India (1 of 3): The Massi Experience

So 2/3rds of my trip to India were spent visiting my Mom’s sisters & their families. The term for an aunt in Hindi is Massi. My research indicates that Massi’s are strong, sweet, intelligent, understanding women whose ultimate goal in life is to fatten nephews beyond reason and to generally fuss over them no end.

Here are a few amusing moments of my trip into Massi-dom:(Note that at one point I was surrounded by three Massi’s at once – never ever allow this to happen if you can help it)

Massi 1: It is lunch time – eat some of X.
Me: No thanks, I’m not really hungry, I’ll just have Y.
Massi 1: Ok, have Y….. no take more Y. And really you must have X.
Me: Thanks, but really, I just want Y.
Massi 1: Ok, but here have X.
Me: Massi, please, I’m not really hungry.
Massi 1: Ok, but just take some X. And here is more Y.
Me: No.
Massi 1: Ok, ok, but I’ll leave X here for you.
Me: Ok, Thank you.

Massi 2: Dimpoo, why aren’t you eating X? Here, I’ll put some on your plate…..

repeat with Massi 3 as well……

After vigorous efforts on my part, after days of eating more than I had any interest in, they were begining to understand not to fuss over me, though perhaps the reasons seem inscrutable to them:

Balwant Massi: Maybe we should make rice & peas for him this evening – he seems to like that sort of thing.
Ravi Massi: Ok – but maybe we should ask him.
Balwant Massi: Ok, you ask him!
Ravi Massi: No! You ask him.
Balwant Massi: I’m too scared – I know – let’s call his Mom in the US & ask her.

They laughed a lot when they told me about that conversation…..

Finally, an uneasy peace was reached: I would submit to Massi-dom as long as they would allow me to point out how their intellect was compromised by the socio-biological dictates of being a Massi:

Balwant Massi: Do you want some gadgrela for dessert?
Me: Do I have a choice in the matter?
B: (Laughs) Of course! If you don’t want it, I won’t force you.
Me: Really? You mean it?
B: Of course – it makes no difference to me whether you have gadgrela or not.
Me: Ok – no I don’t want any – but thank you.
B: Ok…..

I leave the table.
5 minutes later Ravi Massi emerges from the kitchen with the gadgrela.

Ravi: Dimpoo, do you want gadgrela (she was not around for my conversation with Balwant Massi)
Me: No thanks.
Balwant Massi: GIVE HIM ONE SPOON OF IT. (my emphasis)
Me: What !?! (stunned)
B: Just one spoon. Eat it.
Me: (Beside myself with laughter) But you JUST said I didn’t have to have any if I didn’t…..
B: Just one spoon.
Me: Why is this so important to you?!?
B: You have come all this way & I must know that you had the gadgrela and experienced the love and affection that it was prepared with.
Me: (Returning to the table to eat the gadrela) SO your vaunted reason and intellect pale before the biological urges of Massidom?
B: (Laughing) Yes. Now eat the gadgrela.
Me: Yes Massi. (swallows) Oh my GOD Massi – my life is now fulfilled. One bite of your gadgrela and I am complete. Bliss!

We were all cracking up at this point.


For pictures from my trip (including the Massis): Click Here

2 thoughts on “India (1 of 3): The Massi Experience

  1. Hello, life is funny. I’m googling a film called “Massi…(something or another)” and instead I end up here. In my professional opinion, this was frickin hillarious. I just came back from India a few weeks ago, and your stories were all too familiar. Did you also get that experience that any sort of physical activity is frowned upon (i.e no going for a run around the pindh), as is sleeping in?

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