Noo Yawk, Noo Yawk!!!
Those observant souls who are blessed with the power of deductive reasoning (and five years of association with these has convinced me that they're much lesser than I thought) will gather that I am in the Big Apple.
This is true.
I am currently at New York, attempting to do a Masters', and realising that studying is hard when lives in the aforementioned city. Happily, I am getting away with this by not studying. The exams shall come and bring woe, but then they always do.
Today was a nasty rainy day in the city. Today was also the day when I had to a. attend two classes, b. attend a compulsory check-in that I should have gone for a month back but hadn't, and wasn't planning to until I was warned that there was a real possibility of my being deported, c. go and meet a friend uptown, and d. find a Bath and Body Works outlet for a friend who wanted stuff, and had threatened hellfire and brimstone were I not to get her many body washes and splashes. I tried to convince her that soap was good enough for anyone, but when she started saying nasty things about me, my hygiene, and my intellect I decided to buy her stuff. Discretion is the better part of valour, and this friend is not someone one can trifle with. Not usually. Not if you're me, at any rate.
So I wake up at seven in the morning, planning to read for class, but sink back into Morpheus' embrace, and wake up thirty minutes later. Hurriedly performing my ablutions, I get out of my flat to realise it is raining. Really raining. Like, think primeval deluges, and you sort of get the picture. Unfortunately, I also realise that I am umbrellaless, and getting soaked. I run to my room, pick up an umbrella, and head out again. I reach the Academic building and realise that I don't have my ID. The lady over there is adamant. The conversation goes something like this:
Lady: "Manaav, you have to have an ID"
Self: "But see, you know me! You know my name! Can't I get in"
Lady:"Rules are rules"
Manav: "Woah, you're talking to a lawyer, woman. Rules are NEVER rules".
(Repeat ad nauseam, until she finally takes pity on me and leds me in.)
And so the morning went.
Now, after class, I realise that the rain shows no sign of abating. Unfortunately, I have to get to the aforementioned checkin session, and so I make my way in the rain. On my way, I pass a friend who, as I pass, lifts his umbrella in what I assume is salutation. I think it only polite to reply, and lift mine as well. Thirty seconds later, we're sorting out the wreckage of two umbrellas which have collided head-on. Ah, well. After the session, which is boring, is over, I go to eat something before leaving to meet the friend. They have something called 'Samosas' in the cafe, which, the lady selling them omits to tell me, are filled with blue cheese. Now I have nothing against blue cheese, and used to like it a lot more till the smell of my room-mates socks was compared to it in fourth year, but one must admit that when one bites into a samosa, Roquefort is not what one expects! After wiping my mouth and tongue with a wad of paper napkins, I threaten to ensure that the Indian embassy files a formal diplomatic complaint against the food she sells, a slur to an ancient and honoured civilisation, and walk off, at intervals wiping my tongue with flapping paper. (Those of you who don't know what flapping paper is, go away.)
On the uptown train, I (having taken another umbrella from the library, one that is pointy and looks like a walking stick) realise that not only will the new umbrella not fit in my bag, but it will also not either recline on the side, or fit between my legs. (Pun, what pun?). The train fills up. I get up to offer my seat to someone, stand, and hold the umbrella at a sixty degree angle off my shoulder. So far so good.
Suddenly, I step back. There is a sharp hiss of indrawn breath. I turn around, idly curious, and am paralysed in horror. What has happened is this. The umbrella is now about four and a half feet off the ground, which happens to be exactly the location of a lady's...um...anatomy that is covered by what my grandmother calls brazers. Apologies ensue, at my end, and glares at hers'. I now feel like a walking, talking advertisement for the need for ladies' compartments.
At Central Park with friend is pleasant, despite the rain. We reminisce about old Hindi songs, and my translations of them on the subway, which she thinks are obscene. I accuse her of having a dirty mind, tell her that 'Abhi Na Jao Chhod Kar' is a wonderful song, and the fact that it translates to "Don't leave me now, I'm still not satified, you just came and spread like spring, now don't leave me with a half-quenched thirst" isn't my fault. She then leaves, and I head to Bath and Body Works.
Now the woman who is desirous of vastly expensive "bath accessories" is not aware that BBW seems to be going through a lean time. Most of the stores are closed, and the rain makes trudging across New York a hard task. A gust of wind destroys my other umbrella. Full of strange oaths, though happily (as the lacerations on my face testify) not bearded like a pard, I read South Ferry Mall, where, for some reason, people refuse to understand what I am saying. I try to ask for Bath and Body Works in any way possible, but until I don't spell it out, nobody seems to understand. This, I feel, is strange. A woman at the store asks me to try, for myself, the cupcake (or some such) body wash. Thanking her, and assuring her I have no desire to smell like confectionary, I pay, ignoring her disturbing comments of "But sir, many people seem to like it".
And so the evening passes.
Comfortably dry at home, I now sit listening to old Hindi music and sipping wine. C'est la vie!