Archive | November 2012

Taxi Drivers in NYC

Call the cab.. right here! – near central park

… wave the hand on the road in Manhattan and taxi driver understands you need a ride. I hopped on and told him where I need to go, he would navigate on the road as if he knows every nook and corner of the city and suggest you get off at certain place instead of any deviations with so many one-ways and avoid charging you higher.

Too many taxis around.. near Wall St

As always, my curious minds strikes a conversation to find out how they operate so well in NYC, considering the fact that is as difficult as it (may be not so much if you compared with a Mumbai traffic and taxis over there) can get to drive comfortably. He ended up sharing some facts about being a taxi driver in NYC.

He lives in Brooklyn, a Law Student (4 more years to go, So I assume he just started), took this semester off and started driving from past 3 months. I must admit, he is good at it.
He says, there is some kind of understanding between fellow taxi drivers and with the number of taxis in NYC, the accidents happen in the city are usually by Private Vehicles. The reason being, private vehicles owners do not understand the driving-language-in-nyc, when the way is given to them,  when one should make a move, when to take a turn around or cut through the traffic as much as Taxi Drivers understand.

He says, even though he doesn’t like letting some one go past him, but he would give in to avoid the accidents, as there is a whole lot of process one needs to go through for a driving violation. The cops would then give a traffic violation ticket, losing the time, energy and business, speaking with auto-insurances, informing the cab agency etc etc, and he thinks it is just easy to control the impulse than end up being in this situation.  Manhattan is a very well planned city, it is easy to get around and experience teaches us everything, he adds.

Although, the distance traveled was only 1.5 miles, with the traffic during peak time, it took ever but he was very entertaining and  knowledgeable (oh yeah, he is a Law student after all), and then he ended up speaking about “Life in NYC” vs “Living in other places” (this topic to be covered in  future post), his idea of getting a degree in law, specializations, life as a student and aspirations he have. And he also works for some firm and cab driving is his part time job. It is true that one need to do multiple jobs to pay for living here. It is quite expensive and every one has different perspective. According to him, living in Manhattan is way too expensive, congested and you will not save enough money for yourself. I could not agree more.

As the conversations drifted from one topic to another but all around New York City. It is amazing to know the perspectives from other angles. And then you think you would relate but then like everyone else you have an opinion of your own.

Taxis in Time Square

The most interesting fact that I appreciate about people over here is, irrespective of their education, wealth and good paying full time job, they do not hesitate to take up another job and perform with a great diligence. There are many taxi drivers in NYC who fall under this category. I hope the same attitude ignites in the minds of people who are from the same place where I originally hail from. Unfortunately, ego is associated with the kind of job you do, societal branding, and you care of what other think about you and forget the fact that others will not feed you when you are hungry. I call it – ignorance.  I would have been the same if not for this exposure, and I still have that streak of attitude that shows up unconsciously.

Wouldn’t be nice if every job is considered as “work” irrespective of it’s kind and show same amount of respect towards everyone ?

(Ok, I am not speaking about people doing any “in-humane activities” as their job here..)

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Thanksgiving weekend – a long weekend in American History?

Not a big fan of history, yet always wonder about holidays in United States. Instead of them choosing 4th “Thursday” of November as thanksgiving day, wonder why did they not choose either “Friday” or “Monday”, It would have been more appropriate. May be you add a day before, a day after and again a day after weekend totaling in 6 days of vacation?  That sounds cool. It doesn’t sound like a lot right?   I know I am complaining, coz I had to mark my presence at work on Friday.

Alas, As much as I wanted this weekend to be more productive in terms of preparing for my certification exams (I know, I have been meaning to take them from ever and never put an hour worth of my time into it) , accomplish some important chores and strongly decided to not-give-in-to-the-temptation-of-shopping of thanksgiving sale on “Black Friday” . I could not resist. I gave in and did whole lot of shopping that evening. Unfortunately, my temptation was much stronger than my resolution. [Sometimes, resolutions have exceptions – by me].

It’s true that people actually go stand  in front of stores a day before in the lines to get some great electronic devices for FREE, and for even for lowest possible prices you can think of. Yes, one of my friend got the “Vacuum Cleaners” for $8.00 ..yes just eight dollars. Interesting isn’t? (flip side is they had to spend hours waiting for the store to open and let people in..it is first come first serve basis).

