A Mouthful of Canada is my contribution to Canadica, where writers from Canada and the USA get together to be funny. Check it out.
I am famously cheap.
My friend regales crowds with the time he and I bought blank DVDs in Mumbai. Each one cost Rs. 12 (about 24 cents for the uninitiated), and I noticed that the DVDs were shiny on both sides without any drawings or logos. I had to ask, “Does this mean I can burn data on both sides?” The shopkeeper literally facepalmed and said, “Sir. How much do you expect for just Rs. 12?” He couldn’t tell what embarrassed him more—my ridiculous question or that he was more embarrassed with the exchange than I.
Coaxing dollars out of my wallet is a running dare among my friends. Every outing they propose to me begins with a ‘should you choose to pay for it’ clause. It’s not like they aren’t careful with money. They just don’t make it as obvious as I do. I have never been too embarrassed to ask, “But how much will it cost?” And that helps me negotiate with chemical vendors for lab supplies. It’s a real production. I dial up the Indian accent, play the poor immigrant card like a zither, and make them repeat every sentence until they surrender and dangle the biggest discount their supervisor can authorize. Occasionally I get busted because the guy at the other end is in a call center in Bangalore.
Now I know the stereotype in America—Indians are cheap. There is some truth to that. What distinguishes me is that my ‘Indian’ friends call me cheap. In restaurants that don’t split checks, I usually pay, and the next day my companions receive an Excel sheet in an email with what they owe me in bold. Social decorum rarely stops me from lecturing the friend who never orders anything and disposes of three plates of the free bread. Nor do I shy away from interrogating the friend who habitually leaves to answer nature’s call when the waiter approaches with the check. Why do I hang out with such douchebags?
A typical conversation should highlight my agony. I dislike going to Starbucks alone. So I call someone—
“Hey I’m going to get a coffee. Come with?”
“No man. I’m busy. But as you’re going, can you get me a Chai tea latte?”
“Certainly. I chug a 50-cent coffee refill while chauffeuring your $3 drink. Guess what? Next time I have a yen for coffee, you’re not invited.”
It’s no secret whence I acquired this character. My mom earns and spends without losing sleep. The World Bank lends India huge sums against mom’s sari collection. Dad on the other hand, as mom illustrates, enjoys money by having it. So as I gloss over my penny-pinching by waxing lyrical about abysmal stipends and the GINI coefficient, the truth is that it’s coded into my DNA to fret about the doubloons. My salary has doubled from almost nothing to nearly nothing over the last few years, but I have increased my spending just enough to let me salivate over something I can’t buy.
And what I can’t buy are usually possessions, even though studies suggest that buyer’s remorse is lower when you spend on experiences than on things—a crock if you ask me. Studies of happiness usually involve self-reporting, basically shoving a mic into someone’s face and asking them if they’re happy—a subjective concept if there ever was one. Anyway, as a guy, and a geeky one at that, I like splurging on tech stuff. Seriously, I have gadgetry that a person with twice my salary and half my debt should eschew.
It’s not like I won’t fork over for experiences. I can be weak too. I splurge on food. If you gave me ten thousand dollars and a month in NYC to spend it, I would see you in two weeks with blocked arteries and type II diabetes. And I tip well. I don’t eat in places where I can’t afford the meal plus at least 15% tip. And I’m not an asshole. I purchase my music from iTunes. Sure I grab every free iTunes card I can at the school Starbucks. But that’s essentially free money. A guy’s gotta eat.
My spending habits are paradoxical. I will order takeout instead of cooking for myself, but I’ll save the little napkins. I like eating at Chipotle, but when the ladle-wielding woman tells me that guacamole is extra—she can’t help it. It’s probably in her contract—I crumble and eat a soulless burrito bowl.
All because that little analog meter is perpetually running in my head. Like the MasterCard ad but without the corny ending.
As a kid, I loved eating out. You could get me to do anything for dinner at a restaurant. That came out wrong.
