My Ugly Granddaughter

To Who It Can Concern of the Host and Hostess of the Television Show,

Please help my ugly granddaughter. After the good-for-nothing-fiancé left her, she started exercising with her red boxing gloves at her gymnasium. I tell her, Good, since you will be alone, it’s best that you learn to fight. She gives me a long look and stays quiet, and I know she understands. She is too picky. When she was little, she only liked moong dal. She wouldn’t eat the masoor, toor, or channa dal — can you imagine how difficult it was for me? And now, she complains, “this man said this while I was walking,” “this man touched me on the train,” I wonder — did you ask these men if they are married? What their profession is? Do they have a spousal dental plan with teeth whitening?

While she watches your show, she goes to the carpet and does stomach exercises. I tell her, Good, when you have no tummy, God will find you a new husband. At the next wedding, you can wear the new style of short sari blouses and low petticoats. I know she thinks about my good advice because every time I say it, she goes to the bathroom and locks the door for some time. She looks in the mirror and thinks.

Instead of looking for a new husband, my ugly granddaughter sits at the dinner table and uses big words — ‘hegemony,’ ‘machengo’ — with her father, my son. Too much education, too many ideas.

She walks like her father, my son. And she’s tall, too tall, with a too-broad waist and too-sticking-out bottom — sticking-out enough to rest the cup of steaming chai and a little plate of biscuits. I give my ugly granddaughter advice: Scrub your face. Make it clean. Rub off the hair, rough patches, bumps, and dark skin. Stay out of the sun. Don’t eat too many samosas and pakoras. Spend more time in the kitchen making a special chutney, and make extra so you can put in a freezer, and serve it with cocktail samosas. Serve the samosas; don’t eat them.

Even so, I love her. I have a too big heart, like Mother Teresa, loving the lepers and the poor children with lice instead of working in a posh convent school with pretty girls from good families. If God had made my granddaughter a boy, she would no longer be my ugly granddaughter — she would be my handsome grandson. And she would be perfect.

But God is funny. God has His plan. I know God gave me an ugly granddaughter so my heart can grow for her, and love will spread from my heart to her and the world. I know when you meet her, your heart will grow too. Please accept her on your television show. My ugly granddaughter watched your show, because she wants to be better, get new clothes, hairdos, and nice make-ups. I know you must also be wondering if I could be available to be on your television show with her. If you must insist, I could join her.

Her Grandmother


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