Missing 2/3 coffee

Missing 2/3 coffee

Christopher Columbus landed in America and mistook it for India. I had no such problem when I landed in New York because I was from India and my post-Columbus geography was not that bad.

 But before I embarked on this 10,000 km journey I had one advice too many on how and what I should carry in my baggage or as baggage. I then realised that in India we not only have cricket/cinema/politics experts but also American travel advisors to give advice solicited or otherwise. 

Don’t lock the suitcase, one school of thought advised me while the opposing school cited umpteen instances of locked suitcases reaching the destination safely. ‘Don’t carry rice or oil’ said a wise traveller but another said “What nonsense! My friend took groundnut oil and masuri rice and no one stopped him”.

 Are you carrying medicine? Better have a prescription. Food items? Label them neatly, I was advised. So the halasina happala for my daughter had to be christened as ‘Indian fries – jackfruit based’ to let the US customs official acquire some gnan if a need arose. 

The moral of the story is that every visitor to the US, and now me, has his own travel experience.

 Anyhow, I breezed through the customs and all that the burly chap wanted to know was where I would stay and for how long. I did not appear like a potential terrorist as some Shah Rukh Khan did nor I was frisked as they did to Kalam sir.

 Even if they had, it would not have made news, breaking or otherwise.  He just cheerily waved me into his country.

That was some three weeks ago. But I am already missing my Bangalore. True, my wife doesn’t have to worry about the Cauvery water not filling the sump and the overhead tank and the BBMP poura karmika (not) clearing the garbage or look for Bescom announcements about power cuts, but I miss the Darshinis where I can have a quick bite or sip 23 coffee with one part sugarless.

No one sells here crisp hot bajjis or vadas. Nor can I buy baked peanuts or mango slices peppered with chilli powder and salt. No sign of soda water carts or water melon slices on a hot afternoon. Thirsty? Buy a whole bottle of juice. 

As I walk on the spacious unoccupied footpaths I am scared of my footwear snapping. It means you have to discard it in the nearest dustbin because there are just no cobblers.

 By the way where is the raddiwaala who cycles his way shouting pape..r paaper..pyaper..No autos but on the famed 42nd Street I saw cycle rickshaws which are prohibitively expensive – a dollar for every 10 minutes of ride. One hardly sees a cop on the prowl yet traffic violation is a rarity. 

But we do see smartly dressed beggars holding placards explaining their plight and seeking help. A youth had just lost his job and a lady had three kids to support and both held placards on the roadside hoping that motorists would halt and throw a dollar or two.

As we drove past I wondered how they would survive in this wealthy city. Here all you need are dollars and more dollars. Anything else has no value.

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