Manhattan – Fishing and Rats (Part 2)

When we entered the park through the south-east corner, the same drama was being enacted inside too but the crowd was mixed. Being Saturday, the park was crowded. A young lady was painting the stone bridge & I peeped from the side to see the work. She was good. We walked little further & sat on the bench opposite to the lake overlooking the bridge. A Youngman was catching fish with simple hook & some plastic looking bait, while 3-ducks stood close to each other on a small rock popping out of the water. Another man from across was capturing the beauty of the natural stone bridge with his camera. At least they were aware of the what they were doing!!

Youngman’s fishing became our discussion for a while as many passersby looked at him with critical eyes. I was wondering if the fishing is allowed inside the park pond? There were a whole lot of fish in the pond… some coloured ones too… meanwhile he got one & he showed it to two kids saying it’s a trout… & released back the fish as an asian woman watched them all. I commented it’s nice that it was released, I know it is to teach his kids but he also should tell them that the fish gets hurt like us & feels uncomfortable deprived of oxygen nearly expecting death too. In the meantime, the kids pointed towards the back & said see Dad there & ran towards him. Oh boy it was not his kids! Was it fair to catch the fish? What was the purpose?

Then the Youngman took his fishing rod & walked to the other side of the lake. I wondered if he was maybe re-living his childhood or maybe making it up for the lost childhood? Now our mind moved towards the stone bridge where many women sat & some kids crawled along it’s the ledge of the bridge, which gave us goosebumps.

My husband and son talked about the buildings around. And I pointed to my daughter in law the Rats racing & scurrying from both sides… with full speed ignoring the presence of humans on their mobiles! There were so many & one was just behind us on the tree watching us. I started telling them about an Indian National volleyball player’s unprecedented accident, when she had rats feasting on her raw flesh right in front of her eyes while she lay unable to move between Two railway tracks. Actually my talk was not about the rats but the human mental endurance but my husband & DIL quickly got up to move… & on the other side of the lake there was a father & son duo both equipped with fishing rod… besides them was the same Youngman!! Same old thing repeated yet I was thankful for they were releasing it back to the water… we moved on fearing their hook might hurt us from their behind while throwing.

Outside “Zombie Oasis” was getting larger & the lights were on. NYPD vehicle which I had seen earlier was still there & I joked what would the Zombies do for Uncle Sam to wait on them… eat each other? Glued to mobiles, they were almost dead to reality, no one spoke or laughed.. thank God they still seemed breathing!! Only casualty was the Psyche Crash!! While the passing cars rolled smoothly & sounds of horse’s hoop reminded of a bygone era, there was an eerie silence among the packed homogeneous sardines..

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Manhattan and Mahabharata – Kali or Dajjal? (Part 1)

Prediction for Kali-Yuga & Who is the Son of God, the savior of the earth??

A fiction based on a dream like experience… To understand why the different beliefs & names of some countries appear in this article, please read till the concluding part… any feedback on this is much appreciated & could be added to the article..

“Kali Yuga started with Gold, continued to be fueled by Black Gold (Petrol) & will end with white gold (sweet Water).”

It is said that “What is in the Mahabharata can be found elsewhere, but what is not in the Mahabharata cannot be found anywhere.” Mahabharata has covered everything under the sun what we have heard & what we would perhaps hear in the future!! Something one can ever dream off, from ultimate atomic weapon with the knowhow to call it back, to growing babies outside the womb, to woman having sex change, & then capable of fathering a child as a man, to keeping a head alive after being separated from the body, to revive a dead child in the womb!! Mahabharata has a network of well-connected stories taking its reader through a maze where many lives of the same person is depicted projecting the cause & effect very clearly: information which is enough to cover the length & breadth of the universe!!

The same seems to apply to New York’s Manhattan: what you don’t find in Manhattan you perhaps can never find elsewhere!! Take a journey with me to put the pieces of puzzle together to know Manhattan is the place where Mr. Kali will dwell & who is the yellow clad Son of God, who could be the one finally to subdue him!!

It’s about 2 am & I am awake as I could literally hear my daughter in law with a childlike enthusiasm & smile whisper in my years: “Mavi”, (Mother in law) “look, its KALIYUGA”.  I wondered how it could be… she is sleeping downstairs with her husband & me here with my husband next to me. Then strangely the day’s events started falling together in DETAIL.

