Three weekends ago, on a warm evening we marked the beginning of summer with a classical music concert at Central Park. It was a beautiful day for outdoor concerts. We accompanied a lovely couple, lounged on picnic blankets and snacked on some delicious chocolate cookies and pretzels. If I were to collect all my first time experiences from the past year in a big trunk, it would snap open and pour out. As I write this, I am sitting at home by the front room window glazed by a mild sun shower, reflecting on the experiences living in one of the biggest cities in the world. I remember my first day in our Morningside home, as I walked through the front door I instantly fell in love with the spring sunshine oozing through the windows. Nothing makes a home feel reassuring than the warmth of natural light. Our love affair with the little den has continued to multiply while we step into our second summer anniversary together. She has seen us through a good spread of emotions, food and songs (of course it’s a she!). In turn, what reflects on us is very beautiful and personal.
When I moved to this city, I was certain that it was going to be overwhelming in more ways than one. The very first attributes I admired about it was the unfathomable diversity of cuisines to choose from. They say New York is the city that dreams are made of. So in a way, I have come to realize that this qualifies as a snippet of my dream as well. Many levain cookies, bubble teas and Hungarian pastries later, today like the rest of America, I am nibbling onto my new found favorite – hard pretzels. I have forgiven the overplay of coarse salt sprinkles on them, faithfully picking out the granules on every pretzel before consumption. Meanwhile, I am on an inconclusive debate with myself about (fluffy) soft vs.(crispy) hard pretzels. Oh, and what a world of difference a creamy mustard dip can make.
The past season has been a lot about photography. Photo walks have never failed to replenish my mind and the city is a paradise for that between late spring and early summer. The neighborhoods are bright and full of life. Streets are lined with plump flower pots, colorful tulips and other wobbling surprises. I often steal myself to the Riverside park when the sky opens up for a surprise summer shower. Over the years, I have been on a relentless pursuit to discover beauty in its most pristine forms. I am hopelessly drawn towards nature, my humble abode, to attain inspiration and happiness. From tall, green and mossy cobblestone walls with curtains of dense creepers adorning a medieval staircase to the shy posy of snowdrops blooming beneath the lavender blue sky. On the course of the journey, I am learning to capture what I see.
Along the way, we decide the memories we want to keep, the moments we want to forget, a few that we try very hard to remember. We meet a lot of interesting people almost everyday and a few tend to stay in our memories for a lifetime. I remember the story of a taxi driver dropping us home one day. We noticed the colorful prayer flags hanging diagonally in the boot of his car and that led to some very interesting conversations. His ancestral family moved to southern India from Nepal years ago as refugees and started a new life in Mysore long before he was born. He yearned to visit Nepal someday. “I want to visit my homeland, and touch the sand in my hands.”. His words were filled with passion. He spoke at length about Nepal, his visits to the beautiful Mysore Palace, Manali and Kashmir and almost made an itinerary for our next trip to north India. It’s fascinating how passionate we grow of our roots. His struggle to set foot in his homeland might someday become an inspiring story for generations to come.
It was a short ride home.