Let’s Get Our Trinkets Out

‘The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry’s cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I’ll put a trinket on.’

Emily Dickinson

Have you made jewellery pacts before? Well I have, with the lovely girls, AngelaPamelaCheila and Lyz, and in the spirit of the game here we go.

Over the last few weeks, I have been in the process of trimming the contents of my jewellery boxes. It is curious that we often hoard for the sake of it. Yet every piece carries its own story. The core pieces remain. They are the ones that carry memories within their many loops and filigrees. The earrings bought in Brussels (because I had not carried enough jewellery while travelling for a month through Belgium), the pair of statement earrings I bought with my first salary, …My favourite statement pieces are contemporary earrings and head jewellery crafted out of silver from an Indian boutique brand called Amrapali. They rarely fail to ensnare the eyes.

Now my heart beats for the kind of jewellery that make you think that a girl can indeed live without her diamonds. But I did lust for the designs I laid eyes upon at the fashion weeks in Delhi. Jewellery collections that smacked of savoir faire. Yet they were always more expensive than the wallet would allow. All my earnings were frittered away on eating out and partying. As a result, I never ended up buying even an itsy bitsy piece. Now I wonder if I should just pick up a couple to sate that old desire…

Some unworn pieces remain in my boxes but then they shall stay for as long as I live. You see they are bits and pieces from my mother’s collection. They effortlessly pick me up from now and deposit me into the body of the little girl who used to watch her mother get ready for an evening out. Transfixed by the rituals of dressing up, the trappings of femininity. How she used to take her time. Drape on a beautiful sari, when I used to be at hand to pull at the edges to straighten out the folds while feeling the texture of the lush fabric at the same time, apply a hint of foundation since she had flawless skin, don pretty jewellery, apply her favourite shade of lipstick and at the end, dab herself with Estee Lauder’s Beautiful. I have never been able to shake off the haunting fragrance of Beautiful since. The faint smell of it lingers in the air (even though I do not own a bottle of it at the moment). But what am I waffling on about. That’s the power of memory and nostalgia.

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Cuffs and bracelets
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Amrapali earrings
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Cheap earring bought from some odd market
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Collar necked in pearl
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A chain of armour? Psst: Turns me into Cuptain Cupcake
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Amrapali, Delhi
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Black lace choker and a pendant from Portobello Market
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Higgledy-piggledy assortment of earrings
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Busy corners 
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Amrapali. This one makes me feel like a diva. 
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The box that holds the tiny studs
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The pop-arty lady from the streets of Alfama who stands above my dressing table and reminds me to go dress up for life.

 

 

Three Awards in One

The way I look in the photo is how I felt when my dear lady Cherylene nominated me for three awards. Not all at one go but over a period of time. I take my time in getting around to answering these award questions, not because I do not want to do them, but because I take time to babble. You know I take it seriously – the art of talking as little sense as possible.

Through her blog titled ‘Living Vs. Existing’, Cherylene motivates and inspires readers to stay strong through the travails of life. She almost always pops up on my various posts from time to time and leaves lovely thoughts. You can see why she is a great friend to have your back. To get to the task at hand, the questions under each award are all hers.

Thank you Cherylene, I had fun answering these questions. Made me ponder and smile.

 

Sunshine Blogger Award

Do you prefer to smell the roses or grow them?

Grow them, smell ‘em and see them wither away. The cycle of life is inescapable.

Are you the adventurous type or more reserved?

My stomach will tighten into knots and my heart shall pop out of my mouth, but Adventure, you scamp, you’re not getting away easy!

Do you prefer cake as a dessert or ice cream?

There are whiffs of existential crisis in that question.

Do you prefer to drive or be driven?

I drive in my dreams. My husband does not dare to let me drive in reality, yet. But I have agreed to polish up my driving skills by enrolling in a driving school in the US, ‘polish up’ being the key words here.

Where is your ideal vacation spot?

Cornwall.

Can you cook?

Yes.

What is your favourite dish to prepare?

Chicken biryani/ Aglio e olio

Who is the most supportive person you know?

My husband. My brother and father have been my rock during the formative stages of my life.

Who is you favourite singer?

Bob Dylan/Leonard Cohen. How do I choose between them?!

When you think of blogging, list one word to describe the feeling it gives you.

Contentment

Do you pamper yourself as much as you like?

Without doubt.

 

Unique Blogger Award

If you could be any Marvel superhero who would you be and why?

