Around 10 pm my phone starts ringing and buzzing like it's having an anxiety attack. Tinku’s father has called so many times, from so many different numbers, that I finally blocked him. Because I am curious, I decide to read a few of the emails. Most of them are flat and bland. Until I come upon an email from mumbaiparag55: Madam, I read your recent ad. I m gujarati 56 y. if u have no problem in age diff.. i have interest in you. Im hungry of love, if you belives in love, there is no problem in love. When r u coming india ?. if you are in mumbai, we can make a meeting in this regarding, and we can know each other. Thanking You, I hope that you will give positive answer.
Ugh. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. So I forward his email onto my urban family and Bangalore Cousin. Ten minutes later my cousin calls. “Who is this man?” Bangalore Cousin demands. “My potential husband! How do they have my email address and phone number?” I snap. “Uncle must have posted it in the ad.” I don’t EVEN believe this. I can only presume that my ad reads like this: (1) 36 year old Khatri girl (2) American born (3) resides in New York (4) educated in communications.
“Have you lost your mind?” I demand, loudly, in full Punjabi angst. “I am trying to help!” Bangalore Cousin argues. “Most people set up blind dates. What do you do? You post some bullet points and my AGE, my NAME, my PHONE NUMBER and my EMAIL in the Times of India? I don’t even believe this!” My email address is my first name, last name at yahoo.com.
In that 10% of me that is currently rational, I know they are well-intended – but HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, they posted my contact details in a publication whose circulation is at least 16 million in a country of one billion people. I mean … REALLY?! Fine, forget that I find this somewhat mortifying, but what about my safety?! I already feel like a loser most of the time. We, desis, invented outlandish weddings and arranged marriage that a billion people partake in. Yet somehow I seem to repel desi men. I cannot get one to date me, much less marry me. What kind of INSANITY is this? Deep sigh. OMG. What the F***.
“You need to calm down!” Bangalore Cousin says. “You don’t think I have other things to spend my money on? And frankly you’re difficult and get mad over the slightest thing. No one wants to help you,” Bangalore Cousin states matter-of-factly. Here is where time freezes. Fine, I am difficult --- the desi Bridget Jones meets Sally Albright from When Harry Met Sally. But I really think I could find 10 people who agree that I am entitled to be outraged over the fact that she has posted an ad with all my personal information. I guess I should be thankful she does not know my social security number.
“I just wish you had run the ad by me or at the very least posted an alias email address,” I say somewhat calmly. “Now please, just take the ad down,” I ask. “Uncle and I paid A LOT of money for that ad,” Bangalore Cousin counters. Okay, fine. Except I didn’t ask them to butt into my life and fix what clearly is broken. “Please, I am begging you take it down.” I plead. “These people call at 2 am, you want me to marry someone whose mother cannot convert time?” I ask. “But it is a big ad,” she replies. Lordy…really? I have not slept in THREE days. So not in the mood for suitors from the homeland and their parents. “Please, just take it down. I need for this to stop being my fault,” I ask softly. “Fine,” she mutters in defeat.