Thanksgiving shopping
(src: Google Images)

There were many people shopping around, so many messages on facebook floating on with questions of what to shop and where to shop , deals, so on so forth with increasing number of suggestions and discussions on those status messages.. definitely fun going through them (without any participation), yet news on the CNN says that thanksgiving sales are not up to mark , they say “Black Friday retail sales fell 1.8% to $11.2 billion”. (Details here). Blame it on Sandy, cold weather, economy!

Aaah..  Thanksgiving day..According to wikipedia — As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God”!

It is also celebrated as a  practice of holding an annual harvest festival ..There are many perspectives. But, I think this as a day to reflect back on life and be thankful for what you have and be inspired as to what you can be/do in the future. As I sit and look back on my wonderful journey so far, there are many things & people that I am thankful for… having the greatest and awesome parents, wonderful family, amazing friends and fantastic enemies (yeah, without whom, I would not have learned some important lessons in life and appreciate other positivities in life). Thank you for everything.

Also, thankful to you (yes.. you), all my interesting blog readers and visitors of this blog. Did I get emotional.. ? Not really. Just took an opportunity to convey what I truly mean.

Thanksgiving Gift 🙂

Now, it’s your turn.. What are you thankful for?

P.S: Forgot to mention that Turkey is the main food they have on “Thanksgiving day” !

A Word A Week Photograph Challenge – Flower

This has been always on my to-do list to participate in this challenge atleast once (details here).

Here are the most beautiful flowers straight from “Central Park” in New York City, NY for you. These are the flowers from Europe, English,  and American version of gardening with in central park.

Sun Flower

Lotus

Purple flowers?

More orange colors

 

 

 

Sunday Experiments – Learning Crochet Patterns

One part of my brain wanted to explore “Art of Crocheting” and I could not dismiss it. I only knew beginners basic pattern you can think of, and I decided to make some scarf, but really.. I have no idea of making any kind of patterns at all. Besides, thanks giving sale is around the corner and you would get amazing woolen scarfs for less than $10.

So, it begs a question – why would you want to invest your time, energy, money and most importantly strain on eyes to do from scratch? (.. may be some kind of satisfaction or pride that you’ve created something wonderful). But, I do have whole lot of appreciation for who ever can make them..it is an undeniable talent. Irrespective of  what my one part of brain thinks, I decided to invest some time and experiment around learning patterns using crochet tutorials on youtube. [[As always, I have tremendous respect for technology that is a greatest teacher for curious minds like me]]

…and I totally messed up with “what they taught in the video” Vs “what I made out of it”.. I call it a “unknown pattern”.

My first Crochet Pattern

I am stuck here, not sure whether to stop it or to continue with the flow? Ideas?

Next steps?

You are most welcome to come up with any creative name for the above pattern that comes to your mind as you look at pictures posted above.

It is always good to experiment around and give some work to our brains. Brain is a muscle, the more you make it work, the more active and sharp it becomes. And the same concept goes with anything in life. Curiosity in life is very important, and having some hobbies will make your brain relax and perform its job. There is always a first step for any task that you want to accomplish. Step in and see for yourself. Think about it? does it trigger any thing?

p.s: I am really interested in learning more, would you please provide me with cool links that is more self-explanatory in trying this out with ease?

My life doesn’t revolve around you: a note of gratitude for a feminist mom (re-blogged)

I wish if every women out there re-considers her priorities of Life and not limited to revolve her life only around family but explore her interests and sets some time for self.  I came across this post as forward from a friend, absolutely loved the attitude and perspective and thought to re-blog here and share with my readers. Hope you’ll like reading it as much as I did.

My life doesn’t revolve around you!

Here is the post from a son of that mother:

My mother called on Saturday to tell me that she liked my “daring to disappoint” post from last Tuesday.   She gave me her permission to post the following.

My parents divorced when I was six; my brother and I were raised by a single mother.  (Our father visited regularly, and theirs was — thank God — a civil and even cordial separation.)  It was not easy being a single mom to two very young sons.  We might have lived in Carmel, but money was tight at times, and my mother had to cope with all of the anxieties and doubts that come in the aftermath of a divorce, separation, and the assumption of sole permanent custody.

