Sunday, August 7, 2011

Memories

I love travelling and meeting people on the way. Its strange because I never keep lasting relationship with anyone of them but the pleasant memories they give me makes me smile back for that brief interlude they gave me to my life. I will not be writing about my stay here if not for this two people who are surviving here in Big Apple.

My cousin squeezed me in this tiny room he just rented day before I was suppose to come here. the place was a studio apartment shared along with two and a half people. Then he left because he got a job somewhere else and cant afford to miss it. He left me among this total strangers – two men and one small boy of 11 years old. After buying some something for me to survive on till I leave this place – and nope I wont be meeting him after this. Sigh!! why did I insist on coming here?  I have no idea what I was suppose to do till I leave this place and I wont be seeing him ever!!! What a messed up plan. On top of that this apartment –B1- seems to be the only place without WIFI. Shit!!! I tried poaching on others and somehow did manage to use some of the internet but it was snail pace slow. Those with strong signals was restricted. I tried talking with the father of the boy. He was old, maybe late 50, small in frame and very restless. He was tibetan and he did not talk much english. Great!!. But the boy spoke beautiful english but as conversation goes, I had to stoop down to 11 years old and also he was here for past one year, having come from Tibet. His father was a lama as per the boy. now that I don’t know whether to believe. his father was electrician for this area and is out as and when the demand for service come. The other man, I met him only once, wears a red robe and comes in late at night. The only time I met him and did talk to him was for half an hour. He spoke decent english enough for me to converse and ask for direction. I was going crazy without the metro map and address of the place. I need to check Facebook, Gmail and Google map and I was near to going crazy with no idea where I am. The other man said his work is late at night hence he comes in late at night and wakes up around 11 am and leaves for work. I asked for Starbucks and he said its just few blocks down. Whuuu !! that’s better. My mood very pleasant I followed him down and he showed me around. then I came back home to pick up my laptop. The father of the boy was determined that I not stay in the house. it was freaking 91 Fahrenheit    and I agreed with him but outside on the pavement it was more hotter. I was all set to go to Starbucks when the son comes in. The son’s school was half day that day and his father forced him to guide me around. Starbucks – next time. meanwhile I will follow my 11 year old guide who seems to get imaginative the more we converse. I thought they will leave me alone if I said that  I have to arrange my clothes and he said the last time he stayed in the room he got a ticket for that. How can you argue with that logic right? I wanted to tell his father I need to go to starbucks but somehow his son and I ended up going in a different direction. the son asked me, the crazy lady whose language began and ended with internet, where I wanted to go. Go? I have no freaking idea, my boy. why don’t you lead me. He said lets go to park and play water gun. Rightttttt! water gun fight and had this picture of me prancing around the park with llil kids with a giant water gun in my hand. We went to this small shop and he picked up the biggest and the meanest water gun which was $5 and took out his $1 and expectantly waited near the cash register. Huh! ok I had to pay for that. we went to the park and he played around crazy. seems to know almost all the children at the park and once in a while he came and sprayed at me and I glowered at him not to. Everyone asked him whether I was his mother. He kept saying no, I told you my mother died. He introduced me around as flat mate who just finished high school. I didn’t know whether to laugh at finishing high school or hug him for loosing his mother. he was rather grown up talking about his mother but my over imaginative mind that ran in competition to his was feeling rather sad for him. His father was trying to survive and he did say that its difficult to get a job without education and also he cannot speak the language. I applaud him for his bravery. he is bringing up his son the best way he can in a strange city and my guess is they will be on on the poverty statistic of the city. Sharing a small flat with all rooms squeezed in with bed. no living room and only place big enough to breath seems to be the toilet. and the Son seems to be A+ student. And he did have a good looking, charming and decent young boy as son who aim in life was teasing his old man.  The father made dal and rice. It was dal and rice for two whole days before I ran off to Thai restaurant and ordered something and regretted. I hate sweet food. should have stuck to MacDonald. but then I hate hamburgers and coke too. the only thing I decently manage to eat is all kinds of pasta and spaghetti. I believe myself to be an Italian or a Chinese in my previous life. But there was no Italian restaurant and I cant bear the smell of Chinese restaurant. as you grow older you seem to grow more of dislikes than likes. .Why I didn’t cook? cos I didn’t know who owned which food and asking the Father was not a good idea since I couldn’t understand half of what he was trying to say and lo and behold! if I used someone’s potatoes, eh?

When the dish washing time came there was no dishwashing soap but the hand soap. so we ate dal and rice and washed dishes with the pink hand wash liquid soap. each time I wash I promise myself I will get them a dish washing soap but once I step outside I seem to forget till I am near the sink. Every meal time I started talking to the father, asking about his work and stuffs. needless to say I am yet to learn anything anything substantial. our conversation seems to go into english and then he going to tibetan and me turning to dzongkha. however, later I did find out that he was in Delhi for 20 years and I brightened. So, atleast I can converse in Hindi and to my bad luck he didn’t seem to have picked up the language too.so there I was mixing, english, hindi, dzongkha and little bit of tibetan. what I know of tibetan other than it sounds like dzongkha? so I twisted and turned my dzongkha around hoping that it alteast sounds like tibetan but I have not understoood anything he seems to say. The Sons’ translation of our conversation is something I doubt he did it in correct form. 

When I asked the father how long he has been in Big Apple, he haltingly spoke as if trying to remember the words and finally shouted 2002!!!. Really? that long? and I wonder why his english is no better. it will help me a lot if he spoke enough for me to understand so I can talk with an adult than a rather imaginative 11 year old boy. he is full of mischief, and made me read all his x-men comic books, watched kungfu-panda 2, play games with him which he cheated all the time and when I came home after a day away next day he was holding my whole packet of cake and eating away to glory. when I saw him holding the cake in his hand, I looked at him and asked wryly whether he is enjoying. he puts the cake under my nose and says this is pound cake. hahaha ok. Thanks for the info, lil man.

  I finally managed to make my sojourn to starbucks and read mail, facbooked, downloaded google map and found couple of address. now I am ready to get on that metro and explore!!! Preparing for my departure in couple of days I asked the father- the father and the son- my only two friend in this big city. whether I would get a taxi to airport. Father says yes yes and he can take me there if I help him with this GPS. help!! really not a good time to experiment ol’ man!!! but I was curious and as I am gadget fanatic once in a while - I couldn’t resist the challenge of teaching him and learning one myself. I saw countless people use it and took it for granted so I never learned to use one. and the father takes out this brand new GPS – he tells me it is his third. he threw away others..as he couldn’t use it. Figured because it does take some knowledge and familiarity to use it. And did I say english? The instructions are spoken in english…. and hohoho if you cant understand english. but everyone seems to be able to use it so why not he huh? So, after all this..I am all ready for him to drop me off at airport and hopefully hope that GPS have given us right direction and I catch the plane on time.

But one thing is for sure I will never forget the boy and the old man. for they have touched me in way and I regret leaving them behind. but I am sure they are happy to see me go. the crazy lady who is seen carrying around this big bag carrying her laptop and going over to starbucks and then speaks crazy language drilling them with questions. most of all I will miss my guide who told me I will get tickets for staying in the room.

(written wayyyyyy back).

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