Let me start again. It’s not like I was a gourmet—more a gourmand, really. Not that I was particular about cuisine either. Any place was okay. Except South Indian food. I was never a fan of dosais and idlis. Even today, I sniff and taste with a creased brow when friends call upon me as the token South Indian to critique their sambhar, but I’m always afraid of being exposed as a charlatan. Also, my mom cooked South Indian better than most restaurants, so all my cravings were satisfied at home. No, my desire to eat out wasn’t about being an epicure.
And it wasn’t so I could wear ‘outside’ clothes. This was years before I became fashion conscious—I used to wear any shirt and pants that floated to the top of the drawer. Nor was it about going somewhere by car—I was never one of those let’s-go-for-a-drive people. Drive to what, I’d ask. I wasn’t getting in a car without a flight plan. Going for a spin in the Maruti Zen seemed pointless. Maybe what floated my boat was to go to a nice place where I could order food instead of being told to eat or go to bed hungry. That seems probable.
Sitting down to eat is the easy part, right? Well, you see, my dad loves outdoor seating. He finds it peaceful and natural. I still think that the mosquito-mafia of Mumbai had gotten him out of a jam once in exchange for sanguinary installments from his offspring. He rarely got his way though, what with the rest of us preferring air-conditioning to dengue. Not to mention the heat and the humidity. I chuckle when Americans comment on how spicy Indian food is while they’re helping themselves to chilli paneer in the New York winter. Try eating vegetable kolhapuri outdoors in the Indian summer. You’ll sweat so much, it will be the first time you tightened your belt after a meal.
But really, once you were on a comfortable chair and teased by the arctic outpouring of a quiet Voltas, what was not to like? There were clear glasses (instead of the boring steel tumblers we had at home), tablecloths, and cloth napkins that I spread on my lap—but only after tying them bib-like as practice for lobster dinners when I become rich and famous. (It’s happening, trust me. 2012 is totally my year.) Being called ‘sir’ by the waiter didn’t hurt, and nothing beats meat-eating under mom’s vegetarian scowl.
I can imagine what an embarrassing little turd I must have been—grabbing at the appetizers before the waiter set the plate down. Mom always had to bat my hands away so dad could get at least one bite of the chicken tikka. To a Tambram boy with herbivorous tradition, meat was shiksa-like. Luckily, the cultural embargo on all things slain ensured more meat for me. I remember welling up when my sister sunk her teeth into a piece of chicken and declared that she liked it. It was historic. All meat dishes smuggled home by dad would have to be shared. Still, I lied, cheated, and stole. My sister never found out that chicken lollypop came eight pieces to a plate. I always hid two pieces and very publicly divided the remaining six. I remember filling two glasses with Pepsi, topping the under-filled glass with water, and controlling my glee as she took the diluted, but ostensibly favored, glass. To be fair, my parents did ask me whether I wanted a sibling before trying. But it was hardly informed consent—I was three years old. So, while my kid sister was looking up to me, I longed for a sibling-free universe with routine stomach-aches from too many reshmi kababs.
I’d start to get depressed by the arrival of the main course. The naans were like Sunday to me. No, I didn’t misspell that. You see, I’m most comfortable with a buffer between the present and the work-week. I truly enjoy my Sunday on Saturday. And I knew that the main course meant the check was next.
The check scene at our table was always strange. Dad would scan it for a whole minute. (I think it began when some restaurant overcharged him in 1982. We knew better than to ask.) Only then would he pull out the Visa. I held my breath the first time he placed a credit card on the check and the waiter carried it away without enquiry. I remember asking him, “When the waiter gets that card, does he assume that you have paid?” (I was ready to bow to the plastic god.) “No beta, he makes sure that you pay,” was my mother’s wry reply. So you can imagine how long I was allowed to believe in Santa Claus.
Today, restaurants are as much about the conversation as the food. Also, the whole you’ll-get-sick-if-you-eat-out-a-lot adage doesn’t scare me anymore. At least restaurants have standards. My kitchen doesn’t have a Zagat rating.
