Happy Birthday Grandpa… Thank You New York

31st December: People usually party with their friends and loved ones on the new years eve. They always want to start it with a new vigor and many-a-times new goals for the coming new year. I have for the last 16 years done the same thing (before that I just don’t remember what I used to do! :P). Even this year was no different in that perspective. But the similarities end there.

I am now living in a new land – one with different culture and habits, with different people around me. Somewhere in the middle of the year I had what many call –  crossed the seven seas and entered into a different land. But for me that was metaphorical crap. I had just traveled to a far off place – far off with respect to my home – to gain some knowledge. Anyways, this year I knew my 31st was gonna be way different. Here in college park things are less lively during vacations to get the festive mood. Obviously me and my roommates had to go somewhere outside the city to enjoy the occasion. And we just found ourselves roaming around in New York.

Visiting a different city always has been fun for me. Every city has its own way of living life and New York is no different. Though, New York, I found, was pretty similar to my home town – Mumbai. It lives in the hustle bustle throughout the day and in the party and festival during the night. Entering the city via the tunnel you get completed surrounded by the tall skyscrapers. When you run through the streets you can actually hear your own echo bouncing through those buildings – Awesome!

Watching the Statue of Liberty from a palms distance and then the night view of whole of New York from the Empire State building are just amazing. These moments – one can relive any number times and still be left craving for more. But the best part of the city was on the roads. People playing different tricks on the roads to earn some money from the onlookers and even better part being the stands hot-dogs and other eatables on the streets. Mumbaiites would already feel this familiar. 🙂

Standing and waiting at Times Square for the ball to drop and the year to end, we were surrounded by a sea of people who had come from nearby places to celebrate the advent of 2012. We did have a great time there especially waiting at a place called cafe42. Indians, Chinese, Koreans, Americans and people from all other countries everyone enjoying the exact same cause – I had never imagined something like this happening outside India. Well US does continue to surprise me – the good way.

And then the time came for which we had traveled almost 250 miles. And as expected it did come with a bang. We were here in 2012. And when everyone was wishing each other new year there I was remembering my grandfather……it was his birthday. And in that instant all the memories, all the moments that I remember with him flashed passed through me. Had he been here, how proud he must have been had lived the moment. And the next instant I found myself back into the party in New York I was in.

But all this was just the glamour part of New York. an hour later we just found ourselves stranded without roof. The whole Times Square with all its bewitching dazzle felt hollow. The heart throbbing place suddenly felt heartless.  Back in Mumbai, no matter what the time one can always find someplace to sit the night – marine drive or some train station. New York wasn’t Mumbai after all. Spending the night inside a metro station with some warmth and sleep deprived friends, though sounds somewhat sadistic, was some experience at the end of the day.

And when we caught the bus the next day back to our silent countryside town we were tired but filled with an experience of a lifetime which I still can’t paint completely in words. But all said when I was looking at the diminishing silhouette of  New York’s Skyline only these words ran through my mind –

“Happy Birthday Grandpa…….. Thank You New York.”


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