Today, we spent the afternoon at Chris’s mother’s cousin’s house in Hell’s Kitchen, where a number of other cousins were there. We were the youngest couple in the room. We caught up over delicious Turkish food, wine, and too many desserts, and everyone seemed quite jovial and genuinely interested in hearing what everyone else had to share. That’s the thing about all the Indians I’ve met; they’re always smiling, always happy, always enjoying. Why can’t my family be like that? When my family gets together and I am there, it’s as though I am just counting down the minutes after the event ends so that my parents can just gossip endlessly about all the stupid things that were said and done that irrationally pissed them off.
There’s the stereotype that Chris and his brother love to tell me, and that’s that every time Indians see Indians, they immediately start smiling. It’s like the default look on their faces when they see each other. It’s as though even though logically, we all know there are literally billions of Indians all over the freaking world, when we see Indians in a place that is not India, we all get excited and think, hey, there’s more of us! Yes! Is that indicative that Indians are just happy people? I once asked. They weren’t clear cut on how to answer that. Because all I have to say is, when Chinese people see other Chinese people, and when Vietnamese people see other Vietnamese people (not always as clear, especially with mixed people like me), they certainly do NOT get excited, and their initial thought is NOT to smile at the other person.