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There’s nothing like a good old fashioned family picnic.
Especially an “Indian” one…
…We arrived at a local conservation area, and met up with my parents’ friends. They had two teenage sons (who were my brother’s friends), and one younger daughter (who was chained to my sister’s hip). I was more like the tag-along seven-year-old, but whiny enough to be included. I suppose my little brother was the odd one out, but all he had to do was appear with a soaked (or lumpy) diaper…from there the attention was his.
Once we’d found ourselves a shady spot, my mother and her friend got to work on the food. They carefully removed the lids from the metal tins, revealing all their efforts from the night before. From there they fired up the stove (the portable one they’d brought along). And so in a matter of minutes, the Indian aroma wafted into the trees, escaping to the sky one smoky ribbon at a time.
The girls and I weren’t hungry yet, so we decided to go for a swim. My parents didn’t like the idea of us swimming…or skiing, or doing anything else that would probably kill us. Their answer to that was to never pay for lessons.
But we were going to try it anyway. My brother and his friends were told to watch us, and so they did (hands on hips, eyes on the slutty girls)…
…Underneath our clothes we were already dressed in our swimming gear. Our friend’ bathing suit was a bright flourescent green, with a girly bow on the front. My sister’s was a little more subdued, with a lavender/pinkish theme. My own bathing suit was fire-engine red and way too small. So small that it had actually crawled into my crack, for the biggest swimsuit “wedgie” in the world. If only I had known that swimsuit wedgies were a smokin’ hot look for the women of Brazil and beyond…
…As I entered the water, my feet sunk deep into the thickest pile of mud. Mud mixed with twigs, rocks, and unidentified bugs…ick. I guess that wasn’t surprising, considering we were swimming in a “pondish” bog. My sister managed to paddle along, and as I watched her with a mix of envy and amazement, I accidentally swallowed a mouthful of water (or a cup of muddy mud juice, to be exact).
I started crying and ran…back up the hill and back to my parents. I told my dad that I would never go near the water again. He was pleased…
…When the food was finally served, it was quite a sight. There we sat on our blankets, with naans, chicken curry, channa masala, raita, and mango slices for dessert. When I looked across the hill I could see a family of four, eating their Wonderbread sandwiches, and sharing a bag of grapes. They had a curious look on their faces. I figured they were sad because they wanted all our food.
After the meal, we laid on our blankets half-awake, as the Indian songs regaled us from the boom box.
When we had finally burped our way into an upright position, my mom fired up the stove again, but this time to make some tea. That’s right, boiling hot tea on a humid summer day…for that I have no explanation.
We sipped our tea and munched on some Indian sweets; by the time we were through the sun had started to set (i.e. “Indian people curfew” was approaching). So we packed up the van and our bellies for the journey home…
…So basically, our Indian picnics involved a lot of eating, laying around, Indian songs, and more eating. It was less like an average barbecue, and more like an Indian wedding (except you’ll burn more fat at an Indian wedding…please insert desired image of your favourite Indo-dance).
As the years went on so did the picnics, but I have to say, nothing quite compared to the very first one. I noticed myself becoming too self-aware over time. Like instead of “other families” simply looking at us, it became other families who were staring at us rudely, as if we were a bunch of freaks. And also over time, it was no longer “laying around in a state of post-meal joy”, it was lame and it was boring (and I couldn’t even watch TV).
So…whatever happens to childhood innocence? I guess it’s a lot like perky boobs or “an ass that won’t quit”; once it’s gone, you’re not going to get it back (surgical wizardry excluded)…
If childhood innocence could be restored through surgical wizardry, what would the botched surgeries look like?
I’m thinking Pet Semetary meets Corky, of Life Will Never End.
I really enjoy picnics. Being out in nature, the fresh air. It’s beautiful.
I love the new blog. big fan and I’ll be back. you stil crack me up.
My partner is from Sri Lanka. It is all eerily similar.
