Thursday, August 28, 2008

My relationship with the city I love to love and hate to hate….

An article in yesterday’s New York Times on newcomers adjusting to New York, eventually, took me by surprise. It was as if the author had peeped inside my mind, body, and soul and presented the conundrum of it all to the world with eloquent words.

My ode to NYC: People, who know me, are au fait with my “New York” attachment. I swear by the city. I have to say, it took me minimal time to adjust to NYC. In so many ways, it always reminded me of Mumbai. Be it the commute, cynicism, rudeness, brusqueness, valiant spirit, resilient attitude, the exasperation to the 24/7 energy. Plus, New York like Mumbai, but unlike most other cities in the US, allows you to retain your quintessential core. I have always been able to celebrate my proud Indian heritage in this city without having to put on an accent or a garb I didn’t want. The journey of getting comfortable in my own skin in my formative years was easy because I was in a compliant city like NYC.

I have pursued dreams which would have remained a fantasy had it not been for New York. I believe, the relationships that you form in this city go a long way as they aren’t made out of convenience or scarcity. You are exposed to a pool of like-minded people from disparate ethnicities and not just people from the same regional/traditional background.

I can feel my heart undergoing metamorphosis: There was a time when I couldn’t find anything wrong with what NYC had to offer. I took every downbeat word directed towards the city extremely personally. Today, I can feel the magnetism of NYC wearing off. I feel a little burnt out from the city. The rush and the commute are beginning to get to me. Living life on an agenda is beginning to lose its appeal. I wonder what has led to my partial transformed view on New York. It just couldn’t be time or the fact that I am busier now more than ever.

An associate suggested organizing a soiree at her place to get us few writers together and commemorate our achievements. What a noble and fun idea, right? Sadly, with the problem of over scheduling in New York, we couldn’t pick one date universally suitable to all. More often than I can count, people (including myself) check their Blackberrys’ to schedule even a coffee get together with friends, forget acquaintances. Sometimes you finalize on a date three to four weeks from the time you send out an invite. It’s not because people do not want to meet; au contraire. It’s the paucity of time, another issue hovering over New Yorkers. I mean, my very close friend and I couldn’t pick a suitable evening for an aerobic routine in Central Park this summer. Lo & behold, summer is almost over now.

I was sharing my story with a few friends at a dinner party the other night. They recommended we relocate to Upstate New York—far from the maddening crowd. Their condominium Upstate has every amenity that interests both my husband and I—indoor heated pool, gym, walking trail, tennis court, squash court, barbeque pits, amicable dwellers etc. etc. They suggested that with the train station across from their complex, I could continue to pursue my challenging NYC lifestyle without actually living there. The arrangement would be best of both worlds!

My husband has always enjoyed the concept of the suburban quality of life: a large house with a humongous study, picturesque backyard, and tranquil environment. In a heartbeat, he’ll move out of the city.

The question I ask myself: Am I detached enough from NYC to attach myself to the suburbia or am I just going through one of those love-hate phases of my relationships with the city? In the past nine years, haste, sarcasm, aloofness, over scheduling, and over commitment have become such a big part of me (like the rest of the New Yorkers), I wonder how and if I will adjust to normalcy.

More until next time.

Copyright © 08.28.2008

“I wonder what it is in the New York air that enables me to sit up till all hours of the night in an atmosphere which in London would make a horse dizzy, but here merely clears the brain.” James Agate


Vizzy said...

I loved the new format & I agree I, too have a very special spot for NYcity..

n said...

don't leave NEW YORK!!!!!

P said...

its fun going thru ur posts... like the new look.