Day 34 - Life, if I can call it that !
The sky above and the earth below look so much like home, the people around me look so much like the ones back home, my hectic days here are so much like back home...what is it then that makes this place so different? Why is it that this place is supposed to be so advanced? What is it that makes life so easy (or tough) here?
Well, I don't have the answers to any of these questions and I wonder whether I will ever have. But then, there is a very clear reason for me to turn slightly philosophical today. Today's been one of those days...that everyone keeps having at times. But it's not just today that has got me into this state of mind, but every single day of the last five weeks...
I came down here with super-high expectations of the place, the people and everything, in general. I am not saying that I am disappointed now, but neither am I claiming the opposite.
Dunno where to start, so lemme just start with the place. NYC is a nice place, very much like Mumbai, so not everyone's cup of tea. But it's the kind of place that I like to be in. A stark opposite to my previous city of Bangalore and a place which they say, has 'life'. But it does come with its own set of problems. As they say, there is always a flip side to a coin.
All my life, I have grown up listening to people going on and on about how efficient things are here, and so on and so forth. And guess wot, things out here are exactly the same back home !
Let me start off with the supreme infrastructure here. Of course, the stuff out here is light years ahead of any Indian city, but still there is the subway system (considered the lifeline of the city, just like the Mumbai suburban trains) which has breakdowns thrice a week. For the record's sake, just in the past two weeks, I have had four days, in which train services were curtailed or restricted because of power outages !! C'mon, give me at least some good reason. Power outages !! Now, if that happened in the suburban services of Mumbai so frequently, well, people would have stoned the stations and made sure there is no service permanently.
But it happens here. In probably the most lively city on the planet, it happens ! And frequently too, at that. The systems here are about 200 years ahead of India, but then some of them are on the verge of breakdown. And that is a cause for concern. If one of the most advanced countries in the world has this problem, what would happen to the rest?
Well, enough of the infrastructure, let me come to the people. Almost every other guy you bump into, will wish you a good day, and ask you to take care and be happy. It feels so good when perfect strangers smile at you and wish for your well-being. But at times, though, you end up wondering whether they really mean it. Or is this just like the lives of the people on the Page 3 circuit ? Are these smiles artificial, are these nice courtesies extended just for the heck of it?
Some questions are probably never going to be answered and at times, the reason for me to get into having such weird thoughts could be just that I am missing people back home. And pretty badly too at that. And after the initial round of pleasantries and how-are-you mails and phone calls, it's just that you tend to slip out of people's minds. Dunno how much true is that saying - Out of sight is out of mind - but it never seemed to have worked for me. And I always hope that it doesn't work for my near and dear ones. There are so many days when I get to office and simply hope that someone out there must have written a couple of lines to me, but then, most of the times, I end up reading only official announcements from my company.
You never know whether it's true or not, but on a real bad day, it helps when someone gives you a beaming smile - at times, magical too- and makes up your day. Well, even perfect strangers can make you feel better...so for the friends, it's so much easier...just dropping in a line once in a while...and your job is done.
Well, this is a real nice place, but somehow this is not the life I would ever ask for. The place rocks, the people rock, and the life too...maybe, I would appreciate my days here and the time I spent here...but I guess that's going to happen only when I walk down the memory lane. :)