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Pen Your Pride

Anjali POV con’t

Sitting in the bar I wondered why can’t we go anywhere without a TV these days. Everywhere you go there is a TV – the bank, restaurants, gas stations, and even at a five star hotel there was a damn TV in the lobby.  I usually try and avoid not being drawn into whatever is playing on the TV.  I yell at the kids and Alex whenever we go to dinner and they are all engrossed with whatever is playing on TV rather than spending time as a family. 

I make it my personal challenge to ignore the TV’s surrounding me.  But, there was Cheryl Burkes dancing on Dancing with the Stars.  I succumbed and sat back in my seat and just watched her and her partner glide across the dance floors.  After her performance I couldn’t help but smile.  It was a beautiful performance of the cha cha.  No wonder she was a two time winner.

I smiled as I heard the judges commenting on her performance of the cha cha.  If my kids were watching they would be laughing and making some silly joke on the word cha cha and how it could mean a dance in English and uncle in Hindi.  They were always making silly jokes and playing off words between the two languages.

My guess is that they would have come up with something like “My cha cha loves to cha cha!”   I know it’s juvenile, but it always makes me laugh no matter how corny the jokes are.  Although, in this case their cha cha, Arjun, really does love to cha cha.

So between the corny cha cha joke running through my head and thinking about my father-in-law my mind wandered to the other father figure in Alex’ life, Tarun cha cha.  Jatin may have been Alex’ biological father, but Tarun cha cha was the father he looked to.  There was a bond between him and cha cha that wasn’t there between him and his own father.

For that matter Tarun cha cha was the reason we were even together.  It was like cha cha was the referee in our relationship.  Whenever Alex and I hit trouble in our relationship Alex turned to cha cha. If cha cha hadn’t liked me would Alex and I even be together?

It was Tarun cha cha who yelled at Alex for sleeping with me before asking me out on a date.  It was Tarun cha cha who chewed him out when I wrote the letter ending our relationship.   He always seemed to be there and stepping in when he thought Alex was acting out of place. 

After I had written the letter ending things with Alex, I still wanted to keep my relationship with Tarun cha cha.  The first time all of our paths crossed where I couldn’t avoid Alex was a bash for Tarun cha cha’s birthday.  His wife, Poonam cha chi (*) had flown to New York to meet him and attend the party.  It was the first time that I had a chance to meet her.

(* Cha Chi is aunt in Hindi, but more specifically, your dad’s brothers’ wife.  Each relationship in Hindi has its own name so you immediately know if the relationship is maternal or paternal and blood relationship or through marriage.)

But, I wanted to minimize and if possible avoid crossing paths with Alex so I decided to go to the party early and then I scheduled teaching a dance class later that evening.  I knew Alex’ pattern and he would probably be coming to the party much later after work.

I got to the party around 5:00pm and spent some time with cha cha and met cha chi for the first time.  We chatted for a while and I finished my glass of wine and I was getting ready to leave.

“Tarun cha cha, I wish I could stay longer but I have to go to teach my class.”

Out of nowhere a couple walked over to cha cha “Tarun, Poonam how are you? It’s been too long.” The tall elderly Indian man pulled him into a big hug and patted him on the back.  “Saal Mubaraak!” (Happy Birthday in Hindi).

The woman next to him hugged Tarun and said, “Happy Birthday, darling! We really need to not wait for birthdays at this age to see each other.  It’s so good to see you both.”

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