Dec 14, 2011

This is NRIGirl reporting from New York Penn Station!

Here I am in New York wishing I could capture all the scenes around me for you all. Looking around NY Penn Station I notice that almost every one of them is connected - either to their blackberries or iPhone or ipods or plain old newspapers or books or magazines - something!

Since my train is arriving only at 2:35 PM and the time now is 1:59 PM I decided to people watch. Let me first set the stage: The ceiling is fairly tall with huge beams for support. To my left is entrance to tracks 5 & 6 and to my right to 7 & 8. Suspended LED monitors announce train schedules. It is interesting that only when the train pulls into the station you would know which track it is on. As far as I can see there are 21 tracks!

Imagine the rush when they announce which track your train is on. Waves of people would rush to the track without any pushing or pulling. You are always at an elbow's distance from your next person from all sides. OK, elbow's length may be a little exaggeration, I would say touchable distance but not touching.

Now that I have given you a rough overview, let us get back to people watching. People of all sizes and colors and races and styles yet one common thread that connects them all, which is that they are all hard working. Sure you can tell that just from looking at them. No idling or loitering which we might see in a typical city station in India. The voices are kept to a minimum except for the occasional loud speaker announcements to keep watch of our surroundings and report any suspicious activities around.

I see a gentleman with his wife both with golden hair and red coats and gold rimmed glasses. I recall our Carl & Ellie though these look much taller. Opposite to me I see a man resembling Charlie Sheen with a bigger attitude of exasperated animations and hand gestures over his phone conversation. I smile at that as the person on the other end is missing out on the rest of the conversation that is going on.

I see a little girl - probably around 7 years of age - with her parents, or are they grand parents, crying for something in suppressed voices and her guardians bending down to her level and explaining things to her.

Lots of red I see. Coats, sweaters, shawls, scarfs, pullovers, a whole lot of red things. The reason of course is the season. We Americans love to wear colors coordinated around the season. In the fall you will see a lot of different shades of brown and orange and in the winter leading up to Christmas a lot of red and after Christmas navy and green and purple and camel and the like. In Spring of course pastel shades and in the summer barely anything - mostly shorts and tanks with flip flops and pedicured toes.

The beautiful girl (African American) sitting next to me just puts away her navy blue Bible she was reading for quite sometime. I try to recall what I read this morning. My mind skips to connect and then it dawns that it was Song of Songs Chapter 7.

There are a couple of sweepers dressed in crisp uniforms with keen interest on keeping the area clean. Few are lined up in the 'How can we help you?' booth. Someone just opened his water bottle and emptied all it's content - wow he sure was thirsty! Couple of uniformed police officers are on rounds constantly talking in their walkie talkies.

Loads of other people around but none quite interesting as the few I have mentioned here. These 'uninteresting people' I notice are wearing black and connected to an electronic device. Does it say something? May be; but let's move on. The time is 2:16 pm and my train is the next in row only next to the 2:31 train bound to Jersey Ave, North East Corridor.

I haven't been feeling well since morning. Woke up with a sore throat but forced myself to come in. Now I have a mild headache and feel a little feverish too. I am sorry I forgot to tell you why I am here in the first place. I came in for an interview. Traveling to NYC is not something I look forward to on a daily basis but my friends tell me I will sure enjoy the ride if I wind up in NYC. Let's see.

The round trip ticket was $28, the cab was $15 and now the rice bowl from the Mexican place I picked up for lunch was $10.42. Sharon has been asking for chocolate cup cakes and bought some from Bread and Basket which was $17 so you can do the Math as to the cost of my visit. I don't mind spending as long as it is something we enjoy. But to be honest the rice bowl was yucky and the cakes I can only hope it won't go wasted.

Oops! I just looked up at the screen and my train has come on Track 2! I get up and rush with the wave that is moving towards Track 2 entrance. I have made it on time to settle down nice and square in a three seater. I force myself to eat my lunch, couple of scoops later I call it quits. If you can do me a favor please remind me never to pick up rice bowl from a Mexican place next time around. Please...

The train driver just announced the route of the train and lists a whole lot of stations where it will stop - which only means I am in for a longer ride than I'd hoped for and that only means I am going to write more.

I am writing on the reverse side of my resume and notice that it is already three pages long. How am I going to type it all in - worries my mind. We'll see. Yesterday I was helping Sharon typing her History fair project on Adolf Hitler. Why of all the people did she pick him?? It was quite informative though the typing was a little tedious.

It is exactly 2:35 PM and the train is pulling off the station. I too decide to wind down here to rest my eyes. However, few things make it impossible to do that. First thing, this morning I yelled at Sharon for getting late and she didn't answer me back, which was strange for Sharon. This bothers me. Next, as I was walking to the train station there was this lady preaching the Gospel at the street corners, giving out tracts.

Only after I passed a few blocks I got the urge to go and give her something. But I didn't feel like walking all the way back and so continued to walk towards the station. This bothers me. Next I am thinking of the interview and see how I could have given better answers for a few questions. This bothers me. But then that doesn't mean I can go on writing taking advantage of your listening ears. So, I put the papers away and close down the pen...

Thanks to cousin Jacinth for the picture, which was taken last Friday when I was in the City for the first round of interview.


13 comments:

Balachandran V said...

that was good, you really had me following in your footsteps! And what about the interview, how did it go?

NRIGirl said...

Thank you Balan Sir! The interview went quite well. Haven't heard any feedback yet.

Y L said...

enjoyed reading the post.
wonder why they do not have fixed tracks for each train.

adithyasaravana said...

evlo periya post-u.. I had a smile as i was reading the whole post. Sorry for breaking too long.. I ll atleast follow posts..
I too ppl watch.. even puppy called me last week to sit in the usual place in yercaud foothills to watch ppl and vehicles going up..

anilkurup said...

Fascinating journey with you, observant and reflective.One could visualise the scene at the station.

The last part on the "ifs" and "could have", happens to most of us. Dont they?

Thanks for reporting from NY

L KRUPAA said...

That was good, when you people watch time flies but not all can recount like you. As for the interview I hope u make it.

Bikramjit said...

Hopw you are feeling well now..

and I walked all the steps with you reading the post Thank you :)


Bikram's

Mangala said...

I enjoyed the train ride with you!! Thanks...

Jyothi said...

That was indeed a good narration. Hope you get good news about the interview. :)

....Petty Witter said...

A people watcheer myself, I felt as if I was standing watching with you, a great post, thanks.

gigihawaii said...

Thank you so much for your sweet comment on my blog and for your prayers for my recovery. I lived in NYC from 1970-75 and have been back twice since then. Awesome city, but I prefer Hawaii. Lol.

KParthasarathi said...

Best wishes>Hope you hear soon from the employer.
As I read your beautifully written post,it brought nostalgic memories of my several journeys up and down in NY trains.I found it tiresome to climb the stairs at many stations where escalators are not provided.

Irfanuddin said...

that was nicely covered by you...

and one difference i noticed that people here in India never miss that feel of elbow push while going on to their track....:D

wishing you all a very happy Christmas......

Related Posts with Thumbnails
 
HostGator promo code