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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

‘Tis the season for sambar, tacos and fondue

By now, the misadventures of our extended family have already been well-documented in this newspaper. These range from our 19 birthday celebrations each year to our whole-family movie excursions that leave theater staff stunned.

Then there are our holiday traditions.

Let it be known that we are hardcore Indian, as in full on stereotypical, churidar/kurta-wearing, sambar-loving Indians. But we’re also Americans — mashed-potato loving, pumpkin pie-eating, politics-discussing Americans. So our holidays are a bit culturally confusing.

First comes Thanksgiving: As any extended family, it is the American way to come together and give thanks for our good fortune by stuffing our faces with pie. However, as a fairly orthodox Hindu family, we replace turkey with idli, Indian rice cakes, and alcoholic beverages with sparkling cider.

We don’t follow all the “norms” of the holiday — we laugh at dad jokes (four times as many for us) completely sober and knock out on the couch without the aid of tryptophan. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Vadlakonda-Galivanche-Vedantam Thanksgiving if we didn’t get confused over who was bringing the pies, and either end up with all 19 of us dragging in the same kind of pumpkin pie or realize mid-dinner that dessert isn’t on the table.

Then comes Christmas: a holiday known for sitting in the same room, enjoying the company of family and friends, opening presents, chestnuts burning on an open fire and all that jazz. For us, though, it is filled with fondue cooked in a pot that Amith’s dad bought off Amazon for a two-for-one deal (gotta get that couponing). As part of an annual tradition, we have a round of Secret Santa that we promise every year to turn into a White Elephant when our younger cousins are a bit older (it is never going to happen).

And finally, New Year’s Eve: tacos and the ball drop at Amulya’s place.

We know what you’re thinking. These guys aren’t Mexican, no matter how many kids at camp thought Amith’s last name was Galivanchez, no matter how much Amulya’s sister thinks her junior prom picture looks like something from a quinceñera and no matter how many people think Rahul’s name is Raul. So where did the tacos come from?

Never fear, friends, we are just more culturally confused — ahem, culturally aware, sorry.

At the end of the day, this holiday season will, without doubt, be perfectly dysfunctional. It will be a time filled with parties planned literally the night before and somehow still manage to happen with a year’s worth of food and beverages. It’s the best time of the year for adults and kids alike because it not only is the one time in the year where we don’t feel guilty about eating our weight in junk food, but it is  a time when we can spend quality time with the people we love most.

What can we say? We love to party.

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