Marvel needs to contact me for a patent. Cuptain Cupcake. Need I say why after you read my name?  I even know what I shall charge Marvel. A lifetime’s subscription to cupcakes from The Hummingbird Bakery.

How do you cope with stress?

Devouring popcorn and reading crime thrillers. Works like magic for me. I also walk around the room talking to myself (so I reveal at the cost of coming across as a certified loon).

If you were given the opportunity to act in any movie, would you take it? What type of movie would it be – action, romance, horror, drama, sci-fiction or comedy?

Why, of course, the superhero genre. Remember Cuptain Cupcake? I think I would be a darling at it.

 

Real Neat Blog Award

Your three favourite foods 

Mustard Hilsa (freshwater fish cooked in mustard, atypical of Calcutta), Chicken Biryani (Calcutta-style biryani strictly) and Lal Shaak (red spinach the way my mother cooks it).

Do you prefer watching sports or playing sports?

Playing sports

Would you choose a vacation in Hawaii or Alaska? Why?

Both. I would love to walk upon the volcanoes of Big Island and soak in the charms of its canvas of environments. I have watched some fascinating documentaries on Alaska which intrigued me. Plus I would feel like I were on top of the world.

If you would go back in time, what year would you travel to?

To the year 2011. Adi and I travelled together through the UK and discovered our common passion for being on the road.

What has been your biggest challenge?

To return home safe each day when I lived and worked in Delhi. Just reminiscing about the incidents that were a part of my daily life makes me prone to ranting about the importance of safety of women in that city.

Something you miss the most from childhood?

The early idyllic years in Salalah, Oman. My brother would visit us from time to time during summer vacations – he lived in a monastic hostel on the outskirts of Calcutta. I remember days spent on the beach by the rugged Jabbal mountains; attempting to steal flowers from my neighbour aunt (who used to open the door just at the time that I reached it – I realise that I used to turn up at the same time every day); heading to the souks in the evenings with my parents for Lebanese bread fresh off the tandoor (the fragrance of which is still lodged in the memory cells); and long drives through the deserts of Oman.

What does a perfect day look like to you?

Just being in the company of my love.

‘What Do I Think About Art’

In between rushing to stores, gobbling up pizzas and giant cookies, while setting up our new apartment to the tune of endless cups of Lady Grey tea, I came upon this cutesy tag courtesy Angela. Interesting and innovative. An art tag! But I had to do it asap before I lost steam and let it slip to the bottom of the pile. Thank you Angela, I had fun going about this tag.

Here I introduce you to the “What Do I Think About Art” tag.

Rules:

  • Copy the piece of art given to you by the nominator into the post and these rules
  • Analyse the piece of art given to you and what it means to you (you can be as abstract as you like)
  • Nominate five people to analyse another piece of art of your choice

The lead photo is the one that I was tagged to analyse by Angela.

It is an example of going green on a whole different level, eh. You see the cityscape in the backdrop – ’tis the picture of barrenness, a leaf or two sticking out here and there. Maybe more than a leaf, but hey, I am permitted a smidgen of exaggeration surely by dint of the fact that if art allows us to stretch our imagination we can let it seep into into our words too.

Okay, so we all need green. More so in the cities.

How do we go about it? We grow a green bush on our head. That is the best way of getting your own personal bit of green on this planet where world leaders with exceptional vision denounce the concept of global warming as a weapon for hoodwinking the masses.

Right, so our man is a self-sufficient personality. But watch out for that brush in his hand. Could it be that there might be an itchy witchy feeling creeping up on him and that all is not as well as Mister Smug (just look at his expression) might claim to all and sundry?

“The streets are empty and here’s my chance to go berserk,” he sniggers as he sneaks the brush into his green pate. He is about to have a real good go at it just like a scratchy sheep makes a go of it against a fence or a highland cow rubs its massive horns against dry stone walls. You get the picture, I suppose. I shall let it rest there.

I would love to hear your take on the piece too.

Deconstructing art takes me back to the beginning of my feature reporting days when I used to be bundled off to art exhibitions to interview artists. Artists are the kind of professionals I never felt uncomfortable around. It was easy to feel gauche around fashion designers, hoity-toity actors and egoistic sport stars, but with artists, no way. It seemed to me, during those long conversations, that they were suspended in the cloudy realms of their heads from where they need time to wade out at ease. So yes, I could take my time.

Art is also supposed to be individual. You can imagine my delight that there was no censure. That I could sit there and come up with bizarre interpretations. Thus you have the logic behind my view of Angela’s street art piece.