But as we talked about on Saturday, my mother also gave a great gift to my brother and me:she always made it clear that she wasn’t sacrificing her life for us.   From the time we were small, our mother always took time for herself.  She had her poetry group, her work with the League of Women Voters, and other social and community activities in which we were not involved.  Now mind you, she was a loving and devoted mom!  My brother and I grew up knowing we were cherished and protected and cared for.  But we also knew that our mother did not exist merely to meet our needs — she had a mind of her own, wants of her own, and she was going to make time for herself as well as for her sons.

What my mother wanted to do, and succeeded in doing, was liberating us from the horrible pressure of living our lives to pay back a mom who had “sacrificed everything for us.”  My mom had seen too many parents devote everything they had to their children, with their only joys coming from their kids’ successes.  She had seen some of those kids grow up into anxious and guilt-ridden adults, who were continually haunted by a sense that their mothers and fathers (more often their mothers) had given up so damned much for them.  There are few burdens more awful, she felt, than having to live a life that justifies all of your parent’s sacrifices!

My mother was and is a feminist.  As I’ve written before, we grew up with Ms. Magazine and books by Germaine Greer and Kate Millett on the coffee table.  But my mother’s greatest feminist lesson was this: she made it clear that we could not expect women to drop everything for us.  Relationships mattered, families mattered, love mattered — but personal happiness mattered too!  My mother knew that someday her sons would be in relationships with women, and she knew enough to know that how she met our needs as small boys would be reflected in many of our choices when we became boyfriends, lovers, and husbands.   So she showed us two things:

1.  She loved us very, very much and always would

2.  Her happiness was not solely contingent upon us

I grew up with absolute certainty about both of these things, and it was and is one of the greatest gifts my mother could have given me.  My mother never, ever, gave us the awful speech far too many of my students get: “After all I’ve done for you, you owe it to me to…” I’ve seen friends of mine who still struggle as adults to overcome the tremendous guilt they feel, knowing how much their parents sacrificed for them.  And while I honor that their parents did make sacrifices, I urge these same friends to not pass on this dreadful legacy to their children.  This doesn’t mean abandoning your kids, mind you — it’s perfectly possible to shower your children with love and give them a sense of security while simultaneously making it clear to them from an early age that your happiness does not hinge on what they do!

So my belief in the importance of women’s autonomy and personal freedom — even as wives and mothers — came to me early in life.  A first-born son growing up in a household without a father (amateur psychologists, have at it!), I was very close to my mother.  I still am.  And my adult feminism is linked in no small way to the lessons she taught me.  Motherhood, I learned, is a role — but it need not be an all-consuming identity.  The fact that my mother had a life outside of her children gave me the confidence to live out my life without fear that I would destroy her if I made mistakes or deviated from a planned path.  Her commitment to her own happiness allowed me to make a similar commitment to my own — and for that, I will forever be tremendously grateful.

Source: Click here

So true..What is your take on this?

Conversation with a Stranger – it’s Strange!

As I walk out of the subway and heading home, here is the funny conversation with a stranger (Atleast, I thought it’s funny)

Stranger: Where is the hospital?

Me: It’s down one block, follow me. Are you visiting some one?

Stranger: My friend gave birth to a baby boy.

Me: Oh good.

Stranger: Are you visiting some body in hospital?

Me: I live here

Stranger: Where do you work.

Me: In the city

Stranger:  We have part time or full time  job in Finance, can you do that?

Me: What is the job about? (as if I am going to consider it, seriously ..what was I even thinking to ask such a question..)

Stranger: Quite a lot of things to do,…ummm… a lot of things… umm.. you can work on life insurances etc ..speak with my manager.

Me: *goes silent for few seconds..* .. I don’t have so much spare time to consider that option. ..and That’s the hospital right across.

Stranger: ohh no time..ok.. Thank you.

….I ended up getting away from that person as fast as I can to another lane and increased the momentum. Really, do I look like some one  who can deal with finances? perhaps the place where I work must have triggered him the thought to ask that question.. or may be my dressing (yeah, totally shabbily dressed this evening with some fat textbook in hand looking geek-ish, yes as you can guess a trip to library) might have made him assume that I’m jobless and displayed generosity by offering me a job or could have had some malicious thoughts behind.. who knows. Most importantly, how can you even trust a stranger with in couple minutes?

