Pic: Times Square
As I made yet another bus journey from Boston to New York last week, the feeling of awe had almost disappeared, as it had become a routine to make this trip every few days. Every time I traveled to New York, I was absorbed into a group; the group adding a different dimension to the city. The more I talk about NY, the less it seems, and that can just be attributed to the diverse floating population visiting the city throughout the year. Two of the best cities that I have visited, that have driven me to a feeling of absolute bliss, undoubtedly, have to be Paris and New York.
So, as the Memorial Day trip was made, there won't be any fun if I don't introduce the protagonists who had planned to get together for the three day weekend. Three day weekends are special, since it gives an opportunity to go one notch above, and travel that extra bit. Flight prices soar sky high, but when there are talks of meet up, it is too tempting to let go off the opportunity. Ok, let's get to the unholy introductions. There is no point in introducing about myself, because, I am a sort of guy about whom, The girl next door, would go and tell her mom "He is the 'bestest' guy in the world!"
Let me start with the important devil of the group, Shubhika. Half the time she talks, and the remaining time, she doesn't keep quiet. It is a different matter that her excitation levels are crammed at the peak of Mt. Everest, because that's where she is all the time. Oh, yes, she had me at boiling point on Friday evening, thanks to some last minute chaos!!! Just one of those days!
What about Yadu! If anybody has any ideas of a trip, this is one person you can count on. He would book the tickets a year in advance, and send us the itinerary, and ask us to make plans, when we would have no clue of what he is talking about! Another aspect of this great guy is the fact that, even if there are a hundred people shouting in a group, in excitement, he would remain hidden in a corner, as if he is soaking the world's emotions in silence! The pace at which he talks can actually leave you speechless. Maga,...he would start, and mostly, the others would end up finishing the sentence!
Pic: Liberty Aunty
Rama, the I-know-all man, belongs to a different species altogether. Sample this, Rama, do you know that they are doing...so and so...things in our University now? His response would be with a nonchalant swagger, Yeah, I know, I came to know last week itself!!! After some time, he would be asking us the details!!!
Karthik, aka KC, the guy for whom trash talk is everything in life. He can strike conversation even with a wooden statue, and find out the gossip it is involved in. He would scale all heights to find out the intricate details involved in your life! Machan, unakku oru vishayam theriyuma...(Dude, you know one thing...??)!
Sameer, my last minute planner. Both of us end up planning most of the things on the fly. He would give all possible ways to change your plan every fifteen seconds. He is more fickle minded than me, with a constant question hovering around his head Should I or Should I not? Mmm..., but I cannot blame a fellow Libran!
Gerry, another important character on this trip. He was the cause of the Friday confusion, but in the end, it turned out to be a great blessing in disguise. Thanks to him, Yadu and KC had to deal with the hoteliers to get us the rooms that were rightfully ours!!
Rama's parents, everyone would agree, were in a different league compared to the total bunch. I just pity them for having had to handle the set of different specimens. It is a different matter that they were completely impressed with me. But then, who is not?
About me, I am sure, my friends would spam the comments section with their value added opinion about me!!!
Pic: @ Hard Rock Cafe
Friday evening was filled with confusion, as Gerry was caught up at work, and after a whole lot of conversations exchanged between me and Shubhika, she eventually made up her mind to accompany me and Sameer in the 2:30 am bus. You just have to ask Sameer and Madan, as to how much time, we had spent on planning. It was fluctuating in such a way that the plan was changing every other second. Sameer had never been to the Statue of Liberty, so he stayed with us, the first day, and then, went his way to Philadelphia to spend time with his cousins. Two and a half days, and the number of places we visited were just too many - Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, Times Square, Empire State, Brooklyn Bridge, UN building, Grand central station, and in the midst of it all, we had to go to Lexington Avenue for lunch on all three days. One of the things that seemed strange was the owner at Tamil Nadu Bhavan, who was so unfriendly, that I almost lost my temper. We were a group of eight, and as we entered the restaurant, he, in a very gruff voice spoke You have to sit at two separate tables. If you want to sit together at a single table, then there are no chairs. What did he expect of us? To sit on the floor and eat or what? I immediately told the guys, Let's vacate this place! But then, Yadu was like, Ask him to cool down, and let us get inside and sit at two separate tables.
Pic: On Brooklyn bridge
NY trip is great fun, but at the same time, it can be tiring too. Three days, and most of the time, you spend walking from one avenue to another. It was a challenge to keep pace with Rama's parents. They were a bundle of energy, and it was tough to keep pace with their enthusiastic attitude. One of the days, I was feeling so tired, that I was scared to ask the other guys whether they were feeling tired too. I didn't want a negative answer from them. But as the day progressed, I realized that everyone was as tired as I was. It was actually a comforting feeling, and, my energy levels shot up!!!
Pic: At Olive Gardens; The chocolate Almond drink was great!
These three days were a treat time for all. Yadu's birthday treat was the highlight of the trip, as we spent the evening at Olive Gardens, an Italian restaurant, on Times Square. Times Square is one place which can lift you from the worst of spirits. People from all walks of life assemble here, and the constantly moving population fills you with such a positive attitude like never before. The people, here, are lovely too! (wish you could see my grin!!!)
Overall, it was a great trip, and as always, it would be great to get to NY for a quick weekend outing. After every such trip, I realize that it is so important to have a good group to hang out together, else the whole entertainment value is lost. And it was a great one year, what with the last Memorial weekend (2007) too being spent in NY, and a part of the current crowd was with us at Boston some months back. It was also great to spend some quality time with elders, a great feeling of home away from home, with a luxurious first day breakfast of chappathis and aloo curry, and gojju! So, hoping for more long weekends ahead to have more colorful outings!