May 15, 2014

A New York minute

The M train

I fucking hate this train. It is slow as fuck, often delayed, crowded in the evenings because a few trains are skipped because they run behind schedule, and they don't run on the weekends. The M gets me from Hewes St to 5th av and 5 3rd St. It continues further on to Metropolitan Avenue. Everyday before ten, the train is crowded. Everyday after ten, it's  not. I fucking love it when it's  on time, for it goes over ground for a brief while, across the Williamsburg bridge over the east river before it plunges into the cavernous underbelly of NYC. It goes from Brooklyn to Manhattan to Queens. I haven't looked it up yet but my theories as to why it's called the M are that the route is M shaped or because of Metropolitan Avenue. I fucking love the M train because on a lazy evening it takes its own sweet time.


Starbucks bagels

One can not eat a bagel at Starbucks. One can only be subject to it. I had the misfortune of having one early morning at an airport. It was hard. It was tasteless. And it had something with the semblance of cheese on it. All the Starbucks bagels in the world cannot erase starvation in Africa for no one would eat them. Starbucks bagels are like... Starbucks bagels. They are non pareil. They were created with the sole purpose of displeasing anyone who tries to eat one. Try one at a Starbucks near you!

By birth

How we take it for granted that when we're born we get the right to believe that there are people who we can pay to give us the food they grow or make. That we don't want to think of how it will be to do what they do.

Across the Williamsburg bridge

Sometimes I wonder whether living in Bombay will have slight similarities to living in nyc - the bridges, the coastlines, the insane traffic and the sea. I take the M train from where I live in Brooklyn to work in Manhattan. For a short while it runs on the Williamsburg bridge across the east river and you can see what's going on on  the Riverside. It's all skyscrapers on the coast of Manhattan but the Brooklyn side looks very industrial with gigantic chimneys and old looking buildings. Giant floating barges have heaps and heaps of snow collected from during the time of polar vortex and look like a floating snow hill. Through the grimy window of a train, in between the cables of the bridge, it was quite a sight on a beautiful day.

Mediocrity

If you thrive on mediocrity, if you're a champion of mediocrity. If you're so awesome at being mediocre that you're the best at it, then aren't you not mediocre anymore?

Whoosh! 

The door to his building flew open as he bolted out of it. He has three minutes to make his train. According to Google maps, that's all he needed but Google maps overestimated his average speed quite a bit. He ran and turned the corner almost slipping on ice, doing an intricate balancing act before turning the corner. He ran past the Jewish kids going to school, he ran past some workers on a break, having a smoke. He ran so fast that a signboard with today's specials on it got knocked over in his wake. Nah, it was windy as fuck.

Desai

I've been fortunate to meet a lot of people in the last few years and one of them is Desai. That's his last name and it took me a long time to find out his first name as we all call him Desai. Often the quietest person in the room, Desai is unlike any person I've meet before. Ann Arbor will not be the same once he leaves though he seems content with driving his crv around to panera bread and Syrian bakery and taking a walk by Argo every other weekend. If there's one thing I'm glad I did in my life,  it's going backpacking with these guys in Colorado. Desai is one of the chillest guys there is.

The last word

Not many places can boast about having a Whiskey bar. Opening a Whiskey bar is catering to a select few. You don't go to a Whiskey bar to get sloshed. You don't go there and get a mountain of nachos and pitchers of bud light. So a Whiskey bar opening in a college town really seems like a bad idea. Not too many people would like to spend a bunch of money on having a drink or two in a hole in the wall bar with candle lit dark tables and bookshelves and a piano just for the heck of it. Here's my hypothesis - "the number of people who take pride in having a Whiskey bar in their town outnumber the number of people who actually go there". If I had a quarter for every time someone who didn't go to The Last Word spoke about its greatness, I'd have enough to buy myself a drink there.

Half onion conundrum

I call this the vicious cycle of the half onion. The other day when I was making something to eat, I decided that half an onion was all I needed. Little did I know that I was setting in motion one of the most vicious cycles in culinary existence. To put it simply, if you leave a half onion to use for a later day, from then on the chances that you'll need half an onion reduce drastically. Since that fateful day I've used onions four times, each time a fresh half replacing the old half as I always needed a whole onion. Some say the half onion sitting in my fridge has been there since the beginning of time and only now have I become wise enough to notice it. Or something like that.



Apr 5, 2014

Air always does and forever will remind me of you. 

Jan 30, 2014

Brooklyn night

I lay in bed listening to the sound of steam hissing angrily, like a cat scorned, through the valves of the steam radiator in my room. The steam fogs up the window and the condensation freezes around the window because it is Fuck-cold degrees below 0 outside. I can see the night sky through my window because there are no gigantic Manhattan skyscrapers blocking my view in South Williamsburg. I pull hard to open the frozen window and let some air in, or more so to let some air out. I can't control the fucking radiator and it turns on when the Building Super turns it on and turns off when He decides to turn it off. I can control the amount of heat by turning the valve but that thing is broken. So I have a steam radiator which I regulate by opening and shutting a window. It's not as bad as I make it seem though.