But the fruit flies love it.
The next guy who tells me about how some experience gave him personal growth is getting something sharp in his cranium. Seriously, blood’s going to pour out of his temporal artery. You know I mean it when I get mad anatomical with my death threats.
Why? Because it never ends there. Given male competitiveness, it turns into an arms race where each one feels the need to one-up the story. And it goes on and on until someone fabricates a coming of age tale where a plucky kid from Mumbai overcame his odds to win a million dollars on a game show in a country where we don’t count money in millions. All I want is to hang out with my friends and discuss guy-stuff. Just your average volleys of double-entendres and nothing too sensitive or soft; nerdy topics are welcome. Instead I get assaulted with this affirmation of adulthood, which often hides a plea for approval.
Most guys I know are comfortable with the ball-busting group dynamic where we pick on one guy and magnify his every imperfection. It’s immature. It’s caveman. It’s our way of sifting the herd for the weak link. So, that’s not four guys ganging up on one at McDonalds; it’s a test for vulnerabilities that we are better off catching here than in the wild—you know, the bar. But it’s familiar. It’s safe. We have come to expect it, maybe even enjoy it. But if well-enough was left alone, life would have been different. We wouldn’t have war and nuclear weapons, and Windows XP would still be the best operating system. (Okay, that last part is true. Not that I care.)
Then someone goes ahead disrupts the equilibrium by showing us what a man he now is. Oddly, it’s often the same guy who used to turn a quiet evening of beer-drinking and cricket-chatter to a tequila-shot-drowned, vodka-infused, Jack Daniels chugging pukefest. You won’t believe it dude, when that kid grabbed my finger, I felt something. Yeah, you felt his fist. And then you returned the infant to his parents who will feed him at 3 am and hold his hand through rehab someday because grabbing that finger scarred him for life. But you will call this a paradigm shift and promote yourself from Jack Daniels to single malt to suit your current state of refinement. And we must follow along or cut you off like the gangrene that you are.
Half the time this whole personal growth or character-building bullshit is a band-aid for the most recent slight life has dished out. If so, that’s fine. It happens to everyone. Just don’t talk about it. It’s called rationalization because you do it to yourself. Selling yourself this crapola is hard enough. If you spread it around, daring others to refute it, you might just find out how many friends you really have.
I understand that when you watch Don Draper, who always had a mistress within Metrocard radius, walking around all mature-like, it’s understandable to regret the water-balloon fights and the time we faked a Harvard acceptance letter to mess with a friend’s head (He was so excited that he didn’t notice the w in Harward. Yes, I’m going to hell. More on that some other time.) In the animal world, prolonged eye contact means aggression, but among guys it’s just a staring contest to decide who will do a beer run. No one washes a dish after using it. We each fish ours out of the sink come dinnertime. That way, no one can shirk dishwashing. We order takeout because there’s no dishwashing before or after. But does that mean we are immature? I doubt it. We are just beta-testing adolescence at an age when we can appreciate it more.
The way I look at it, maturity is paying your bills and having more friends than enemies. Done and done. Saying I mustn’t say or do some things because I’m not a teenager doesn’t resonate with me. Who draws these lines? When your grandfather was your age, he had two children. Yes, but that’s because there wasn’t much to do back then. Procreation was recreation. Let’s see him being all nice and fatherly in his twenties with a House marathon on HDTV and an FiOS internet connection. Do you know what a high-speed internet connection does to guys? It’s like giving us our own set of breasts—a productivity killer. Let’s face it. Most of us are going to live longer than our grandparents did. Why can’t we do things a little slower then? There’s no empirical evidence that playing Medal of Honor Allied Assault reduces your ability to be a father. Well it kinda does, if the laptop gets really warm.
