(Day 0, Miami)
My Mom’s from a family of 7 kids. Dad, a whopping 14. Most of the siblings are now in the US. The upshot? Many of my destinations have the high probability of not just a friend in town, but perhaps a cousin, aunt or uncle. As the eldest grandchild on both sides, I straddle two generations of two families. What great luck, no?
In Miami, my good fortune meant I visited my cousin Veena. She’s the 2nd daughter of my dad’s brother Joy, who is #8 of 14 children. Where I was born in Kerala, it would be described in a verbal org chart fashion, “
You know Veena – – she is Santhosh’s father’s third brother’s second daughter, who lives in Miami and married an ‘American’ who is an emergency room doctor.”
People look off to the distance for 2 seconds, then say, “Ah, she is the one who went to Georgetown and then law school, right? Very smart girl.”
And the last three factoids carry separate meaning: marrying a non-Indian? That still raises some eyebrows. A doctor? Ok, that’s good. An emergency room doctor? Hmmm, we need to think about that.
It was a perfect way to use an otherwise boring 9 hour layover. Their little daughter is precious, (all humans are precious, in truth, just that the cute factor in youngsters is thunderous.) My Dad nicknamed her Kandhari in a moment of whimsy before he passed away and before she was born. It’s a term of endearment in the part of India I am from that both refers to a very spicy, small pepper, and connotes a person who is very shrewd, very clever, and often diminutive in stature. Time will tell.
In any event, we had a delightful, albeit fleeting few hours with the little one, and her parents.