A Stranger in the City…

Having always believed that I have the right to let my mind race into the wildest possible imagination, and being a drama queen by innate nature, I tend to suppose that I could be in weird situations. This imaginary circumstance package definitely comes with a place, an i-pod, often food and clothes. One of my favorite ones is a one that flashes across my mind when I fight with a very close friend. I would want to “run away from the recognizable world” to a beach in Brazil, just listen to some music and stare at the ocean, wondering if my friend would be missing me. When I think of somebody I hate, I think of applying lots of coal and grease on their face and cutting them into tiny bits and throwing the pieces into a well (Yes, I said wildest possible, remember??). However, there has been a frequent one that is about me in a very confused, post-graduate phase. This one always ends up as a very cold evening on the Brooklyn Bridge, with me in a black coat, holding hot coffee from Starbucks in my hand and thousands of things running on my mind while my overwhelmed gaze is fixed on the New York City crowd. However I surprisingly feel endangered and privacy deprived when any of these imaginations go somewhere close to reality.

Keeping imagination, the truth, and other tertiary concerns aside, this was my first day as a New Jersian. I moved into a room in an independent house. The girl who had posted the ad for a roommate had informed me that it was a 4 bedroom house, and so there would be 3 other girls with whom I had to share the kitchen. Me and my friend, moved in one late evening and decided to give ourselves some rest and went to bed immediately. The room was pretty hot, apparently here the houses do not have the centralized air conditioning facility unlike the houses in the southern states. We were forced to wake up at 8 o’clock the next morning as the table fan automatically stopped working. It turned out that it wasn’t just the fan, but there wasn’t power absolutely in any part of the house. I was told that I needed to go to the basement and check on a few switches for some sort of a voltage drop. Never having lived in a house with a basement, I went downstairs with a torch light. There were two very dark and spooky rooms and from the set up I realized that there were people who actually lived in these rooms. In a basement, Can you believe that? There was a bed that hadn’t been made and the rooms were so tightly sealed that even a ray of sunlight couldn’t pass through. I wondered how people could managed to breathe down here. It gave me the feeling of being locked up in a suffocated, dark mental asylum.The entire scenario reminded of Gothika combined with Krishna Cottage. After some wrestling with the switchboard (wondering which one may probably shock me to death and make me rot right down there) and nothing working out I headed back to the light in the living room. Since we were practically disconnected from the outside world, no internet, minimum charge on the phone, and the electric stove not working, we decided to get to some cleaning. Yes, our room required liberation from roaches. Four hours later, famished and dirty, we decided to have pizza home delivered. I had no energy to grumble about the pizza arriving 40 minutes late followed by the lineman who fixed the power issue (our land lady hadn’t paid the utility bill on time, so the cancellation). Some time around 5 0′ clock in the evening, a car pulled over in front of our home and a girl stepped out. Watching through the window, my friend said, “Wonder which part of the house she would be living in?”. Laughing it off like it were a joke, we waited for a minute or two. The girl came in and during the course of our conversation, she told us that she lives in the attic. Oh yes, that practically made the house ‘full’.

I am fully prepared now, for any extra creatures, both living, dead, and extra-terrestrial, there wouldn’t be any element of surprise. Sometimes walking through the streets gives me the feeling I get when I am shopping for books in Koti. This place has a cult of its own. Busy life, dirty streets, cold houses, and noisy streets. No offense intended, but New Yorkers often remind me of Mumbaikars. Having said that, I would like to believe that the purest of gold has to pass through the hottest of flames. Kudos to our Krishna Cottage.

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