Persistence Doesn’t Always Pay Off

3 Nov

There’s no doubt, with the firecrackers popping tonight, that Diwali (The Festival of Lights)  is here ( for more details about Diwali).  I went to the gym this morning to find “Happy Diwali” signs and “Christams” lights hanging all around the place.  Everyone is in a very festive mood and reminds me of the Christmas/New Year season back home.  The next few days will be filled with celebrations, plenty of fireworks, and even a visit from President Barack Obama, meaning Mumbai will be even more chaotic.  Precisely the reason I’m getting out of here and plopping myself on a beach for the next four days.

Before that, let me catch you up on the ups and downs since I last wrote.  First, the positive.  I’ve met some very nice people over the last few days, thanks to my taking public transportation, going to the gym, and connecting with other expats.  Last night I met Jackie, a recent Brown graduate, who has lived and worked in Bombay for the last four months and will most likely be here for two years.  She loves it here, which I must say, is very comforting.  I have met people who love it here; hate it here; are indifferent; are counting down the days until they leave; plan on staying here indefinitely.  And since it’s still too soon for me to make up my mind about Mumbai, I’m always interested in opinions of any kind.

Now, before meeting Jackie, I made my way to Bandra to do a bit of exploring.  About an hour before she called, I looked behind me because the same person had been walking very close to me for a while.  As soon as I turned around, we made eye contact.  Game over.   Ajay introduced himself, asked me where I was from, and offered to show me around the area, since he was killing time during rush hour before traveling home.  He told all about his studies (I pegged him as a teenager; he’s 20), his family, asked me lots of questions about the U.S., and about my taste in coffee (which I don’t drink), then tea.

He wanted to take me to a coffee shop in his neighborhood where he used to work, but since I didn’t have time, I told him we could do that next time I was in the area.  He asked if I could meet the next day.  I said I couldn’t because I already had plans, then was going to Goa, so it would have to wait.  He asked for my number; I reluctantly gave it to him.

Ok, in America, if you give a guy your number, there’s a 99.9 percent chance that he’s not going to call you (my personal experience).  In India, if a guy gets your number, there’s a 99.9 percent chance you’ll hear from him within half an hour of giving it to him.  I don’t think the “two-day rule” has caught on here.

I met Jackie for coffee, then an hour later, we both met up with Andrea for biryani at Lucky Restaurant.  My phone rings.  It’s Ajay.

“Hi Stephanie.  Are you free now?”

“No. I’m at dinner with my friends.”  I had told him at least nine times before going to dinner what my plans were for the evening and why I couldn’t spend the whole night wandering around Bandra with him.

“Ok.  Well, we will have coffee tomorrow, no?”

“No.  I told you I would call you next time I’m in the area,” I reminded him.  This kid seemed very well educated and quite quick, so I began to wonder why everything I said sounded like new information to him.

“Ok, well, I miss you and will miss you until then…Will you miss me?”

Ok, Steph.  Don’t sound too annoyed.  Be nice.  Whatever you do, don’t say you’ll miss him.

“I have to go, Ajay.  Will call you next time I’m around.”

In my phone I have contacts tagged as “Do Not Answer 1,” “Do Not Answer 2,” and so forth, and I hate to do that.  Honestly, though, Indian men—this may also be true of women, but not in my personal experience thus far—are beyond persistent.  It’s not good enough to exchange numbers just to have someone to call every now and then when you want to hang out.  Nope.  It’s all or nothing.  They’re hooked.

I think the guy who cornered me at the mall two weeks ago to try to convince me to buy insurance (but then called me about meeting up for coffee to discuss things that were not insurance-related) finally got the hint from the calls that haven’t been returned.   Hope I’m not jinxing myself here.  Same goes for the guy I met at a bar during my first week, who I gave my number to after he told me I had a beautiful smile.  Damn it, Steph!

I’m learning my lessons the hard way.

P.S. I am going to write a couple of other posts that I am going to schedule to appear on the blog while I’m in Goa.  This doesn’t always work, so if not, then more to come when I return.   And, I promise, pictures coming soon!


One Response to “Persistence Doesn’t Always Pay Off”

  1. Jackie November 11, 2010 at 12:26 am #

    Oh so funny about the guys! I can’t wait to hear more about this topic and also how this might tie into your research about marriages… though I guess if the marriages are arranged, then there probably isn’t this dating game is there? Update soon, love!

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