Here's Shari starting her first day tour in Mumbai:
As Buddy tested his Angry Birds skills—people were like the game app. birds, seemingly flinging themselves at our car—I swallowed a curse. Oblivious to my morbid fear of inadvertently killing one of the many pedestrians jamming the sidewalks and spilling onto the road, Anjali stared at my hands, where I clutched at the worn leather.
“That’s a lovely ring.” She pointed at the ruby. “From someone special?”
“No.” I released my grip on the seat to twist the ring around, wishing I didn’t love it so much. Definitely not from someone special.
She didn’t probe, her curiosity snagged by my watch. The gold link and diamond TAG had been a gift to myself with my first paycheck at Tate’s law firm, a splurge I’d justified at the time by saying I needed to look the part at an upmarket practice, when in reality I’d wanted to impress the boss who’d already made a pass at me during the first two weeks.
“That a gift, too?”
Jeez, who was she, the jewelry police?
“A gift to myself.”
Needing a change of topic fast, I pointed out the window. “That’s the third cinema we’ve passed in a few blocks.”
She craned her neck for a better look. “Nothing unusual. We’re the movie capital of India, so there’s a multiplex cinema on every street.”
She had to be exaggerating, but as Buddy weaved in and out of the road chaos, I spotted five more.
“Personally, I prefer cable.” Anjali rummaged around in her giant handbag and pulled out a TV Soap magazine. “Hundreds of channels, better viewing.”
She flicked it open to a double page spread of buffed guys with bare chests and brooding expressions. Not bad, if you liked that fake chiseled look. By the twinkle in Anjali’s eye as she shoved the magazine my way, she did. “Bill Spencer is my favorite.”
Clueless, I shrugged.
Horrified, she stabbed at a photo of a dark-haired, dark-eyed Adonis with rippling pecs and a serious six-pack. “Don Diamont. You’ve never heard of him? Young and the Restless? Dollar Bill Spencer in Bold and the Beautiful?”
“Uh, no, I’m more of a rom-com gal.”
Shaking her head, she snapped the magazine shut and thrust it into her bag, casting me a disbelieving glare. “I’m thinking Amrita did you a favor sending you here.”
I didn’t want to ask, but there was something cutesy and lovable about Anjali, and I couldn’t resist. “Why, Auntie?”
“So I can educate you.”
I stifled a snort. “About soap operas?”
“About men.” She rattled her bag for emphasis. “These are the men you must aspire to. Handsome, tall, broad shoulders, rich.”
“Fictional,” I muttered, earning a click of her tongue.
She crossed her arms, hugging the bag and magazine to her ample chest. “You’ll see. Once you ditch Anu’s son, we can concentrate on finding you another boy.”
I refrained from adding, “I want a man.” No point encouraging her.