I woke up on my sofa in the living room with ten or so of those big, white men looking down into my face. My partner was there and he explained that I had a seizure right after I got out the shower. It made sense – the last thing I remembered was brushing the tangles out of my hair, and I could feel that one side was uncombed. The same thing happened where I could barely talk because I had only just come back to consciousness, but this time I at least understood what had happened whether or not I was able to verbalize it straight away to the paramedics.
“Most” of the desis I met in college came from conservative, religious, upper-class families. They tended to only hang out with other rich desis and would only date other rich desis (of the “opposite” gender, of course). The farthest their adventures would go would be a Hindu desi dating a Muslim desi, and their parents would end up driving them apart.
I remember being one of two Indian kids at my primary school, and one of maybe five kids of color. I remember my best friends as clear as day, although I haven’t seen them in person since I was about eight years old. One of them was a girl, D, whose family is originally from Kenya, the other was a boy, A, whose family is originally from Hong Kong - his family owned the Chinese restaurant down the street from my house. They had older siblings like me, looked different from everyone like me, and always stood at the edge of the playground like me. They both went off to private school and left me to fend for myself - sad day. I was too embarrassed to ever tell them I missed them.
My parents, on the other hand, were overjoyed that their daughter found a partner that they wouldn’t have to hide from the Indian community. You’d think him being white, an atheist, and having a kid would be the typical Indian parent’s nightmare, but all that seems like nothing compared to the possibility of me being with a woman… well not completely “nothing”.
In many ways I am thankful to have the family that I do. My father seems indifferent about who I date, and just doesn’t like to talk about feelings. However, although my mother wasn’t the most supportive person when I came out of the closet, I truly believe that she did her best considering her place in this world. She didn’t even consider disowning me, and I acknowledge that as a privilege because I have seen friends (desi and non-desi) struggle with the fear of being disowned for going against their parent’s wishes.
I first came out as a lesbian when I started college as an undergrad. I went through all the rites of passage that the white queers had set up for me, and I abandoned the straight desi girls. I’m not necessarily sad that I abandoned them. I missed them later and tried to play catch-up, but their never-ending conversations about how their evil parents wouldn’t let them buy that coach purse, and how scary black men are were ridiculous and tiring. And somehow I always managed to subconsciously find my way back to the closet whenever I was in their company.