Sunday, July 17, 2011

On fire

Charming, that I’m sitting on a train from New York to Boston, happily drunk amongst a sober lot! Sophisticated, that I’m wearing floral bloomer-esque shorts from Forever 21. Good enough, that I’m listening to Break on through. Trite, that the white guy sitting on the seat across looks at me occasionally, smiles, as he reads his copy of Shantaram.

New York met expectations. It was exactly half awesome and half depressing. Awesome because I met old friends, watched the architectural marvel the city is, got myself a couple of cute outfits and fit both, Guinness and Prosecco in to the weekend. At the same time, half the time I spent was depressing because of a small, dark and disappointing W on Lexington, a severe bout of anxiety this morning and that I’m running out of tampons. The wine makes up for a lot of the woes.

I was in New York the first time, a few years back when I came here to intern at Goldman Sachs on Wall Street. I was 21, impressionable and not ready but still cute enough to get by. I was living at 92nd Lex, at the Y, without a phone or a laptop. That was 2.5 months, spent working hard, eating (and sleeping) alone, reading magazines as entertainment and carefully shopping to make sure I didn't blow up the generous stipend! The last point is important as my love for money only went down since the first time I made some. The wall street giant paid me enough to cover for my education of 17 years, twice over. Yet, that's when I realized how over-rated money was. I was lonely in New York then. More timid here than I typically was. But it's a time gone, and I look back and smile.

This time, after 6 or 7 visits to the city, I finally decided to stay on Lexington Aevnue again. Of course, not the Y. This time it was the W (hotels following the alphabet!). It was disappointing but not enough for me to crib about it the 2nd time in one post.

I met Asha and Anurag for drinks. I barely knew them in school but it was still much fun. There’s so much similarly in all of us now, though not apparent on the face of it. A ton of fun. This morning was not much to write about. I woke up late, strangely anxious and it took half a day to wipe the feeling out. I stepped out finally in the evening a few hours before my train. I worked from Starbucks at 34th West, and it made me feel much better. What followed was a typical show of awesomeness- a cute cut-out back outfit, a mad run to the station to make it in time for the train, a few charming conversations with strangers and now the wine.

I’m alone. I was anxious today. Peepu isn’t here. But I’m writing. I’m tremendously attractive. Cheap Merlot. The Doors doing what they do well. A shit load of work tomorrow. Life is far from perfect but its good enough. And just given the events through the day, good enough is much better than perfect.

After thought- these were the 250 best calories I ever got

Friday, July 15, 2011

For the love of the blog

So this is the last of the posts on America, for at least another 40 days. Because its my last week before I take off for home, and my month off work. I’m on a bud from Boston to New York. I was going to be alone in the city this weekend and felt the urge to venture out. I loathe getting on a plane, especially these short haul uninteresting flights. I wanted a few hours of journey and decided I’ll try the bus on my way there, and the train for the way back. So far the bus is fun, though I fear it will turn out to be much longer than expected and I’ll end up regretting.

I see a young girl at a distance reading Anna Karenina, and it only reminds me of how just a few years back, I wouldn't think of traveling by air. The American countryside is at best pretty. I don't find it as interesting as the European one or better still, the Indian one!! But it is pretty!

I’m tired. I’ve been traveling a lot. Some things haven’t changed. I still travel casually. I still enjoy it. But its been a lot of late. I can still enjoy it but I’m definitely tiring. At the same time, I’l insanely excited about the honeymoon. Its fun travel. Let me tell you a few more plans while I’m at it.

• We’re backpacking. No suitcases! Its huge for me because its been a long time I survived on a few sets of clothes
• Its 22 days, in 4 countries
• Its in South East Asia- where my heart lies. I’ve enjoyed America and Europe, but at heart, I’m a thinly clad water bunny. I keep wanting to go back there. Its definitely more convenient but more than that, its just so real
• I’m not taking my laptop and I’m not leaving a cell phone number behind
• I plan to spend that time reading, writing, loving, running, river dipping, sunning. I don't plan to sleep much. Despite the fatigue, sleep still doesn't seem important.
• One of our stops is exceptionally close to my heart: I visited for 2 days 5 years back. We’re also staying at a place which a few years back, was called the most beautiful resort in the world by a luxury travel magazine. Of course I haven’t spent a bomb on it!
• *tw*

So I also bought the Lonely planet guide to New York. I’m going to be a tourist. In my several trips to the city, I haven’t yet been a tourist. No plans to do lady liberty and Times Square- not that kind of tourist. But I think I’ll spend a day at the MoMA. I’m increasingly interested to understand the inspiration behind the immense art that exists out there.

