"What is the computer doing now?" Vipin asks. He is Tapan's Punjabi Tech guy. "Uhm, nothing...Not good right?" I ask. "Well...no," Vipin replies and gives me additional computer directions.
We've been on the phone for over 40 minutes, defragging, control-alt-delete and other virus-control things I don't understand. This has also given us time to chat and get to know one another. Vipin is from Bombay, now Mumbai. He's not only Punjabi, but of the Sikh faith. He has a lovely voice and accent and I wonder if he is clean-cut or full-bearded. And I have to say, not because I am Punjabi and half-Sikh, turbaned sardars are sometimes the hottest desi men. They tend to be tall, well-built and have handsome faces with chiseled features that cannot be hidden behind their beards. There is something very regal and essentially Indian about a man in a turban. And I really admire Sikh men for maintaining their customs in America, especially in this day and age.
"Okay, I hate to tell you this, but I need full access to the computer. I tried to take over your computer using a temporary access code, but whatever virus you have is over-riding my commands," Vipin says very kindly and gently. "I see..." I reply and wonder what to do next. I live in Washington Heights and Vipin lives in Brooklyn, it is like we are on opposite sides of the moon. "I have an idea," Vipin suggests. At this point I am open to anything. "What is that?" I ask. "If you can get the PC console and screen to Tapan and he can get it to me I know I can fix this...." Vipin says. "No problem. I will coordinate with Tapan," I reply. I am willing to do anything to avoid Best Buy's Geek Squad and the dispensing of $200. "Great. I really want to help you and I was getting worried about how," Vipin says as relief fills his voice.
Okay, between Tapan and Vipin, these are the NICEST desi men I have met in the City (excluding my family and friends). I feel very indebted to Vipin and his genuine interest in helping. I am so used to being the ultimate care-taker that I forget what it feels like to receive assistance. "I wish I could help you back, Vipin. But I don't suppose you have a need for an architectural skills in an NYC rental, right?" I ask. He is quiet for a second and says, "Well my parents have a flat in Bombay and they are looking for some renovation ideas, do you think you can help with that?" This is brilliant! "Yes, I can. Can you send me a pdf of their drawings? I will email it to my brother," I reply. "Sure thing!" Vipin says.
And just like that, we are making a deal, bartering 21st Century style!