Sunday, July 6, 2014

Travel to East Coast: A Psychedelic Experience

The objective of this trip was to attend His Graduation ceremony, see him wear the hood and cap with our watery eyes. I wish to dedicate this post to Him, primarily because I am not good with anything else which I wished I was. If I were an artist, I would have gifted him a hand drawn painting. Had I known how to play an instrument, I would have composed something for him. Had I been a good singer or poet, would have sung or written verses for him. Unfortunately, I am none of the above and writing this post is the closest I can do to tell him that, ‘You did brilliant and should continue to’. Smile

Let me start reminiscing while you sit back and enjoy. Parents and I were coming out of JFK airport and were not expecting him there because the flight had landed early. To our surprise, we heard a voice and he was there to guide us. As expected of him, he had tracked the flight and had planned his trip accordingly. We were in the train from Jamaica Station (JS) to Stony Brook (SB) and were supposed to change our train at Huntington. I was thinking about my last trip and Mother was sitting next to me. I opened a small notebook from my bag, gifted to me by my father, one that has words in Tamil written on it. I showed mother that I had noted down the names of all the stations between Penn Station and SB last time when I was here, in fact had even memorized all of them. She was a little amazed and smiled at me saying I should start noting down things about this trip too. She gave me an apple to eat in the train. I knew I looked stupid eating it inside the train but was sort of emotionally touched by the food offered, so I continued to eat without reminding myself of the presence of others in the train. For the first time, I heard something which I thought was only specific to India and Indians and didn’t happen anywhere else in the world. Indians have the habit of shouting on a everyday basis. Their day starts with shouting on the auto and cab drivers, cooks and maids, carpenters and plumbers, the neighbour next door, the man in the car just ahead of them, mother’s brother’s son’s wife’s sister, the list is endless. Here, I heard some youngsters abusing an elderly man and they were using swear words. The arguments lasted for quite some time and I didn’t have the courage to look at them but was quite surprised that things like these happen in America too.

We started our trip of the East Coast the very next day and the first place was Niagara. Niagara is beautiful. Parents have told me that He is allergic to water and they too encourage him to stay away from water. I remember when I mentioned Goa to them, their reaction was ‘There is water everywhere in that place’. The trip to Goa happened but we stayed away from water. I was sort of sure that he wouldn’t enter the cave on the way to Niagara because there is a waterfall over there. To my shock, he went inside the cave, that too on his own and without throwing any tantrums walked on the muddy, watery, uneven rocky patch of land, even clicked pictures while inside the cave. When he came out, I held out a small flower at him to which he said, ‘Did you pluck it by any chance?’ I was taken aback for a moment but I replied saying, ‘Yes… Sorry! Sad smile’.

I used his camera throughout the trip because I forgot to carry mine. How stupid can one be; who forgets to carry a camera while going for a vacation. Whenever I lifted his camera in my hand, I heard his heart beat rise and he would give me tips on how to shoot the next picture. There were times when I actually told him, ‘I can handle it’ and giggled. His nervousness was at its peak when I said, ‘Will take a Panorama now’ to which he almost cringed, ‘My camera’s Panorama feature doesn’t work well. I get different types of error messages’. To his dismay, I shot a perfect Panorama then. But it didn’t work well once in a while after that.

We enjoyed a bumpy yet happy ride to the next destination, Niagara Falls. We stood by the falls for a while, clicked pictures, saw tall buildings along the falls and He explained how we can take smooth shots of the flowing water. There was a Tribal show organized in the evening. The dancers at the show performed to many different themes. It was quite nice seeing them dance with all that energy and enthusiasm. They looked very colourful and bright, were wearing heavy costumes which were intricately designed. The effort was quite visible in the way they carried themselves and I made him shoot pictures during and after the show where I posed with one of the dancers as well. We stayed at a very nice place in the evening named Adam’s Mark Hotel. I stared at the moon, the water fountain, Church, buildings, etc. from the window of the hotel room while he was working on his laptop (Surface as he prefers to call it! Smile).

The next day, after enjoying a ride in the bus we were at the Whirlpool State Park and there was an announcement by the Guide saying that it is one of the dangerous places and if one gets sucked in the rapids below, there would be no saving them. I am a little bit scared of heights. When I was young, the fear was a lot more intense. I’m trying to overcome the same by challenging myself to adventures involving heights. The whirls made inside water were almost like flowing lake of milk. I wonder what it would be like inside this flowing water. I wish to go for snorkelling some day and find out more about the aquatic life, then come back and share that experience here.

