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In this series, Desis 101 will examine the pleasure Desis derive from mocking the seemingly banal habits of White People.

Let us begin with the White Man’s best friend – Fido. On the Desi’s arrival to the West, it is a shock of the highest order to find that the very same animal that they had to endure rabies shots for as a youth is now safely ensconced not only in the home of a rich and powerful citizen of the West, but is sleeping quite soundly in that citizen’s bed.

As if nocturnal love were not enough, these powerful White People wake up the next morning to the biting cold and rain to perform the daily duty of pooper-scooping Fido’s excreted insides.   The first sighting of a white man engaged in this act will send the FOB Desi into a state of panic not unlike the unveiling of the Wizard of Oz behind his curtain.  The Desi will rush home to screech at anyone who will listen – “We sacrificed everything because we were believing in the power of White People and their country, and now we are learning that they are like the people who clean the latrines back home!  He Ram, where have I come to, yaar?”

For the vegetarian Desi, the pet-loving practice is doubly ironic and hypocritical.  While the owner might be a vegetarian himself, he will feed his furry friend slain cows under the moniker ‘Puppy Chow’ while the less-fortunate puppy cousin back in India was fed left-over lentils and rice.

When the ABCD child inevitably pleads for a pet, tales of crazed white people bequeathing their most cherished possessions to Fluffy the puppy will be launched.  Any desire for a pet can only lead to other White People vices, like teen pregnancy, underage drinking, drug overdose and ultimately death.   Any attempt to deflect by promising never to write a last will and testament to the family dog is of no use.  For Desis, pets=eventual murder/suicide.

If an ABCD child wishes to ensure distance between him and his Desi parents, the best strategy is to adopt a pet. A cat will send the message that the parents are resented in some way. A dog is a clear indication of the smoldering hatred the ABCD child feels for his parents. This seemingly humanitarian (well, animalatarian) act is not to be misconstrued as kind or sweet – it is a vicious act of defiance, and a clear sign of rebellion. The only thing left to do for the ABCD is to complete the union with a white spouse and sleep together with the puppy in their bed.  This will ensure a permanent rift between parent and ABCD ingrate, while also sending a clear message about future cohabitation.  Learning of an ABCD child-pet relation, the parents will consider themselves sufficiently warned that this can only mean one thing – they will be dumped at the nearest nursing home when the time for daily care arrives.

When socializing with Desis, speaking of one’s pets more than one’s children will be met with smirky silence.  Just know that such avowals will be the subject of Desi dinner party laughter for years to come.

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