Archive for August, 2006|Monthly archive page

10 days and counting

Over the weekend, I watched Scoop. At the moment, my life feels a lot like watching Scoop – a job and a city that’re vaguely familiar, and therefore comfortable to be in. But they did promise more than they have delivered so far, and I can’t quite shake off the feeling that my previous experience with them was richer, more fun, better. And I’ve resigned myself to enjoying just the memory of grand old times, or at least till Allen and I are back on our feet again. Saving grace: I’m only 28 and closer to the beginning of my career than the end, and therefore hopefully have a few more chances than Allen to recreate the good old times.

As a dyed in the wool pessimist, I am blue most of the time. I am especially miserable during the time leading to and following a big change. Right now, I’m in a state of inter-city limbo that I detest – I have already moved on from my last home, but am yet to find a new home (or even a place that will eventually become home). Routines perfected in Dallas are in shambles. The only reason I fall asleep in my strange new bed is because I’m exhausted from all the walking I do here. A true New Yorker would laugh (or spit in my face or both) at the amount of walking I do. A true Texan, however, would run me over with his Hummer for moving to a city where a “decent commute” is a 25 minute walk, as opposed to a 45 minute drive.

Somewhere in my 3 years in Gurgaon and 2 in Dallas, I apparently turned into a creature of the suburbia without quite realizing it. The sad truth is that my happiest moments in the last 10 days have come from shopping for groceries. I dream dreams of going veggie shopping, of cooking in my own kitchen. On Friday, I wandered into a Food Emporium and didn’t wander out for another hour. On Saturday, the sight of the Manhattan Mall almost had me in tears – a mall! I was so overjoyed that I rushed in and bought some totally unnecessary things. Finally, something I’m used to!

While I completely fail to understand the folks who set the credit-history rules, I do understand why some women marry for money. I spent most of yesterday wishing I had a sugar daddy. Not just any sugar daddy, but one who makes 80 times my rent-to-be, has a pristine credit history, and wants nothing more from life other than to be my guarantor. Let other women have the sparkly trinkets – I’d pledge eternal gratitude for a rented studio. Heck, I’m even happy to pay the darn rent myself, so long as the process is in no way confused with “buying” a studio. Yes, I’m smack in the middle of the give-3-month-advance or put-up-sugar-daddy negotiation.

Despite the preceding cribs, it’s not all bad. I get a thrill every time I remind myself that I don’t have to take a taxi to La Guardia in the next day or two to get back to “real life”, where ever that may be. I am here and that feels wonderful. And the routinizer in me has been hard at work. I’m learning to switch from Dish to Time Warner Cable and getting your head around a whole new set of channel numbers feels like discovering cable all over again. And the entire subway system awaits mastery. Heck, I’ve even found a tea mate in a city of coffee-drinkers! Now if I can only find myself a sugar daddy…

Moving. Again.

I used to hate my dad’s job growing up. Mostly because it was the reason we had to move every few years. I’d accuse my dad of never giving me a chance to “put down my roots”. I vowed that when I got a job of my own, I’d say put!

Since getting a job, I’ve moved twice. First time across the country. The second time to a different continent. And in a little over 5 years, I’m moving for the third time. This time to New York, to become a minuscule cog in a rather major wheel. This is will come as a big change from being a minuscule cog in a tiny wheel. Yeah, the change that really matters is that I get to exchange Dallas for NYC.

Any city am about to leave turns beautiful over night. Dallas is the same. It actually looked like it might rain some time yesterday. The temperature went all the way down to 97, while New York swelters at 99. Every corner of the town home I’m leaving stares at me with pity, and says, “I’m one less corner you’ll have in your match-box studio.”

Friends in Dallas have spent the last few weeks carefully going over many aspects of life in New York – the size of the studio I’ll be renting, the rent I’ll pay for this space, the weather, the crowd, how my Mr. Perfect is sure to live in some city that is not New York, how I shouldn’t let that stand in the way of eternal bliss (to illustrate how I shouldn’t let this change in cities stand in the way of other more important changes), and how I’ll continue to work during the week and laze over the week ends (to illustrate how little my life will really change). My friend in New York has also been helping me to keep my expectations real. And my real estate agent chips in where ever she can (“remember they are ads not listings”).

Sometimes I take the trouble to protest, to try to convince them that I really am going to have a grand time. But these protestations are half-hearted attempts. It’s not that I fear I’ll be miserable in New York. Far from it. I agree with many of the things my friends say. I am not going to start jogging simply because Central Park exists. And despite my day-dreams, I am probably not going to buy season tickets at the Lincoln Center. Even I realize that apart from paying my rent I will also have to eat, occasionally at least. Truth be told, I am a little nervous about the weather. After spending the last 28 years claiming to love winters, I will finally experience a real one (oh, shush you Ice-Landers – am talking to people who mostly grew up in Madras or Trichy). Will I continue to love them as before?

The real reason I don’t bother to protest too much – I don’t care. The true worth of a city lies in the possibilities it offers. I doubt that I’ll ever walk into some store on 5th avenue and blow $7000 on some hideous handbag – but it’s nice to walk by and imagine you can. I am not going to become a concert pianist, ever. But it’s easy to imagine that I might, especially when I’m gazing down at an ant-sized Barenboim, as I hang upside down from the ceiling with one hand on some fixture which will likely be the only spot I can afford at Carnegie Hall. As for the winter, I have memories enough of summers from Dallas and Delhi that will last me a long long time to come. And who knows, maybe I’ll even start jogging. Not having Central Park – surely that’s the reason why I’ve never indulged in the habit till date.