Sunday, July 22, 2012


One of the cool things (because there are many) about my volunteer group is that we provide trainings for our members. There are trainings on heart health, how to be an effective volunteer, social media, elder abuse, conflict resolution, and what I am attending today, financial literacy.

I mean really, I should credit myself more, because I don’t have extravagant tastes. I don’t eat out at 5 star restaurants, get spa treatments at the Mandarin Oriental, take resort vacations, and have a car or a mortgage. Yes, it is true, I live in the most expensive American City and rent is my biggest expense. However, I am curious, what else can I cut out? This is why I bought the book “SHOO, Jimmy Choo!” and plan to take copious notes at the training that the author Catey Hill is giving tonight.

I get to the HQs early enough to get a seat in the middle of the room, and save a seat for my friend. We thrifty gals need to stick together.  Laney arrives just before the training begins, which is fine since I have saved her a seat in a much crowded, over-subscribed standing room event tonight.

Both Laney and I are bloggers, she writes about beauty and gets the best swag ever. And I don’t know about her, but I am not financially minded. So while I have done the “easy” things – like cutting out the $4 a day lattes, shopping on sale, cooking more so I can eat in rather than out – I am desirous of knowing what I need to do long term. Like, how much money do I need in savings so I can buy an apartment (GASP!) in NYC (if this is even possible for me)? I want to build retirement savings, have a year’s worth of cash in the bank and buy some long-term care (hello, color me responsible!).

The woman running the financial literacy training introduces Catey to us and lo and behold, she is a pretty, young woman with dark blonde wavy hair. Her book has the best cover (pink) with a woman’s hand dropping a shoe. Catey is funny, witty and even though she must be under 30, her age never deceives her. She is accomplished and polished. And it strikes me that she has done what I want to do. She has written a book about financial literacy, something that she is passionate about, and gotten it published.

Once she is done with her presentation, she opens the floor to questions and answers. After which she is most agreeable to signing our books. I pull Laney out her chair and drag her over to Catey. We wait patiently, until our turns come.

“Hello Catey, I’m Desi Girl. Would you sign my book?” I ask. “Of course,” she replies and smiles. She is very kind, I can tell, so I ask, “would you be willing to meet with me about your writing process? And how you acquired an agent and book deal? I have been writing for years and would love to glean your insight.” I have nothing to lose, I already know the worst thing she can say is “no”. “I would be happy to!” she replies.


Monday, July 16, 2012


It’s never a good sign when your friends ask, what’s new, and you (in this case me) don’t tell them that a guy they don’t like (Town and Country) has returned. But it’s true. For now, I have decided against telling Tate, Ainsley or Siobhan that Town and Country strikes back, or that I have fallen back into the routine of late night texting with him.

Town and Country: How was your day?
Desi Girl: Okay. (Now, I know that this guy has managed to blow up my life on more occasions than I wish to count, but when we’re catching up at the end of the day, it seems TOTALLY normal to do “this” whatever “this” is with him. But, since I know he is the Lone Warlord of my Heart, I remind myself to be careful, to tread with caution, do not engage emotionally. Why I don’t ask, ‘Desi Girl, why do you keep doing this?’ is beyond me …)
Town and Country: Just okay?
Desi Girl: Yes. I am worried about my boss.
Town and Country: Why?
Desi Girl: I just am.
Town and Country: But that’s you. You’re different. Unique. Sweet.

Ack. I don’t like it when he says nice things to me about me. It gives me false hope.

Town and Country: what are you wearing?
Desi Girl: (Really? We are going from my boss to sex? Please.) I don’t feel like doing this.

Several seconds elapse. I know he is annoyed that I don’t want to sext with him. But I promised myself, this time, there were would be no-more-than-friends-nonsense. This is how I always get in trouble with him.

Desi Girl: You there? If we’re doing this, we’re doing this as friends and I don’t tell my friends what I am wearing late at night.
Town and Country: Ok.

Oh what? He’s mad? He jerks me around ALL the time. He should be THANKFUL that I even forgave him. Why, I still don’t know. I cannot blame it on being weak and lonely. There is something just magnetic about him to me. It’s like I cannot stop myself with him. God help me …

Sunday, July 15, 2012


It’s Monday. And I am back at Daniel’s office, sitting at my desk, enjoying the quiet morning, staring at the skylight, wondering if it will leak when it rains. Or if I will be a roasted desi girl in July, sitting here cooking under the hot summer sun. I have to think about such stupid things. They busy my mind. They stop me from missing my mother, being alone, thinking of Town and Country.

