I have been single for a while and lived alone for about a decade. But I feel really lonely in Minnesota, lonelier than I do in New York. Which kinda makes Siobhan right, that being here is not good for me. Then again, if I was in New York, I'd feel helpless. You don't know which way to turn when someone you love is not well. So having all this time with my thoughts is allowing me, if not forcing me, to admit some Dr. Froggy truths.
It has taken a while to admit this because on some level, Bangalore Cousin is correct. I am not getting younger and how many single desi men in their late 30s and early 40s are JUST sitting around waiting for me. And Dr. Froggy is not a horrendous person (if you put his insensitive, unable to emote in times of emotional crisis quirk aside). He is educated and genuinely nice. He is a little obsessed with his money. Since I‘m just a middle class gal, it’s a lifestyle I don’t live. But his friends and family are picture-perfect. While I don’t really want to leave New York and live the suburban life, I don’t think you get everything in life, unless you are one of the Real Housewives of New Jersey. So a common gal like me must make concessions.
And while my parents picked each other when they had their love marriage in New Delhi 1967, I am sure they made compromises, especially Mom. I don't doubt their life in America was good, but I am sure it was tough to be a brown with a bright red bindi on your forehead against the white snow banks. Maybe they did not contend with bus bullies, but a few years ago Dad told me that when Mom worked for telephone company back in the 1970s, they told her that her saris were distracting and that she was forbidden from wearing them in the office place. Today, these CEOs and three generations of their families would get sued. But back then, the choices were: (1) conform or (2) go away. And this is Minnesota, not the deep South.
But Mom and Dad stuck it out and made a life for themselves, raised a family and built a little business. Growing up I resented not being like my friends, now that I am adult, I realize I am not like my friends. My mother doesn’t drink chardonnay from a coffee mug on Saturday mornings. She drinks tea morning, noon and night. While some of my friends observed Lent, we don’t eat meat on Tuesdays. There were no confirmation classes for me on Wednesdays. We had no temple for worship. I am not white, Lutheran and Swedish. I am brown, Hindu and Indian.
And on so many levels, growing up brown in Minnesota taught me a lot about life and myself. I have learned about tolerance, ignorance, survival and that is really okay to be Desi Girl in a sea of blonde Jennys. I'm tough, I can put up with a lot. Fine, Dr. Froggy is sedentary, has an unused gym membership and doesn’t read. But he’s passionate about his work and has interests – sports and Florida. He gets along well with his parents and sister. And he’s is very good at managing his money (and could clearly teach me a thing or two). But if he cannot muster up some compassion for me now, what will happen as my parents get older? What will happen if I get sick? Or one of the kids?
I'm pretty sure I won’t stop being an empathetic person. And he doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to notice another person’s emotional pain. So I'm not sure that one of the concessions I can make, for the sake of getting married, is marrying a man who does not care for me emotionally. That may be more of a deal breaker than a smoker, pet lover or a divorced gent with kids.