Later that night I am on the computer working, preparing an informational packet for Town and Country’s washing and drying needs. My phone rings and I reach for it. It is an out of area number. I debate a couple of rings before picking up, “Hello?” I ask. “Desi Girl? Hi – it’s Bhaiya calling from Asia,” he says. This is my cousin brother, real brother to Bangalore Cousin. I have not talked to him in awhile, a year maybe.
He is married, with kids and lives in Asia. Of the nine cousins on my mother’s side of the family he is hands down the most successful. He used to be with a big Wall Street firm until he started his own company – I presume Bhaiya's company to be some sort of investment, hedge fund, something or other. When he started the company with his partner it was worth half a billion dollars, now it is worth $2 billion. The thing about him I most admired was that despite being so successful and living the Indian Mastercard commercial, 3 houses scattered across the globe, 2 twin daughters, 1 fair and slim wife, unlimited success, priceless – he never acted like a pompous ass.They say money changes people, he seems to be one who does not fit the mold.
“Hi, Bhaiya, how are you?” I ask. “I am good, really fine, I am in New York,” he says. “Like right now?” I ask and for some reason look at my watch. Town and Country spends a lot of his time seeking investors, as does Bhaiya, and I have always wondered if they have come across one another in private circles. But I have never wanted to ask either of them if they knew one another. I don't have many areas in my life where there is separation of church and state.
“Yes, in New York, right now,” he says and laughs. The last time he was here was right before my birthday and was presenting to investors. He stayed at the Waldorf Astoria and we met for lunch at Sushi Ann. After lunch he needed to go to Saks Fifth Avenue, which was luckily around the corner. As we walked to the store he said his wife said he should buy me a perfume for my birthday and he pulled out $5 and handed it to me. I didn’t say anything, because it is the thought that matters, but this was barely enough to by a large skim latte at Starbucks. He must have realized it too because he then supplemented the perfume funding with a $50 bill.
“Can you meet me for breakfast tomorrow? I am staying at the Ritz Carlton,” he says. “Sure. I know where that it is,” I reply. “Great, how about 10 am?” he suggests. “Perfect,” I reply. I can then hit the gym first.