I had heard it before couple of hours ago in the evening of September 11, 2016 at Central Park as she moved quickly towards me in a Mayan Aztec style top & red short skirts as her little purple tote bag made a sound similar to a calf’s bell in the neck. As she walked behind me & my son along with my husband with her, chirping like a bird offering us horse carriage rides or juice or tempting with deserts at Plaza, the bell sound followed me around. Seemed like she had a big list in her mind to offer us!

I love Central Park; it always makes me happy. For me it’s not the Times Square or the shopping or the sprawling B-M-W bridges but the soulful Central Park is the most attractive place in New York. I remember the last visit in 2015, few hours before our departure, I had dragged my unwilling husband for a small walk & ran inside to capture its soul, an eternal melody from the past played by the Native Indians.

As usual my son started explaining to me the new strange scenario (or phenomenon?) when I asked him what was that special thing happening under the Golden Lady at the Grand Army Plaza? The Sherman Monument was surrounded by a mass of down cast humans which kept growing as the time passed. I remembered the first day of summer at Boston couple of years ago where the entire Bostonians seemed congregated at the park celebrating the arrival of Mr. Sun after a long cold winter.

My son laughed & said Mum, it’s the new video game from Nintendo called Pokémon Go. Someone with a simple idea making a whole lot of money. Pokémon (pocket monsters), free-to-play, location-based augmented reality game by Niantic. Monsters are kept in magic containers called Pokeball & one has to capture the maximum so that they can be trained to fight each other. Displayed on your smartphone screen, which you catch at a specific location or PokeStops. In the real word it seems to have swept many nations across capturing the human imagination…. & supposed to have guided the players to commit crime, death, accidents, etc., etc.…..

I said oh…. It seems to have made virtual slaves of both young & old alike. I remember reading that Japan banned it after a death & few countries including Kuwait has banned it too. As we moved, the crowd seemed increasing. Every pair of eyes focused on the mobile screen unaware of their own presence. Some stood, some sat & some followed the pull of what on the screen I had absolutely no idea. I told him can you please take picture & I can post with a simple caption. Otherwise my articles are always lengthy & many complain.. including you… let me surprise my readers. My son suddenly stops & looks at me with a grin & surprised eyes. He is my man with all the patience on Earth to explain things to me & tolerate me when I shout or advice even now!

He continued… how people are lead to Central Park to capture the virtual points. I could see People flocked, literally flocked like cattle or goat herd following the gadgets & the software like following Pied Piper, unaware of the presence of the next person just for a virtual free point. There was nothing tangible, not even a melody to follow… For me it was a sad sight….these were not the RATS but the REAL PEOPLE….

Of pavement sales, Mr. President, and the Most Photographed Person on 5th Avenue!

 

September 13th 2016…… As part of our usual exploratory Manhattan walking, my husband and I crisscrossed the streets from 1st avenue to 5th Avenue, but this day it was a strange sense of business everywhere: Workers and NYPD were everywhere, erecting metal barricades starting from First Avenue and driving around with their lights flashing. New Yorkers, as always, didn’t seem to care & my curious cat husband asked a couple of police women what were was going on. One of them told us the reason for the commotion, the leader of the free world, Mr. President, would be passing through.

We walked across towards 5th avenue passing through Lexington Avenue & the streets were buzzing with tourists, dog walkers, baby walkers (strollers) & few office goers. The weather was slightly warm but beautiful. At 62nd street, a gentleman was walking 4-pretty looking Poodles, all in apricot & almost same size while the 3 marched in unison, one of it started with pranks. While waiting for the crossing, one of the Poodles decided that she (guess) had had enough & slept on the ground & refused to get up inspite of the handler coaxing it…we spent few minutes watching the cute drama queen.. then as she still fussed, we walked further past the grand Apple show room.

As we passed the GOP’s Presidential candidate’s looming black tower, tourists were busy photographing themselves with the happiest person of the day – the beaming DOORMAN… outside stood few cops, seemingly oblivious of the activities around. For once the General & his Golden lady had a competitor… There were 2-professional photographers perhaps expecting Mr. Trump to get out of the tower, randomly clicking the doorway & another one busy interviewing passersby (a lady in light blue attire was talking into the mike) & a gentleman, dressed in a T-shirt & shorts with a placard in hand that had a picture of two of sons of Mr. Trump with a dead wild cat with “Trump’s sons are deplorable” written across & another one with “Dump the Trump”. We stood there watching the circus & after few seconds a young couple passed by & started arguing with the protestor… we are not Trump supporters but you have no right to say…. the argument went on for more than ten minutes… & most tourists were interested in clicking pictures with the Doorman… who was practically in 7th heaven.

