My mother is a hard-working woman whose had a really tough life. She lost her father when she was really young and as the eldest child (her older brother was stolen by relatives), she had to leave high school to get a job in order to support her mom and two younger siblings. She married when she was barely 20, had a child (my older sister) at the age of 21 and was left on her own for a while to rear her while facing the scorn of a conservative Fijian society. She also helped to rear and educate her siblings who would later emigrate to the United States and become quite successful. She yearned to join them from the late 80s but she was held back by her husband, since his family is mostly Fijian and Australian and he never really wanted to come to America.
She finally came to the United States in May 2000, just a few weeks before the third violent U.S.-supported anti-Indian coup d’état in the islands of Fiji. They raped and killed women, burned down many places that she used to know as home. There was no going back, so she got an F-1 visa, and tried going to college while working full-time. In the past ten years, she has faced violence and abuse at work, at home, at school and endured more hard-ship than any of us but she also complains the least. Today, she is a legal permanent resident and the sole owner of a business and a home. She’s the strongest woman I know, but I also know that she survives mainly because she has me.
Me[sad]: I killed a spider. Sniffle.
Mom: Uske hum matti di uthaike! / “Do you want me to arrange for funeral services?”
Me: “Mo says hi.”
Mom: “Hi Mo! Tell him I can’t believe a guy called Mohammad is running around shutting down streets and buildings in America and the government doesn’t do a thing. God they are stupid.”
Mom watching the DOMA debate: Congress is like shitting in your pants and cleaning it up many years later.
Alonso: “I can drive…”
Mom: “You don’t know how to drive, last time you drove into Canada and almost got deported.”
Mom in email to her husband: You planted red cactus in the Tulsi Thaan-I threw it away and you picked up and replanted which I finally put in trash. I thought you said the only thing you can do was water the garden!
Me: “We need to change your password to something that you can never forget.”
Mom ponders for a while: “GWlawtuition. I can never forget how it sucks all the money from my bank account.”
Me: “Chiropractor says my right leg is an inch shorter than my left because my right pelvis shifted up.”
Mom: “Hum mangta jaane tumaar baithe baithe kaise cheez shift hojaye!” / “I want to know how your body parts shift while you sit around all day long doing nothing.”
Me: “Why can’t you use the disability parking?”
Mom: “Are you THAT handicapped?”
Me: “My feet hurt!”
Mom: “You have such baby feet from sitting around like a dode (pejorative meaning overweight and lazy). Go walk barefoot in the hot sun. It will make it stronger.”
Mom: “Kabutars are the most nuisance birds.”
Me referring to my Dad and her mom: “We got two nuisance birds in our house.”
Mom: “Those two aren’t kabutars. They are penguins. They don’t have wings. They just eat, sleep and lie around…”
Me: “I have a bladder infection.”
Mom: “I have many infections: you, your father, your sister… But there seems to be no cure …”
Me: “You do know, I’m pretty smart, right?”
Mom: “That I know. Why do you think I pay your tuition and keep you around? You are my 401-k.”
Mom: “Do what you want to. Go out and sleep with as many women as you want. I don’t care. Just don’t get married.”
And I only survive because I have her.