Wednesday, June 29, 2011


“Tell me your movie," Life Coach asks in Session Two.

I reply, “It’s springtime and I just moved into my new Manhattan apartment, 2 bedrooms, one and a half-baths, washer and dryer in the apartment and a fully loaded kitchen – stainless steel dishwasher, fridge, stove. Oh and when I say ‘have’ - I mean own. I am still carless in the City, but I don’t flog myself for spending $20 on a cab, I’m worth it.

 I, of course, have permanently lost the pesky 7 pounds that plague me every 14 months. I am skinny enough to wear skinny jeans and not look fat – thanks to Jessica Simpson and her super awesome jeans for girls with curves. It’s a movie – so OF COURSE my hair has learned how to be fabulous all the time – humidity be damned – my hair is sexy, messy and sleek all the same time.

To “make it” – wasn’t an easy ride. I endured and gave up a lot to stick it out in New York, but it was definitely worth every heartbreaking date, every missed subway, every writing class, seminar and critique. Every win and loss shaped my ability to pull a concept statement together, which laid the framework for a novel. A novel that caught the attention of an agent who ‘got’ me. An agent who found the editor who adored the run-on sentences and then grammar schooled me back together again. An agent who found the right nurturing (in New York no less) publishing house who recognized my diamond in the roughness and helped polish out the shiny gem inside me.

But it’s worth it. Really worth it to walk through the stacks of books at Barnes and Noble and see Desi Girl’s Misadventures in Manhattan in hard cover and paperback. And to know that I have a two-book book deal. And the success means more because I fought the fight from within. And that I did it by myself, for myself.”

When I am done sharing the movie – I am struck by my definition of success. My version of success has nothing to do with the married and mortgaged white picket fence Scarsdale life with 2.5 kids, dog and husband that I moved here to New York to obtain. My version of success is about validation, about making it, about being fulfilled, about being okay with me, Desi Girl. Now if I could just do this in real life I’d be all set.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Hurray! My payment to Life Coach finally goes through. On the fourth try. Whatever, as long as we are ready to let the coaching begin.

“We have four sessions, to start,” Life Coach says. Okay, I can handle this. “So tell me what are you looking for?” she asks. Hhhmm. Silence. How come I can be everyone’s source of support but I cannot articulate what I want for myself? “How about we try this,” she suggests. “What would you do if you could have any job you wanted?” “I’d write,” I reply. I don’t have to think about – my mind just naturally comes to this conclusion. “Good,” Life Coach says. “Tell me your movie,” she says. Ahhhh my what? More silence. “Your movie. What screams success to you? Right now, no thinking, just tell me your gut reaction,” Life Coach coaxes.

The words begin falling out of my mouth. “A two-book deal, a great Manhattan or Manhattan adjacent (i.e. lives/works in Westchester) agent, one that believes in me when I don’t. An editor who finds my run-ons, wrong word choices to be endearing, scolds me gently and then sends school marm edits. Pays attention to my plot and gives comments. A City in the Apartment life – one that I can sustain and maintain – I need to take care of myself before I can take care of someone else,” I say. “I knew you knew your movie,” Life Coach says.  “Now write your movie,” she says. Ah whaaaaat? “Your homework is to write your movie. And then in one sentence I want your success story.”

“Uhhmm…” I begin. “I know, seems a little uncomfortable. You’re a typical over achiever. Driven, but humble. You cannot achieve success until you envision it first. You need to dream big to achieve big. Be bold. Tell me your movie,” Life Coach says before she ends Session One.


I think there is an All Things Desi Manual that is sent to desi boys and desi girls before they are born. Some sort of cheat sheet that outlines how to be a desi including the appropriate career choices. How else did the vast majority of my ABCD desi peers become doctors of some sort? Or else they became engineers, some of whom became bankers and financiers. Clearly – I the architecture major did not receive, review or read the manual.