As usual I was insisting that I want to talk to the protestor & my husband did not want anything to with the drama around… finally when the couple left, I asked the gentleman to pose for a picture & then a Jewish gentleman (not very orthodox) with a little cap on his head started discussing with the protestor… saying the photograph must have been doctored!! The protestor was telling that they are fond of hunting & they have killed so many animals & they are hoarding ivory at home, etc., etc. Everyone seemed or sounded like they were not for Mr. Trump but were against the depiction… anyways their understanding or logic was beyond my understanding!

We walked further, passing in front of beautiful old churches & going in & out were the tourist like us, just curious to see the décor like the stain glasses inside… one church even said “This is God’s House, All are Welcome”… I wondered what would be the future of the N-number of beautiful churches in Manhattan? I remember the charming churches of Amsterdam, which are turned into discos or something else as church goers dwindle. I have no idea if Mr. God is happy (or sad) to be left alone in peace. I thought of the “Good News” people still trying to convert the innocents back in India by offering money & wondered instead of creating incomplete, half knowledge worshipers why can’t they improve the existing ones? Strange are the ways of men & their ideology.

We spent time lazing around Rockefeller Center & looked at the exotic Asian plants including the little bread fruit trees & was wondering why they had harassed me & my husband for carrying a single little orange from a British Airways meal at Boston Airport way back in May 2009. Words from the principles of Rockefeller Jr, in front the building is always very inspiring for me. Interestingly, in front of it two men were arguing about something related to one of the gentleman’s wife… & both seemed strangers! Further at the entrance was etched “Wisdom & Knowledge shall be the stability of thy times” – hope this will pass on from generation to generation.

As we returned, beside Trump Tower stood an ambulance & an old man was sleeping on the stretcher after collapsing from fatigue. We stood watching the efficiency of the attendants. While passing in front of the Trump Tower we noticed that the door man had changed & there stood a serious-faced man seemingly stressed & no one was photographing… I joked with my husband that perhaps everyone was jealous of the previous Doorman getting so much attention….. Seemed like he was even more popular than the static Queen’s Guards… of Buckingham Palace!!

And as we crossed, just before the apple showroom, there were many portable chairs & some had small plastic covers kept next to each other. On it was written “$300 for the space including the chair”. Now I was wondering if people are allowed to sell the pavement or what? America is advancing a step forward or backward? I’ve heard of people selling land in the moon… so this must be the testing ground… hum! Made my husband talk to one of the people sitting on the chair & they said they had no idea why they were selling the space. How charming, all in part of hour’s wage. Well, ignorance is bliss… & as we walked further, there were countless offers of carriage trips around the park. And with a “thank you, we have done it already”, I asked one of the gentleman about selling the space & chair & he said it’s for the iPhone 7 sale, for the 16th release…. Oh boy it’s still 13th & sale already started…. God help them. Pokemon…. iPhone 7.. what next..? As long as the human minds could be lured, there are endless opportunities & there is no end to surprises.

Later Mr. Obama’s convoy passed just a stone’s throw from home but I was too tired to go stand to see the vehicles… once I did see Mr. Bush junior’s helicopter landing in Washington & it was not thrilling so what is the use of waiting for a bunch of black car?

Bloomington Diary – Part 2 – Catskills

After landing in New York our destination for the weekend was not Central Park but Fleischmanns Village, upstate New York, approximately 140 miles north of New York City. Fleischmanns is located in the Catskills mountains, an unusual name for a place of Delaware County in the state of New York. It’s a pretty little place with loads of wild flowers that seem to bloom practically everywhere; a small river with crystal clear water, which seems to be passing all through the place. Fresh mountain air with moisture from the previous rain suddenly gave the impression of entering into my home town. After crossing a little bridge, we landed in our accommodation. The minute we entered the place all 7 of us had the same feeling- it’s like entering a house in Madikeri during the rainy season both in sense of look as well as the scent!! It had that old damply moist smell we all of us knew so very well. The next sentence from my daughter was I want a house like this!!

It was a break from the din & roar of the city to spend quality family time & as well as a special meeting. I was meeting my would-be son in law for the first time. I had met his parents a couple of times back home & knew them before too but not the boy himself. After landing at JFK he had joined us. Funnily, we were 7 different people from India, Kuwait & 4 different parts of the USA itself, holidaying at another town in the country. The world really is shrinking!

We three ladies wanted to explore the village. Before that, we wanted to soak our legs in the river & could hear the children’s laughter from below the thicket. As we passed the little bridge we could see a large, simple building. We thought it must be a school or something, through which we could go to the river. There was no sign board but when we entered we could see many picnic tables behind the building, where a lot of women & some kids were just lazing around. Then, towards the gate walked a teenager with 4 other kids following him. He was immaculately dressed in a black suit with a white shirt & a black hat.  We asked him whether we could go to the river through the compound.

