Thursday, November 23, 2006


My family doesn't have a fixed tradition for Thanksgiving; we're huge Christmas enthusiasts though.

When we were young, we didn't celebrate Thanksgiving really. It was all about turkey and my mother was vegetarian. So, we didn't have to celebrate it. There was one year where we didn't have plans and expected to go out for dinner. We were shocked to find all the restaurants were closed. So, we came home and mom whipped up something.

Somewhere in my teens we started meeting family friends, who served American and Indian food. You had roast turkey and apple pies next to shrikand and puri. It was funny how we used to love the American food, until we went to college. After that, we'd just go for the Indian food that we missed so much in the dining halls.

As kids we started our own customs. No one was allowed to eat until we went in a circle and said what we were thankful for. We snapped at newcomers who started eating. It started off as "I'm thankful for my family. I'm thankful for this food. I'm thankful for my friends." and over the years, people added "I'm thankful for getting into the college of my choice" "I'm thankful for my husband-to-be."

When the families started moving away for school, marriage, and retirement, the group dissolved. I think it has to be at least 10 years since the group met. After that, we've done Thanksgiving with my family or with friends. We haven't had a fixed tradition. The most we can call a tradition is sitting around with Black Friday circulars and planning our route. This year we're celebrating the holiday weekend with lots of friends.

Last year, we met my sister in Florida for the long weekend. It was great because she did a fabulous job going over the top with her china and elaborate fusion recipes. She "desified" the turkey and mash potatoes by adding masalas and we had an apple kheer. (I will have to post this recipe - it's to die for!).

This year, we're unable to meet her, and it's a tough time for her to be away from family and friends. However, I think it's the expectation of the holiday that make it tough. It's not about how big a turkey you can make or the stuffing or general concerns of American gluttony.

It's not about how many relatives you can fit under a roof. There have been psychologist and "experts" on radio and TV advising people how to handle stressful situations with relatives. I know someone else who was grumbling about going to meet her family for the long weekend. (If it's such a chore, why do it?) I know what it's like to have relatives that make everyone uncomfortable. Fortunately, two of them have become ex-relations to everyone's delight.

So, Thanksgiving is a lot like New Year's Eve. It gets so built up, and then if nothing spectacular or Hallmark happens, it leaves you deflated.

It's about being thankful for what you have in your life and who you have. It's one day where we have to put the brakes on and look around us. "Hey, I don't have X, but you know, I have Y and Z. That's not bad." We have family in India who are in our thoughts all the time. My family lives in other states. My college friends are scattered all over the country. So, while we're not sitting together and passing the stuffing, we know they are part of our lives. And they keep us strong and keep us going.

Thank you!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.