Comedy for Charity

Why did I start this blog and the 12GuysTalking YouTube Channel?  Why did I start doing Comedy? Was it just to make you laugh?  Was it just to teach you how to trade stocks?  Was it to share an interesting biographical short story that I made up?  The real reason, is for me to be happy.  My definition of happiness and the pursuit of happiness has changed over time.  Right now, a major component of that definition is knowing that I am doing something productive to change the world in a positive way through my work as an author, financial advisor, and comedian.

I now it sounds corny, but at the basic level, a desire to change the world is what life is about. No matter how hopeless things seem, this desire makes me want to get up in the morning and do great things.  At the end of the day, that is what brings happiness to my life.  The best way I know how to change the world and make a positive difference in other people’s lives is to raise awareness of social issues I care about through my comedy.

I love to raise money for charity through stand up comedy. Any revenues that I  raise through stand-up comedy routines, go towards charity. I do not will not accept any money from you, only proof of your donation directly to the charity.

Below are the causes that each of the characters wants to raise awareness for. If you care about the following causes, please click on the link and contribute.  Before donating to charity, use your best judgment and review the organization in detail to ensure it’s not a scam.

Andy from Miami  –  Save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide
Andrew from Houston –Help veterans’ families
Andre from Paris –  Help support victims of crimes
Drew from Seattle –  End homelessness among LGBT youth

Dre from Chicago – Bring freedom and justice to all Black Lives
Andriy from Donetsk – Help orphans in Ukraine suffering from the War in Donbass
Andresh from Mumbai – Fight discrimination and racism
Andrew from London – Help victims of domestic violence

Andy from New York City  – Stop Antisemitism
Andreas from Munich –  Combat anxiety and depression
Andres from Barcelona – Support equal rights for Latinos in the US
Andoryu-San from Tokyo – Ensure a clean environment and help victims of natural disasters

Other charities:

Stop Animal Abuse and Cruelty

Thank you for considering to donate to these causes,

Andrew Zwolf, America’s Favorite Freak




Andy from Miami

Andy lives in Boynton Beach, Florida, just north of Miami. He attended a local community college where he earned every CISCO networking and  computer programming certificate that was ever offered. Eventually, he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in network security from Phoenix University. He said he went into IT because most people assumed that he knows a lot about IT just by looking at him.
Andy started his career out of high school working as a lab assistant in the ESL learning lab making $6.50 an hour.  He never quit his employer. After 10 promotions, he gradually worked his way up to  Information Technology Network Security Administrator (IT NSA) for the whole campus.  He says he got his job because everybody else moved on and went somewhere else.  Besides technology, he says he loves helping foreign people learn how to speak English. A few years ago, he earned his certificate in Teaching English As a  Second Language (TESOL).  After countless unsuccessful attempts to “break into” the ESL teaching industry, he had no luck landing any kind of employment. Andy never gave up, and he eventually got lucky.  After three years of sending resumes and cover letters, he landed a part-time volunteer internship as an ESL teaching assistant at the same community college where he works.

ESLAndy has a passion for teaching.  In his former life, he was a free-lance on-line chess instructor. Especially, he enjoyed teaching for kids with disabilities since he liked to push people outside of their “comfort zone.” After getting bored and giving up on trying to teach chess ,  Andy decided to try something else.  He couldn’t think of anything until he watched the movie Forrest Gump.  That movie inspired him to start  the table tennis (ping pong) club at his community  college. Initially, the club consisted of one old ping pong table in a game room and Andy. Whenever people came to use the game room, Andy told them that it was “ping pong club” time and they would just have to play a game with him.  Andy tried his best to promote the club, but it seemed like nobody cared about ping-pong, and nobody really cared about Andy, for that mater.  Andy was not an artist, but somehow he managed to paint what were supposed to look like  ping pong tables on giant pieces of poster board.  He would hang these posters all over buildings on campus after going through a lengthy, bureaucratic approval process.  He also printed thousands of fliers and attached them to bulletin boards, lunch tables, and even lamp posts. He advertised free cookies, milk, and chocolates on the fliers in order to entice people to come and join the club. The goodies were not free for Andy who spent his meager earnings as a lab assistant just so he could get people to come join the club.  All he really wanted was to make some friends and get people to play ping pong with him.  Many times, people would just come for the free food, and they would not even play with Andy.

free foodAgain, Andy didn’t give up.  He worked relentlessly towards earning a prestigious reputation the club.  Even when it rained, he would stand by himself outside the student union building  (SUB).  Many times, he would show off his skills by bouncing a ping pong ball with his paddle.  Through the top of his lungs he would yell, “Ping Pong Anyone!”  Slowly, but surely, people would come to the club either to play pong, get free food or just look at Andy for the sake of entertainment. As more people joined the club, Andy managed to move the table from the basement in the SUB to the student gym and even convince the community college to pay for a second table. When the manager of the student gym asked Andy when he was planning to graduate, Andy smiled and said, “As long as there is a table tennis club here, I’ll never graduate!” After five years, the club grew to its peak size of 50 registered members and over 300 people on Andy’s e-mail list. He communicated with the club members by sending a weekly President’s newsletter with different events that the club was involved with.  Besides ping pong, Andy would organize lunches at restaurants.  Eventually, other people got involved and invited Andy to host parties at their houses for the club. Andy managed to upgrade the club’s status from official student organization (OSO) to a sports official student organization (SOSO). As a SOSO, the table tennis club was entitled to an annual budget of $200, which could be used to buy balls and pay for dues of the College Table Tennis League (CTTL).  Andy would also organize various fundraising events. He even convinced several members of the club to volunteer  as telemarketers on behalf of the community college’s alumni association.  For all their hard, they were awarded a coupon to get a burrito from Chipotle.   Another time, he got a lot of people to show up to sell parking tickets at a basketball game.  Andy was trying really hard to raise money to pay for more tables since the tables the club had were very old, and the college refused to pay for more. After three years, Andy managed to raise enough funds to purchase five brand new table tennis tables and even a machine that would  spit out ping pong balls.  Andy believes in what he does with a passion.  He thinks there is a real difference between regular ping pong and professional table tennis, which is a real Olympic sport.

tabletennisWhile most club members don’t realize this, he has been President of the Club for the past 12 years, and many don’t even know his name.  Sadly, they don’t appreciate his efforts to help the team qualify for “Nationals” and take Andy for granted.  His USATT (legit) ping pong rating is still 1100, which he says is good enough to beat most garage players. Sometimes, he complains that it’s nowhere near to earning real respect at the club level.  Andy does not like to live life with regrets.  However, he is sorry that he never managed to find a girlfriend after so many of years of ping pong clubbin’. He blames this on bad luck and his  inability to learn more than two words of Chinese besides  “ping”  and  “pong.” Recently, Andy’s luck changed for the better, or so he thinks.  He subscribed to a foreign bride service.  He is firmly convinced that “love has no borders” and that he has to  “engage the exotic.”  His latest  game-plan is to go to Colombia.   He is excited about a recent e-mail that he received. Apparently, his profile won the romance on-line sweepstakes, and he was selected as a special VIP guest on a marriage tour.  He hopes to find a foreign bride who wants to be his ping pong doubles partner  for life.  He really believes she will see  past his “US  citizenship” and love him  for his ping pong potential, dashing good looks, and  wonderful, “easy to get along with” personality.


Andrew from Houston

Andrew was born and raised in  Houston, Texas.  He had a typical country boy upbringing. Every summer, Andrew’s father would send him to his grandparents’ farm just outside of town in San Felipe, Texas. His family owned the land for generations since the earliest settlement in San Felipe.  He and his cousin, Leonard, would work on the farm from dawn till dusk  Every day, they would feed the chickens and hogs, and take care of of the crops. The most difficult thing for Andrew was to harvest, grade, sort and field pack the  watermelons.  Sometimes, a watermelon would weigh up to 30 pounds.  Andrew had to load them into the truck while taking great care not to damage any of the fruit.   Nevertheless, Andrew was never really happy there as a kid, and he always wondered if there was more to life than deer hunting, bass fishing, and four wheelin’.

houston-solar-energy-installation-articleAs a “army-brat,” Andrew moved around all over.   Being an “army brat,” Andrew also developed a strong work-ethic, sense of discipline, and love for his country. Growing up, Andrew  always  dreamed of graduating at the  top of the his class at the US Military Academy at West Point. A member of Andrew’s family going back to the founding of the United States had fought in some kind of military conflict.  His father participated in the Gulf War, his grandfather drove a tank in World War II, and his great-grandfather rode a horse in the cavalry during World War I.  Before that, his family had fought in the Spanish American War, US Civil War, Mexican American War, War of 1812, and the War for Independence. Andrew also wanted to go to West Point, so that his father would have to salute him instead of the other way around. Andrew’s father was a Drill Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. Andrew also wanted to go to Westpoint, so that his father would have to salute him instead of the other way around. Andrew’s father was a Drill Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps.

army_brat_excuse His father treated Andrew like one of his soldiers, and he expected him to be disciplined. Whenever he got really drunk he would get out his army belt and threaten to kill Andrew and his mother.  Andrew’s father never really loved and appreciated his mother.  The only reason he married her is because she was the best looking woman he could find. After they got married, he would cheat on her every chance he got. Andrew feels that his father was always hiding his true identity.  On the outside, he tried to appear confident, serious, and mature.  He had an imposing demeanor.  Unlike Andrew, he had a heavy built, and he was a serious weight-lifter. On the inside, Andrew’s father was childish and immature. He was prone to sudden bursts of anger and violence. He was also an alcoholic, pot-smoker and heroin addict. When Andrew was as young as five years old, his father would bring him along to his hang-outs.  Andrew would get a glimpse of the world of junkies, drug users and alcoholics. He would even let Andrew drink beer. He would tell him that the older Andrew would get, the more beer he could drink. His friends and colleagues all said that his father had a lot of potential. However, he lacked the internal discipline and will-power. He was unable to drink alcohol in moderation. Things got so bad, that his mother filed for a divorce and a restraining order, and Andrew’s father had to move out of the house. His drug addiction gradually deteriorated, and he  even started selling drugs at the army base where he was stationed. The only reason he was able to stay in the marines is because his poker buddies covered  for him, so he would sell them drugs at a discount.

kid-alcoholicRight after Andrew turned 17 years old, his father died  after getting drunk and injecting too much heroin. Nevertheless,  he was still honored with a military burial with full honors.  His father’s family tried to raise Andrew with “southern values.”  For example, his grandparents always told Andrew that the  Civil War was about states’ rights and not about slavery. They often frowned upon Andrew’s mother just because she was Jewish. When Andrew asked them what’s wrong with being Jewish, they told him that Christians were better than all Jews. They also made racist comments about people from different ethnicities and nationalities.  They didn’t want Andrew to be friends with kids from African American and Hispanic backgrounds whose families often worked as part-time laborers on their farm.  Andrew never listened to them.  Instead, Andrew has always befriended people who were different from him.  In his view, true Christians do not hate, discriminate, or exclude people.  Ever since he was a kid, h was always questioning his grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and their biased views. Especially, they didn’t like Andrew asking about how his ancestors could fight for the Confederacy.  Instead of feeling pride, Andrew felt guilt and shame. They also didn’t like when Andrew asked them if they participated in the Civil Rights Movement to stop discrimination.  Usually, they told Andrew that he asked too many questions, and that he should stop.  His grandparents passed away a few years after his father’s death.  Not surprisingly, all their property and farm was left to Andrew’s cousins Leonard and Natalie.  They sold the land and used the proceeds to feed their meth addiction and pay off the loan sharks.

inheritanceAAndrew decided that it would not be wise to follow in his father’s  footsteps and rejected his acceptance to West Point.  Instead, he ended up  double majoring in  criminal justice and economics at Texas A&M University in College  Station. After graduation, he worked briefly selling insurance before he got his real estate license.  Now  Andrew works as an associate for a “big time”  realtor in Austin, Texas.  He lives in an apartment not far from Barton Creek Greenway.  He loves jogging on the trail amid cacti and exotic plants to catch the sunset over Lake Austin.  In his free-time, Andrew loves to listen to ranchera music, which he thinks of as “Mexican Country Music.” Some of his favorite artists are Espinoza Paz, Los Angeles Azules, Los Socios Del Ritmo,  Los Darreyes de La Sierra, and Pesado.   Andrew also likes to listen to the music to “brush up” on his Spanish. Andrew started studying Spanish when he was only 12 years old. The real reason he took Spanish was when he met a beautiful girl from Mexico named Dulce. Dulce didn’t speak any English when she moved to Houston.  Nevertheless, they still fell in love with each other, and she was his first “girlfriend.” Sadly, Dulce moved back to Mexico after only a few months, and Andrew never saw her again.  He knows it’s silly, but he hangs to a childish dream to go to Mexico and find Dulce there waiting for him. He keeps his dream alive by studying Spanish in his free time. He is also a big fan of The Jonny Ramirez in the Morning Show.  Due to his passion for the Spanish culture,  Andrew identifies himself not just as a Texan, but as “Tejano and Proud.”

tejanoAndrew has other interests besides Tejano culture and learning Spanish. He attends  his local community church every Sunday. His favorite bible verse is: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths”(Proverb 3:5-6). Besides Mexican music, Andrew likes Country music as well.  His favorite musicians are Travis Tritt, Toby Keith, and Garth Brooks. he also listens to lesser-known artists like Junior Brown and Joe Ely. Every once in a while, he even listens to Shania and Sylvia.  Andrew’s favorite conversation topics are the teachings of Jesus, the Civil War, and the US Constitution. He is interested in analyzing more modern military conflicts from a strategic standpoint to see what went wrong and what he would of done to fix it.   When he can’t think of anything to do, he heads on over to Barnes &  Noble to read the latest books on Christianity and American History.


Andre from Paris

Andre was born and raised in Paris, France.  Ever since he was a kid, he has been  an ardent admirer of the fictional Belgian detective Hercule Poirot invented by the detective novelist, Agatha Christie.  Even though Andre is extremely proud to be French, he is actually half Belgian on his mother’s side.  This way, he think he is better able to relate to Poirot who coincidentally, is Belgian.  Like Poirot, Andre is a perfectionist who takes great care to look very neat and professional.  After every meal, Andre brushes and flosses his teeth and shines his shoes. Reading about Poirot inspired Andre to choose a career in law enforcement.  Eventually, he managed to work his way up to be a police detective in the French Gendarmerie Nationale in Paris.

poirotHercule Poirot

He takes his job personally.  He regrets that one-time he let one criminal get away, who was his own estranged grandfather.  Andre’s grandfather, Anatole, worked as a master diamond-cutter in Antwerp’s Diamond District.  As a supervisor, he embezzled small diamonds from the factory where he worked. One day, Andre’s grandmother, Lucienne, discovered the stolen diamonds hidden in a chest in their closet.  According to Anatole, the chest was for his private “rock collection” of unusual mineral stones he would pick up in his prior career traveling the world as a geologist. Lucienne did was she thought was the right thing when she asked Anatole to return the diamonds to the police and turn himself in.  Instead, Anatole killed her and  disappeared with the diamonds.   Anatole’s malicious betrayal has caused a lot of pain for Andre and his family. Since he was four years old, Andre has vowed to track down his grandfather and bring him to justice for his grandmother’s murder and theft of the diamonds. After many long years of searching, Andre found out that his grandfather lived in a mansion in Vevey, Switzerland.  Just before Andre and the Police Cantonale arrived at the residence, Anatole dropped dead of a heart-attack.  Andre knows that Anatole was greedy and malicious, but there is one he will never understand how a diamond can be worth more to somebody than a human life.

diamondWhile Andre started his career investigating burglaries and murders, he eventually switched over to solving white-collar crimes.   According to Andre,  the secret to solving any murder and finding the perpetrator is finding the money.  He especially enjoys solving more sophisticated crimes such as securities fraud, embezzlement, counterfeiting, and money-laundering. He says the motivation behind  all crime is money except the difference between “white-collar crime” and non-white collar crime is that in white-collar crime the money is usually “bigger.”   Over time,  Andre has solved many white-collar crimes crimes and gained a reputation as a fearless fraud fighter.

Despite the serious nature of his job, Andre does have a sense of humor.  Whenever tourists in Paris try to speak to him in English, he initially pretends that he only speaks French before gradually switching over to English.  He thinks that is really funny. He also likes to visit many of the criminals that he imprisoned to give them a “hard time” and “talk about the good old days.” He says he does this because he thinks the only people that truly care about crime are the cops, victims, and criminals.

Andre is serious about taking at least one month of vacation in order to take a break from the criminal world. He likes to relax in his small cottage, which is located just outside of Cannes on the French Riviera.  He uses this time to bring Hercule Poirot back to life in the 21st century and write about the many financial crimes he would solve in modern day France.  Occasionally, he leaves the Riviera behind and travels throughout the world, usually on assignments and conferences.

cottageAndre’s Cottage

Whenever he is out of the country, he still tries to eat “so called” authentic French cuisine restaurants, just so he can write restaurant reviews explaining why he doesn’t think the food was French enough.  He also enjoys tasting Champagne and trying different French desserts. Even though he tries to exercise, he just can’t help himself away from custard-filled croissants, créme brulée,  strawberry crépes, pear tarts, lemon moussé, and chocolate filled souflées.  Andre loves to listen to French music.  For the most part he likes to listen to what he considers “oldie hits” by Ottawan,  Joe Dassin,  and Mireille Mathieu.  On occasion, he will listen to something more modern by In-grid Albertini and Kareen Antonn. He brushes off what he considers to be “non-French” music, but he does have a soft spot in his heart for Celine Dion, who is French-Canadian.  Andre will admit that Celine is more Canadian than she is French.  That will not prevent him from loving her music because “she is his lady” and “that’s just the way it is.”

Drew from Seattle

Drew was born and raised in Seattle, Washington.  He is really proud to be one of the few real locals in the Pacific Northwest. Drew calls himself “the cat’s meow”  since he lives in a stylish studio in the Belltown neighborhood of downtown Seattle.  “He  really loves Starbucks” and  shopping on-line at  He also cares about the environment and “every issue related to it.”  Everyday he “goes green” by riding  his bicycle to work while wearing  his North Face jacket. Drew doesn’t like to drive because he doesn’t want to take part in  “environmental genocide.” Whenever he does, he makes sure to take out his eco-friendly Prius, which is covered by environmentally friendly bumper stickers, so he can  spread the “Go-Green Gospel.”

gogreenDrew also loves to talk about fashion. He complains that there are no good stores in Seattle, and that people here have no sense of style. Every other weekend, Drew likes to get his hair done and go shopping.  He prefers the color pink because it makes him look like a “sexy biatch.” Besides poor investment  decisions, he says his biggest pet peeves are fashion fau paux and people showing up late for an appointment.  He is also annoyed by the complete absence of recycle bins whenever they are needed and not labeling foods with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). He is disgusted with foods  containing artificial colors, flavors, and GM ingredients like modified corn starch. He thinks GM foods cause cancer and destroy the planet. That’s why he barely eats  anything.  When he does eat, he is willing to pay a little bit extra for food that is labeled organic and GMO free.

GMO free

Drew really believes in “getting involved” and helping the less fortunate. Last Christmas, he adopted a rescue puppy named “Gus” and a  “big family” who live somewhere in Colombia.  Apparently, he pledged to keep the entire family for two years for just $39.99/month.  Moreover, Drew claims that he is supporting his family every time he buys fair trade coffee in Starbucks. He has two separate pictures with Gus and his adopted Colombian family in his cube. Every Thanksgiving, he volunteers at a local homeless shelter. He makes sure to take lots of pictures for Facebook, so everyone knows he was there to “give back to his  community.”

adoptafamilyDrew can’t stand his real family who he describes as ultra-conservative, right-wing, and low-middle class pretentious pricks. When his folks, Jerry and Judy, are not kissing ass at work, they are the most boring people at home. All they talk about is where they are going to hunt, fish, and eat. They also don’t really care about politics because they will always vote Republican since they don’t want to pay any taxes, although they don’t make much in income. They would even vote Republican if they didn’t have a minimum wage, and their health insurance was take an away from them. Sometimes, they like to bicker among themselves on going to be elected to the home-owner association committee.  They like to brag about how they go to Church and Bible Study, yet they judge other people and think they are better than people they don’t consider to be “Real Christians.”  Drew only visits his home on Christmas and Thanksgiving, so he can take pictures and tell everyone in his office what a great time he had with “the fam.”  He also makes a visit every April, whenever he does their taxes.  Every now and then, Drew invites his uncle Bob for gelatto to talk about stocks and whatever he saw on the “History Channel” that year.   Uncle Bob was always the “oddball” in the family before Andrew came along. Drew admires his uncle because he is over 70 years old, and he is still working as an electrician in order to support his side of the family who are “useless.” Andrew almost feels sorry for Uncle Bob, who most of his retirement money on penny stocks. Andrew insists that penny stocks are for people who are too desperate, greedy, and lazy to follow real stocks, but uncle Bob won’t listen.
In fact, Uncle Bob is willing to invest more in those stocks and says that tomorrow he will be a multi-millionaire.

Penny-Stocks-RollingDrew likes to say that there is one topic that is near and dear to his heart. He describes his day job as the most exciting in  the world.  He has been working as a tax preparer since getting his  bachelor’s degree in accounting from Central Washington University. After doing 1040s for individuals a few  years, he decided to get his Master’s degree in taxation from  Central as well. After that, he switched over to the “dark side” and started preparing 1120s and K-1s for corporate clients. Recently, he got a promotion to be a senior tax associate  for a local CPA firm in Seattle. He considers his tax skills to be somewhere between myth and legend, including his ability to memorize every line item in the  Qualified Dividends and Capital Gains Tax Worksheet.

1040 tax return

Dre From Chicago

Dre was born and raised in the part of Chicago, Illinois, he calls “da hood.” Since the time he was born, he has lived with his “mama” and her two cats called “sistahs” in their tiny apartment. He is laid-back most of the time, but he says he gets nervous whenever  his mama threatens to open up a can of “whoop ass” when she thinks he gets out of line. The only thing that is worse than getting smacked by his mama is when his mama counts to three. If she says three, it means she will stop cooking for Dre until he settles down and starts acting like a normal son.  When he was in high school, Dre  started his own boy-band called the “7 digits.” He turned out to be the first and only member of the group. According to Dre, he was just a “single digit.”  That didn’t stop him from creating “chart-topping” albums like “Let’s Get Digital” or “Girl, Don’t You Forget my Digits.”  Dre believes that his music and lyrics combined and captured the best elements of the Backstreet Boys, Emniem, and Vanilla Ice.

Vanilla Ice displays his awards he won in the rock and rap catagories at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles, Calif., on Jan. 28, 1991.  (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)He is a  big fan of all professional Chicago sports except  hockey.   He “just doesn’t get it.” He says the only time he would watch hockey is if all the hockey players wore the mascot’s costume while skating on ice to different rap songs.  Dre never jokes about football and  basketball.  He says these are his favorite sports, and not just because they have the “best-looking cheerleaders.” He is a die-hard Chicago Bulls fan, and he fondly remembers the  glory days when the Mikes were in town – Mike Ditka and Michael  Jordan.  One thing he will never understand is why MJ put his basketball career on hold and went to play for the White Sox instead of the Cubs.  Dre is a bleeding  Cubs  fan for life.  He will never stop pulling for the Cubbies at the “friendly confines” of Wrigley Field no  matter how bad they lose.  He always keeps telling himself that next year they are going to come back  and win the  “World Series.”

CubsDre considers himself a “playa.” He claims that he works hard to “maintain his reputation.”  In reality, he has never had a girlfriend, kissed a girl, or even been on a date in his life. When he was in  college, Dre was a member of various student clubs just so he could meet the girl of his dreams.  He was a registered member of the International Students Association (ISA),  Chinese Students Association (CSA), Hispanic Students Association (HSA), Japanese Students Associaton (JSA), Black Student Association (BSA), and the Russian Student Association (RSA).  He had also visited the  Baptist Student Fellowship (BSF),  Catholic Student Society (CSS), and even Muslim Student Association (MSA) just to meet beautiful girls. He joined the Feminist Student Association (FSA) to say that he really cared about women’s rights, but he didn’t last their very long. Dre never  asked that many girls out, but when he did he was rejected.  Most of the time, he was too shy to even tell a girl he truly cared about that he liked her.

Unsuccessfully, Dre also tried to find a girlfriend through on-line dating. For almost two decades, he had spent much of his free time trying to find love on-line.  On-line dating seemed like the perfect solution for him. He thought he could date any girl he wanted if he found her.  He tried various web-sites including E-harmony, Match, ChristianMingle, Zoosk, PlentyofFish, OkCupid, and even  Altogether, he had spent thousands of dollars for membership dues and special fees that supposedly increased his “status.” He had contacted, favorited, winked, and smiled at thousands of beautiful girls. He had even sent friend requests to  beautiful girls he had never met before on Facebook, and he has liked thousands of their photos. Unfortunately, not even one of them liked something back.  Sometimes, he would spend hours writing long letters where he  poured his heart out and shared his life story to girls he’d never met before. He has even volunteered to be a pet-sitter for free for girls who have cats and dogs on  their profile.   He had never even received a single response in his life on any on-line dating web-site.

onlinedatingGradually, Dre has shifted his passion from one-sided on-line dating to healthy living.  He also decided to try to a healthy diet. That means quitting eating pizza, burgers, trans-fats, and even alcohol.  Last year,  He also decided to lose weight and start running. Over six months, he worked his way up from walking one mile to running a half- marathon. Over the next year, he lost 40 pounds by eating less and working out.  In order to stay motivated, Dre listens to his rap music. He has also joined a running group that meets every weekend, where he interacts with fellow runners and shares their stories. He works out on a daily basis, and he has put between 30 miles and 40 miles in each week before big races to improve his pace.  Over one year he improved his half-marathon time from 2 hours and 10 minutes to  just 1 hour and 38 minutes. Next year, he  hopes to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

HOPKINTON, MA - APRIL 15: The elite men's race start of the 117th Boston Marathon kicked off in Hopkinton, Mass. at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, April 15, 2013. (Photo by Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Running has also helped Dre focus on getting his career back on track.  He now works in a local office of a national on-line brokerage company.  His motto is to help folks invest their money the right way by making sure they “stay out of trouble.” Occasionally, Dre likes to reminisce of his days as a rapper. He things that his rap background empowers him to relate better to some of his investment clients. After all, “too much television watching got him chasing dreams and even his mama thinks his mind is gone.” He considers himself to be  “an educated fool with his mind on his money and his  money on his mind.”  He still  likes to parody different songs such as his recent song called, “My Stock… Yo Stock..” He also  says the secret to his success is “10%  luck, 15% skill, 20%  concentrated will, 30% research,  15% pain, and 10% is his love for the game.”  As a single guy who’ seen at all,  Dre  realizes that there are a lot of really  beautiful girls out there. On the other hand, he knows that there are even better looking  stocks! That’s why he focuses his attention on stocks that are really hot right now.

stock trading

Andresh from Mumbai

Andresh grew up in the slums of Mumbai, India.  He lost his father at young age, and he and his mama-ji were left in a small, roach-infested, one-bedroom apartment.  While Andresh’s mama-ji was taking care of her seriously ill mother,  the apartment they lived in was broken into. When she and Andresh came back home, there was nothing left.  Despite the broken door and windows, they slept on the floor since they had nowhere else to go.  When Andresh’s grandmother passed away, Andresh didn’t have any other family besides his Mama-ji, and mama-ji didn’t have any other family besides Andresh.  Mama-ji always had a difficult time finding a since she belonged to the “untouchables” caste.

8772270_f260Even though “untouchability” was officially abolished by the Constitution of India in 1950, Andresh believes it will take a very long time for it to unofficially go away or good. On a daily basis, everyone reminded them of their low social status in various indirect and sometimes direct ways.  Since he was seven years old, he started working odd-jobs in order to “make ends meet.”  Andresh deeply resented on how he and his mama-ji was being treated and vowed that he would someday make it to America where there is no discrimination and everyone is treated equally. His grades were not as good as he had hoped, but he was still able to get into the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai. He was accepted under the reservation system (affirmative action).  While the caste system is illegal, the reservation system is legal and mandatory.  As a result, he could gain preferential admission to the university as a member of “a scheduled caste.”  Even before he entered the university, Andresh was working at various jobs, so he could support his mama-ji and pay for living expenses.  He designed web sites, sold cars, made phone calls as a telemarketer, worked as an artist for a graphic design company. served food in a cafeteria, tutored other students,  performed data entry, provided IT tech support over the phone, and he also worked as a security guard at a warehouse.

reservation system
Somehow, he was able to juggle his busy schedule and find time to study. He graduated from the university with a Bachelor of Technology in Electrical Engineering.  He worked for a few years outsourcing American jobs for various Indian tech  firms until he decided “to do something else” and “go to grad school.”   Andresh likes to joke that studying for the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) was kind of tough because it took him some time to remember materials he learned in the “fifth grade.” He was  able to get a scholarship and gain admission to the University of Texas at Austin’s business school program. Andresh finally enjoyed studying something “easy and fun.”  Andresh was also active in the Indian Student Association, where he even won the “Yaar of the Year” award for his help organizing events like “Bhangra Bash.”   Bhangra is a unique blend of folk or traditional Indian music from the Punjab region with more modern Indian beats that are portrayed in Bollywood culture.

