As I walked through midtown Manhattan, a winter wind howled between the skyscrapers, throwing grit into my eyes. Stuck on a novel I was working on, I had left my apartment and gone for a walk, but it was too cold to be outside. Without enough money for a movie or a meal, I was looking for a warm bookstore to duck into.
Two years ago, I had given up a well paying architecture job so that I could follow a lifetime dream, and write a novel—but now I was running out of money, and the writing wasn’t going well. Maybe my parents, back in India, were right: at forty-two, maybe it was too late to re-invent myself as a writer.
I walked on, but couldn’t find a bookstore. My mood was darkening into despair when a deep voice suddenly addressed me.
“So, have you recognized me?”
An old Sikh man standing on a street corner had addressed me in Hindi. But it wasn’t that unusual- with my dark hair and beard I was clearly Indian, and this was New York, after all.
“Can I help you? Do you need directions?” I replied in Hindi, noticing the man’s white beard and sky-blue turban. Despite the cold, he wore a white cotton kurta under his thin windbreaker.
“No, I don’t need directions,” the old Sikh answered calmly. “But you? A little lost, no?”