One of the many wonderful things of living in greater Boston is the vicinity to NYC and NJ. It never feels too far away for a weekend trip and we often make one too many trips a year; one for the fantabulous spread of Indian food and two, to satiate the yearning for a city-life and third and foremost, to enjoy the former two in the company of good friends…
The weekend past was no different and N and I had endured the four hour bus journey on the notorious FungWah (N cramming to catch some sleep, I squinting in the excuse for a reading light), which is way better than the mind-body-numbing traffic on the freeway. The musty Chinatown can be the most unwelcoming part of New York. It is cruel, clamorous and incorrigibly east-world. From street vendors to nonchalant drivers it spells survival in each breath of the moldy air.
We were quick to get away from the chaos, for fear of getting rooted, treading a short walk to the dilapidated WTC site; Which is on its way to rising like a phoenix again; a much anticipated majestic phoenix at that, like a revenge. From the city that was coming wide awake at 11pm, we headed to Jersey City to M and S’s, for some welcoming pulikozhambu, carrot salad, mushroom kara kozhambu, thair sadam and much needed sleep.
Saturday began with the morning ablutions (facebook, coffee, facebook, IPL scores, facebook, read, yap yap yap, facebook…) and plans for the day, which are often jinxed to revolve around the choice of restaurants. Although this time we had an easy winner – Paradise Biriyani at Edison and I can’t but recommend this place more highly. We followed that with some Calcutti street-side paan… that had us slightly lightheaded for a few minutes; I bet the ungloved red fingers dribbled an inkling of bhaang or the likes( that I am blissfully ignorant of), but the paan, I must admit, tasted like a dream.
Red lips, few laughs, drowsy afternoon movie and later, still drunk on food, we rode the path to NYC. Even after the umpteenth visit to timesQuare, the sea of humanity teeming against the banner-spangled sky is an arresting sight. Much needed Starbucks, a deep breath of NYC-branded air and after, an excited M and D, but an indifferent N and S headed to the Mary Poppins Broadway show. Our cynicism to the worth of this show in comparison to the likes of ‘lion king’ had us take the cheapest tickets on the balcony, which was set at a dizzying height from the center stage.
In the antediluvian theater, complaining immeasurably about the uncomfortable seats and utter lack of leg space, we braced ourselves to hope the show would make up for it; and make up it did, in utter brilliance! This was my first Broadway show and it was immensely impressive. The sets, lighting effects, performance, orchestra were a class apart. It was a thrilling ride and if there was anything we regretted, was to have underestimated the show and not taken the tickets that were priced higher with a better seat and view. And like the word coined by the show, it was supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
As we stepped out to the musky, comfortably chilly NYC air, now filled with party goers, few drunks but absolutely stark awake at midnight city, the scene was too overwhelming. The longing that had filled me almost twenty four hours before to be the city-dweller seemed scary. The comfort of the plush car seats zooming on the familiar freeways driving to the almost deafeningly silent neighborhood felt safer. My reprieve didn’t last long and I was soon running to the nearest subway, clutching with me the smell of honey roasted peanuts and reassuring kebabs, sound of squealing laughters, honking cabs, unblinking lights and the ironically lonely pallor of the crowded NYC.
I returned home last night on another semi-bumpy ride on FungWah, atleast 5 Lbs heavier and a souvenir of 2 LB sweets from Mithaas, which is criminally delicious, that I can be cruel enough to state that I don’t miss India when I eat them ! I am back from my role as the New-yorker, to the more subtle Bostonian, unwilling to taste the rancor of city-life for a long time… until next time, I say… until NY’s unkind magic beckons again!
A Few Bad Shots …..