So I’ve decided to stay immature, by society’s definitions, that is. Every now and then, I’ll wear whatever I can lay my hands on. I’m religious about showering and deodorants, so don’t call the CDC just yet. But if someone walks into a joke, I’m not gonna be the bigger person and let it go. Your ass is gonna get ridiculed. It will make you a better person. Or not. I don’t know. It will make me a happier person. That’s for sure.
Whoever decided that 26 is too old for that’s-what-she-said jokes did not check with me. In fact, all those who feel that way should just admit it right now. Admit it so I can un-friend you and cut you off. Or deal with it in silence. And that includes dick jokes, funny rape jokes (NOTE—I did not say rape threats, and no, they’re not the same.), and every other joke conceivable.
Except the Aristocrats. That shit is nasty.
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3. Café speak
“Excuse me, do you have a light?”
I was asked this while walking around one evening, a month after I came to America. I replied that I didn’t have any matches or lighters. The question was presumptuous because I wasn’t smoking. She was middle-aged and sat on her stoop tapping a cigarette on her pack as I examined my face for wrinkles and wondered if my breathing sounded like emphysema. She regarded me for a few seconds and said nice evening or something. I look Indian enough, and Indians are almost one-sixth of the world’s population, so I allowed myself some annoyance when she asked which part of Pakistan I was from. I corrected her. She apologized, but with a look of close enough.
“What do you do?” she asked.
“I’m a grad student at St. John’s.”
I knew how this dance went. First I say that I study pharmaceutics and then they say, “Oh, pharmacology!” While I was explaining the difference and ignoring the beads of sweat near my ears, I was offered some lemonade. I said no thanks; she shrugged and smiled. Always taught to decline first and relent after persuasion, the withdrawal of her offer seemed sudden to my Indian eyes. But clearly the American way was to state what one wanted, and take others at their word—a little crass, I felt, but refreshingly candid. She wasn’t done being candid.
“When you get your degree, you gonna go back, or stay here and try to get a green card?”
“I’m not sure. Depends on the job-market I guess.”
“If you stay, does that mean your parents are going to move here too?” she asked.
This was 2007—not everybody’s shit had hit the fan—and it was understandable for some Americans to think of their country as a large zero-sum pizza, where more immigrant families meant less for everyone. Actually, I liked her honesty. It’s like America was her teenage daughter, and she wanted to know my intentions. Far more respectful than the oh-we-are-glad-to-have-you-here-if only-American-kids-studied-science-as-much-as-you platitudes. I was honest. I told her that my mother couldn’t see herself leaving India, but my dad was amenable. A half-belch-half-grunt came from inside the house. There was a guy in her living room—I’m guessing, her husband. He didn’t look at me once as he was engrossed in a game I still can’t call football.
“Looks like he’s engrossed in the game,” I said.
Trust me, when you suffer from an Indian accent, and have to repeat every other word, words with three consonants in a row like engrossed are to be thought, not spoken. America may have a lot of foreigners—you’ll meet most in New York—but you can spot an Indian a mile away. Of course you can, he looks Indian. But he’s also the guy who’s over-pronouncing consonants to wash his accent off, scrubbing harder than Lady Macbeth. You won’t see a Français or a Brit doing this. Their accents are sexy. Why do you think they like to get together with their kind so much? To preserve their accents. Indians in America treat other Indians like rival drug-runners pushing on their corner. (People understand me better now—it’s been five years—but I still pronounce ‘w’ like a German.)
“Did you hear a lot about America, in Bombay?” she asked, ignoring my statement.
How do I explain to her what America is to non-Americans? The roads looked so clean in the movies that as a kid, I thought Americans walked barefoot. USA was the Narnia where money grew on trees and everybody sat around a fire chatting about how good they have it—taking breaks to wind their clocks back or forward an hour—and they all talked funny. And their movies had real people kissing instead of the images of actual birds and bees native to 90s Bollywood. And the strangest disposal tools. Whenever my uncle visited India, dad told us to put out a roll of toilet paper for him. Why can’t he use the bidet shower spray, I wondered. Maybe Americans don’t like their asses getting wet. Perhaps dry buttocks were the symbol of Western opulence. But I didn’t want to come on too strong with how enamored I was.