While we were coming out of the State park, this guy spotted some red and pink bleeding hearts. You can guess what happened after that, we spent nearly 15 minutes shooting the bleeding hearts. He tested his Macro photography skills. Of late, he has become so infatuated with these flowers that they are his wallpapers on phone and laptops (Oops – Surface and Fujitsu). He is telling me that he wishes to take good colour prints of the same and hang them as wall paintings in his room. Enjoy this apt comic strip here (no offense intended). Smile

The next stop was the Old Fort of Niagara and you should see the pictures (if you have not done so) before reading this. The place was built in 17th century and has survived the battle of  1812. It has been controlled by French, British and Americans at different times. We clicked some ‘Classic’ pictures here. My definition of Classic is very much debatable. Anything which is old is Classic to me. There was a Musket show here and we saw some heavy Cannons too. I spotted a fat cat while exiting the fort. If you have read my posts, you would know that I like Cats very very much. Enjoy these snippets which he and I have shared from time to time. Winking smile

The next place we stopped at was the Corning Glass museum. The glass making demonstration was so fantastic that I started fantasizing a similar setup at home. Every time someone asked for a gift, I would start to run on my creative veins and would come out with a beautiful shape of glass. Out of the many interesting things, one which attracted quite a bit of attention was a periodic table all made of glass. After questioning each other on the Periodic table, both of us thought we had pretty much earned our Brownie points and so went ahead and had some chocolate mousse. Hehe…

The place we stayed on the second day of the trip was called ‘Red Roof+’ and it was nice too. The room almost seemed like one on tree top. On our start next morning, we tried filling a crossword but in vain (he says he was not of help), solved some puzzles and read news about stuff which were highly irrelevant to us at that moment and there was a slim chance of them being of any use in our lives later. There was a curtain to my right in the bus and I used to pull it down or lift it up once in every while to click photographs of the scenery outside but was stared at questioningly every time I did that. I strongly feel he thinks that I am only fit for shooting random pictures and I seldom think of the composition or the settings or a story which are key to a good photograph.

On the 3rd day when we started our trip to Washington and Philadelphia, we were at the Lincoln memorial in the morning and I was a little excited about the Capital city. I was taking a picture of Parents when a bunch of kids started to block my framed view and they were talking a little loud too. I blurted out, ‘Hey Kids’. The tone was not too harsh but He didn’t like the remark and apologized on my behalf to the children. I felt bad for a little while but then carried on with my photo shooting spree.

The next destination “A Cruise ride in Washington” was a delightful experience. This was my second one. Last time, I had taken a ferry ride on the Hudson river. We looked at some of the national heritage sites and other ships which were / are used by the Presidents of America. There was a guy who was selling our pictures ($20 each!) at the end of the ride. Actually, he had clicked our pictures while we were about to board the ship. Obviously, we didn’t buy. The next destination was the National Air and Space museum. Please look at the photo album if you have not done so. There were man made models of aircrafts, planets, space crafts and much much more. We also went to other places in Washington like the White House, Washington Memorial and Capitol Hill. He spotted some ducks this time in a beautiful lake outside Capitol Hill. As expected, we spent some time identifying male ducks, female ducks, baby ducks, small ducks, large ducks, white/brown/grey ducks and so on and so forth Smile while he shot some very nice pictures.

The last place before we returned to SB was the Liberty Hall in Philadelphia. We did listen to the Evening Bell here and found some well trained horses for rides with their masters. The complete trip was a lot of hop-on and hop-off but at no point was it strenuous. It always remained exciting and something more to look forward to. I enjoyed the 15 minutes to an hour breaks because they led to exploration, most of the times figuring out the best places to eat. We also found some nice Indian places on our trip, some Italian restaurants and Delis which made our lives comfortable. Let me recollect some of the best things I had during the trip and I recall Raspberry jam, Chocolate mousse, Pizza hut’s Garlic bread and cheese toasts, Malai-kheer at a Punjabi restaurant, Tapioca and Sweet potato chips. Smile Mother’s hand made items were by no doubts the best of all.

We attended his Graduation ceremony and went to a lot of shopping malls in the remaining part of our stay. I Realized that father fancies watches a lot as he was trying to buy a high end one for himslef. He along with mother bought quite a bunch of them to be gifted to friends and family. There is already a post devoted to his Graduation so will refrain from writing anything more on that here. Might just wish to say that the band performance was exemplary and I almost cried. Yoooo, once more to my Superpartner.

1 comment: