Posts Tagged ‘Money’

For a Desi, there is no such thing as a beautiful sofa, sari, or bar of soap in itself. The beauty of an object is not left to mere subjective criteria to be discussed for its own sake. Beauty, until quantified in monetary terms and at a discount, is not beautiful.

If a bargain is beautiful, then a Desi’s home is his own personal art gallery and he will be most anxious to give you a guided tour. Spreadsheets will be provided as well as a detailed history recounting the dangerous conditions endured to acquire each piece in the exhibit.  A deal is not elevated to beautiful status until a Desi can regale others with the tale.

To pay full price is equivalent to being white. In fact, it’s a mark of ABCD behaviour.  If you have paid full price, It would be useless to defend your indiscretion by quoting such saps as John Keats (Beauty is truth, truth beauty) when trying to refute the Cartesian coordinate calculation of beauty. A Desi will smile politely and then say to a fellow Desi in his mother tongue (and in front of young white sap’s poetry quoting face) what a poor, sweet fool he is for believing such rubbish.  But before he decides to brandish the chap, he will recall that such naivety is the reason his corner store sells out candy bars at a 200% margin, so he’ll keep these thoughts to himself.

One unfamiliar with this ritual might feel awkward when first cornered on a sofa with an overzealous host and confronted with this odd monetary openness, especially in an amorous setting.  While another suitor will artfully attempt to corner a woman on his new, sleek leather loveseat in order to make good on the furniture’s namesake, a Desi man will enthusiastically launch into a detailed accounting of his, well, accounts.  How the loveseat was $1,200 retail, he waited for a sale, but then convinced the salesman to waive delivery fees if he paid in cash (Desis don’t like credit cards) and then found a coupon for 85% off and then talked the guy into throwing in all the pillows for free as well as the stain guard, and then…

At this point the cornered female may begin to question the heterosexuality of her date or decide he is the cheapest man in North America.  What she fails to grasp is that her dashing Desi date is actually in prime wooing mode.  He has just displayed his superior hunting abilities in the concrete jungle and she is now sitting on his captured prey.  He is wondering why she doesn’t appear more seduced.  The best way to encourage a more romantic mood is to praise him roundly and let him know that bargain hunting is your idea of foreplay.  Watch him melt in your frugal fingers!


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There comes a point in an argument between all Desis and their ABCD children when the Desi parent will inevitably invoke the ‘only $8.00 in my pocket’ story. The point usually comes about 26 seconds after the ungrateful ABCD child has requested an iPod, a car, or $8 to go to the movies.

The Desi parent will set the scene at the airport customs gate, where they are searched head to toe to ensure that they are only entering with $8.00 in their pocket. The Desi mother, wearing a pocketless sari will have kept the $8.00 in the cleavage of her blouse along side her $2,000 in gold jewelry given to her as a dowry. Knowing that $2,000 of gold in her cleavage is not an appropriate tale to be telling a feisty teenage daughter (note Lessons #2 and 3), the mother will forgo any further details that would render the story factual.

The Desi parent will then continue to detail the hardships of life in the ghettos of the US, how they arrived in the dead of winter with no coat (no, it doesn’t matter that they immigrated to Florida), wearing only a pair of chappals (sandals) with socks and how they had never seen a western toilet and didn’t know how to flush it. The details provided and level of venom added to the most current rendering of the ‘Only $8.00 in My Pocket!’ story will vary depending on the amount of the ABCD request and the insolence with which the request was made. By the time the ungrateful ABCD child has reached the teenage years, she will have heard several thousand variations on this raga.

A few examples:

ABCD child requests $8.00 for the movies – ‘Oh Beta, it costs so much for one silly film (pronounced fi-lum). When I was your age, we would be sneaking into the theater because we weren’t affording the 3 rupee entrance fee. Do you know we came to this country with only $8.00 in our pocket? But anything for you my darling child.’ Request granted with $5 extra for popcorn.

ABCD child requests a $300 iPod – ‘$300 for what? Some stupid iPod, fiPod? Did you know (yes, the ABCD already knows) that we had no electricity in our village until 1957? There was one radio and we washed Mehulji’s car so we could listen to the cricket match on his radio. Now you want iPod. I came to this country with $8.00 in my…’ Request granted based on how silently ABCD endures the $8.00 bashing. Any word of protest or irritation can delay iPod purchase by at least one month.

ABCD child requests a car – Even the example lashing out is too lengthy to recount here. The car, having been an unattainable luxury for the Desi parent, will only be awarded after a series of increasingly passionate renditions of the $8.00 story. Walking 3 miles to school barefoot and uphill both ways, sleeping in one room with 4 siblings and 3 cows, reading by candle light on papyrus, etc. Success is usually proceeded by a breakdown where the ABCD child is willing to settle for an oxcart to get to school. After the will of the ABCD child is broken, the Desi parent will tearfully confess that they made every sacrifice to come to America so that their beloved Monu could drive a Toyota and listen to iPods. After the drama has ended, the family will pile into their Camry and see if they can find one in a matching color.

If one is witness to such an argument, it is not recommended to take sides with the ABCD child, or in any way question the details of the $8.00 story. A guaranteed way to curry favor with a Desi is to invent a similar tale about one’s parents or grandparents. Sufficient details about hardship should be noted, but one should not upstage the Desi with accounts of war, famine or genocide. Such horrors will make the Desi appear to be a sissy, leaving the Desi more irritable and ultimately undermining the position of the ABCD, thus leaving one despised by both sides.

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