Friday, October 07, 2005

And you're still the same

It's been an incredible summer, the icing on the cake probably being the icy glaciers of Norway. But more about the summer later - this is about the end of the summer. Fall. And a visit to my most favourite city in the world- Boston.

B & I went back together to the States after nearly 3 plus years. I say together because B has done his fair share of traveling without me the last 3 years, as i have done mine! It was nice to be back in New York, as always the city and its electricity tends to get me a little dazed. But it felt good nevertheless. Staying with old friends. Meeting others. Catching up. So much to talk about. So little time. The generica that is America suddenly had it's own charm. It was nice to be able to walk into a Starbucks, order a pumpkin latte, share a joke with the girl getting my coffee and feel the cinnamon like warmth of fall again. Nice to be able to get to stores, know my size, explain i didn't live in the states when offered a store card. When asked where i live, the sheer delight on the salesperson's face, "Ohhh my Gaawhd!" - which probably translated to " You eat Hash Brownies every morning? And its legal!"

Met a friend from work, i hadn't seen in 3 years, reminisced about the good days, old days. Wandering around in Soho, i found myself rummaging racks with an attractive girl. Assuming she was yet another ABCD (the figure didn't show traces of a greasy curry & rice diet), i suddenly realised it was a famous bollywood actress, sadly when at the checkout counter. Which was funny - given that my bro in law had spent the last weekend cozying up with her (hopefully not literally) in the Himalayas!

It was nice getting in a cab, and have the driver understand what i am saying & vice versa, even nicer when i recognised one such accent as that of a Pushtu speaker! The delighted driver insisted on not taking any money from me!

When i told R later that people in NY seemed really friendly, including her 6 year old neighbour, Taylor, she said it must be me! Not sure if she meant my delighted expression at understanding the language people spoke or my mental age, but i will assume the former!

But more about NY later. If its fall, it must be Boston. At times i wondered if i was biased in thinking Boston was 'it'. It was the 1st city of the western world i had ever lived in. B & I spent the early years of our marriage here, the years when I was trying to make sense of an aunt's famous quote,' the wedding is over and the marriage has begun!'

But 3 years later, having travelled and lived in other parts of the world, i don't think i was predisposed without reason. Well, at least this is how i feel in the fall. Ask me about February in Boston, i might have different ideas!

But it was the fall. The Pru (now ever special, as an ex employer!) , John Hancock, the River Charles, the Atlantic - could anything be more blue? For all those who complain about lack of charm in America, i think Brattle street in Cambridge, compares more favourably to European towns than most places! If you want to get away from generica, all you have to do is enter LA Burdick, get your large mug of chocolate, find little chocolate mice and penguins (acc. to me, strictly not for eating). Of course, i had forgotten about large American portions, so the 'usual' at Legal seafood, turned out to be way larger than usual. By the time i was done with the steamers and mussels, i couldn't get to my lobster. What a shame!

A drive along route 2 to the country, with me hopelessly painting partially red trees into pure crimson in my mind's eye! M in helpless giggles, watching me roll along with the pumpkins in the patches. Dunkin' Donuts and the special spiced pumpkin doughnut! B navigating around the inner streets like he had never left! M & I vanishing inside Jasmine Sola. A ride into Downtown on the T - to familiar haunts. Most of all - so many friends. Dinner here, breakfast there, interspersed with lunch, brunch, tea, high tea and drinks! All our time was divided into BM & AM - before & after meals!

Of course - all wasn't the same. Outside Boston, on the Mass Pike was a sign that read " Boston Red Sox - Home of the 2004 World Champions". That was new! Also, B developed diaper rash. Not to diapers, but to diaper talk. He proclaimed one night, suddenly - 'Finished. That's what people become with kids.' While i agreed mostly, i think this phenomenon seemed to apply more to the US Indian parents. Obsessive is a good description perhaps.

One particularly torturous evening, i found myself seated between 2 mothers discussing the pros and cons of potty training & its psychological impact. Did it strike them - that perhaps it wasn't appropriate dinner conversation? Also - that maybe there was the slightest chance i wasn't interested in anyone's bowel movements? Unfortunately my polite, always smiley self didn't want to look like a cruel apathetic witch, so i feigned interest like a constipated jack o lantern, that wasn't lit any more! Any recommendations to B that we might as well join 'em if we couldn't beat 'em, is greeted with dire threats ' do you want to be finished? '. Probably not!

Diaper rash not withstanding, it was great to be back. To see all things familiar. Meet all faces familiar. One evening B took a particularly circuitous route to Newton via Lexington. Red sugar maples, 100.7 WZLX, the smell of cinnamon laced coffee, it was good to see our 1st home again!

'And you'’re still the same, I caught up with you yesterday' - Bob Seger, "Stranger in Town"