Below is my piece for you. I clicked it in Jersey City downtown the other day. Would you care to analyse it? If yes, you can do a post on it, or just leave your interpretation in the comments section. Going beyond the stated number, I nominate you all. Humour me?

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Mattress Hunting in New York

The business of setting up home is a strange blend of weariness and exhilaration. I find myself oscillating between these two extremes as the process kicks off. On Saturday we made our way to Macy’s on Manhattan’s Herald Square. If you are not from this country, you need to know that it is the iconic American departmental store that sets the heart of the locals throbbing (you can call me out on this one if you are not a fan, but what are the chances of that, eh?).

The idea behind spending our time at Macy’s was to throw ourselves on mattresses stuffed with all kinds of memory foams and promising firmness in varying degrees. Adi is firm about it being firm, you see.

And throw ourselves we did, Adi with immense pleasure, I with some reserve. The idea of laying back, then turning around and pretending that I am sleeping on my own bed when the reality is that it is actually a department store, however hallowed its halls might be, is disconcerting. Never mind the woman on the next mattress, in her yellow sundress taking off her shoes to lay down on her stomach and change angles as she decided what worked for her. I know, that is the way you buy a mattress. But I cannot and shall not fall in line. I have Adi to do it on my behalf.

Then came the tut-tutting of the sales woman guiding us through the sacred rituals of choosing The Mattress. This grey-haired matriarchal figure was not in the least like our cordial little Mrs Marple. She cast a gimlet eye upon me, and observed, “I have been noticing that you have been standing for the most part while your husband has been testing it out.”

Adi got his chit of approval and showed me all of his shining teeth. I, in the mean time, played the part of the sheepish one. Then came the deal breaker. The part where all kind of hearts, young and old, stumble and fall. Prices.

Adi’s grin started fading bit by bit. Till it was time to take ourselves out of the vicinity of those rectangular beacons of firmness to think sanely.

In almost every situation in life, when you feel overwhelmed, it helps to take a step or a few steps aside, and just let it be.

That is what we did, and the result was that while sauntering down the all-important doyen of avenues, Fifth Avenue that is, we espied a store that declared itself to be Mattress Firm. ‘Surely a sign’, we thought to ourselves, and entered the store past a bunch of police crowd control barriers, wooden, blue and pretty. A sign that Fifth Avenue had been the venue of a parade earlier on in the day.

An old-world lift whisked us into a massive hall which was a neat picture stacked with rows and columns of mattresses, boxsprings and more mattresses. A head popped out of the corner. A grin accompanied by a booming voice as the words came our way, “You folks are the first people to step in, so come here quick. Give me a hug! Let’s have a group hug, y’all.”

Javon was his name and he pronounced it as Gio-vaan as he indeed engulfed the two of us in his big arms and gave us a tight hug.

A start with a hugging salesman is prophetic of good times to come. Symbiotic for both parties – we got our mattress – and good on Javon. He achieved his sale without breaking a sweat. And he added to the experience by giving us tips on how to catch the best views of NYC while sitting atop rooftop bars, which burgers to chomp on, the best track for running in Central Park, meeting celebrities like Julianne Moore (who inclined her head to let him him know that it was indeed her). He also mentioned his momma who lives in Little Italy in the Bronx.

Now this Italian neighbourhood is not the same as the Little Italy which I had come upon in Lower Manhattan. The Bronx one is the original they say, and no, the Italian mafia has not sunk its claws into it because its notoriety means that even the dons had to think twice about dominating the area. Which is not to say that there are no mobs around.

On our first day in Jersey City, we had met a burly and chatty cab driver who drove us into Manhattan. He had alluded to the infamous Bronx as he noted, “Two blocks up and down my house in Newark, it is not quite safe. But then I have lived in the Bronx. So I know how to take care of myself.”

We shall go one day to the Bronx. Before which I shall arm myself with copious quantities of coffee to steel the nerve. Not a bad plan, right?

Back in Javon’s Fifth Avenue hood, two hours passed by in a whirl of natter. The perfect salesman had made his sale, sans judgement about how I was not focusing enough upon disappearing into the mattress, and we had snagged us a deal that was a neat thousand dollars cheaper than Macy’s. The business of achieving the perfect sleep dealt with, we strolled down Fifth Avenue where we gleefully grabbed bags of dark Lindt chocolate and indulged in fashion dilemmas in Adi’s dearest Abercrombie & Fitch store – ‘Why I am in the flagship store!’ he remarked with awe because he had made it a point to drag me to all of its European locations. This was followed by a long drawn dinner of delicious Indian fare at Moti Mahal.

