Saturday, December 29, 2007

Newyork Nagaram, Pittsburgh Payanam( Newyork City and Pittsburgh Journey)

[Tanglish version, look up]
Hi, how is everyone? I know most of you would be surprised when you see a post in Tanglish(a mix of Tamil and English). All this is a result of a challenge that I had with a friend of mine who said that blogging in tamil is very difficult. Since I belong to the category of people who is constantly looking for debates and hence always talking for or against a topic, I said that it wasn’t difficult and that loads of people did it anyways. He immediately challenged me to write a tamil post and hence the above experiment. I used to write tamil stories and poems when in school. However, since I took French in high school, I lost touch with tamil and college was no better. So, this came as a refreshing change where I could revive my tamil writing skills. However, I had to mix some English words in my post. Goes to show how much English has permeated other languages’ use. Heck! I’ve used tamil for nearly all my life and still I can’t write a post purely in tamil. Though I could try, I would surely not be able to write one telling about contemporary life. I could try writing a pure-tamil post about some abstract topic. Yeah! Come to think of it, I can. Lets just hope that I do that(among other numerous topics) in the coming year.

Ok! Coming to the topic, this post is mostly about my sojourns in New York and travel to Pittsburg. I’ve been thinking of going to NY for Christmas for the past two months. However, I was thinking of going along with a friend in a car or try out the train/bus options. I was basically too tired of flying(as my trips in US so far have been by flight, simply because I don’t own a car and all the places that I’ve gone to make more sense and save more time if I go by flight. I’m sure I’m going to be totally tired of airports and airplanes when I get back to my home country). As December came closer, my parents were worried about my travel plans(my dad is usually meticulous about his travel plans, both abroad and otherwise. He sometimes even has a Plan B if something goes awry with Plan A. My mom also prefers knowing when things are going to happen. But I wanted to try something different(G, your suggestion!!)) and here I was, without a ticket or any idea as to when and how I’ll reach NY. Finally, I reached Washington with a friend, did a car chase along with S and caught the Amtrak train. But, to my dismay, I couldn’t figure out the seat number from the train ticket(bought through walk-in at the counter!). And I had just 10 minutes to go for the train to start! Already, I had missed a train because of the tomfoolery I did with my friend. And this train that I was about to take would reach by 12.30 am. If I let this one go and take the next one, I would surely reach only by 3 am and my uncle would be damn mad at me. To add to my distress(what a lovely, tragic word!! Distress!! Don’t you imagine a young girl, all dressed up in white with flowing curls, staring pensively at the fire with clasped hands daintily placed on her lap? Gosh!! If I keep dishing out such stuff, I can very well go on to write 18th century romance novels. I guess it’s the effect of “The Lion’s Lady”. Its pure trash but makes for enjoyable reading if you want to read trash :D), the plastic bag in which I was carrying gifts tore out and I had to do alternate arrangements. In the meantime, I got calls from almost all my friends and cousins asking if I’m making the trip to NY(shows how big a chatterbox I’ve been and how concerned everyone is about me! Should I be sad or happy? Ah! That is the question!) The train was half an hour late and my poor uncle had to stand in the cold waiting for the train(and me!). Then, I went home and ate and slept for three full days(rejuvenating myself from all the work I did, according to my aunt and uncle! Catching up with sleep, according to me! It was the effect of all the exams and end-of-semester parties :P )

After that, I explored NY with two of my friends(S & S). The first day, I did shopping. Went to Macy’s, H & M’s, Tiffany’s, Saks, Times square, Madison Square, Rockfeller centre, etc. There I went ice skating for the first time in my life. It was an awesome experience. The next day, we went to downtown NY, Greenwich village, SoHo, Little Italy, Chinatown, NY College of Arts, Statue of Liberty(it was an awe-inspiring experience. I’ll recount it in another post), Ellis Island, Ground Zero(World Trade Centre site), Wall Street, some churches, etc. I also got a caricature of mine done(I’ve always wanted one of mine ever since I saw one of my cousin’s). There came an indelible mark of me having been in NY.... yeah! I lost my wallet. After half an hour of frantic searching and canceling all the cards, I decided to call it a day and go home. But I lost all my ID cards, some money, my pendrive, some memorabilia collected over my college days and so on. Though I was sad on one side, I also consoled myself saying that it was for the best and that fate gave me a clean slate to begin the new year on (talk of the eternal optimist!!). I was also a bit scared of the choicest words that my mother would say when she hears this news(understandable because I was stranded in the big bad city without a cent or an ID card. The NY police could’ve arrested me had they taken that notion into their heads! Thank God they didn’t and with the help of friends, I reached home sound and safe at 7 pm)

Third day, I got a new purse from my aunt and some money from my uncle and went back to NY( I know, Guts with a big G. Still, it was an awesome experience). That day, we went to Madame Tussauds(I took a photo with all the celebrities I wanted to, my favorites being Mahatma Gandhi and Lincoln), Ripley’s Believe it or Not!(A place where the fact is stranger than fiction. A must-see for anyone going to NY), American Natural History Museum(great place. They use one sphere and use the relativity concept to explain the entire universe. KD, you’d fall in love with this place!), Central Park, Empire State building(highlight of the NY trip!), all broadway theatres, avenues, broadway, main streets, etc. S wanted to see the night time NY from Empire state building. So, we waited for that and saw that awesome sight too. It was a satisfying trip in all. However, since it was a weekend, the trains were less frequent and I missed a train( I know, its becoming a habit! :( ). So, by the time I reached home it was 11.30 pm. My uncle and aunt were very concerned about me. However, they knew that I had had loads of fun and hence were very cool about it. But my cousins teased me to the core :D

The next two days, I went into resting mode and then went to a Christmas party with my uncle’s family. It was party time all night and we went to Pittsburgh the next morning. I slept through the whole journey(I just can’t understand how my uncle and aunt didn’t nod off! Guess its because they are adults... Makes the task of being an adult very daunting! When it comes to sleep, I’m still a kid). Finally, we reached Pittsburgh, went to the temples, downtown Pittsburgh, incline trip, some sightseeing through the view points, etc. Then there were some dances, introductions, etc.(met all my uncle’s friends). We slept at 1 am. The next morning, we went to the Phipps observatory (super glass pieces and plants!!), Cathedral of learning, CMU, University of Pittsburgh, River Cruise, Heinz stadium, shopping, Celebration of Lights(one of the simplest yet most elegant sights I’ve seen) and did some more dancing and introductions. Next day, we went to the temple again followed by a dosa(this is a south Indian delicacy! I miss you, Dosa!) fest. Then, we left to NY again. Once I came back home, I started packing and took a flight the next day to my sister’s place. Now, here I am, typing(penning down??) this post sitting at the Chicago airport. My connecting flight is 3 hours late and I have nothing better to do :) I’m sure that the story would unfold more at my sister’s place because of my two lovely nieces who make every second with them enjoyable. I’ll recount them in the next post. Till then, have a safe and happy journey(if you are traveling like me) and a very happy New Year(try celebrating it in a different manner from the past ones! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it). See you in the new year! Ciao!

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