TITLE: The Taste of Ginger
GENRE: Multi-cultural Fiction
A gaggle of women, all speaking over each other in loud, animated voices, filled my parents' small living room. It was like watching a National Geographic special about social dominance, where pitch and decibel level determined the leader. They wandered around the room, grazing on homemade samosas and pakoras, careful not to get oily crumbs on the delicate fabric of their brightly-colored Indian saris. I was sitting at the dining table near the front door so that I could fulfill my assigned duty of greeting the guests as they arrived for my sister-in-law's baby shower. From across the room I heard snippets of conversation from my mother's friends.
"Did you hear her son dropped out of medical school to be with that American girl?"
"I'm not surprised. I heard she walks like an elephant--stomping from place to place and pushing others around until she gets what she wants."
Without knowing whom they were talking about, I sympathized with the girl. My mother had often accused me of this great atrocity--walking like an elephant. I was around seven years old when I realized she wasn't calling me fat. Rather, she meant that I wasn't demure and obedient--qualities every good Indian daughter should have.
Near me, a pile of presents had amassed over the last hour. Boxes wrapped in pastel paper with cutesy cartoon monkeys, turtles, or bunnies.