I live in Jersey City on the other side of the Hudson River but spend the day in Manhattan, New York. So, there’ll be a lot of people up in arms debating the credibility of my opinions about New York. But read on if you are one of those who have come fresh off the boat anytime recently.
One of my classmates once mentioned, “New Yorkers seem cold at first appearance. But once you break that chasm, they are all gooey and mushy inside.”
Everyone starts to form polarizing opinions once you ask them about their personal views.
“You’ll either love the city or hate it. You’ll want to live here as much as you’d want to get away from it.”
“I can’t stay here forever. I’m leaving as soon as I pay my loans.”
“This city is so crazy. I love every corner of it.”
“If I ever die, I want to be buried in a grave in the heart of this city.”
These are just some of the regular thoughts one gets to hear.
When I set foot in the city, I was mesmerized by the concrete jungle. At night when I look up, I wasn't being awestruck by the infinite stars in the dark sky. I was rather hypnotized by the glare of lights on skyscrapers.
When you walk on the streets, everyone is on this unannounced march to their workplace or home to conquer small battles that keep them going. Someone stamped on your foot, the apology follows without one eye meeting the other.
Everyone’s business or that’s what it seems at the surface. But somehow, I always found people who opened their hearts and did amazing things they didn’t need to do. I was told no one is your friend here but maybe, that’s why we all need one another.
There are old gentlemen in the subway who make place for a lady so she can hold herself with dignity. There are random store representatives at mobile stores who want to make sure you get your connection and make 15 calls to different departments to keep their promise.
Beautiful women at Candy Stores you see every day who offer to buy you a meal when they see you don’t have enough change. There are friendly concierges greeting you every day with a smile and pumping your confidence whenever you are going for an exam or an interview.
They invite you for Thanksgiving dinner and offer to make exclusive vegetarian meals for you just so aren’t alone on days that matter.
On one hand, everyone wants to talk shop. But on the other hand, in rare ambiguous moments of serendipity, they venture out to extend a warm hug and make you believe a little in the world again.
A few months back, in the dead of winter, I wondered if this was the place for me. “Don’t lose your sunshine,” my sister warned me when we met. “That’s the best part about you.”
And so I put my rose-tinted glasses on and put myself out there to let the city happen to me. I made a promise, “If they hate me or laugh at me, I don’t care. But never will I stop myself from meeting people who I want to meet and doing things I want to do because of the fear of that rejection or humiliation.”
People surprise you and I can’t wait for more surprises to flourish in my life.
To Friendships, Chances and Serendipity...
Photo courtesy: http://darkroom.baltimoresun.com,