Allison Seger-Study Abroad - Carnegie Mellon University

Allison Seger

Seeks Homely Girl

I say homely in the Indian sense, how the marraige classifieds read: Seeks homely fair tall professonal girl for doctor son. no dowry. The ads are sorted into caste and religion with a few "cosmopolians" at the beginning that don't care about caste or religion or, from my readings, height or fairness. Still I might be eligible. I am getting quite homely, being at home in a third floor flat in the heart of the city, right over the Ganpati parades drumming and singing on by. And I'm learning to cook. I shall leave Pune quite a homely girl, just as fair and tall as ever!

My Aiee even offered to find me an Indian bridegroom. She has only three top teeth, all shaped like cricket bats and the one on the left moves when she talks. She's had 30 American daughters and now I know why. The woman loves to host. If my Kaka and kaki (uncle and aunt on the father's side) aren't over, then the neighbors are. If not the neighbors, other neighbors, the neighbor's Baba (dad) from a neighboring village. Even the janitor in my school comes over. My friends stop by with their host families. She 68 and never knew electricity until she was 8, never saw a T.V. until she was 35, the year her husband died. She is a chapati and sweets goddess, and the rest of the food is good too. Anyone who comes over she brags I love her cooking. That's right, I clean my plate.

My little brother Arnar is four and hates spicy food and even milk. But he loves me. I like using my little Marathi and saying things like, "Arno likes milk. Arno likes dancing" and Arnar likes playing violent games. My Marathi vocabulary right now could join a gang. Boys play differently than girls. I die 40 times a day and he screams 80. Sometimes I can convince him that we're fighting the same battle pointing, " tithe! there!" dratically and then running to where my finger landed and doing karate. I get injured, he comes to the rescue with a dramtic flourish, "die!" When I actually get hurt, carrying him up the stairs and falling on my elbow so I don't drop him, running into the ceiling for short people, he blows on my boos and checks them every five minutes, even days later. When I talk in English he yells at me, because he doesn't understand. When I study, he draws all over my paper. He makes me ride a tiny horse with wheels and I rip my pants. When I take a nap he damands, "Oot allison, ata oot! Get up!" and some things I don't understand, but ultimately, he curls up with me. Even when I sleep on my side, he is small enough to sleep on top of me.

My older brother, Arnar's baba, is Shantanu. He went to an English medium school so speaks pretty good. The moment he met me he said, "I never thought I would meet anyone from Omaha in my life!" and I thought, great! finally someone knows where Nebraska is. Turns out, he and his brother both. They idealize Warren Buffet and I may have mentioned to them that Grandma Jean grew up on his block and all they want to talk about is Warren Buffet. So now I'm researching Warren Buffet. And riding on the back of Shantanu's motorbike, with Arnar and a 14 year old cousin somehow fitting in front. And Shantanu is well fed, like me. Oh Aiee!

Divya, Shantanu's wife and Arnar's mom was secretly pregnant. She wasn't with the family when they came to pick me up, Aiee said she was sick, then, in the rickshaw back, that she was pregnant, but that we must not tell the India Studies program (of course, our friend Tukarum the janitor knows!) I think they might not be allowed to host if they were having a baby, too volitale a family. So here I am, as pregnant with excitement as Divya is with child, and Sucheta asked us on Monday how are families are. "Oh, fine..." 

Divya's also super nice. Weird dynamic between the family though, daughter-in-law. If she weren't pregnant she'd be doing much more work. Still, only 8 days til delivery and she's usually on her feet.

Allison Seger

Allison Turquoise Seger

H&SS '11- Creative Writing
Pune, India
Fall 2009