Monday, February 28, 2011


“I don’t understand what you’re doing,” Siobhan says into the phone. “What do you mean?” I ask puzzled and kick my feet onto my desk. I just finished telling her about my weekend Dr. Froggy date and this was not the reaction I was expecting. “I don’t know where to begin…he’s telling you, you cannot tell his boss you’re a Democrat? Are you hearing yourself? He wants you to lie and you’re okay with it?” “Well technically I think I’m a libertarian…” I counter. “This isn’t funny…I think he's a bad idea. You routinely tell me that there are billion Indians and the two you are fixated on are Dr. Froggy and Town and Country…in fact I think Dr. Froggy is a bigger mistake than Town and Country because you’re willing to uproot your life for him…have you really thought about this? What if you marry him, move there and it doesn’t end up working out?”

“I guess I assumed it will work – I know plenty of Indians who have had arranged marriages and it has worked out just fine – most of my cousins and relatives in fact,” I argue. Siobhan groans loudly. “I didn’t love you the first time I met you,” I counter. “I mean I love you now, but getting to know you and building our friendship didn’t happen overnight,” I explain. “This is not the same, Pinko…” Siobhan says in a softer tone. “I think you’re under a lot of pressure to get married, and maybe if I really thought you would be happy with Dr. Froggy I’d let this go. But my gut tells me this is all wrong. Just promise me you’ll think about this long and hard – think about WHO you are doing this for and will YOU be happy? Relationships are hard enough…and the rest of your life is a long to time be miserable.”

It’s my turn to sigh loudly. For the past two days I have been wondering maybe I have a distorted or false sense of love. I have high and exacting standards that border along the lines of impractical perfection. I hold myself up to a ridiculously high bar I don’t measure up to. So how is Dr. Froggy supposed to measure up if my ideal man is figment of my imagination. Maybe this is why I pick men like Town and Country - it keeps me chasing the bar.

“Look I make lots of rash decisions and I really need to give Dr. Froggy a chance. I never planned to date my college boyfriend and I did for four years,” I say. “And I want to get married and have kids,” I reply flatly. “Fine, but with him?” she asks. “He is nice to me,” I reply. “But you have no chemistry,” Siobhan argues. “And I did with Town and Country and look at where that gets me?” "And what? It is one or the other? You can't find a better balance?" Siobhan asks.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Because my apartment is hotter than Havana, I lay ON my bedspread, rather than UNDER the covers, fretting and debating. I need to get married, I’m pretty sure I want to get married, unfortunately I don’t think I want to marry the available, pandit-approved man in my life.

This is why insomnia gives me the chance to make a mental list of Dr. Froggy positives. His parents are incredibly kind and down to earth. Then there are his super welcoming, out-going (Punjabi) friends. Sure, he doesn’t live in a town as happening as New York, but every city has its charm and Dr. Froggy’s has a kick-ass football team, and I do love stadium snacks. So it would be nice to root for a team that knows what to do with a football, unlike the Vikings game plan of fumble, tumble and repeat. And he himself, Dr. Froggy, is nice. Yes, he’s a workaholic, and I’m kinda worried that I will spend a lot time alone – isolation is not good for Desi Girl. But Dr. Froggy isn’t the type of person who will play emotional games or cheat on me.

However, Dr. Froggy does have that really annoying habit of either talking about his money or joking that the only Indians cheaper than the Sindhis (which is what Dr. Froggy is) are the Gujaratis. And I don’t understand why he does this, because Dr. Froggy spends money like he’s minting it in that unfinished basement of his. But the problem is I spent the weekend going through the motions. Now that I am allowing myself to reflect, deconstruct, replaying hour by hour, I become more and more distressed.

On paper Dr. Froggy is a perfectly good person and mighty fine matrimonial candidate. And I really want to just fall in love with Dr. Froggy. But the reality is Dr. Froggy does not remotely excite or interest me physically, which has me obsessing over toxic Town and Country.

But is it so bad not to have chemistry with Dr. Froggy? I think about all those arranged married Indians in India who have gotten married sight unseen and made it work. Maybe that is the problem, America allows me too many liberties, I know too much about Dr. Froggy and have gone full circle, over thinking this, that I have talked myself out of liking Dr. Froggy which is why I am delusional and thinking about a Town and Country tryst. Do I really “need” love? I mean --- I need air, food and water. Can’t the rest fall into place? How much good sex does a prude really need?

When I cannot thinking about the weekend any more I bolt out of bed and grab my phone. I must enlist my urban family. I text Ainsley for a phone date, then Siobhan. Meera, too, she is my reality check, and I ping her. Oh and my Southern friend Haynes Thomas Taylor, she is well versed in all things romantic and proper and I will talk to her on Tuesday. I need perspective on this Dr. Froggy situation and I am too irrational to solve my own life. Thank Durga for girlfriends who double as sounding boards!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Sudhir, Sudha, Amarjit, Malini, Dr. Froggy and I have dinner, and more wine. I continue to find Sudha and Malini delightful. They have a third friend, Anjali married to Ketan, who is currently in India visiting her parents – and the three of them have a girls night once a month. 