“Sure. We get most of your TV shows, and we like Hollywood movies,” I said.
“And sports? Do you guys play the same stuff we play? I’m a huge football fan.”
“Well, mostly cricket. That’s what most Indians care about. I grew up playing it.”
“What about the skin flute?” the belching grunter asked from inside.
“I’m sorry, what?” I said, as the woman started giggling.
“The skin-flute, I’ve been playing that since the fifth grade,” he said.
“I haven’t heard of it. It’s a musical instrument, right?”
Their laugh still echoes in my head whenever my brain makes the you-are-such-a-loser powerpoint presentation in case I get too optimistic.
“Ignore him. What about music? Do you get our music?”
I had to be careful. Admitting that I owned two Backstreet Boys CDs had gotten me picked on for an hour the other day—by a girl. I had saved myself, not convincingly, by blaming my sister. Just like I blamed the France ’98 for my liking Ricky Martin (The cup of life, ole ole ole…nobody?). Next trip to India, I’m dumping them
along with the Spice Girls albums. (Seriously, who am I to ridicule the Bieber/Perry/Swift fanboys and fangirls.) I decided to stay vague.
“Sure. American music is popular in India; mostly in cities.”
“What about Elvis? Do you like Elvis?”
“Sure. My dad’s the fan though. He likes Elvis and Englebert and Neil Diamond.”
She got excited and proclaimed, “If you like Elvis, you’re cool.”
By that scale, I guess I’m kind of cool. Amazing huh? Getting a full scholarship to grad school is great, but as far as assimilation goes, it pales in front of a man in a jump-suit who liked prescription drugs. Whatever works, I guess.
“Actually, I’d love some of that lemonade.”
I’m sitting down to write something. And it’s gonna be the shit.
What to write about? Nonfiction—no that requires a lot of reading, too late to start now. How about a nice story? That’s right. When I get up, I’ll have a novel…that inspires tears…from Hemingway…in a fetal position cursing god for making me more talented. I need characters, plot arcs, story lines, a central theme…
You know that non-fiction idea is looking better and better—the heart wants what it wants.
What do I begin with? Lesser men choose titles, rough measures of article size—but I’m not a wimp. First, the font. Because the only thing worse than getting kicked in the nuts is writing a treatise on macroeconomics that’s a Nobel shoo-in only to learn that Stockholm despises Helvetica. (Why do you think they bumped me for Krugman?) Too many choices, but I’ll know it when I see it.
I keep going from Georgia to Courier New to those special typewriter fonts I downloaded from dafont.com and all the way back to Georgia. Times New Roman? What am I, an animal? But I admit that Times New Roman tempts me like Jon Hamm probably does to Ted Haggard. No, I need the right font. Courier New is the best—everything I write looks serious. Like a philosopher who’s finally decided to make metaphysics his bitch.
Or does it? What if I just look pretentious like those people who drink Chardonnay and say things like avant-garde and milieu?
I imagine myself as a heroic Thomas Jefferson punching declarative statements on a typewriter before realizing that Jefferson died forty years before the typewriter was invented.
So everything he wrote was by hand. How did he get past the first sentence? How come no one crushed his spirit by saying, Your ‘s’ looks like an ‘o’? (Yes, I’m looking at you mom.)
No, Courier New won’t cut it. Who am I kidding? I routinely end sentences with prepositions, and I recently declared my closet desire to shamelessly split infinitives, and I used ‘who’ instead of ‘whom’ in the previous sentence. I need a non-prescriptivist font, preferably one that doesn’t smell too Victorian. (Not that I know what Victorians smelled like, but I hear they showered sporadically.)
I can’t think straight until the words staring at me look alright. That’s how Christopher Hitchens did it right? May his soul rest in…wait, what?
