The long trip to Calcutta is over and I am back in New York. It’s difficult to believe that one can be in the midst of the scorching heat of the sun one day and so much snow the next. In both places, people will smile and say you haven’t seen the scorching sun/ real heavy snow if you think this is it!
The first few days after a trip to India seem both calm and peaceful and also unnaturally silent . Even the most crowded of NYC streets don’t seem all that crowded any more. But peace and lack of people can also turn to loneliness.
It’s also a change of scale and perspective one has to get used to once again. The big blue suitcase that had seemed monstrous in the Calcutta flats seem just regular when I am back. Even the cups, glasses and spoons in New York seem a little larger than life. Then there are the little things. I have to remember to say “Water–no ice” in the restaurants once again.
Most of all, the precious objects that I carefully bring back in my suitcase stand out as different the moment they are unpacked here. The plastic wraps look different, the English peppered with Hindi on the bags of the Lays potato chips seem different, the pillow covers and prints feel different.
The reason perhaps the changes are underscored even more now is that in a matter of 14 hours and in a single flight, I can now fly from one country to the other–at least from Delhi to New York if not directly from Calcutta. The change is sudden and the journey short. I should get used to this brief travel by now. Still, the changes leave me with wonder.
And yet, more and more, so many things don’t change anymore. I still have the same laptop and camera, I still get to see what people are doing every second on Facebook, I can find most major food items I would look for in Calcutta in New York. I don’t need to carry them with me any more. In fact, the Kachagollas (sweets) in Queens and the Kati Rolls in Manhattan have turned out to be bigger (surprised?) and every bit as delicious, if not more so than their Kolkata counterparts. I can sometimes even hear people speak in Hindi as they pass by my window here in the New York area.
Not that much changes and yet so many things are not the same. Those who live in two very different places will surely know what I mean.
It feels good to be back on the blog.