I’m sipping coffee from a “I love NY” mug much to the annoyance of my beloved room mate who was the one person who preached about how sensational NY is before I left for my spring break! So here you go roomie, I bear the testament to your word. The fun began right from the start. It had been a night of sorts with an early morning plane to catch. I had pulled an all-nighter the day before and hence relented to catch a few winks with only 2 hours to spare. I’m to blame for my brain wouldn’t pull me out of the deep sleep mode even with a loud and vibrating alarm. And that is how I got reprimanded, lectured and made an object of ridicule by the shuttle guy who had come to pick my friend and myself. However I’m thankful and sorry to my friend(raji) who had been taunted more than me that day. When we reached the airport, we found ourselves in a long queue adding to our doubt of boarding the plane. Adding insult to injury, raji was subjected to a “Crucio” curse in the process. I won’t be writing further we hadn’t boarded so no prizes for guessing. I can remember my first comment when I got a bird’s eye view of the city – “It looks like a VLSI chip!!”. It was not picturesque but absolutely spellbinding. I have heard the saying “Rome was not built-in day” but I was curious to know exactly how long did it take it build what I was seeing! The sky risers and the bridges stood alive in glory of the city. We landed in the LGA airport and received by our friend(ram) who as usual was donning his magic hat filled with one-liners – some ones I don’t even get! After the hogging session at two temples (specialties – dhokla and masala chai!!) we called it a day. The next day was Indian special. After a fulfilling lunch, we feasted on some delicious rasagullas and barfis.
The day after, raji and myself grew wings and decided to explore the city by ourselves. You might be getting the “Sridevi in English Vinglish” vibe while reading this. We felt the same too. However we did everything right unlike her! Got onto the train and got down at Grand Central Terminal and figured out the way to go to the lofty empire state building and strode along the streets of New York in pride. We felt like Lilliputs next to skyscrapers on all sides. We finally reached our destination.
After climbing 86 floors, we made a Guinness world record! LOL! Kidding! We rode the elevator and stepped out to get a glimpse of the city and spotted landmarks such as the Central Park, statue of liberty and the new trade center building. Raji also had the keen sight to spot JCPenny and Macy’s! I told raji of how ages ago I had been awed on seeing the empire state in “Adisayam” song from the movie Jeans on TV. It felt like a dream that I had come to the same exact place. Anyway, I came back to cloud 0 and shopped a bit collecting souvenirs. We then were faced with a pressing problem and had to rush into the NY Public library for no intellectual reason! Our next stop was the famous times square. No surprises – it was colorful,loud and jam-packed. We then boarded the subway heading south towards the 9/11 memorial, Wall Street and Battery Park. Remembering the innocent lives that were taken during the gory incident was a good thing because kindness and humanity is much-needed in today’s world. We lost the way back for some time but thanks to technology (Raji’s Iphone and 3G), we were back on track to see the Charging bull. We got into a church and I must say I felt like Pi from “Life of Pi”. Understanding God through the lens of each religion has a curious effect.
After walking through the Wall street we finally found people buzzing near the bull. We had completed a walking tour of NY and it was time to head back home. We were already spotting some queer characters hitting the road. At the Subway station, I had a doubt that we were probably on the wrong platform and I was right! Somehow we managed to cross the platform without swiping the card again and losing 6 bucks! We reached the Grand central and decided to board the train to Poughkeepsie since it was leaving first. We sat there reminiscing the day’s events and basking in pride that we, the two girls unleashed into the city accomplished the task of touring New York without a trouble. Our moment of pride dissolved into thin air when raji realized that the train we got into won’t stop at our place! I was aghast looking at the map that showed that the first stop of the express train will be miles beyond our home. Anyway, we were lucky that day since the train conductor made an exception and dropped us off on the next station. We reached home with an adventure to remember forever and sore legs.
Some quiet days followed since we were too tired after our venture into the city by foot. During free time we watched house of cards – a sitcom about politics. I was dense at it and kept pestering Sriram to explain which he graciously did. I also got to eat some delicacies of kerala made by my very own raji. She cooked and I ate royally! LOL! She surprised me at times with her high-pitched shrieks, her scolding tone and her melodious voice even though she claims she can’t sing! The day will not be over without Sriram cracking jokes like chandler and raji whining like monica and both of them putting me in a spot. I had become their coin toss event! LOL!