It’s a great learning experience living in NYC. As people do not really smile at each other in this city unlike other place I’ve lived so far and when you smile at them, you have to be extremely careful in not-prolonging the conversation in any case. You-never-know-how-crazy-one-can-be. Again, not always though.

Have you had such experiences?

Day trip to Harbor Side in New Jersey

A mandatory trip to Harbor Side in New Jersey was worth the time and effort. Ended up traveling by Ferry from mid-town Manhattan, NY (pier -79 on 39th St and 12th avenue) to Harbor Side, NJ. The ferry ride was way quicker than I thought and surprisingly the seating arrangement is amazingly comfortable and within no time I landed there. Besides, the shuttles that take you to ferries are equally comfortable to ride in.

As you land, you’ll see the beautiful skyline of Manhattan Downtown, NY and felt as if I just crossed over from one end of NY to other end of NJ.  The best part about today was to meet the people I have only interacted over the phone.. of course I’m speaking about my colleagues and spend some fantastic time with my Team after 3 long weeks. It felt like forever.

Skyline of Manhattan downtown from New Jersey

Some times you would only know the true value when you badly miss something, and we take things for granted without our knowledge. And yes, as much as I crib about certain attitudes and personalities of the people I work with to my dear ones, I equally miss seeing them and in fact they are the fun people to compete and work with.

Some pictures clicked while walking on the streets of Harbor Side.

The tallest building in this skyline you see is the world trade center from distance.

Tallest building is the World Trade Center

The streets seemed to be pretty empty, or perhaps I choose the wrong time to step out. Interesting fact, they have light rail road (the trains are operated on roads)

Not many people around

And you should check out the Van Houtte Cafe, an European coffee shop, tasted much much better than Starbucks. It is on the Green St, Harbor Side, NJ. [ I know I mentioned no coffee in my previous blog, but it has been a week and I gave in for temptation].

The Statue seemed pretty interesting to not miss the click, there is some significance attached and I did not had enough time to know more about it .. let us save it for next trip or If you know about it, I would be more than glad to hear about it.

Interesting statue

and here is the last click – Water front.

Beautiful view

The most beautiful was the night view, got too lazy to click any more pictures. On our way back, there were bunch of people doing “Yoga” in this cold weather.. I wonder how they could warm up and flexibly bend their body parts.

Is it true that “we meet people for a reason”?

Diwali Celebrations are on…

Diwali (or Deepavali) is festival widely celebrated in India. There is a reason and story behind every festival, like wise there is one for this too. Instead of me writing about it, I’ll point you to one of the blog that I follow for you to know more about it. (Click here for the story). This festival is a celebration of triumph of good over evil.

Traveling back in time to one of my most beautiful memory lane, as part of the preparations for this festival.. we would have to prepare the list of fire crackers and hand over it to my dad. He would then take us to store near by and get us all we want, that would be sufficient for 3 days. And at home, there will be intensive house cleaning activities go on, painting the home, cleaning, washing, re-organizing and throwing away unwanted items..and so on so forth.

On the day of Diwali, the corridor’s are decorated with Mango leaves

Mango Leaves on Doors

Prayer to Goddess Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth) is performed at home and at respective business locations

Goddess Lakshmi

Sweets

Sweets are distributed amongst neighbors, friends and families. This is the most fun part,  by the end of the day you would have so many sweet boxes lying around and a difficult time for parents to stop their kids from eating all the unhealthy food in the world. Yes, just like candy’s that kids collect during Halloween festival.

 

 

 

 

 

Then shopping for fire-crackers

Fire-Crackers shopping

as the day begins to get darker, you’ll get to see all the lights in the sky, loud sounds, people decorating their surroundings with candle lights (called as Diya’s) , the diya’s that we use are usually made out of mud, the oil is poured into those small-little containers and a cotton made like a thickest thread is inserted into it, then they are lighted with match stick.

