Thursday, April 1, 2010

Rochester Diary

The sun streams in through the large window. I am in my friend’s cosy apartment in Rochester. It opens into a narrow street. This just doesn’t look America. Its more of Britain. The narrow streets. The parallel parking, the cold and blistering weather. The depressing brown buildings. This isn’t the USA I know!

The British are pretty smart people. But I never understood why didn’t they ever go for bright colors. It would have made the English winter a bit less dreary.

We are in the end of march and yet the weather seems to be unyielding. I can see people clutching to their warm clothing and bending double to protect themselves from the onslaught of the cold breeze. It seems like the Nature is taking an almost perverse pleasure in asserting its superiority over mankind.

Hotel Staybridge is right in front. The Marriot is on the west. A huge Pepsi truck maneuvers its way into the parking lot. I feel a grudging admiration for the driver. It isn’t easy driving in these narrow lanes.

The Mayo Hospital is an imposing structure partially hidden by the hotel. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Rochester is Mayo. I can see a chopper landing in their premises. I hope the patient recovers soon. Ambulances are a common sight.

The trees look naked, almost vulgar, shorn of the leaves. A huge squirrel is hopping up and down. It’s much larger than its Indian counterpart. The tail is huge and bushy. I am charmed by its photogenic poses and rush to pick up my camera. Alas! The battery is discharged. The squirrel cocks a snook and vanishes only to return again after some time.

My friend is a hungry host. He just doesn’t seem to be satisfied. Every day he plans to go somewhere to eat or drink. We went to a Mongolian restaurant. You can make your own lunch there. There are raw meats in a row. Pick your choice and move to the vegetable section. Add one of the three varieties of noodles. Then are different type of sauces and oils. The variety is mind boggling. Lastly there is a huge round griddle on which the bowl is cooked along with the other foods. The chefs cook right in front as the eager guests circle the griddle and admire the skill and dexterity of the chefs. Its fascinating to see four chefs working in unison and yet not mixing the foods!

But all that eating has its downside.

In two days I can feel the pant tighten on my waist. KC had one day called me Ganeshji in India because of that. Tanmay had immediately retorted, “ Papa I will take uncle to play badminton. Then he will become Shivji.” This time he will have to work a little harder.

Yesterday was his eighth birthday. I gave him a call. He warned me not to forget his gifts. As if I would!

Satish’s room mate is a perfect poster boy for Viagra. Unfortunately he is still very young. I guess it is viagra’s loss. His energy is infectious. I have seldom seen doctors so happy and cheerful. I see him only while coming and going. He’s always that busy. But in that short time, he can keep you in splits.

These guys can really give me a complex. They are all young, smart and confident. Know what they want. And here I am struggling with my mid life crisis; that phase in one’s life when the upper half says I want and the lower half says I can’t.
I can imagine how Gautam Buddha felt. There is no tree under which I had to sit .
But then epiphany can steal its way and come calling even when you least expect.

All good things have to finally come to an end. and soon I have to leave . I wouldn’t want my friend and his room mate, Rahul singing , “ Atithee tum kab jaoge!”

Two days in California and then its India.

The bushy squirrel is opportunistic. It saw there was no traffic and crossed the road.
Its finding its home among the naked trees I guess.

I wouldn’t know if it does. Like him I too am trying to find a home.

Its been one long winter.


  1. It was a pleasure having you and we are going to miss you. Have a safe trip to India.

  2. Dude ! are you kidding me ? you are one of the best personalities I have seen since I came to my senses. and L O Very L..about that Viagra thing....I think, I need to learn from you that how to see hidden positive things from day today lives. As Satish said....Pleasure is mine to know you personally....I admired your posts, I admire you and your personality. you found a die-hard fan :) Adios untill next time !

  3. thanks for giving me new nicknames for these two, hungry host and viagra boy, awesome hilarious haha...have a safe trip.

  4. Thanks Satish,i enjoyed every moment. :)
    I too am going to miss you all.

  5. Rahul, thanks for your comments.i loved the L O very L :p

  6. Hi Sanjay,
    Thanks for your kind words. Hope to see you some time soon again.