One evening, we made a trip to Edison (NJ), the official Indian locality with Indian food, marketplace, BIG cinemas; the shops on the streets with mannequins dressed in gorgeous saris easily resembled the shopping places in T-Nagar (Chennai) or Brigade road(Bangalore). We went to the theatre with the intention of watching Kai Po Che. I had wiki-ed the movie since it had a good review and knew that it was about 3 guys starting a cricket coaching center. W e took seats in the hall which was barely filled anyway and found ourselves watching a guy randomly opening fire. We sat there quietly, taking it all for another 10 minutes with a growing doubt in the back of our minds. Raji however doused it saying that this movie was indeed Kai Po Che. She was so wrong. Sriram figured we were watching a Ram Gopal Varma movie. We got into the wrong hall! Thank God he saved us from the horror. We laughed about it for a bit before scurrying to the right hall. I checked “watching the wrong movie in a theater without realizing” out of my TO DO list. The movie was good in its own way but obviously ripped from classics like Dil Chahta Hai, Chak De, Iqbal and Bombay. After the movie, we headed out to hoboken, where Sriram perfected his art of night photography with raji and myself as specimens with the magnificent skyline in the background.
The next evening I met some friends of raji and sriram that included a little boy of 3 years Joshua. I usually hit it off superbly with kids but that was not my best day perhaps. It was proved once again the same night – my food had egg in it. I was not a strict vegetarian nor a complete eggetarian. However it didn’t bother me since I had accidentally tasted egg at a Chinese place before. The only problem was I had to stop inhaling when I ate! LOL! Anyway the lady serving us was too kind and served me another dish without the egg. I gorged on my food and some mouth-watering tiramisu!
We headed to Boston the next day, to step foot into some of the most prestigious universities of the world – Harvard and MIT. From the start, I could not stop associating the character from Big Bang Theory – MIT graduate Howard Wolowitz and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard drop out story. The Gothic looking buildings of Harvard lay sprawled over the campus. I was amused seeing Raji and sriram getting excited like kids, hopping around the place taking pictures. Then we headed to the place I was looking forward to the most – MIT. With an imposing entrance, gigantic pillars and a brilliantly lit dome, it stood there boasting years of excellence in engineering studies. I took a moment to absorb its mighty presence. I had to do at least 1 crazy thing before I left the premise. Hence I stripped off a poster from their notice board. We even posed as students and randomly attended a stand up comedy show in one of the classrooms. The day came to an end with driving back home and instantly falling asleep.
On the last day we packed up and went to our final destination – Brooklyn Bridge. Parking was always an issue in the city. After going round and round in circles, we finally parked near a church only to find everyone had a print out of “clergymen parking” on their dashboards. Just as I was suggesting we take a similar print out and post it on our car, Sriram dashed into the church. Sunday prayer was in session. I peeked in too to find Sriram holding the same print out. Jesus Christ gave us parking permission and we embrace all religions when it comes to parking! LOL! I couldn’t believe we went to the extent of attending Sunday mass for getting a parking permit. Anyway we headed out to the bridge. It was freaking cold and I was shivering to my bones. I had underestimated my resistance to cold and of course the winds had no mercy. After one final look of admiration of the bridges, the tall buildings, the lady of liberty and the city in general, we left Brooklyn driving to the temple. The grandeur of our holiday ended with some awesome Masala Dosas and jalebis. The week had come to an end – a week of goofiness, comedies, house of cards, cricket match, delicious food, dutiful raji, witty Sriram and the innocent me! Oh I almost forgot “Bade ache lagte hain” aka “Ek Ladka tha”!
I felt like a Narnia kid going back to reality from the fantasy world. Anyway such is life. As the plane taxied away into the run way, I was fast asleep!
Thank you from my heart for the bringing me to the scene of crime (NY!!) and playing the characters I cherish in friends – ‘Chandler and Monica” in real life. I cannot ask for more!