Friday, July 11, 2008

An exercise in frugality

An exercise in frugality, that is the true nature of the studio apartment to which I have to be confined to whenever I return home from frazzled and spent from yet another tough day of office in the USA. It's got a carpeted floor like most other houses here, unfortunately it's already blotched with stains of an unidentifiable nature, the vestiges of its previous occupants. The TV in the corner of the room serves as the sideboard for all paraphernalia ranging from keys, defunct mobiles, change, ID cards and what not! It's ironical that in the land of the idiot box, the occupants of this one room apartment take the minimal interest in it and it serves the purpose of junk furniture. And not that it is defunct. It works too but the charms of passive entertainment are not attractive enough for people on their first fleeting visit to the USA, as the previous occupants of this room and now me are. There is no furniture apart from an easy chair and a sofa set so swamped with long forgotten clothes that it's quite hard to see them. There's a cupboard and an attic whose contents I cannot dare to describe. A little kitchen with the customary fridge and microwave whose use I hope to minimize and a tiny switch in the corner for a functional AC (thank goodness for that) complete the picture. An apology of a mattress where salvation is sought in deep slumber also dots the landscape and order will be the last word on your mind if you ever enter here. We eat off paper plates, we minimize any kind of activity that might lend this room a single element of permanence. One week from now, it'll be my room alone 'coz the other inmate whose lifeterm is served will be leaving for India. If there was ever a room that said "Only temporary" without the use of a board, this has got to be it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Inane and pointless

Must be a psychological thing, this not wanting to write until there is an Internet connection. On paper, a laptop provides me with infinite possibilities to make good use of my writing inclinations but when confronted with the ample opportunities I conveniently sidle out, This post is going to turn out like so many of them that I've put down in my journal back home. It's all about how I want to write but somehow lack the initiative to do do.

Things can only improve from now on in and that happens to be my only consolation. Coming to America and all the associated excitement is too strong a influence to let me return to my lazy ways very easily. Though I have grown past the stage of doing a cartwheel whenever I saw a Harley roaring across the roads in front of my house, I have still managed to retain a sense of wonder about how radically different things are in America. The people here seem to be obsessed with size as everything around here comes in two sizes - big and super big! The system and order that prevails here is like some kind of an otherworldly experience for us chaos hardened Indians. The houses are well kept and neat, and in a neighbourhood like ours you could never tell that so many people live here but for the occasional car making its way out of the car park. It is an unique experience and worth thousands of times more than the money I get for working in the USA. 4th of July just came and went. It'd have been a great time for me to sample first-hand the high season for American patriotism. But as usual I wasted a long weekend, lazing around at home!

The great American dream

This is a strange land with inexplicable lure! We were on our way to Boston downtown and the parking gate attendant at the Quincy Adams subway station turns out to be an Indian from Bareilly. I wonder what had made him come here. Was it just the instinct for survival which made him search for greener pastures or just a mad wish for adventure or a little bit of both? After all, not every man from Bareilly makes it to the USA and doesn't even want to. The man seemed reasonably happy too. Or maybe it was the thought of interacting with fellows from a land whose feel he longed to forget was actually making him smile then.

I'll never know because one can never ask these kind of questions outright. It'll only come out as demeaning or highly intrusive, a far deviation from the innocuous purpose behind my curiosity. So I'll be content by imagining a million possible stories on how the man got here. The American dream that drove him thousands of miles from anything even remotely resembling home to a little glass box in the suburbs of Boston is pretty difficult for me to comprehend. But dreams are too personal a thing to comment on.