I am not blog savy. In-fact this is my first humble attempt to write a blog. It will be a big achievement for me if this article even remotely resembles a blog.
I have been in NYC for last 5 weeks now and I have had a time of my life here. This blog is a small token of thanks or gratitude to this amazing city that has taught me so much in this short span – both in my personal and professional life.
NYC is a mammoth city – for a new comer it can be very overwhelming, at least it was for me! But as the days went by, I could not but fell in love with it. I had my first visuals of NYC as I came out from the PATH metro station about 100 feet below the ground. I was standing in the heart of financial capital of the world. Right next to me was the imposing World Trade Center (WTC) signifying the financial might of the US. There were sky scrapers all around with clouds partly embracing them. The whole area was buzzing with people, half of them rushing to their office and other half mostly tourists taking pictures. Occasionally someone could be seen to stop, look towards WTC, close his/her eyes for a while and then walk away. Totally excited, I stood there craning my neck for good 30 minutes just savoring the moment.
Apart from the grand buildings, the next thing that caught my attention was the subway metro train. According to Wiki, in 2013 it delivered 1.7 billion rides. For me it is a great feat of engineering, architectural, and operational marvel. Running underground throughout Manhattan, kissing the foundations of all major commercial buildings, it is truly the life line of NYC.
To me, New Yorkers always seem busy and in a hurry. If you are lucky you might be able to extract a quick smile from a stranger – something that is very common in mid-west. However, on a whole they are very courteous. May be because everyone goes through the same grind, they feel each other’s pain and want to lend a helping hand whenever/wherever they can.
Allow me to share an experience. One morning, rushing towards subway (underground metro train) during office hours, I saw a bunch of people standing on the footpath blocking the whole way. After waiting for few minutes, I got impatient and started to make my way through the crowd. As I managed through the crowd, I saw a lady bending down, trying to pick something from the floor that was falling off repeatedly. At first I thought of telling her – “Ma’am , it is office rush hours! Please don’t stop the whole flow of people behind you!” Thank God, I did not convey that to her. As I looked more carefully, I saw an injured dragonfly insect lying on the ground writhing in pain. Someone had mistakenly stepped on it and she was trying to move it out of the way to safety. After few unsuccessful attempts, 3 people from the crowd came forward and together they moved it to safety. I was immensely touched, stunned and honestly a bit embarrassed at my initial thoughts. I mean here there were 20 extremely busy people who few minutes ago were running to catch their subway. But when it came to lending a hand and sacrificing a few but precious moments of their life for a good cause, no one thought about it twice. They surely earned some good Karma that day. This incident reminded me the importance of being patient, and respectful of every living soul – be it human, animal or insect.
I have witnessed many such nice and wonderful incidents that have enhanced my admiration for New Yorkers. I will quickly share 2 more incidents.
Late night, in one subway station I saw an old man with a big speaker and piano playing Pharrell Williams ‘Happy’ song. He was not accepting donations/money from anyone. I asked him as to why he was not accepting any money. His reply was,
“When I see small kids break into dance and start bouncing around on hearing my song or when tired and stressed people look at me and give me a smile, it makes me happy, that’s my money”. “But how do you earn your living or survive?” I asked. He replied, “At this age I don’t need money to survive”. By that time my subway train had arrived and I left after sharing pleasantries in typical MBA fashion – “My name is dash and dash. Nice to meet you”.
In another such incident, one day while going home I got caught in unpredictable NY rains. I took shelter under a temporary shed constructed near a renovation site. Next to me, I saw a beggar sitting on the pavement, drenched in rain and surrounded by lot of plastic sheets. He looked at me and asked if I could spare a dollar. All I had at that time was a cookie that I offered him. He then moved over the wet plastic sheets and what I saw next gave me a big smile. Under the sheets was his small pet dog. The guy broke the cookie in two unequal pieces and gave the bigger portion to his dog. He then looked at me, there was a twinkle in his eyes and we both smiled.
Before I wrap up, one last thing that I quickly want to share – housing in NY. Ufff… Finding a ‘decent’ apartment in NY is a daunting task. Rents are ridiculously expensive. I had a tough time finding an apartment. But there is no need to panic (something I did big time and realized later). All you needs is a bit of early planning, luck and a smile on your face. Someone has rightly said, “If you can survive in NY, you can survive anywhere”.
Thanks for reading and Happy 4th July!.
Your comments are most welcome.