Wednesday, November 08, 2006

NYC

They say... if you stand at Times Square long enough, you will be able to meet someone from every part of the world. That is the big Apple for you. The melting pot of all the cultures of the earth. A city, that compels you to discover its every nook and corner. A microcosm in itself. A world where anybody, anytime, instantly fits in and becomes a part of. A world so full of life, energy and emotion that I instantly fell in love with it.

I must confess at the outset, that there were far too many other things running in my mind, even as I landed at the LaGuardia, to feel excited about being in New York. Having heard so much about it, there was definitely a sense of curiosity, but excitement.. no. not that I could think of. But things did change once we actually went down to Jackson heights. That is where the charm gets to you (I am talking bout charm here, as against Bombay; the only Indian city I draw a parallel with; where the aura hits you in the face, mainly due to the sheer volume of things, human or otherwise.) When you realize, there, is ever so much that is American about NY. Yet, it’s a city that’s truly global. Where cultural boundaries, as I knew them, went for a toss.

It’s a city where u can ask for directions in a subway, and expect a different accent every time. Where u will find jamaicans hawking counterfeit Prada and Bvlgari handbags in 5th avenue, right across the street where the original shops are. Of Pakistani and Indian taxi drivers, swearing in hindi. Tibetan selling fake pashmina shawls for 5$. Of the Mexican pizza makers, Bangladeshis vending hot sheek kabab hotdogs. Its a city that lets u experience everything and anything that u can think of, and so many more, you never even imagined existed. It’s a city that’s defined as much by its famous skyline, as it is by the taxi drivers, the street hawkers, the nuts for nuts vendors operating in its congested sidewalks. A city that chugs along, tirelessly yet finds time enough stop for those who have been left behind. Coming here you realize that, “I love NY” isn’t just a slogan. It isn’t about any need to identify yourself with something larger (which so often is the case). But its about a sense a belonging. A sense, of being a part of something great, for however small a time, an expression of solidarity.

It is here that I experienced freedom for the first time. Freedom of not having to apologize for expressing what you feel. Where human emotions pour out unabashedly, engulfing you, forcing you to empathize… With the people… And with the city. You can see it everywhere. The weeping flowers at ground zero… An excited tourist perched atop the Bull… The old man in the subway swaying to the street music… peace in central park… the impatient taxi drivers… the urgency of the wailing fire trucks… The passion of the couple atop the empire state… Loneliness of the man sleeping on the subway bench… of hope… of every possible human emotion one can think of.

Needless to say, it’s a great place for photography. The first time, I felt I was under equipped with my c750 UZ. The two days in NY meant innumerable instances for great photographs, most if which I wasn’t able to capture. Partly because of number of situations you are barraged with, but mostly because of my own inability. With time, I know I will improve. And hopefully the next time I will have an SLR. But one thing is certain. I know I will keep coming back. To explore Manhattan… The weekends in central park… The means streets of Bronx… The slums of Harlem… There is so much more to see. So much left to discover. It will never be MY NY. But I know I have as much right to say I love NY, as the people living there lives in the Big Apple, and the millions of people who visited it, taking back home a part of it, leaving a significant part of themselves behind.

3 comments:

tainted glass said...

hey .. brilliantly put .. at a loss for words but yeah now i definitely wanna go there and see all of that .. really didnt associate a place like NY with so much character .. in fact always thought of it as only a city for business and nothing more ..

Sneha Divakar said...

very touchy entry. i am sure you can capture a lot more next time. and maybe i can put some on canvas too!!

Deepu said...

Its true ! NY IS BRILLIANT! :)
And ya, you are welcome. :P