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Anjali still dreaming of her past

Tonight was definitely my lucky night; I walked outside into the cool fall air and caught a cab in a record five minutes.  Definitely a record! The taxi driver quickly maneuvered through the regular Saturday night traffic and got me to the event on time.  I quickly walked up the stairs and entered the grand hall.  The cocktail hour was still on thankfully.   I went to the bar and ordered a cosmo and closed my eyes as I savored the taste of the cool alcohol down my throat.  Smiling I was happy I decided to come alone.  I looked around hoping to recognize someone, but after not noticing anyone familiar I picked up a program to get a peek at what the evening was going to entail.  Flipping through the program I noticed the artists performing for the night, violinist L. Subramaniam,  tabla player Zakir Hussain,  sitar player Ravi Shanker, and before I could finish reading the program someone called my name. 

Looking up I saw Alex dressed in a navy Nehru suit.  (A Nehru suit has a tailored jacket with a mandarin collar and buttons from top to bottom.  The pants are similar to a regular men’s suit).  What a pleasant surprise to see a man wearing Indian clothes.  Do men know how sexy they look in Indian clothing?  I think if they knew what a turn on it is they would wear them more often.  There are so many more types of Indian formal clothing for men yet why do they usually revert to a suit or a tux.  The vibrant colors, styles, and designs that men had an option to wear, were so sexy.  Usually Indian men only wore Indian clothing when they were getting married or attending a close family members wedding.  What a shame.  Earth calling Anjali.  Finally, she squeaked out a hello.  She wondered how long she had been staring before her lame hello came out.

“What are you doing here?” Anjali asked.

“Tarun Jewelers is one of the sponsors of the event and I’m doing a joint venture with Tarun Jewelers so I’m here supporting them.  Plus the owner of Tarun Jewelers is my uncle and he’d kill me if I didn’t come.  Where’s Raj?”

“Raj is working so he couldn’t make it.” I said.

“Are you here by yourself then? Where are you sitting?”

Anjali handed her tickets to Alex.

“Do you want to sit closer? You can have Anna’s ticket.  She had another engagement tonight and couldn’t make it.  Thanks to Tarun cha cha (this means uncle, but your father’s brother to be specific in Hindi) I’ve got great seats.  Come sit with us.”

“That would be great.  I’d love to.”

He held out his arm for me and I took it hesitantly.  I wasn’t used to such chivalry, plus he wasn’t really my date.  But, it was harmless right??? We looked for Tarun chacha and on the way Alex got me another drink.  I kept thinking was it okay with me to sit with another man during a concert performance when I was engaged to someone else? But, by the second cosmo, it seemed like it was okay and my doubts slowly slipped away or at least they were masked by the alcohol. 

We finally found Tarun chacha and Alex introduced me to him.  Tarun chacha, what can I say, was so charming.  He was around early to mid 50’s and he had a thick head of salt and pepper hair, eyes that twinkled, and he never stopped smiling.  He had this flirtatious and infectious smile.  He was handsome for a 50 year old but you could tell he had probably turned a lot of heads in his younger years.  He was one of those people you just liked being around – he could make anyone feel at ease and he was definitely a story teller.  It just wasn’t clear whether the stories were real or made-up, in reality they were probably both.  He obviously knew Alex well because they were constantly bantering and they were very comfortable around each other.  It was clear that the venture they were working on was based on their personal relationship.  Tarun Jewelers is a high end chain jewelry store in India that sold high quality jeweler and was sought after by the elite and famous of India.  India is one of the countries where the most amount of fine jewelry is sold.  It is a big part of the Indian culture to buy gold and other fine jewelry both to wear and as an investment.  It’s purchased and given at most major holidays and especially during weddings.  Tarun wanted to expand the Indian market and break into the U.S where he thought the country was ready to have higher end jewelry stores that offered more of a variety of options beyond just diamonds.  For most Americans the most expensive jewelry purchased is usually a diamond engagement ring and then the wedding bands.  With the changing demographics of the U.S. and more Americans feeling comfortable with other cultures Tarun thought it was time to enter the U.S market and offer something new.  He knew the strong ethnic designs of Indian jewelry would be too much for the American consumer, but he also thought the focus on just solitaire diamonds and gold bands was getting a bit bland for the American consumer, he thought there was room to design new items that were a hybrid or a fusion of the two types of jewelry.  Since he didn’t live in the U.S. he was working with Alex to get this venture started.  Only he called Alex, Amar when he spoke with him. 

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