Posted by Mansi
A month before my biannual trips to New York (July 22, baby!) a light bulb goes on inside me. Even the most mundane actions – paying the phone bill, parking the car, cleaning out my desktop – take on the incandescence usually reserved for Saturday night plans.
Recently though, I’ve begun to feel a sense of anxiety along with the anticipation, and I’ve been thinking about its source. I suspect that the feeling is born from the realisation that the longer I stay away from New York, the looser my grip on the city gets. Every time I return, my roster of friends gets a little smaller, my knowledge of the best 4 am diners more outdated, my memory of the streets dimmer.
A former New Yorker who moved to India about four years ago articulated my fears perfectly while describing a trip back; he said that he was walking down Madison and 50th and had the sudden realisation that if he was in car accident at that very moment, none of his acquaintances would notice that he was gone. That’s when his love affair with the city ended.
For how long will I be able to continue my long distance relationship, built on ten day visits and dispatches from a shrinking group of friends, Facebook updates and New York Times reports? How long before I realise that I could drop dead on the street and it would be days before someone would miss me?
It’s a scary thought. But even as I write this post, my roommate from college is making space for me at her UES apartment, and a cousin from Queens is bitching about picking me up from the airport at 7:30 am.
So I’m not at the die-without-a-trace stage. Yet. And like Suketu Mehta writes in Maximum City, you can always rekindle a relationship with an old flame.
Amen to that.
PS: If you’re one of the four Mumbaikars who hasn’t read the abovementioned book, put it on your list now. For those whose have read and enjoyed it, here are some more place-specific titles I love:
Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk
From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet by Vikram Seth
The Places in Between by Rory Stewart (about Afghanistan)
Here is New York by E.B. White