Maybe the font is fine, what about the screen brightness? I don’t want it too bright, do I? A soft light that prevents eye-strain without making me squint is what I need. But first, some music. Nothing but the soft gentle stirrings of Adele to boost creativity. Did I say Adele? I meant Metallica, with beer, and a shotgun.
Alright, so that episode of Breaking Bad was awesome, but I really need to write now. Hell, no way I’d have been this inspired if I’d started typing away without … you know … inspiration. Hey, how about this for a story — a guy with a low-profile life in Smalltown, USA gets cancer and decides to cook meth…no wait…I’m getting close now, the idea is not far away. Come on…
I can’t be creative on an empty stomach. I need some Chinese. All that stops me from being Tom Wolfe is sesame chicken with pork fried rice. Great, no cash, meaning I have to tell my credit card number to the post-doc at Hunan palace who likes to repeat every digit loudly, his accent disappearing with every number. But he forgets the chicken wings every time.
I guess I’ll resume after dinner.
That’s it. I’m not getting up until I write something of value. I almost sympathize with people now—how empty and bourgeoisie their sundry lives will seem after reading my outpourings? But should I write now? My mind isn’t the sharpest after bingeing on Chinese. The people deserve better; I’ll start writing tomorrow early morning, fresh. By 8 am, I’ll be emailing the New York Times.
Is Courier New really the right way to go?
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Thanksgiving has always impressed me. Growing up in Mumbai, I’m used to religious holidays; I was particularly egalitarian as a child because some Christian or Muslim or Parsi celebration meant that I could stay home from school. The other kind of holiday was the national kind, mandated by the government so we can remember Mahatma Gandhi or the Republic day or something like that. But those holidays weren’t really celebratory.
That’s what makes Thanksgiving interesting. The idea that people of many religions adopt a standardized turkey-based (and other trimmings) meal with beer and football games is incredible. Irreligious ritualistic celebration is refreshing. It marks a level of maturity that is indicative of an evolved people.
Then comes Black Friday.
So there I am, outside BestBuy with a buddy. Doors are supposed to open at 5 am, so we have five hours to kill. Nothing hurts the Indian sentiment more than paying retail for something that just went on sale, and what with it almost being winter break (when many of us go home acting as couriers for electronic devices for our relatives in India), there are many desis in the queue. It is an electronic store, on perhaps the biggest discount day of the American year, so the line is disproportionately Asian.
We suddenly hear a stream of Gujarati from the group ahead of us. They are whispering loudly about the laptop they want, and going into specifics, logistics and schematics. I think I see a floor plan in their hand, and a bespectacled guy is handing out strict instructions to his friend and girl-friend. I get a sinking feeling that they’ve actually made at least one reconnaissance trip to BestBuy just to get the upper hand on the rest of us who were playing it by ear. They are stealing naps in turns. There is some science to this whole black friday shopping thing, and they are on to it.
I have never fully appreciated the horror of varicose veins until tonight. Alternating between standing and sitting cross-legged on the cold parking-lot floor is not my idea of fun. I think someone is smoking some reefer which is pissing off the NYPD. I didn’t inhale.
The cops are keeping a watch for unruly behavior. Apparently there have been stampedes in such situations, and occasionally a couple of casualties. But hey, as long as we can get 25% off on that air purifier! Of course, anyone who has been a regular on a Mumbai local train will find the most beastly black friday queue a breeze.
Ah…we finally get in, and reach the place where they keep the laptops, wait…what? Only those with the ticket can buy discounted laptops. And the ticket was a piece of paper handed out to the first twenty people in the line, which means we were never in the running for it anyway. There’s a little kid running around (not a day over twelve), selling tickets for twenty bucks. Wow…capitalism is so organic to us.
My friend’s already got the latest unlocked blackberry along with an external hard drive and a sandwich toaster under his arm, and a camera and some other stuff now under my arm. I’m just buying an external hard drive, but it’s nice and sleek. Products sold by Apple and Bose are price-controlled, so no store can undersell them even if they want! So the Bose in-ear headphones I wanted were jeering at me from a corner in all their retail arrogance.
