Family Gene-ius: FINAfrickinLLY

Family Gene-ius: FINAfrickinLLY

Shreya Shankar

A milestone event for the Desai family.

ImageHallelujah! It happened! The single thing in the entire universe that can cause the Desai family to be super elated at the same time:

My cousin is engaged!

Let's start off with the discovery which, I believe, confirms that Facebook has officially taken over the world. On Monday night I decided to take a break from thinking about my A.P. English essay due Wednesday and check Facebook instead. I noticed on my feed that my cousin had posted on my brother Niket's wall a suspicious message about how "no one knew until now!" and that she would call our whole family about it the next night. I knew it right then: engaged.

Confirming my suspicions, my mother burst into my room a mere two seconds—not even kidding—later.

"Niket just called. Pankti is engaged!"

"I know! I just read it on Facebook!" I told her. For a moment, she looked genuinely confused at the idea of Facebook telling me my cousin was engaged before she had received a phone call about it. She then informed me that she wanted a Facebook account and asked if I would make her one. Yeah, no can do, Mom.

We were both excited by the news and anticipated the phone call from my cousin the next night so she could spill all the details. You'd have thought we had just won the lottery because the whole night, I couldn't stop smiling or feeling excited for my cousin.

My parents and I talk candidly about the boy in a village of India who I'm arranged to marry—he doesn't really exist, thankfully. I think he's just what keeps my father sane when he thinks about me leaving the nest and starting to date. They also tell me how Indian match-making sites and conventions are very safe and great ways to meet someone if I'm over 25 and haven't found my soulmate yet.

All of this is stuff we joke about, but I always know that the underlying theme exists that we are a mostly very liberal Indian family with conservative ideas about marriage. I know my parents, like many other Indian parents, strive to have each of their children in a happy Indian marriage at a young age so they can have their Indian grandkids to spoil as soon as possible.

So you can imagine the excitement about my cousin's engagement considering she's 33 years old. But there's a little catch: she's engaged to a white guy.

I joked with her that she's "paving the way" for me because I've never had a crush on an Indian guy. My parents always have to remind me that there are Indian boys out there who are as…whitefor lack of a better termas I am that I could marry. All the talk and jokes I have with my parents and friends have culminated in my realization that my cousin really is paving the way not only for me, but also for society as a whole.

To a typical Indian household, 33 is an age when it's okay for your mom and her friends to start whispering about guys they think are suitable for you so that you can settle down. But when we found out that Pankti was engaged, it wasn't more of a "Finally!" in the sense that she was getting old, but a sense that there was finally a guy good enough for her.

And who cares if he's white? Yes, it's unconventional in that interracial relationships aren't totally accepted in society yet, but love is just thatlove. She finally found a guy who makes her happy and gives her everything she deserves. There isn't much more to it and from the way my aunt and uncle were gushing to me on the phone, it looks like that's all there is to it for them as well.

My cousin's engagement is a great moment for our family and a stepping stone for society combined, and I couldn't be happier or more excited for her.