Bottledworder is back

Delhi airport
The Delhi International terminal was amazing.

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.

42 thoughts on “Bottledworder is back”

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  2. So nice to see you back! It’s amazing how people in different places talk about the weather. I’ve come from a freezing climate to a tropical climate and where it was once, ‘gee I wish it would warm up’, it’s now ‘gee I wish it would cool down’ 😀


  3. I have lived in the Pacific NW for 20 years, but I am from the east coast. It is still interesting to make that trip home and vise versa. It is as if I have two homes on both coasts. I like cooler weather so Seattle is definitely where I Iike to be the most, but home is home with the hot and muggy…I am glad you had safe travels.


  4. Great to have you back. I missed your posts. I know how you feel, it’s always a shock to the senses both ways. I find it takes some re-adjusting, especially if you haven’t gone back for many years. I went after almost 18 years and it felt unreal. The old streets and neighbourhoods, some still the same, but most of them unfamiliar and recognizing the faces of shopowners from your past life and just small seemingly insignificant details. It makes you feel as if you are in a time warp, you react instinctively and then realize you haven’t felt this way for so many years. I felt so many conflicting emotions when I went back after all those years. Glad to hear you had a good time.


  5. Even traveling within the U. S. seems like time travel to me, even though people all speak English and every McDonald’s seems to be familiar. From Wisconsin to Florida in winter is so curious. I can appreciate the culture shock you feel from NY to Calcutta. Who needs space travel when we have it right here on our own planet?


  6. Hey! Where in NY do you get Kathi rolls? I miss them terribly. I will be in the NY area next week and I’d love to try some – NY style.

    And how is my dear old foster city? I was there last March and got out just as the heat was starting to kick in. And I was quite stunned to see IGI airport actually….compared to my trip in 2008 it was like they built a totally new terminal in 4 years with all the roads and systems.

    I remember we were saying on the drive to the airport that airports should put scales outside check-in so people can weight the suitcases and balance out the loads when lo and behold just inside the main entrance …. weighing scales!! Fantastic.

    And welcome back! And tell me, please where be kathi rolls in NYC…


      1. Thanks much!

        I just had to write a quick blog post in response extolling the virtues of the kathi rolls…. I plan to check them out this when I am in Manhattan later this week.


  7. Welcome back!! What about those Bangla newspaper sheets as protection over your breakable purchases from Kolkata? 🙂 We are going too – this summer! The sun will be much, much stronger!!


  8. Welcome back to the good, ole USA. For one born here, I love to travel abroad and see what other countries are like, their culture, meet their people, and enjoy new foods, but then on the return home to the US I feel as if it is like a lost pup returning to his/her mother maybe. But, the travel experience is one that is a welcomed change when we get too comfortable or complacent here in our own spoiled neck of the woods. 🙂 I too, missed your blogs posts as I always enjoy them.


  9. Welcome back – and what a wonderful reflection for a first post back. It is amazing how travel impacts our experience, especially when the sense of the journey is somewhat removed… Be well~


  10. I moved to a new country not long ago . I relate to the subtleties you refer, though simple but very amusing. Keep up with your musings and the amusement .


  11. Missed you, BW! Welcome back to the U.S!

    I, as a native New Yorker who moved to California years ago, can relate to the feeling of having to reorient myself each time I visit family in new york and then return back home to LA. So many difference


  12. Welcome back – I really enjoyed your post on the difference between here (North America) and there (Calcutta) and how a short journey is long in terms of changes; I also like how you found the similarities — you are giving many of us a peek into something we will not experienced firsthand


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