Pitch black is turning into twilight as the day is breaking, I buy a mixed chicken-lamb with rice from a roadside vendor. You gotta love NYC.
Let me begin with a confession. I have horrible fashion sense. Now I know many guys out there have this problem, but I’m beyond help. I once wore a red cargo for over a year (not continuously though!) that would put Govinda’s fashion designer to shame. I have always relied on my mother’s & sister’s help (did I say help? I meant total dominion) in this department.
Cut to a scene of me shopping with my aforementioned fashion-nazis. Mom says, “Take these pants and try them out.” I proceed to the trial room like a man about to get the ultimate punishment for a crime he committed.
I hate trying on clothes. I enter that tiny room, which is built to house only those with bodies so perfect that they don’t need to try out anything. As I take my caricatured self into one of these enclosures, I spend most of the time on self-appraisal in the mirror. I check out my teeth, smile, give the evil grin, and frown. Finally I come out with the pants only to see my sister armed with a couple more, giving me a critical look (which suggests unadulterated disapproval) that says, “The only thing worse than those clothes on your body is your body itself!”
Mom beckons, and I obey—she asks me embarrassing questions about the fitting of the pants at various places. I always nod in assent, whether true or false, simply because I’d rather face lifelong discomfort than the ordeal of ramp-walking for my mom and sis.
They argue about the fashionableness of the clothes, sis always suggesting that mom’s taste is too 80’s. This argument ends in one of them admitting that I don’t have what it takes to pull off a crisp look. Salesmen stare.
I get more clothes to try out; some t-shirts this time. Now, I know what you’re thinking, ‘How can anybody mess up t-shirt fittings?’ Well, that’s because you don’t have hate-handles.
Meanwhile dad is looking for a parking space on Gokhale road.
The thing about memories is that that the average ones keep flitting on and off, the good ones rarely remain clear except the feeling, and really good ones stay fresh (for easy recall when a train journey is long and there are twenty people sharing standing space on my toes); but the really embarrassing ones stick. My attention to detail is poor, but these examples of sartorial ignominy are etched inside my skull.
“So we were just having coffee…”
“Wait a second, you said you were in the lab all afternoon and evening yesterday, so this coffee…?”
“I knew you would not miss that; it was over breakfast!”
“Alright dude! I knew you would eventually reach the finish line!”
“Wo to theek hai, but you won’t believe what she said…”
“You mean when you told her that the only reason you were going out with her was because you wanted to get closer to her hot friend?”
“Are you nuts, there is no way I’m gonna tell her that! She actually looked me in the eye and said those three words”
“Uh oh! And you are not serious at all? I mean your scheming date with her was two months ago; I assumed that you had feelings for her now…”
“Well, not really…I mean she is not bad, but I don’t feel anything special for her…by the way, I contacted that hotter friend of hers, and we did go out; she moved to Toledo that’s all”
“So you broke that off, then it is fine na…just forget her, and keep it going with this chick!”
“Dude, you remember that Epidemiological conference I went to last weekend?”
“Yeah sure, the one with…oh…you mean….Toledo?”
“Yeah, it was a great weekend!”
“Okay, so now what? Which one?”
“Right now, I don’t know; all I know is that I’m feeling guilty because this chick says she loves me…and I don’t feel it for her”
“Are you sure she really loves you?”
“Come on yaar, only guys say that line without meaning it”
“Well…I just think you have no reason to feel guilty”
“Remember that weekend last month when your ‘I love you’ girl went to meet her parents in Vermont?”
“Yeah sure, she even called me from there”
“Her parents are dead, and it cannot be a coincidence that the college soccer team went to Vermont that same weekend; and that her ex was on that team…honestly I can’t believe you did not connect the dots soon enough”
“Oh, then I need not feel guilty I guess…”
“Only of sheer naivete, chal let’s order our beers now”