Sudha and Malini are so easy to talk to and be with, and I don’t know if it is because we’re all Punjabi or Indian or what, but they are so welcoming that, in time, I think they would “get me” in the way Meera, Siobhan and Ainsley do. And while no part of me wants to leave the Isle of Manhattan, the other part of me knows that in order for this to work with Dr. Froggy, I will have to make that compromise. So knowing there are girlfriends built into the equation is very important to me – because I would be leaving some amazing chums behind.

The next day Dr. Froggy and I return to his house so we can have breakfast with his parents, allowing me the opportunity to meet his father, before my flight. We pull up to the massive McMansion --- it and the wide open spaces have started to feel familiar to me. We enter the kitchen and the delicious smell of Auntie’s South Indian feast is overpowering. The sight of upma, dosas, vegetables spiced in mustard seeds and a huge bowl of cut fruit, melons, pears and apples are mouth watering.

We begin eating and Dr. Froggy tells his parents about the resort and the medical conference. Uncle is slim, balding and about four years older than Dad. In his sweater with suede elbow patches Uncle reminds me of the desi Mister Rogers. As I listen to Uncle talk and chuckle in a sweet Yoda-like manner, I find him very compassionate. I am trying not to fixate on this, but like Uncle, Amarjit and Sudha seem emotionally aware. And they are doctors too.

We finish eating and have some tea, and then Dr. Froggy loads my stuff into the car. Uncle gives me a warm handshake and Auntie gives me a long hug. This time we take the BMW and Dr. Froggy begins to back the car out of the garage. I look over my shoulder and say, “Uhm, I think your Dad’s Toyota is kinda close.” He slams on the brakes and looks to his left. “Shit that would have been bad,” he mutters and avoids smashing into his father’s car.

On the way to the airport Dr. Froggy takes me on a driving tour of the Indian temples, first the North Indian Temple, then the South Indian Temple and then the Gurdwara where the Sikhs have their services. We get caught in a rain-snow mix and this slows down our arrival to the airport. He stops the car at the curb and we say good-bye fast --- a quick hug and a peck on the cheek because now I have less than 30 minutes to get a boarding pass, clear security and get on my plane. Did I mention my three-inch heels? Hai meri ma! “Text me when you're on the plane, okay?” Dr. Froggy says. “Sure,” I say. I am ready darting into the terminal.

I get to the US Airways counter and the agent says, “Sorry you cannot get on that flight, you have to wait for the next one at 4 pm.” What the? “Why not?” I ask calmly. I guess the worst thing is I am stuck in this town for more two hours and need to buy a latte to pass the time. “There isn’t enough time to get your bags on the flight,” he explains. “I have a carry-on,” I share. “Oh well sure, then here is your boarding pass. It’s tight but you can make it.” I scurry to the security line and wait and wait and wait. After 15 minutes I get into the gated area, rush for the tram, haul ass up the escalators and RUN, RUN, RUN, like a mad woman to the last gate in the concourse. I hand my boarding pass to the agent and she smiles, “Thank you very much, have a pleasant flight.” Now that I am ACTUALLY making the flight, I will!

I drop my purse and book onto my aisle seat and stow my bag in the overhead bin. My neighbor looks displeased to see me. Maybe because I look like a red, flushed, sweating mess. Maybe because he wanted two seats to himself. Rest assured, it wasn't my preference to sprint through the airport and sit next to a sour-faced cranky man for the next 90 minutes. So he can just bite me.

A few seconds later they shut the plane door. And I sigh in relief of making it. I want to go home, for however long this is my home – Big Apple, here I come!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Dr. Froggy and I arrive at the resort. It looks like a French Chateau meets Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Rock - an alluring mix of stone and brick. He pulls up to the roundabout and stops the Porsche. I barely reach for the door when it is opened by the resort’s doorman. He offers a warm smile. “Welcome, Miss, we do hope you enjoy your stay…” he begins and stops when Dr. Froggy arrives at my side, and continues. “…and you too…sir…” 

The valet comes over to us and also smiles, “May I have the key sir?” Dr. Froggy sighs and makes a face, expressing his complete displeasure that someone other than him is going to drive the car. Why must he behave like that? He is almost 40! This not Ferris Bueller's Day off, they are not taking the car for a spin, just a spot to park!

