Saturday, May 28, 2011

The one year gyaan

It's been almost a year since I moved here - and its been a whirlwind of new experiences, people, emotions, chaos and what not. As I look back at the year that went past - here are the few things I learnt the hard way or otherwise...
  • I do not like Accounting.
  • Accounting does not like me.
  • I failed the damn driving test. stupid rules. This DOES NOT mean I dont know how to drive, it just means Im generating more revenue for cash strapped US. (gah)
  • I am GREAT cook (if I may say so myself?) Therefore my lifelong wish of having my kids tell other kids that their mom cooks the best food is not so distant. (of course marriage and kids come first, but what the hell, i cleared the important hurdle, right?)
  • People are not as nice as they seem. SPECIALLY in another country. ESPECIALLY in an MBA. blame it on "the curve" which Indians take WAYY too seriously when they move into an uber competitive environment.
  • Life in a small college town in America is not as 'simple' as it is cut out to be. Gunmen are real. I remember being very freaked out, and very shaken up...
  • ALWAYS ALWAYS do groceries separately with a roommate. Never live with someone you cannot 'figure out' the first time you meet. Never be 'too nice' or 'too accomodating' unless the other person reciprocates. NEVER do the dishes and chores more than thrice in a row unless the roommate does her bit.
  • The best advice I came to America with was given to me by my ex boss - he said 'Never be surprised by people' He was right. What with seeing married friends hook up, to friends acting ridiculously competitive, the roommate acting 6 years old to acting like a complete bitch, I'm not surprised.
  • When in Rome, do as the Romans - I took to beer after years of being a mojito girl.. 'Brief and Meets', 'Meet and Greets', 'Think and Drinks' all fancy words for 'networking' basically entail beer and or wine and an empty class is rude. Lowering inhibitions is KEY. Growing up in India means we're already equipped with some pre conceived notions, lines, limits which is GREAT, but stands in the way of a lot of fun. The most fun thing I did this year was a scavenger hunt the contents of which I cannot describe here since this is a PG13 blog. Point being, I would've never, ever, ever done this before- but I did, and its the best story Ill never tell my grandkids.
  • I learnt that even as 27 year olds, some people still behave 12. no 8. no wait, 6.
  • I learnt how important those little things mom and dad teach you are tools they equip you in facing life - and how the difference in those little things taught to different people makes them petty, or selfish, or angry, or nice... thanks ma and pa for teaching me to always always being the bigger person.
  • Drifting away from some friends back home is not only inevitable, its ok. I drifted away from one of my best friends back home just because she just had NO time for me this past year, and is so caught up in her own life that she hasnt replied to my emails, fb messages and phone calls! While that hurt initially, now - its ok. I've accepted it, and moved on too...
  • In America, a sandwich is a burger.
  • If you ask an American for a 'tissue' or where the 'dustbin is' or 'loo' is - they WONT KNOW. its napkin, trashcan, or restroom. :-/
  • Americans think India is a big village where we learnt to speak English after we move to the US. (14 people asked me if I knew English before I moved here, by the end of which I actually said sarcastically that I took a crash course for 3 months before moving. funny thing is, i think some of them believe me)
  • The ground floor here is actually the first and the first is the second and so on. Which makes NO sense. Ground level = Ground floor, right?
  • The 'on' state for switches in India is the 'off' state here.
  • Other than a few cities like New York / SF u NEED a car in the US, else your just immobile.
  • My Metric system has gone for a toss. WTF is a gallon (I do litres, please), Miles (Kms?), pounds.. really why does America INSIST on having things the other way round from the rest of the world.
  • One year later, I still look the wrong way while crossing the street! Seriously whats with the left hand side driving when the world is on right?!!
  • It is acceptable to go for dinner at 6 (what?)
Need to go look at cars now, Internship starts June 6 and need to nail one down before that!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day # 3 NYC!

Much as I love the rain, and it has been well documented on this blog, and MUCH as I miss it in Texas, this was one trip I could have done without. It rained all day, I was soaked to the bone, which basically meant i bought a whole new set, right down to innerwear just to stop being cranky. I missed the ferry to Ellis island, couldnt see the statue of liberty OR go to the observation deck atop rockefeller center. GAH.

I did go to the WTC memorial site - a collection of stories and memorabilia from 9/11... I am not American, neither do I belong here, but I was overcome with emotion as I saw little postcards and notes and photos of moms and dads pasted by little kids on the memorial wall - the wall of hugs, the flag of honor with everyones names, the wall of photos... even after having witnessed 26/11 so up close, I cannot begin to imagine what this city went heart goes out to victims, survivors and the affected...

Thats the beauty of a city - of being able to pick up the pieces, rebuild, renew and move strong, undaunted by foolish people who think they're following the will of god... a city that can come to grips with a tragedy like this, mourn together, move on, and never, ever forget. My Mumbai too, is a strong survivor, resilient against repeated attacks - vulnerable, but undaunted. NYC - always on the move, pulsating with throngs of people from all over the world, with a life underground as electric and vibrant as that above is a fantastic city with a soul, I love it!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The streets of New York

I'm here just a day, and in LOVE. I realize coming from a city like Mumbai where everything's always on the move, with the hustle bustle of people and life, a slow smaller city could at max, entertain me for a while. So compared to where im studying, which is a city i LOVE, but is a smaller student town nonetheless, NY is like home.

I did a lot of the usual touristy things today, walked 45 hours (just kidding, i mean 10) took a subway, rode a tram, went to central park. A familiar feeling overcame me when I was at the subway station and in the train - when I saw an old impoverished, beggar in the train everyone was staying away from. America, and the city I live in had sheltered me from this feeling which plagued me in Mumbai - the feeling of helplessness, of wanting to reach out and help someone, and not being in a position to. Texas is a rich state and the homeless probably lead a better life at this point than I do, as a student. However, NY is a reality check, the same ol cutthroat do or die, survival of the fittest, home to the richest and streets to the poorest - just like Mumbai. when I saw this man, knowing I had not the money or the resources to do ANYTHING and my dollar is meaningless - it was a ride back to the familiar feeling in Mumbai when the streets riddled with people who could use my help, and yet I couldnt. I remember spending a substantial part of my pay on beggars, homeless and other such - i even remember my ex boyfriend and I having numerous arguments over my methods of helping and how upset I would get. but. this. feeling. wont. go. i guess in a lot of ways ill have to learn to live with it.

there are so many things similar between these two cities. both throb with the humdrum of daily lives, of rush and haste and no time to waste, both have a life and soul which transcends the concrete jungle they are engulfed in, both make you fall in love with the lights and sounds and hopes and dreams they allow you to dream. Little wonder it is then, that people try SO HARD to make a life happen in these cities- they allow people to dream that dream of a hope ..
friends who moved here from smaller towns in India to big schools like NYU, Columbia, saddled with the expenses of staying here lived 6 people to a 2 bed for 2 years to get a fantastic job to pay it off in a year. surprised?
New york isnt as plastic and sterilized as some other cities in America, it isn't squeaky clean, it isnt free of hand carts and pedestrian painters and homeless people who sing and play for you in the subway, of bands too poor to have an album but talented enough to make you tear up as you wait for your train (true story) - but new york feels real.

I realize its been AGES since ive been on my beloved blog when my fingers flew a the speed of lightning as I wrote this, no time for even spellchecks. I missed this! anyone who i used to read / read me still around? holla! better yet, anyone in NYC?!