I push back from the desk and grab a yogurt from the fridge. This was supposed to be my late morning snack, but I am hungry now. My diet of peanut butter sandwiches gets boring every now and then. But it is a cheap, fast and easy way to get full and have protein.

I pull the top back and drive the plastic spoon into the creamy, smooth pink yogurt. I wander over to the window and stare at traffic moving down Madison Avenue.  It takes about six bites for me to finish the snack and I toss the container away. I’m in a mood to pick a fight so I grab my phone, sit down and kick my feet onto my desk, like I own the joint, rather than barely draw a paycheck.

Desi Girl: Hey
Immediately, a text from Town and Country: Hi
Desi Girl: I need to know something.
Town and Country: Yes
Desi Girl: I need to know why you yelled at me over text.
Town and Country: I was wrong. So I apologized as soon as I realized.
Desi Girl: It took you THREE months?
Town and Country: Yes, I am sorry.
Desi Girl: You really hurt my feelings.
Town and Country: I know. I am very sorry. Forgive me.

I inhale slowly and release the air. I should not forgive him. But I don’t have the energy to put myself out there to desi date all over again. I should not let him back into my life, because he is going to put back on the heroin-induced roller coaster ride we call friendship. All my friends will shake their heads at me. But I am alone. And lonely.

Desi Girl: Okay. I forgive you.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Today my teeny tiny apartment feels huge, empty and blecky. I cabbed Mom to LGA and then took the bus/subway combo; normally I do this because I’m cheap. This time I did it to prolong coming home to this loneliness. I do often wonder if I am alone because I am now incapable of living with someone, being single so long and living alone for 10+ years can do that to a person.

And sure, I love my Mom and I am sure I miss having her around. So maybe if I met the right man, THE ONE, I’d love having him around even in a space this small. Of course, since Town and Country lives in 4,000 square feet he’d have no idea on how to function in this space. And I wonder if he really knows how to function in a couple anyway.

And now that I am allowing myself to think about him, I am really annoyed with him for contacting me. And I am really really annoyed that he apologized. It was A LOT easier to hate him and throw daggers at his face in my head when I thought he was a jerk. And he still is a jerk, apologizing does not get him off the hook. Of course I am rather curious as to (a) why he even apologized, I didn’t peg him for someone who feels remorse, because I was beginning to wonder what feelings he felt. And no I don’t mean I think he is without feeling, I just don’t understand him because he seems all over all the board with his I like you, I hate you and (b) why is he calling me. He better not think I’d sleep with him after the way he behaves so flippantly with me.

I crack open the window, shoot this apartment is hotter than Hades and crawl into bed. I flip through channels until I find an episode of Law and Order and shut my eyes to take a nap. I don’t feel like dealing with this lonely apartment or Town and Country.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


It is Saturday; Mom leaves tomorrow so I am already starting to miss her. It’s weird. I get used to living alone, then I adjust to having someone around, then I have to get used to being alone again and it’s hard. Really hard.

So I am focused on having a light and pleasant time with Mom today. Nothing is going to annoy me. Nothing is going to upset me.

Mom comes out the bathroom and sits down at the desk chair. “I have to do my make-up, but you take your shower first,” she says. “Okay,” I reply and get off the bed where I was lying, watching Law and Order. I walk past the desk and the phone rings. I recognize the number, but kinda don’t. I pick up, realize I totally know who it is and panic. I had to forget his number only to remember enough so I would not to answer it, but it is too late I am saying hello, cringing, waiting to hear his voice.

“Hey,” Town and Country says. OMG. What in the hell? “Ah, hi,” I say and hope he doesn’t say something raunchy or sex-like with my mother sitting two feet away. And what does he want? And who the hell is HE to call ME? After three months? After yelling at me? “Are you okay?” he asks. “We’ve never talked on the phone before,” I reply to stall my shock. This is not a lie; all of our communication has been text or email or live in person. “And my mother is here,” I say. “Oh,” he says and his tone immediately changes. “What’s up?” I ask. What? Did I just ask him that? Why do I even care? I don’t. “I wanted to say sorry,” he replies. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? “Oh, okay, thanks,” I say. “Well, bye then,” he replies. “Bye,” I say, hang-up and run into the bathroom.