My building is around 90 years old. It has no emergency sprinklers. No automatic emergency fire alarm to fire department. No smoke detectors. I saw all these on the building evaluation report stuck on the wall in the first floor foyer. And here's the kicker. Checked mark in black is 'Combustible'. I met a guy who lived on the 6th floor and had to climb 16 steps for every floor. Old buildings don't have elevators. He stopped to catch his breath near my floor and said "I've been in this building for thirty five years. Got used to this." I have to walk two blocks lugging my laundry along with a comic book to the laundromat and pay using quarters to do my laundry. Wait to switch it dry and read my book. Then lug it all the way back home in the cold of the night minutes before they shut.

I love the sounds in the streets that come in through the open window. Different boroughs of New York maintain their identity. Regions within boroughs, more so. But more on that later. The window has to shut. It's getting cold.

I'm here in Brooklyn, and I'm not anywhere else now.

Dec 5, 2013

Another day passes, another day older

Sometime in the last two years, I decided that I should do more of what makes me happy and what I want to do. Doing what I want to do will naturally tend to make me happy. I started doing things I wanted, and doing less just for the sake of others. I've realized that as I grow older, as I develop a slightly better sense of what I am and what I want, my tolerance for anything against it has reduced. Certain mental comforts attain top priority however selfish it may seem. My anger has reduced and I am more relaxed with everyone. Because I look out for myself I don't do things for others grudgingly and have nothing to be pissed off about. Everyone need to look out for himself/herself to an extent.

I am inherently lazy. The first thing I was worried about growing older was the responsibilies that came with it. As in, not the being grown up type of responsibilities. The more troublesome activities like paying taxes, bills etc on time, for fear of being lazy and forgetting them. I think I developed that idea seeing my parents maintain ledgers of paperwork for taxes and expenses and loans. Every time a financial year ends,  my mom and dad sit and sift through a YEAR of paperwork and quibble. At the end of it they'll be so happy though. But everything now is so different. Taxes are actually pretty easy to do because companies do it automatically and all you have to do is fill a form and shit. All my childhood was a....gross underestimation of how things advance with time. 

The problems as I grow up, are totally different in nature. A friend of mine, whose words I've grown to attach some importance over the last three years, once told me - "No problem is as big as you think it is" as he stirred the contents of his pan around. That has calmed me down a lot. I stop and think about what I can do about it. I try to do what I can possibly do to solve it. Things beyond my ability are things I needn't worry about because worry changes the outcome not. It only makes your single day of sunshine in a cold December, shitty. 

I wasn't really into computers and how they work, until I was 16. I'm glad I took this decision because I really love writing functional code. It's nice to have that productive discussion and see those pieces fall into place. Not writing code for days on end, because you're sure you'll go through a longer patch when all you want to do is build the fucking thing. 

I like what I'm doing now. The people I meet. The postcards I get.The small fascinating things like noticing how in my zip code 11211, the 2 is writing a little higher than the 1s, something like the numbering of pages in a book. The places I go to. Certain unfulfilled intentions always remain, which I will think about in the priority that my self made system of morals, built from everything I've learnt and experienced, attach to them. Because that is all we are on a level, a system of beliefs.

I should write more. This rustiness will fade if I write more.

Nov 3, 2013

Herbert Englehart

That's the name of someone I met today that I don't want to forget.

He asked me if he could sit at my table at a coffee shop and sat there. I asked him "How goes it?" and he responded "I'm 88. It's all the same now. You're young. How old are you? 21?"

"No. 24. but thanks for telling me I look younger I guess."

"Yes you are young. You have a lot of time left"

"I'll catch up soon"

"In the grand scheme of things yeah, but you've got a while."

And then we spoke of Maus, Poland, Chittagong, East Bengal and languages. 

May 9, 2013


Throughout Iron man 3 I was thinking to myself - 'Where is this face from..Where is this face from..I've seen her and absolutely loved the movie she was in.." In the end credits, it was revealed her name was rebecca hall. I go home and google her and voila - of course I remembered her! Vicky in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. No wonder. I loved Vicky. Everyone loves Cristina of course, but Vicky..

And of course, Pepper Potts. Gwyneth Paltrow, my first hollywood love. The love sowed in me due to the innumerable times I watched CD1 - 42 mins onwards of 'Shakespeare in love' when I was a 12 year old. I did end up watching the movie in its entirety and did like it, so kudos to my 12 year old self.

The movie season is here!

Mar 21, 2013

You go back Jack do it again
Wheel turnin' 'round and 'round 
                          -- Steely Dan

Feb 7, 2013

I woke up at 8 AM having slept at 5:30 AM, after watching a season of 'The Wire' when I told myself I'd just watch one episode. I had to go in to work early and I had the worst morning ever. I went to the recreation building to sign up for membership. My whole day got flipped on its head. There, at the registration desk, was the prettiest girl I'd seen in a while. I just broke into a grin and she matched it. I instantly felt like nothing else could ruin my day. I hope to see more of her over the next few months. I then got off at a busstop away from office because I felt like walking in the mild cold morning. I was still smiling as I walked, and there were way too many pretty people on the road smiling back at me than there usually are. Not that I mind, heh.

And now I'm listening to this on loop.