I met Meera in college, when we used to lounge in front of Olin Library, pretending to study. In fact there are eight of us who, despite having busy lives, still keep in touch.
Meera and I were not close as undergrads. But I admired her smarts and out-going nature. After college, both Meera and I were peripheral members of our group. So when I moved to New York, I sought her out through the grapevine and we agreed to have dinner near her Upper West Side apartment.
While I had mastered the subways, there wasn’t much I could do about train delays and get stuck at 125th Street. When I reach Central Park West I race to Amsterdam Avenue, wishing I had Meera’s number to let her know I was en route.
Just as the awning of the Thai restaurant comes into view, my phone rings. “Meera!” I say, “I’m seconds away. “ “Sounds good, I’m at the bar next door.” When I see her, she is still pretty and slim, with beautiful skin tone, warm brown eyes, and a photogenic smile that could light up Times Square. We do the standard hug-squeal and sit down to catch up.
She married Rohit two years ago and moved to the City. Even though Meera and Rohit are from the same town, they re-met online. She works as a doctor in New Jersey and finds making friends hard. I ask how she enjoys her job and she says, “I love it.” This is the Meera I remember --- a self-assured student of life.
“What about you?” Meera asks. “Love life?” I groan and reply, “Deplorable. I’m a serial FOB dater.” (Remember in Post 17 I talked about Indian-born Indians calling us ABCDs? Well, ABCDs refer to Indian-born-Indians as “Fresh Off the Boat”). Meera laughs at the FOB comment and I continue. “I am not joking! If there’s a FOB within 50 miles, he will find me, I will date him and he will dump me.” She nods sympathetically, “I’ve been there. It’s why I checked out after college, to focus on myself.”
All these years later Meera is still determined. On one hand this makes her intense and rigid. Yet, she embraces her limitations and seeks balance. I appreciate this quality about her. I sip my wine and sigh, “Meera, I made bad choices and need to get back on track.”
She nods. “Good, then only look forward. When I decided to meet the man of my dreams, not just get married, I set a very serious plan into place. I can help, if you like.”
Yes, I like.