This post actually belongs on the 'About Me' page. I have been asked this question as a kid quite often and have always had the same answer to it, yet people like to keep throwing it at me.
By people I mean long estranged family [because I have hardly met them and don't consider them a part of my family] members. Perennially, my sister and I are asked, by amused onlookers, "tumi/tomra maach khao?" meaning do we eat fish, to which we promptly nod and say no, we are vegetarians. You should see the amusement being wiped off their faces in a jiffy. Serves them right!
I am a half bong and a half gujju. Yeah, my parents had a love marriage in the days of the yore. To most people, love marriages are 'oh-so-exciting' but to my sister and I, its normal. It does not amuse us. Frankly it is our parents who are the love birds in question, so what do you expect?
But every time our mixed-parentage is mentioned to people, especially women, they break into a beaming smile which is followed by a "how sweet!" exclamation. Yeah, so its sweet and its old...25 years. It doesn't end here. We have to answer a question bank which goes like:
1. "Your parents must be really cool na?"
2. "Isn't it just like a Hindi film?"
3. "So do you speak Bengali?"
4. "Can you speak Gujarati?"
5. "What traditions do you follow?"
6. "Vegetarian or non vegetarian?"
And so on... phew! We also have to add how our parents met, whether or did they face any objection or not and much more. Women drool on the story. I am not exaggerating here. My parents are cool and there are no two things about it. My mom loves going back in flashback and we have been told stories of their courtship too. So yeah, on the whole its fun...to the others. Its normal for us. [In addition to this, now that I am of marriageable age, I am asked whom would I prefer? A Gujju? A bong? None...I say!]
People find it amusing that we spoke both languages and as a family we can speak 5 languages [Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati and English]. The funny part is when we are introduced to people, they first speak to us in Hindi thinking we can't either speak and understand Bengali or Gujarati. Why? Grasping two different languages is so difficult? Maybe we are just plain lucky or brilliant...lol. Bengali women never talk to my mom in Bengali, even though she replies back in bong. My dad speaks good gujju and people believe him. As for my sister and me, we are always lost in the crowd. Or rather look so snobbish [only look..we are nice kids!] that no one comes up to us.
Love marriages run in our family. Practically every single couple we know or are related to, have had a love marriage. Isn't it normal today? Apparently not.
I going to be tying the knot soon and of course it is a love marriage. My fiancé is a Punjabi and this is going to be the first love marriage in his family. And no we did not face any obstacles...touch wood!
So here I am; half bong [East] and half gujju [West] living in Maharastra [West again] and now marrying a Punjabi [North]! Cool mix, ain't it? Yup...maybe my kids will have to bear with the amusement as well. And yeah, they hopefully will know more languages!