The euphoric moment of the day was unplanned – it lay in the transition from daylight to dusk.

New York at night. Those of you who have walked its bedazzled streets by night know this that the city knows how to work it once dusk falls like no other. Oh, the streets were a miasma of activity. The women came out in throngs in dresses, tipsy boys hollered around the streets, pretty young women waited in dimly-lit sidewalk cafes (waiting for their dates?), dogs sat patiently in bicycle trailers as their owners whizzed by us, and people spilled onto the streets drinking and diving into appetizers at cocktail bars. Yellow cabs rushed by us with their passengers and Hello Dolly ads as the balmy night air caressed our hair and welcomed us to the city.

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Herald Street in Manhattan and its iconic departmental store
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And that’s not even the tallest building in NY 
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Insights into its colonial past
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By dint of habit and height, every photograph tends to be vertical here
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Remnants of barricades and parades
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Golden sunburst. The Chrysler Building. This marvellous dream in art-deco was conceived as the headquarters of the car manufacturer but it was built by Walter Chrysler, the founder, using his personal funds because he wanted it to be inherited by his descendants.
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Down the glitzy Fifth Avenue where the brands come flying at you, fast and furious.
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Rockefeller center. In front of it artist Jeff Koons has installed a 45 foot high inflatable art installation. Meet the Seated Ballerina as she towers above onlookers and engages with them in a kind of conversation to raise the awareness for missing children.
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The ornate doors of the various flagship stores are riveting
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Ahem!
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Life passes by in a blur down Fifth Avenue
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Churches along the way

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When we stepped into a Moti Mahal to dig into creamy malai tikkas …
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Butter naans
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…and butter chicken. You have got to work off all that walking around the city with such rich fare. Also importantly, Adi threw a fit about missing Indian food. Do not mess with a hungry husband.
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Delicious rolls that can whisk in to the alleys of Calcutta. The original Kati Roll company of New York which has established an address in London too.
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Where atmospheric cocktail bars rub shoulders with temples
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Leafy NY neighbourhood
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And when just like that nostalgia makes it way in.

Friday Thoughts on Carpe Diem

‘To His Coy Mistress’

Andrew Marvell

Had we but world enough and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
       But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found;
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long-preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust;
The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
      Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapped power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Through the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

 

Smile

“If you haven’t seen your wife smile at a traffic cop, you haven’t seen her smile her prettiest,” said an American journalist called Kin Hubbard once. He has been gone a long while now but this man was funny. Look at another example of his wit, “Don’t knock th’ weather. Nine-tenths o’ th’ people couldn’ start a conversation if it didn’ change once in a while.”

See what I just did. Rambled at the beginning of a tag. Sigh.

I was tagged by the beauteous Kristyn who makes me roar with laughter. Lion roars. Thank you, Kristyn, I truly had a wonderful time taking part in this tag.

This is The SMILE TAG and I am going to tell you how it works before I get going.

Ciarralorren, creator of The SMILE Tag, wants to see your smiles! If you are nominated for this tag (which I hope all of you are), then simply post a photo of yourself smiling! There really are no rules for this tag. You can post as many pictures with as many people as you’d like solely under the condition that you are smiling in the photo or looking back at the photo makes you smile. It’s really quite simple. If you’d like, also share the story or stories behind the photos you post to let your followers gain more of an insight of who you are and what makes you happy. Or don’t. It’s really up to you. Truthfully, it doesn’t matter how you interpret this tag, so long as you spread joy and happiness around the Internet and in doing so within your own life. Let’s all be happy and share our smiles!

Just keep the tagging along and TOGETHER, let’s create a mass movement of happiness! So start posting and tagging people now! Go, go, go!!