Participating in these fun social events meant a lot to Andresh. It allowed him to talk to someone besides his mama-ji, but it also to let out his creative side.  While his mind was  thinking about electrical engineering and finance, his heart was elsewhere.  Ever since he was a kid, Andresh loved Bollywood movies and music. His favorite movie is Biwi No. 1. He often imagines himself as Salman Khan reenacting ad dance scene  with Sushmita Sen to his favorite song, “Chunari, Chunari”(scarf, Scarf).  When he is not singing “Chunari, Chunari,” Andresh enjoys hits like Chori Chori hum Gori Se  (Very Secretly) and “Balle, Balle” (Hooray, Hooray!).  Andresh is not a huge fan of American pop-music, but he does like listening to Hindi versions of pop-hits  such as Sitam by Amar Dhanjan. (Power of Love by Celione Dion). Andresh also appreciates the more serious side of Indian cinema.  He takes a keen interest in  movies that involve philosophical issues. For instance, one of this favorite movies is the classic Jana Aranya (The Middleman). On the surface, the movie is about a recent college grad trying to find a good job in India.  On a deeper level, the Andresh is captivated by the movie’s more serious themes such as the pursuit of happiness and the significance of friendship.

middlemanThe Middleman

After graduating from the university, Andresh accepted a full-time position as a Finance Professor at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.  In addition to his job  teaching, Andresh enjoys  investing in the stock market and in various commercial real estate ventures with his friends/business partners. He is the President of “Nash Inc,” a real-estate holding S-Corporation that owns popular chain hotels and convenience stores all across the Texas panhandle and even parts of Oklahoma.  Nash  represents the first letter of the partners of the S-Corporation – Niru, Andresh, Seemant, and Hemant.  His mama-ji is now employed as a full-time manager at one of  the hotels, and she feels “no discrimination” in her new home.  As his business is growing, Andresh hopes to be the next Indian “slum-dog millionaire.” Andresh  knows there are many intelligent, beauty, and professional Indian girls out there. He is friends with many of them, and he likes spending time with them.   However, he is scared to get into a relationship because he feels he is inferior to them because of his background as an “untouchable.” For some strange reason, he is  attracted to CUREan girls (Colombian, Ukrainian, Russian, and Ecuadorean).  However, his mama-ji  warns him that it’s probably not a good idea. She thinks even though they may be nice girls, they are all somehow connected either  to a South American drug cartel or Eastern European mafia.  Therefore, they can’t be trusted or their families and friends will try to burglarize their home again. Besides, she says their culture is not Indian, so they have nothing in common with Andresh. Therefore, for her they are “untouchables.”

Andresh tells his mama-ji that he sometimes wished if she didn’t constantly try to think for him and tell him what to do. He reminds her that he is a grown-man, and he is capable of making his own decisions.  His mama-ji also complains to Andresh that she is unhappy with the Volkswagen he bought for her. She think he should try  harder and make more money at work, so he can buy her a new Lexus SUV.

suvMama-ji’s dream car

She even pressures him to negotiate a higher salary for his job at Texas Tech University.  In that situation, Andresh tells his mother that she should go find her own job and buy her own SUV, even though she is 60 years old. After all, someone’s opinion of her does not have to  be her reality.  Despite the hardships and dicrimination she faced, Andresh thinks she should finally stop going through her life as a victim and relying on him to  financially support her since he was 16 years old.  At that point, Andresh’ mama-ji tells him that she thinks he hates her, and he will be sorry for treating her like  this.  Andresh says he he will always love her and take of her.  On the other  hand, he wishes that she would finally forget the hatred and pain she feels and at least  try to do something for herself. Moreover, he asks her stop trying to change him, accept him for who he is, and appreciate what he has done so far with his life.