In fact when I was an undergrad, and I would sit with my desi friends in the “canteen” and a non-desi would come join us. Eventually the non-desi would figure out I was an architecture, not a bio, major and say something like, “Oh you’re not Indian?” Hhhmm – okay then …

And while I found architecture interesting and cool, I was not very good at it, but it was too late and (too expensive) to change majors – plus I didn’t know what else to do. Being averse to math and the sight of blood pretty much ruled the majors of science and engineering, etc. So I ended up on the marketing side of architecture - working in a family business. Sure, I may work hard and do a thorough job – I don’t feel satisfied and it leaves me feeling like I failed myself.

This is why I am so excited to work with Life Coach – to reset the clock. So the fact that is taking FOREVER to get my online payment to go through is very frustrating. I have received three cyber error messages from the Google payment server. Mean computer!

This bothers me for two reasons. One, I have wasted 30 minutes, but two, it is generally NOT a good sign to begin working with someone and NOT be able to pay them. Because I want to punch the computer, I step away and go into the kitchen for a Diet Coke aka Diva Cola. I come back to the computer and still don’t have a confirmation of payment from Life Coach’s automated payment system.

I am forced to write to Life Coach and ask her if I can send her a check. Maybe Life Coach’s first assignment can be to find someone to teach Desi Girl computer and internet sleuthing skills. Ugh. I just want to be happy, have a career that excites me and a man who loves me. Am I really asking for that much?                                    

Sunday, June 26, 2011


I’m flipping through my mail and getting annoyed. First of all it keeps coming and coming, and lately I have noticed that it is multiplying like that Faberge commercial from the 1980s, where she told a friend and they told a friend and now 16 of them use the shampoo.

I don’t actually mind the bills – they are a necessity in life. I like power it helps me run very important things in my apartment like the coffee pot, hair dryer and mobile phone charger. So yes I will pay Con Edison every month on time so I don’t end up sitting in the dark. Yes to the Time Warner Cable bill – I like connecting to the worldwide internet and endless hours of Law & Order, Frasier and Will and Grace – that Karen Walker cracks me up.

It’s the catalogues that kill me. I don’t mind the ones from J. Crew, Loft or Container Store (I super want one of those tee-shirts that say "Contain Yourself"). But some of these places I have never heard of - Pure Collection, Layfayette 148 and Sundance. Actually – I have heard of Sundance. I just refuse to spend $218 on a faux jewelry unless the necklace is going to clean my apartment once a month.


Just when I think I cannot flip through another catalogue or take my letter opener to another envelope I spot a communication from my alma mater. It reminds me that I received an email invite to attend a lecture-reception event in a fellow alumni’s home. An Assistant Professor from the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences is presenting the topic of Three Different Ways That New York Might Be Under Water in a Hundred Years.

Sure, my major was architecture, but I like to urban explore and find history interesting and decide to log onto the computer and accept. It is interesting how in these sometimes ordinary and unsuspecting moments in life you are able to reset your life clock without knowing it and begin the adventure all over again.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Life after the Possible-Mate-From-Chicago date is not that bad. He did email after he returned to the Windy City. It was a nice email; he talked about a friend’s upcoming wedding that he was going to attend. There was general conversation, but no mention of getting together. And yes, I had the thought that I should ask him. But I am a girl – and there is a part of me that wanted to be asked and desired. I wanted to be liked. And it feels strange because I thought we got along better than this. But this is not the first time my desi-dude-“dar” has been off.

Like everything else in life I guess, you need to move on. And I am trying. I am going to the Opera tomorrow, to see Rigeletto, by myself. Meera’s shower is coming up soon. It is going to be the bluest baby bash known to man, woman and child. I was again tinkering around on the matrimonial site. I did have that reoccurring and pesky thought, that Einstein was correct when he said the definition of insanity was to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. But I brushed that thought aside. And, and, and – I contacted the life coach Tate recommended, to get my derailed career back on track.

The real saving grace, is that I did not have to have that conversation with myself about leaving New York. By no means do I think the world ends at the Hudson River, but I do wonder; really wonder if I could live elsewhere. New York is a great city, but a tough one. And it's not for everyone, but once you get New York in you, it's not that easy to get it out.