The teenager turned his face away from us as if he had seen 3 ghosts!! One of the girls, around 7 or 8, smiled at us & when we asked her again she said we could go but walked off without telling much as the teenager signaled her to continue walking. We were not sure if we were trespassing or something so we returned to our accommodation.

We had to get some groceries & we three again wanted to go out & explore, knowing that we could find something interesting. But as we started walking our first impression was, what a rundown ghost town, as if we had gone into the sets of some ghost movie or something. All the restaurants were abandoned. One old fashioned boutique which was cute was also closed! Finally, we found one little supermarket opened but we were the only customers. To our utter surprise, it was owned by an East Indian. We bought some onions & marshmallows (luckily it was available!!). He did not talk much to us but warned us not to go out in the night…  we were taken aback as were already little paranoid of the looks around us!! However when we asked him why & he said…”The bears!!”

When we came out of the shop it was almost evening & we could see so many people, practically everyone immaculately dressed in white & black, all in groups of family or friends. Seemed like everyone shared the same tailor! Some men wore some kind of round hat resembling Old Russian style hats. The most interesting thing for us was that all the boys had cropped hair (it was not clearly visible) leaving just two lock of hair on both sides of the ear (payot) which was neatly curled up & was flying in the air when they moved.  It was a sight to behold. Everyone seemed to engrossed in their own thoughts or maybe suspicious of foreigners because no one even acknowledged our presence there..as if we never existed!! Just coming from Bloomington it was a different kind of experience for us.

Then it occurred to us it must be an orthodox Jewish community & today being Sabbath, everyone was taking everything easy. Then the round hat was confusing to us too… anyway we reached back home as we were very hungry. The main problem was the late sunset which was confusing what time of the day it was & going from Asia, our system could not get used to it!!

We had a great family time & it was really refreshing with all the fresh mountain air & loads of wild flowers & unspoiled natural beauty. Next two day, whenever possible, we walked around but no one ever smiled at us except one time when we were at the deck one lady walking with her husband waved at us. When I wished her she did not reply… on one side of the village many houses are occupied by Native Indians but even they did not acknowledge our presence. I have no idea if it was because we were from another part of the world or they just wanted to shy away from someone outside the village border.

We had made few trips to the super market & tried to go to the little boutique hoping to carry some souvenirs but it was never opened.. even though an ‘Open’ placard was on the pavement. Anyway, I was bent upon finding out why the town was so abandoned. On our last day, we three ladies went to the supermarket with the pretext of getting chocolates, (the owner was little mellowed by then, yet reserved) & popped the question. What I heard was really sad.

The place was abandoned not by choice but by the wrath of Mother Nature in the form of devastation through hurricane Irene; it was really sad. However, I could not understand how the water from the low lying river/creek could cause such a huge flood. Then he said that the water came from the mountain as if a tide had washed if off. It’s beyond my understanding capacity how a tropical wave starting somewhere in Africa could have such a monstrous effect thousands of miles away. It is a mystery showcasing the power of nature, in front of whom we are nothing but a nano-dot or perhaps even invisible. The truth hit me hard that in the hands of Mother Nature’s fury, we are just puppets. He said that the water level in his shop was three feet high, submerging everything. Most of the residents had left the place as the houses had become inhabitable & the state is now searching for ways to prevent such happenings in the future before rebuilding.

Even though at first I thought that the behavior of the Orthodox Jewish community was unusual, then I realized we had lessons to learn from them. Against all the odds & the backdrop of all the calamities, this group has stayed tall- proving the phrase United we Stand, Divided we Fall. I thought of the olden days when even in India people lived in groups {like balyamane (big house) of our own community, Taravads of Kerala, etc.,) & joint families. But with the so called new age, families are becoming nuclear & divided. Divorces have become the order of the day, which often leaves the children in lurch/doldrums, depriving them of so many good things in life such as sharing, loving, respecting, etc. Not very long ago, irrespective of the caste, creed & religion people in villages lived in harmony, I have witnessed it myself growing up. Sadly many a times till trouble knocks on our door or stands at our threshold we don’t bother because it’s not our problem… let the neighbor face first then we will think about it. Unfortunately people are Dividing, Sub-dividing & slowly Fragmenting.

World is really shrinking but sadly with fragmented thought streams. Hope the days are not far away when we will learn to live united…