Its strange who we evolve over the years. A few years back I picked up writing, with this blog. Now I’m gravitating towards Art. A few years back I loved planes, and travel and all that. Today, I travel to make myself happy and not to pin flags in each city I step on. So all those pretentious honeymoon suggestions- Latin America, New Zealand, no, thank you very much! I’d love to visit but not now. These places will draw me themselves, if they are meant to. Why the change? I think it has something to do with being married to a man of substance. I’m embarrassed of being anyone else now….just me….free, dazzling and so eff-ing imperfect.

The music is, really, Witchy Woman!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Jazz in my coffee cup

As I spend more time alone, I blog more frequently. This time, I’m sitting in Starbucks which is literally inside the hotel. I had sushi for lunch and then stopped next door, tempted by a scone with a cup of Black.

I love 4th of July. While I have little affinity for the day as independence day, its just one of the nicer days I’ve spent in Boston this trip around. For starters, I came down to the coffee shop in the morning, and reviewed my team’s work from here. I had a working coffee with Pankaj right here- work is much more cheerful over coffee and good music. Soon after, I headed out to return some unnecessary purchases I had made while intoxicated by the sales and blinded by an aspirational weight loss target. All is well since then- the clothes have been safely returned. Of course, I did end up getting myself something else with the money saved- a scented candle in a beautiful silver stand, and a cut-out back dress- much more my size this time. (Urban Outfitters is my new fave store...its just so free)

Boston was warm today. While I walked back from the store, I could feel the sweat drip down my back. I came back and did one hour of yoga, a variant much more strenuous than what I usually do. As a reward, I prepared a nice hot water bath. Warm water, bubbles all over me and a good read made for a quite a reward. I stepped back down for lunch (though a little late in the day) – tuna tartar, miso soup and seaweed salad. I managed to review more work along side lunch and also send off a work plan. After that, it was coffee, which brings me back to where I am.

And tonight, it’s going to be 4th of July fireworks by the river Charles. Who needs sunshine, right? Well, to put things in perspective, I have had a rotten stint this phase. The 4 weeks I spent here last month and then last week when I came here the 2nd time, have all been nothing to write home about. I don’t like saying this on the blog but work has just not been fun. I can’t put a finger on it- it’s probably just the high expectations the last experience set for me. Nevertheless, it’s nice to have a day when I feel more positive.

What explains the cheer is also the fact that we’re booking our honeymoon, and we’re booking it slowly, piecemeal. We’re mostly done with it save the last few bookings. And it’s such a joy. We consciously didn’t do one earlier, just given family’s expectations, work demands and then April wasn't exactly there best time to go many places. In hindsight, what an awesome decision! In less than a month, Peepu and I will take off on a 3 weeks long journey across South East Asia. We start down south, in Kovalam, and then head over to the lovely KL. There’s a ton after that, but hopefully not too much packed in to 21 days. We’re staying 3-5 days in each place. In fact we’re spending very little time in the cities- just transit time. I look forward so much! To the ocean, the river and yes, the waterfalls!! We will live by the river, stare at the sunrise from our balconies, make love against the sounds of the ocean, travel by boat, drink beer on the chilly evening sand, eat food the taste of which varies between towns, and all the other good things. Touchwood :) Please do :)

The Jazz. Its playing in the cafe. Its in everything I think and do right now

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Comptine d'un autre ete

Another long weekend in the States. Another long weekend with myself in Boston.

Comptine d’un autre ete plays in the background. My faint knowledge of French tells me it means ‘song from another summer’ . I like it more because I feel free to interpret the title a different way each time. This time its about the summer I’m in. This summer that I’m living.

Staring out at Boston down town, wondering how warm the visible sunshine actually makes it outside and whether I’ll need a jacket through the day once I step out. I’ve just brewed some coffee. It didn’t brew well the first time so I had to replace the pod and its much better this time. The whiff spreads through my room and blends with the smell of the mist I’m wearing. I will soon switch hotels. I like the W but its some times too fancy for me. The Westin is relatively boring, but it also has a pool. It's the July 4th weekend and I got some very nice swim wear at an agreeable price. It's a shame not to swim then. Peepu’s mom just called. We caught up with me sheepishly trying to see if she’s even slightly mad at me being complete disconnected. I want to be much better at this but I’m not. Her conversation also reminded me that its time I call my folks too. I wish I were better at staying in touch.

This weekend is all mine. I’m alone and I don’t feel like working. I probably will not for most of it. May be I should loosen up and let things get screwed up, since that’s what my fear is.

I think I’ll step out now. To see what the rest of the weekend is like.