back chatting with whoever was sitting near me.

I am interrupted in my description of the labors of love that go into a home made pickle in India by more squealing and squawking from the direction of my poor desi sister's SUV. She was not quite done - there is a third one too. Maybe an accident I tell myself.

Bored H4 housewife, frustrated H1 husband paranoid about not making the Green Card and being sent home just before the magic six year mark. Sometimes a combination like that in the cold winter months will do what comes naturally to beat the blues. I understood maybe, surely sympathized. The result of the "accident" is by the way a pint sized dynamo with a voice like a bazooka. He is not pleased and making it damn well known.

Now the entourage come into full view. The oldest one has decided to go on the swing, the rest follow the leader. There is a stroller, a bag full of baby things a world weary woman shuffling behind her worldly goods. Wonder of wonders - she is visibly pregnant !!

Now, there almost seems to be a system to this madness. I can see why they need a car the size they do. She is still in the prime of her child bearing age. If hubby keeps up the momentum it will not be long before they will need to hitch a trailer to that SUV. Would that mean she’d need a commercial vehicle driver’s license ?

I think I'm getting ahead of myself here but I do have to wonder at the rationale of this rapid fire breeding. Over the course of the summer I found that she was not alone. There was a greenhouse full of Desi Mamas breeding like there was no tomorrow and driving around stretch SUVs looking like zombies. I have also encountered the bread winner of the family - he looks pretty darn sad himself. "Then why ?" I ask.


Chay said...

First off...good writing, as always!! :-))
Come summer and the parks are almost always full of desis - pregnant and/or with kids...I hear what you are saying, in the comments as well. I am not sure really if the sad and harried looks on the parents faces has only to do with the number of kids they end up having....
I have American friends who are family has 5 boys - all home schooled. The other family has 6 children. Another friend has 5 children, its a blended family, with an adopted child and they are in the process of adopting a precious boy from an African country. And....I have an Indian friend, with 2 girls and the most unkempt house, kids, car...u know what I mean. (snotty nosed and stale stinking food...yeah!!)
While I understand that u are talking about economic and social pressures (assembly line production induced!), there is the other more important thing we all miss....Indian women tend to forget themselves faster than American women...
the parenting is so full of running behind kids and feeding them till they are 8 or 10, tying shoe laces and doing homework...on and on it goes. But then, there is also the rather painful issue of money. While these American moms have some liberty to spend their husband's money...the desi women generally have tighter fisted husbands...
with less helpful husbands, they are under more pressure because they have to conform to not just their husbands and in-laws and parents and their ideas of parenting among other things, but also to the society they live in. One that scares, threatens and challenges core beliefs and the value systems theya re more comfortable with. It can very demanding with one child...and when they decide they want more, for whatever reasons, it gets really hard!!
My thoughts....:-)) Of course, I dont have kids, so I probably cant say I understand!

Anonymous said...

1. I wonder, how can they afford it?

2. For many women (desi and otherwise) the kids are a ticket to drop out of the wrokforce and live the easy life. The BA and MA degrees were to snag that "prince" of a husband and once that purpose is served(?), why bother??

3. When they get out of the "park" stage, they will start competing on the child's grades and Bharat Natyam Arangetram playground.

dogmatix said...

Anonymous.. how 'f*******' dare u say that???!! a kid is a ticket to drop out of workforce. drop out of workforce and laze all day in a hammock is it??

raising a kid is a full time job in itself. and who is anyone to judge if a woman should choose that above her career!!?.

and which galaxy are u talking about..?? with desi moms being rapid fire breeders??? WHOA! its becoming an almost desi cult to stop with the first child. women typically get some quickfire training in software skills, 'testing tools' to be precise and get back to working. i hardly know any SAHM with a kid older than say 7/8.

and chay.... desi moms have stinking houses and stale food???? strongly take issue with that too!!!