I am shaking inside and outside. What a weird call? What is he doing calling me again? I thought it was over the last night when he behaved like a little toddler jerky faced man. Why doesn't he go away? I take a long shower and come out of the bathroom, a whoosh of steam follows me. I walk by the desk; Mom is reclining on the bed watching the telly. My phone is blinking quickly, alerting me to a text. I pick it up, presuming it is Meera with information about Rohit’s birthday party tonight that Mom and I are attending. Wrong.

Town and Country: I just wanted to say sorry.

I am sorry too. Sorry that I met him. Sorry that I fell for him. Sorry that I can’t shake him. Sorry that I didn’t remember to forget his phone number. I should have blocked his number. But I never thought he’d call back. And I NEVER thought he'd ever say he was sorry for anything.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


I get home from work and feel bad that Mom has been cooped up in the apartment for two days. I unlock the door and toss my purse aside. She sits up from the bed that doubles as the couch and dining table. I basically live “in bed” when I am home. I mean the apartment is only 312 square feet. Other than the bedroom furniture all I have is a desk and bookshelves. I can see the entire apartment from bed.

“Hey Mom,” I say. It feels hot in here so I immediately wonder if the windows are closed. But I cannot see them because the curtains are closed. “Why is it so hot in here?” I ask and move to the window in eight steps. “Oh I closed the window when the kids came outside.” “Are you hot?” I ask. “I’m okay,” she says. “What shall we do for dinner?” “Let’s order Chinese,” she suggests. “Don’t you want to go out?” I ask. Now I feel really bad that she has come all this way to sit in this little cell like apartment, with the heat blaring and the screaming children.

I wish I could afford a nicer place for to visit me in. Or that I could afford to take her to shows and ferry her about the City in a taxi.

“No, I don’t want to go out. I want to spend time with only you.” “Okay, great,” I say and go into the bathroom before the tears start. I already miss Mom and she doesn’t leave for a few more days. So I don’t know what is going on with me sometimes. I don’t have any regrets in moving out here. I am glad I did. I am glad I mortgaged my future on a chance at love and a chance at something more. But it is hard sometimes, because it can be so lonely. Which is strange right, that I can feel alone in a City this size, in a City so restless and also pulsing, always moving.

But sometimes I don’t know how to feel normal in New York. I go back to Minnesota and I can pick up where I leave off. But in New York, life feels like a jerky motion sometimes.

Friday, July 6, 2012


Holy Hannah my apartment is HOT. Neither Mom nor I like heat. You would think Mom would be accustomed to hot since she lived in New Delhi for 29 years. However, she has lived more of her life in Minneapolis, so maybe she and I have been winterized due to the Minnesota cold.

I pop open the window and turn the television on, Reba, Frasier, Will & Grace, or the Golden Girls should come on soon. “Okay, Mom, I’m off to work. I’ll ask Daniel if I can leave early so we can have dinner or go out or something. Let's get you out of the apartment,” I say. “No, no,” she says quickly. “Don’t rush for me.” “It’s not I want to hang out with him over you Mom,” I say. “Just do your work and come home. We can order Chinese food,” she says. "Again?" I ask.“What will you eat for lunch?” I ask. “I’ll figure it out. Don’t worry about me. I'm not like Daddy. I can have a slice or something.” Slice is what my mother calls untoasted bread.

“Okay,” I say and kiss the top of her head. “Close the window if you get cold, which I doubt will happen.” She nods, “this is apartment is hot. Too hot. It is hotter than the first apartment.” “That’s because the first apartment had window guards on all the windows so I could leave it open at night. Here there’s one window off the fire escape and I don’t want to take a risk of someone getting in.” She nods.

I open the front door and over my shoulder say, “Oh, there is a school across the street. Around lunchtime you will hear the kids.” “Why? Why will I hear them?” my mother asks puzzled. “Because the school doesn’t have a play yard, so at recess the kids play in the street,” I reply. My mother looks horrified. “Mother, don’t worry, they close street down so no cars can go, but yea, it's New York. Sometimes kids play in the street.”