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The Telegraph India, Delhi. September 2009. With one of my closest friends in office. It seems a lifetime ago that we used to spend all our time eating, giggling, shopping and being silly apart from stressing about coming up with story ideas for ghastly idea meetings.  
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Delhi, May, 2013. A goofy moment of cupcakes and coffee in Khan Market which is one of the best hangouts in the city. This was in a cafe called Choko La where the cupcakes were a dream and therefore it was my choice of coffee and conversations with one of my dearest friends.
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Gower Peninsula, Wales. June 2011. This was the first time we had reached the Rhossili Bay of the gales and gusts, where to stand still on the cliffs and not to be blown away is an achievement.
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Delhi, December 2011. On a cold December’s night, we had our first cocktail party for the wedding, thrown by my generous in-laws for us at a beautiful garden restaurant called Magique. The food was delectable and the drinks flowed. How they flowed. Adi had to be carted back home at the end of the party because his friends poured shots down his throat. 
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Floatel, Calcutta, December 2011. A photo marked by relief. That my groom had reached Calcutta at all with his entire party of friends and family. The train from Delhi to Calcutta had been delayed for hours because of foggy conditions. So the night before Adi had to book a flight for everyone to make it in time for the cocktail party and the wedding. This shot is from the cocktail party which was thrown by my parents at a floating venue on the Hooghly river. The best thing was that it was night and you did not have to admire the incredibly muddy waters of the Hooghly. Oh, but it was pure magic. It was about dancing the night away.
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A shot from the cocktail party with my brother and his wife. And no, I do not look like him.
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With my four closest friends. The one on the extreme left was always my cupcake and coffee friend. The other two lovelies on each side of me are my former flatmates. They know me as well as one would know another when they have lived together. 
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Dec 11, 2011. The wedding. It is an urban myth that Indian brides are coy. I for one had no chance to play the part since I was micro-managing the wedding. Everything that could go wrong went wrong. But our family priest wed us by chanting away mantras and interspersing them with his funny asides. We had such fun getting married. We had not expected it.
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There were many tears and fears. Firstly, the photographer had forgotten the simple fact that he had to turn up. This was my newspaper’s photographer and I had great faith in him. “The wedding is today, is it?” he asked in an incredulous tone. Now this happened as I sat to get married. “Yes you cutlet! Get your behind here, NOW,” was what I wanted to scream. However to unleash bridezilla in public is not convenient. I bit out words into the phone, “If you can please just get here.” Secondly, there was the videographer. Another talented man. He found his way to some other wedding and started shooting it because he was convinced it was ours. Both these tools turned up midway through the wedding rituals. Most of my wedding photos, as a result, were taken by my journalist friend who is an excellent photographer-documentary maker. Thirdly, I had arranged a phuchka (water balls – street food) stall. No surprises. It did not turn up. Therein lay the three reasons I could not be a coy bride.
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The Isle of Wight. October 2012. We went camping by the sea at a time when most sane people would avoid pitching tents on the edge of a cliff. The other tents were occupied by our friends and I was never happier than when the sun rose. Evenings saw me almost weeping with misery when I could spare tears from shivering.
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Durga Puja, Calcutta. October 2016. The puja was held at my home this year. It is a 250-year-old family affair that is rotated amongst our uncles and us. It is that one time of the year when my whole heart belongs to Calcutta. The sun mellows, the breeze picks up and the kaash phool (wild sugarcane grass) sways its white feathery heads in the breeze when Goddess Durga comes visiting Calcutta with great pomp. I am not religious in the least but this festival does it for me. It is about dressing up in new clothes, gorging on delicious food all through the day, meeting friends and spending time with family. Those are my cousin sisters-in-law, who look sane but are quite not all there. So, it is easy to love them.
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Santa Teresa Gallura, Sardinia. March 2015. Windblown in Santa Teresa Gallura, a beautiful beach town in Sardinia, with friends. I miss my overgrown pixie cut.
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Hatching plans to steal Vespas in the alleys of Alghero, Sardinia.
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December 2013. The last time Adi put his arms around Tuktuk. I will never forget that like an oaf I did not travel with him to meet our beloved boy. He passed away early in 2014. We were sleeping in Mechelen, Belgium, when we got the call in the wee hours of the morning.
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Pulpit Rock, Norway. August 2015. The best hike we have ever done. We had almost given up on  taking the flight to Stavanger the night before because the weather forecast was doleful. Then the woman at the other end uttered her magical Norwegian belief, “There’s nothing like bad weather, only bad clothes.” We gave in. The result was that I got to dangle my legs off Pulpit Rock for a brief while before a nervous Adi barked at me that he was not ready yet to lose his wife. You see, it is easy to fall in love with Norway.
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Holyhead, Wales. April 2013. My sister-in-law was visiting us and we had driven down to Wales to one of our favourite lighthouses which is supposed to be haunted. It is there that I met this big boy. Now, I have long conversations with horses. When they perk up their ears and seem interested, it is rude not to talk, don’t you think? Plus it is not easy to find patient ears. My niece now sees horses and thinks of me. I have a reputation to maintain.

Happiness nestles right under your nose when you smile. Have you noticed that? Now if you feel like dredging up some memories to share them and smile, why just fire away.

The Tall, Taller and Tallest in Manhattan

“You can do what you like, sir, but I’ll tell you this. New York is the true capital of America. Every New Yorker knows it, and by God, we always shall.”