So do you swim now? Or have you been permanently scarred? We used to go to huge annual ethnic picnics that I now think would have been fun but since I was so young and had no clue what was going on, I’m sure I didn’t enjoy them as much as I could have. Then you become a teenager and don’t want anything to do with your family anyway. LOL.
I like this. For some reason, in my head I imagine the park that I got married in (and we went to all the time when little with my family)
Loved the line: the Indian aroma wafted into the trees, escaping to the sky one smoky ribbon at a time.
Dammit woman, I am hungry now and I can’t eat anything cos I just had a tooth out 😦 You suck 😉
Sounds fun. I’ve never actually had a real picnic with family. So I think I should try that one day, perhaps when I have my own children.
mmm . . gotta love them swimsuit wedgies!
God, reminds me of my Italian meatball sandwiches and thermoses of thick soup for lunch at school!
I know exactly that “mucky” feeling of stepping into a pond…except I stepped into a lake and immediately sank almost to my knees through the muck. Not fun. Especially not fun when you’re eight and not even four feet tall.
These stories keep getting better and better!
We had one Indian-ish kid in our school growing up. He was the quintessential “token” minority. But he was so NOT Indian. His name was Darryl Morris. I mean, does it get any more American than that? But still, he always seemed to be trying too hard to fit in, when in fact, if he’d just stopped trying so hard, he’d have been fine. Hmmm, it’s tough being a kid.
Uuuummm loved your picnic post…it sounded fantastic. It is right up my alley…swimsuit wedgie check, good food check, family check, Indian music check?!?! My picnic experiences have always ended in an attempt to get get hurt or uncomfortable. One time my parents took me to go fishing and my Mother turned around for a second and she told me when she turned back around I had managed to fall backwards into the water…she found me just laying there. p.s. have a good Monday!
P.S. I know you invited me to your Indian Picnic but now I would like to invite you to my blog and let you know I am awarding you a blog award head on over and enjoy it 😉
Mmmmm. Lovely post, thanks for the delicious links. I guess the deliciousness of Indian foods makes up for the stupid marriage pressures, what with the number of goats in your dowry and all. I’m sure there are scads of men out there who would gladly marry you for a 20 kilo sack of chick peas! ‘Specially when they see those snapshots of cute little 7 year old Romi and her world record swimsuit wedgie! Such snapshots must exist, or do you actually remember everyone’s bathing suits so well?
Chick peas! Pun not intended chick [year of the …]!! 😀 We sometimes call them “garbanzo beans”. Bet you didn’t see that coming!
Mmm…muddy mud juice. Great story, I love this new blog.
The worst thing about swimsuit wedgies? (I mean, besides having one yourself…)
Shortly after 7 years old, girls seem to know how to avoid them. 😦
“Burped ourselves upright” – Hah!
Sounds like our trips to the lake when I was a kid – except we stayed all weekend, and the adults were pounding cheap beer from lunchtime on. Heh.
Wow, Indian picnics sound food heavy (and I’m all about the food!)
Picnics back when I lived at home were always about swimming, or playing volleyball, or running around with the dogs – secretly I think my parents just took us out on picnics in order to tire us out before we got home again…
Uh, I would SO be jealous of your food. Back before I was vegetarian, a friend of mine (born in Karachi, if I recall correctly) invited me to a family picnic. They were super impressed that I went straight for this flaming hot pink spicy chicken and ate it no problem! Of course now my palette has wussed out on me, but I had my glory days!
