Reindeer and I arrive at the theatre and immediately the Indian competitiveness begins. Sadly, unlike the Jewish community, I really don’t find that desis help one another in that brotherly spirit. The fact that we’re really driven in education (we have the goddess Sarasvati dedicated to knowledge) and purpose (we have a concept of artha, which includes garnering fame, wealth and social status, in the sense that you gather as much wealth, without being greedy), isn’t helping unify us as a people.
The tension is enhanced by the fact that we perp like we’re prudes. And to top it off there is an on-going push-pull when Western desis (American, Canadian, UK, Australian) meet up with Indian desis fresh of the boat or visiting from India. This is not to say desis in India are not hip, some are way cooler than the American desis. But there are plenty of desis from India who are conservative wing nuts with close minded village mentality that think women should not show their bare legs or work outside the home. These are the same people who think there are no gay desis.
While Reindeer and I stand in line, he hovers in a territorial manner because we are met with dozens of staring desis. Aunties in full sari and sweater gear glare at us. Young male FOB desis check me out like I am a plate of tandoori chicken. So gross. And the gaggle of desi girls looks to see if we have rings on our wedding fingers. Reindeer senses the shift in my energy and leans in to say, “Aren’t you glad I’m here?” Indeed, very glad!
There were some parts of the movie that I thought you really have to be Indian to appreciate, but overall it was endearing the manner of Bend it Like Beckham. “Let’s have Indian for dinner,” Reindeer suggests. Seems fitting since we’re desis doing desi things.
In Midtown East we have several eateries to select from and Yuva wins. We barely sit down when Reindeer knocks over a glass of water that spills into my lap. “I am so embarrassed!” he says as I in vain mop my clothes with flimsy paper napkins. Good thing we have all of dinner and an hour train ride back to my apartment so I can air-dry in the summer heat.
It shouldn't surprise me or anyone else, but this date also ends, kiss-less. Shoot, if I was drinking, I would have shoved my tongue down his throat months ago. But it’s simply not lady like when you’re sober.