This also reinforces why one of my favorite jokes is, “What is the difference between porcupines and Porsches?” On the porcupine the pricks are on the outside. The valet and doorman exchange glances and then give me “the look”. The one that says “Desi Girl you are either dating him because he is rich or has a huge penis, because this guy is a jerk and we see no other reason for you to date him." I know the look, I routinely flash it when I stroll along Park Avenue. But I what do I know - I don't like cars, driving is a religion I am not subscribing to, which is why I am content living on a small island.

Once inside we are escorted through the resort filled with clean modern lines, brick pillars in the bar, and a stone fireplace in the lounge. Our escort unlocks the door to our room and I have to swallow my smirk. This freaking resort room is bigger than my apartment!

I set my bag on the luggage stand and unzip it. I root around for my make-up and black dress that requires no ironing. Dr. Froggy hangs his clothes and suit in the closet and goes into the bathroom. I brush blush against my cheeks and look around the room. There is a king sized bed in the middle of the room, windows with molding, and dark panel walls. On the other side of the bed is an air-mattress, nice to see that Dr. Froggy is a gentleman.

He comes of the bathroom dressed for drinks and I duck in to the huge bathroom with a shower and tub, jack and jill sinks against a light brown marble and tile finish. I put on my dress and light pink sweater, and go back into the bedroom. Dr. Froggy smiles, “I like that dress on you.” “Thanks,” I reply. I knew this, which is why I brought it. He goes back into the bathroom and slaps cologne on his neck. “You know I don’t mean to be morbid, but I want to die in the arms of my wife,” he says. “It’s not morbid. Why get married if you don’t look forward to seeing and spending time with that person?” I ask. He nods and we leave the room and join his friends in the bar downstairs.

They are two Punjabi couples, Sudhir and Sudha, and Amarjit and Malini. Sudha is GORGEOUS, and she sports a rock so big I wonder if it will break her wrist. She’s a doctor and her marriage to Sudhir was arranged. I got the Cliffs Notes on everyone before I arrived. Turns out Sudhir was a complete flake in college, no one even knows how he became a doctor because he was very busy smoking pot and dating a blonde girlfriend that his mother chased and then replaced with Sudha. Now Sudhir, Sudha and their two kids live his parents. Aiy.

Both Sudhir and Amarjit are Sikh. Amarjit is turbaned, which I admire dearly. I am proud to be Punju, half Hindi and half Sikh, but I am not Sikh enough to grow my hair and wear the kara, a stainless steel bangle. It takes great strength and courage to be a man especially who does not cut his hair or beard in America.

The gents find the ladies space to sit at the bar and for hours we sit and chat, like we had known one another for years, rather than minutes.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


The next morning I wake up, stretch and twist around in bed for 20 seconds. I grab my watch. Ugh. 6:00 am.

If I was at home or visiting my parents I would get up, brush my teeth and watch the Today Show. But I’m a guest visiting a desi bachelor and his mother and I don’t want to disturb them. Then again, there is the flip side, if I stay in bed too long I may look lazy, which I am not. So I decide to toss back the covers and shower. Auntie is probably in her late 60s, earlier 70s – if she's a typical desi mom she is already up.

I pull on jeans and a black turtleneck and open the door. I peer up and down the hallway, absorbing the silence. Dr. Froggy’s bedroom is at the end of the hall in what his mother called “the master suite” last night on our house tour. The double doors are closed so I can only presume he is not an earlier riser. Quietly, I slink down the stairs. I feel like a fraud for some reason, like I don’t belong here.

I go into the kitchen and unsurprisingly find Auntie cooking and drinking tea. “Good morning,” she says and puts a pan of water on the stove for my morning tea. “Did you sleep well?” she asks. “I did,” I reply and lean against the counter, watching her open and close cupboards, slowly filling the counter tops with dishes. It is so obvious that she organized the kitchen.

Over a cup of tea we chat about my work, parents and where I grew up. An hour later Dr. Froggy comes down the back stairs in flannel pajama bottoms and a long sleeve tee-shirt. His mother looks unhappy to see him unshowered and unshaved and speaks to him in Sindhi. He replies in Sindhi, with an Indian accent. Hhhmm, that is odd.

We eat breakfast and Dr. Froggy goes to shower and get ready. By the time we leave for the resort (in the Porsche), I have spent five hours with his mother. Thank goodness she is so sweet and down to earth. Good thing I am me --- a self entertaining unit who can talk to anyone and anything. 

Clearly Dr. Froggy has doctor brain. If the situation were reversed I would never allowed someone to spend 5 hours alone with my parents. Don't get me wrong, my parents are great --- kind and welcoming. It's just that meeting parents is nerve racking enough, but then to abandon your date for hours on end?  Then again, when I told Dr. Froggy that my aunt had died he was like “I deal with death all the time.” So for someone who is empathetic and emotive (me), Dr. Froggy’s lack of awareness is worrisome. And while I cannot currently picture myself living in this house, I can see myself having tea with his mother.