• North America,  Travel

    The Strange Appeal of Disused Railroads

    What is it that draws us to old places that have been abandoned? It could be about the vastly different era they have been a part of, the stories they quietly harbour, or just plain old nostalgia for the past. Nostalgia is after all a sort of release into a utopian world for most of us. I suppose one cannot lay a finger upon the nub of the matter but I can tell you with conviction that railroads are lonely, lonely places. On this particular afternoon after a gander through the town of Phoenicia, and before we set out on the trail of covered bridges, we stopped at a tiny…

  • North America

    Serendipity in the Upper West Side

    One frightfully cold day, we were in the Upper West Side, lured by the promise of a bazaar of food trucks. The furious wind made indents everywhere. The exposed bits. Face, hair, ankles. And the unexposed bits. So that the sight of a fenced-in enclosure packed with rows of food trucks was comforting. As expected, a cornucopia of food and people. Kiwi-style pies, South Indian dosas, Lebanese grub. I can tell you that there were at least a dozen more trucks promising lobster to tacos and more. I can also tell you that we meekly fell at the last hurdle. Queues that grew longer by the second. There was not…

  • North America

    Pottering About Long Island

    On Veterans Day, November 11th, we drove to the Hamptons and passed beneath Old Glory, the humongous American free-flying flag — it happens to be the largest in the world — unfurled from the arch top of George Washington Bridge which happens to be the busiest bridge in the world connecting New York with New Jersey. It was an impressive sight – the flag that is unfurled on special occasions like Veterans Day when countrymen honour their military personnel in the US. In the UK on this day everyone wears red poppies to remember the sacrifices made by a few for the many. Remembrance Day. It is a special thing…

  • North America

    NYC Vibes On Halloween Weekend

    Ah the throb of life in New York City. The lights, the people, the sidewalk bars brimming with the jolly many, the medley of bizarre costumes. Welcome to a night of gargantuan proportions. On one hand there were these strange airy-fairy creatures roaming around town — my pick of them all was a Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI zombie couple in their coiffed off-white wigs standing at a bistro on the sidewalk. And at the other end of the spectrum were boys and girls in tuxes and ball gowns, straight out of Gossip Girl, climbing up the steps of the New York Public Library with noses in the air, heads…

  • North America

    Burnt-Out Ends of Autumnal Days

    The day we saw Lake Placid it was dreary so that I wanted to have a go at the miserable veil of grey above our heads, release the vivid blue that teased us once awhile as we started on our drive from Saratoga Springs. The dying embers of brilliant reds, flaming oranges, pinks, lime yellows they might have been but how they shone even under leaden skies. Fall foliage in the boreal landscape of the Adirondacks had peaked and we watched it slowly disintegrate before the eyes. Skeletal bodies of trees showed up in neat rows conjuring up the image of someone who had taken time to strip them bare methodically…

  • North America

    Saratoga Springs

    In Saratoga Springs, a town of immense loveliness that is the doorway to the massif of the Adirondacks, we met its many affable locals. The jockey I had met the previous night at the bourban bar turned up at another bar where we sat for dinner on Saturday evening after a day of driving around the Adirondacks. We hugged like long-lost friends and Adi was stumped. ‘Who was that?’ he asked, as we sat down to pop-rock numbers played by a live band and watched a large group of women take over the dance floor. It looked like a baby shower where the men had been relegated to another table.…

  • North America

    The Saratogan Night Out

    It is a dull day and I have a sore throat and I can see my sprightly neighbour do his bushy-tailed dance on the cable wires hanging outside the apartment. This squirrel scurries up and down the wires everyday. The first day I saw him I was worried. Was he stuck up there — trying to figure a way back to the sprawling greens across the road? But  sometimes you need to hear your thoughts out loud before you can fathom the ridiculous nature of them. Now having redone the apartment this morning feeling the call of hygge, having put away some extraneous details and arranged the leaves of autumn…

  • North America

    Tango and Fireflies Among the Elms

    I sat on the bench that Steve Kaplan had once sat on, my love by my side. The stifling heat of the day had been unbearable, and as much as we had let our senses be overwhelmed by the dazzling duo of chilled beer and jazz earlier on in the evening, it felt nice to just be. There was a hum in our heads and a hint of a breeze in the air as the clouds swooped in upon the strange hour of twilight which brings with it the twin emotions of contemplation and melancholia. The lamps in the park twinkled as people hurried on, giving into the nudge from the darkening…

  • North America,  Travel

    Mattress Hunting in New York City

    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 at 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 time at Macy’s was to throw ourselves on mattresses stuffed with all kinds of memory foams, promising firmness in…

  • Travel

    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…