That’s not me spouting off biased and borrowed wisdom in my two days of being here. I am not a New Yorker yet. I do not know if I shall ever be one in my heart. The quote is from ‘New York’, a historical novel by British author Edward Rutherford. If you like the kind of bulky tomes that you can hurl at people (who annoy you) and thereby cause serious injury, Rutherford is your man. If you are the kind of person however with a penchant for useless dreaming, and you also possess the patience of a beaver, then you would rather flip open that tome. Channelling your inner Om.

‘New York’ introduced me to historical layers of a world that I had no idea of. The story of Native Americans who lived on Mannahatta, or ‘the land of many hills’, the name given by ancient tribes to Manhattan that is the city’s historical birthplace. The plot starts thickening once the European settlers trickle in.

Now that busy streak from Manhattan’s past, my friend, has infiltrated the present day in which I found myself walking down the busiest of the five boroughs of New York.

On a noon hedged in by skyscrapers, there we were, two people ultimately new to New York’s glitzy glory, craning our necks to take in the full view of an army of towers. Some tipped with golden spires, others with sombre spires and facades sheathed in glass in which you could catch reflections. Just a vision of tall buildings looming above us, no matter what angle we turned our heads at. Oh, it was a giddy feeling alright.

A series of impressive court houses with their massive pillars achieved the intended effect of imbibing us with the requisite amount of awe. A colonial building in a leafy park turned out to be the city hall where the mayor of New York sits and an old church in red bricks shot its hand out to declare its presence right after.

Walking beneath old gaslights into the leafy City Hall Park that was the place for public executions and recreations in old times, we soon found that we were at the portals of the hallowed St. Paul’s Chapel. Standing outside the oldest church building in Manhattan, where George Washington prayed and which survived the 9/11 attacks, we were in a sense soaking in the colonial heritage of the city.

Then there’s the iconic One World Trade Center, rebuilt upon the old World Trade Center complex, catching reflections of the changing skies above us and… wait, what was that strange building, presenting a strange vision of bifurcating ribs?

A thorn in the taxpayer’s line of vision, as a New Yorker might say. Or The Oculus. But I cannot and shall not complain about this building that was conceived of as a giant dove by a Spanish architect. It might end up looking like giant claws apart from ribs but that is a different matter. Some have even likened it to a dinosaur.

You do feel for the architect. Creativity requires imagination and not everyone can give into your vision, however grand and ambitious it might be. It might not be everyone’s favourite building but The Oculus is a paradigm of space and modern design. Through its ribs the skyline of the city was broken up in a linear manner, which was strangely engrossing as the three pink balloons winking down at us from its elevated spot upon the glass beams.

Dear old Oculus is now one of my closest buds in New York. I shall not try and explain that odd fact away given that you know me by now. You see, I enter the city through The Oculus which is the World Trade Center Transportation Hub. It replaced the old PATH station that was destroyed by the 9/11 attacks. Just to put it in perspective, the PATH decoded is Port Authority Trans-Hudson, the rapid transit system that connects places like Newark, Harrison, Hoboken, and Jersey City in New Jersey to New York City, apart from linking up lower and midtown Manhattan as well.

You can well imagine then why I shall rely upon Oculus dear for emotional support and extensive hand holding during all the times that I shall find myself goofing my way around New York, boarding the wrong trains and finding myself in places unknown.

I know this that Oculus shall always be there for me.

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Meet Oculus
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Gaping at The Oculus. Just a very normal reaction.
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Manhattan skyline through the Oculus
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A hip photographer hugs the ground as he waits for the four to kick their feet into the air
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Imagine all the times they must have fallen on their heads. I am odd anyway. A fall or two might take it to unnecessary levels.
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Approaching the pillars of justice around the bend
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Hefty pillars of governance
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The traffic is incessant
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The wheels of justice. They grind on.
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Sizing up the city
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Behemoths 
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Skyscrapers
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City Hall. The office of the mayor of New York.
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City Hall. A profile.
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The goodness of two alliums bobbing their pretty heads inside the City Hall Park
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Gaslights and the city
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City Hall Park
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The old and the new stand shoulder to shoulder
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Brownstone buildings of Manhattan
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One World Trade Center
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Mr. Whippy where art thou?
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St. Paul’s Chapel, cross-sectioned
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Spires. Old and new.

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Entering the picture in silhouette
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‘Show me the glint of light on broken glass.’ What would you have made of this, Mr. Chekhov?