Post by Bethany Hegedus
In 2012, I married my husband, Vivek Bakshi, a man whose voice if I once heard it on a dollar bus in Jersey City would have made me blood pressure rise.
My husband is from India, born and raised in Lucknow. He studied at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Kanpur) and has lived in the United States for the last thirty years. (And for anyone wondering, my father also learned from his prejudices and he accepted my husband into our family with arms wide open. His race and nationality were never up for discussion.)
In late 2013, we traveled to India for a family wedding. It was my first trip and I was beyond myself excited. After meeting a few of my husband’s childhood friends, one of which who commented on how accommodating I was, I wrote this in my journal.
Here, my presence is thankful—grateful. This country, this family, lost this man, whether it meant to gift him to me or not—it has.
This man, my husband of almost two years, knows I am not accommodating, for the sake of people pleasing, which I could care less about, but out of a respect for him, his family, and this country that gave me a purpose—The Gandhi book—which is soon to come out and which, in turn gave me a family: my husband, his daughter, and our dog. All of which make up that family for now.
I am not surprised that as I drive around in the back of a small packed sedan there is a smile on my face. It is exhilarating here. The place is brimming with life, with struggle, with pride and ego and spirituality and the shedding of the false self.
My husband told me, “There is no preparing for India.” I didn’t understand this before I arrived but now I do. There is no preparation needed here, because in India, as with life itself, which I believe is the way our Master intended, we learn as we go. We take the moment before us and we say, ‘Namaste.‘”
We surge our vehicle into the road and announce—it is my turn. We shout and we haggle and we weep and we inwardly smile when the wife of your husband’s brother says to you, about your first sari, “It is alright that we wear a similar shade, we are sisters.” And we are. The thread of my family is many colors.