I am aware of quite a few platitudes that in their essence sum to this: Life seldom plays out according to plans. That awareness notwithstanding, the last few weeks have left me speechless (bordering on dazzled!). The intended plan of action was simple: attend my nephew’s first birthday, resume work, travel to Benaras for Mahashivratri and then for the Holi weekend go for my first solo trip to Andamans. In short, March was sorted.
But March is here (almost over as well!), my friends have returned from Benaras and I am traveling solo, not in Andamans, but right here in New York/New Jersey.
The whole travel plan was a bolt from the blue. Nobody expected me to get my Visa and because I never meet expectations, I got it. Post my visa I was intimated on a nice and sunny Tuesday that I was to travel to NY on the coming Saturday. That I was shocked would be an understatement. I like randomness, but this was taking it to a whole new level. To top it all, corporate accommodation could not be arranged on such short notice and I absolutely refused to stay in a hotel all by myself. The last thing I want to do on my travels is to stay all alone in a nice and cozy hotel room with nothing to do (except office work of course!). So I told the travel desk that I would arrange my stay by myself, which essentially meant telling all my friends that I needed a place to stay in New York or Jersey City for 6 weeks (at least)!
I walked into Terminal 3 with no idea of where to go after landing at Newark. The plan was to figure something out while waiting at the airport. But the woman at The United Airlines desk refused to give me my boarding pass till I informed her (to the last digit of the zip code) my place of stay while in the US. So a colleague was duly found, whose address was equally duly provided to the airlines and at immigration. All this notwithstanding, a Stephanian finally came to the rescue. Thanks to her allowing me to crash at her place, I now had an address to go to from the airport. One baby step at a time, tell me about it!
After that it has been coincidences by the dozen, the end result of which is that I have shifted into an apartment with three other Indian women. There is only one sane homo-sapien (coincidence that she is the only one married!) in the flat. That the remaining three (which includes me as well) are “itums” would be an understatement. The three of us have talked about everything that was of absolutely no relevance or importance. From family troubles to work troubles, everything has been duly discussed and mocked at. That men are absolutely useless has been the conclusion of most discussions.
Given that my apartment is located a mile away from my office, I choose to walk back from office on most days (depending on my shoes, of course!). With the wind in my hair, the Manhattan skyline across the river, awesome music and cleaner air to breathe, the walk along the river to my apartment has been a welcome change from the dusty walk home from office in Gurgaon. And of course the people…