Diya’s in mud containers

These are now placed around the home

Diya’s placed around the home

These Diya’s are used to fire the crackers.  Fun starts from the morning! This produces so much of noise pollution and it is hard to get away with it unless you have sound-proof homes. Unfortunately, if one is not very careful about these things, this is the time where one could burn themselves and burn places as well.

Biggest Ladi – fun starts from the morning

and then in the evening, people gather at one place and start playing with fire crackers until late in the mid-night. It is such a wonderful experience to participate in the event without being worried about harm that it could cause you.

Pool Chadi – kids usually love them

and other not-so-dangerous fire crackers (I really enjoy all these things and here I am in different country missing the fun)

Chichu Buddi

Bhoo-Chakra’s

There have been instances where my hands, sometimes legs were burnt because of being careless about it. It would take many days to recover from those injuries and yet, we look forward for this festival with the same levelof enthusiasm.

and these go on until mid night or at times almost until morning, this not only creates noise pollution but also air pollution. Here is the mess that you see on every street and home, the more you burn the more trash it accumulates.

Mess after Diwali day

A great festival, that used to be my day on Diwali and now, it’s different – all we do is host or attend a Diwali event, at the max we would burn the “pool chadi”  the one you hold in your hands and burn. If you truly want to enjoy Diwali, you have got to make a trip to India. There could never be any better place than India to celebrate this festival.

This is a picture of India from NASA on a Diwali Day. This how big it is celebrated.

India on Diwali Night

With this the celebration comes to end!

To all my dear readers of this blog: Wishing you a fabulous Diwali. Wish this festival bring you happiness, wealth and success your way.

P.S: My memories still fresh from my childhood. Hope to celebrate this day again in the future with the same excitement and enthusiasm.

Wall St – Battery Park – World Financial Center – Walk

I know, I have been talking about hurricane Sandy quite a bit in last couple posts. Thanks to Sandy, I am almost house arrested for more than 15 days now. (Trust me, it’s no fun to work from home every-single-day) Unfortunately, I have to work over this weekend as well but luckily I was able squeeze some time out for a weekend activity class that I’ve been meaning to catch up with and then off to visit Manhattan Downtown.

Usually in weekends, you find many tourists on Wall St and today for obvious reasons there weren’t many. As I walk on Wall St clicking pictures and specially the buildings closer to Hudson river are damaged the most. There were quite a bit of machinery and people working in restoring to it’s original fame.

Not many tourists near New York Stock Exchange(NYSE) unlike regular weekend rush.

New York Stock Exchange(NYSE)

Most of the girls favorite store on Wall St with no one in there – Tiffany’s Diamonds

Tiffany & co.

Need more information? – Downtown Map

Lower Manhattan – Information

How to get there? – 4,5,1,2,3,J,Z ,R trains will come to downtown. And you can easily figure out from MTA subway map.

.. and from Wall St, headed to Battery Park to check out the devastation.. passing through stops of Heliport, Governor’s Island, Staten Island, Statue of Liberty and along the deck to Battery Park finally leading to World Financial Center(WFC) buildings, ended up grabbing some coffee from Starbucks relaxing in WFC.

Below are the pictures in sequence with descriptions.

By now, I am too tired and lost my way out in World financial center circling back and forth with in the building trying to find a way out to subway.

Happy Browsing!

P.S: Surprisingly, today.. there were many tourists from France (May be, it’s just that I only paid attention to them).

It’s Snow time – excitement!

The best thing about living in east-coast is you will get to experience all four seasons unlike other places in united states. Growing up, I have always wished to see a snow fall, play with snow and build a snow man in the snow. That was the desire that came true only after I landed in this country for my higher studies. I played crazily in snow with other crazy friends, that was first snow, was excited every time it snowed in that year.

Beginning..

It did not snow as much last winter (blame it on global warming), but now I’m really excited as I see the snow fall again.  Beautiful snow pictures for eye treat.

Snow and Sky

It was bit stronger wind than I expected. Snow mixed with sleet, this combination is considered scary and might lead to accidents if you are not prepared for it. One needs to drive very carefully.

Snow Crazy

In front of a grocery store, wasn’t fun carrying  groceries in this windy snow.

Snowing – view from grocery store

Do you like it?  How was your first snow experience..care to share?

P.S: This is part of snow storm in east coast with possible flooding and affecting sandy victims even further.