Thursday, November 16, 2006


We’re doing our weekly groceries at Meijers – when I sense someone staring at me. I surreptitiously glance over my shoulder and I see a young man, seemingly of Indian descent looking in my direction. As I turn to him, he looks away. As I move onto the fruits section and then onto meats, he’s follows us there too. When he catches my eye in the seafood section, he nods a hi – I nod back politely. I wonder if he's following us and then I notice, he's been pushing an empty cart.

While I am picking up baby food – I overhear hubby talking to someone. Since hubby is not exactly very friendly to strangers – I look to see who he’s talking to. Ah! Its guy who’s been following us! He asks hubby for phone no. Hesitantly hubby hands it over. He instantly rings back – as if to confirm. As if on cue – baby yells and hubby excuses himself. I ask hubby who he’s been chatting you – and find out its Arun Iyer – just being friendly. Strange I wonder – what’s an Iyer doing in meats and seafood?

Couple of weeks later – Arun Iyer calls hubby. He has an interesting proposition to make money “in one’s free time”. Hubby politely fobs him off, saying he’s not interested.

2-3 weeks later, a lady we’ve met once at the park calls me. “Where have you been?” she asks. I start my saga of viral infections hitting the family. She’s sympathetic. “So how’ve you been?” I ask. Wrong question to ask – she spouts the magic words “A friend of mine has a very interesting business proposition” and she hands over the phone to a friend. A very affable Rahul tries to give me details of “a profitable way to spend your free time”. Like a sentinel, hubby hovers close by mouthing “hang up”. Since I’m not too good at saying no, it’s a while before I can stop Rahul and tell him I’m not interested.

I’m wondering what’s going on. What is the whole Indian community in Chicago trying to get each other interested in? I talk to a couple of friends and they’ve had similar experiences too. Some had to be really rude to fob off their pursuers. “You got off easy on both occasions” says one friend, who’s been here longer and seen much worse. A friend was once apparently chased across a parking lot by one of these “A Company” people.

Sufficiently warned, I head off to Meijers again. As I am contemplating what brand of shampoo to buy, I hear someone behind me “Hi! Are you from India?” Barely glancing over my shoulder, I squeak “No I’m Canadian!!” (technically true) and I rush off.


At 12:26 PM, Blogger @ said...

twisted dna posted about this only a cpl of days ago, and I was also victimized several years back - in Kohl's. Since then I avoid looking a desi stranger in the eye - how terrible is that?!!

At 11:34 PM, Blogger Alan said...

The Amway thing was in full swing in the early 80's around here. Hadn't heard anything about it for a long long time.

At 3:51 AM, Blogger artnavy said...

oh poor you- if I could hazard a guess - could it be herbalife?

At 10:34 PM, Blogger Something to Say said...

its the Amway people, art. they seem to be all over the place, these days

At 10:11 AM, Blogger Minal said...

It's a craze out here in India too. Not just Amway ....loads of making quick money schemes.

At 1:40 PM, Blogger Something to Say said...

I agree @ - these days even I am wary of looking up and smiling at desi strangers. It is terrible!

Alan, I wonder if these Amway people specifically target desis - or does this phenonmenon cut across the races.

Welcome, minal! I didnt know this virus had spread to India too.


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