I decide to walk to work, the weather is nice, and I give my brother a call. “How's Mom?” he asks. “Good,” I say and laugh. “I just told her that the school across the street lets the kids play in street. But where else are they going to go? The school is attached to the church and the whole block is built up.” “Sounds lovely,” he mutters. I am sure he envisions his daughter NOT playing in the street.

“What have you and Mom been doing?” he asks. “Not much. I'm hoping we go out for dinner tonight. She hasn’t left the apartment since she came,” I reply. “WHAT?!” he demands. “You have just let her sit there for two days?” “Dude, I’m in a four floor walk-up, she was panting and wheezing the first day. The stairs damn near killed her. It’s not like I won’t let her leave, she doesn’t want to. Plus it’s New York, everything can be delivered.”

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


We walk slowly to Loft. Everything in the store is 40%, which is one of the reasons I shop here. Mom and I head towards the back of the store and I rifle through racks. I pull three pairs of capri pants off the rack, grey, navy and black. This should be a good color palette to get me through the Spring and Summer. The line to the fitting room is long, and  Mom is patient, so we chat; and she gets me caught up on the desi happenings in the Twin Towns. So-and-so has a baby. So-and-so is getting die-vorced. So-and-so moved.

When my turn comes I drag Mom into the fitting room and try on all the pants. I am delighted to fit into size 6 pants and buy all three.

“I have no food at home. Mostly because I have no kitchen,” I say to Mom. “No problem. Anything is fine,” she replies. “Pizza?” I ask. There is a really good pizza place a block from my apartment. “Sure anything,” she says. “It’s New York slice, so we are going to order one slice each,” I explain as we walk along. “Fine. Are the slices big?” she asks. “Ah, yea,” I reply. “Then I want one,” she says quickly. “I know. What kind do you want?” I ask. “Whatever you get is fine,” she replies. “Oh, okay, so if I get beef as a topping you’ll eat that?” I half-tease with sarcasm. “Sure, if you are eating beef, I will too,” she replies and laughs. It is our little joke. She always says she will get whatever I get. Then I say beef. And she agrees, basically daring me to order it.

I settle her at the table. She has already produced a $20 from her purse before I set my Loft bag down. Clearly she plans to pay for the two slices and plain tap water. I kinda chuckle at getting tap water. When my brother and I were little my parents used to take us to McDonald’s for fillet-o-fish sandwiches. They were actually fine with us ordering hamburgers. I am the one who self-imposes abstinence from beef. Partially to be a good Hindu, partially because I did not grow up eating beef so it makes my stomach sick.

But anyway, we used to always ask for Cokes at McDonalds. And our parents always said, “no, we have Coke at home.” (Which was true, but we wanted Coke right then and there. And this was before the Super Sized drinks with refills; this was when a soda was a lot of money). We would press, “please, please can we have a Coke.” “No, but you can have a milk shake,” they would say.” No we want Coke,” I would argue, advocating for my brother (since he was younger) and myself. “You can have milk,” they would say. “But we have milk at home,” I would pipe in when I saw a flaw in their plan. Oof, and then would I ever get a dirty look. It was the one that said “if we were at home, you’d get a tight slap across your little face.”

I used to think it was because they were cheap. But they did let us have milk, so either milk was less expensive or they just were being good parents and not filling us up with sugary badness. As an adult, I now drink water at restaurants because I have gotten thrifty in the recession. And Mom cannot drink a whole can of Coke, so we would have to share and I only drink Diet Coke, which she won’t touch. So water it is.

Mom and I finish the pizza and walk the short blocks to my apartment. We get into the building and she sizes up the stairs. “There are 50 of them,” I say to Mom in reference to the stairs. I count them every time I have lug heavy things or carry groceries up the stairs. She nods. “Give me your purse,” I say. She nods again, gives me purse and says, “You go first, I’ll come slowly.”

It takes her twice as long to get up to the apartment as me. I have the apartment door open and a chair for her to sit. She comes in panting and wheezing. It alarms me. I try to stay calm, like it happens all the time. Even though I am totally freaking out over her health. She sits down for a few minutes, catches her breath and nods. “Okay, so where can I keep my things?” she asks and surveys my teeny tiny apartment.