Pearly: If looking like a cross between Pet Semetary and Chucky is the risk of stealing back your childhood innocence, then I think I’ll stick to being old and jaded 😉
Otto Mann: I enjoy the nature part of it now if one should arise, but only because my body doesn’t burn its own fat so I need to go for nature walks after eating a lot, haha 🙂
stupidtom: aww thanks for that, I’m glad I could woo you with the new stylings 😉
Anja: I can imagine there would be many similarities; I’ve observed other Indian families go at it picnic-style in a very similar way, so I guess it wasn’t just us!…and thanks for visiting my blog 🙂
teeni: if these picnics should arise now, I’ll enjoy them more but only to the extent of making sure I walk around and take in all the nature; otherwise it’s still boring with a capital “B”!!! 😉
PS: I am not scarred by the swimming thing, but on the other hand I don’t go in the water a lot and I’m not a very good swimmer at all…so maybe I am, hahaha 😉
GYL: aww, you got married in a park you used to go to all the time as a child??? That’s really sweet 🙂 Yeah, sorry about that drool-evoking line, and I am having the weirdest tooth pains today so I wouldn’t be able to eat it either, haha 😉
Kerplar: I think your future kids will really enjoy a good old fashioned picnic, and if you feed them a lot of food they’ll pass out and quiet down, so that’s good too, hahaha 😉
Red: I knew that you would be totally on board with the idea of swimsuit wedgies, haha, love you! 😉
Simonne: dude, you had meatball sandwiches and thick soup for lunch at school? The child in me totally has lunch-envy for you right now, haha 😉
megan: knee-deep in muck?!?!?! Yuck, yuck and scary too!!! Gosh, I can hear the squishy sound right now just thinking about it…ugh…
PS: thanks, I’m glad there is some use for my past…lol 😉
dobeman: an Indian kid named “Darryl Morris”?!?! Hahaha…wtf? It is definitely hard being a kid in a lot of different situations, and trying too hard in any situation never really seems to work…poor Darryl, I hope he’s alright now, lol 😉
sammy25: I’m glad that the “swimsuit wedgie” was on the top of your check-list, hahaha 😉
PS: poor little you, you have to be careful about things like just falling into bodies of water!!! 😉
PPS: Monday was alright, average as mondays go, but thanks for asking 🙂
PPPS: HOLY CRAP…I was so flattered to get that award from you!!! THANK YOUUUU 🙂
David: hahaha…my mom’s #1 dish is that chick-pea goodness, so I think she’d be really glad to accept the 20 kilo bag of chickpeas as a trade for me! 🙂
PS: as for the childhood wedgies and such, whether or not photographic evidence exists, it will not be displayed here, haha 😉
PPS: I don’t know if I’ve ever told you how much I love puns…but I do 😉
Maleesha: I wonder what the protein content of muddy mud juice might be…maybe they should start selling it at juice bars, as the new pretentious healthy drink, lol 😉 …PS: thanks! 🙂
B Smith: that is correct; as a grown woman now, I steer clear of wedgies and keep an eye on my crack at all times…hahaha…what!?!?!! 😉
Taoist Biker: the grown-up dads pounded back some cheap-beer at ours, but that was about the extent 😉
Bird on the wire: food-heavy indeed, and it looks like in your case the picnics were athletic-heavy, but in both cases, it seems like the main goal was lulling the children into sleep 😉
A: you totally spelled it correctly (I “think” as well, ’cause I’m not going to check, haha 😉 )
B: you’ve had the flaming hot pink spicy chicken!?!?! Good for you, that one’s special! 😉
C: most of the dishes in my family picnics are vegetarian, so you can totally come if we have another one! 🙂
Wooooooo!!! Count me IN! I adore Indian food, Malai Kofta is my absolute favourite. And naan. Naaaaaaan. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Naan.
Naan is awesome. I have never been on an Indian picnic before but it sounds great. We did have Indian food in Vermont this past weekend though. Our friends made Chicken Tikka Massala and mini-samosas. Yumma dumm dumm! I think we stuffed ourselves in the same fashion you described and then we welcomed hot tea because it was so cold my nipples were cutting glass!
Actor, broadcaster and opera singer Jan Rubes has passed away.
This is really a terrible loss- he was a wonderful singer, actor and gentleman.
We’ll miss him. May he rest in peace.