Wednesday, July 26, 2006

NYC Trip: Part IV - The Girl from Yesterday

"On my first day in New York a guy asked me if I knew where Central Park was. When I told him I didn't he said, 'Do you mind if I mug you here?" -- Paul Merton

*Excerpt from NYC Trip:Part-I*
You do not fool around in subways, else you'll seriously regret it. (As luck you have it, I would find out exactly why later that day)

Well, after all the sightseeing was done, we decided to take a break, go back to the hotel and then come back at night. After all, it was a Saturday night. And if you ain't gonna party in the Big Apple, its better to head home. Anywayz, we had all been out for more than 10 hours and done quite a bit of walkin too. Well, how we had to get back was not sure to us, but we did know our hotel address, so we decided to try the dark subway metro again. We asked a guy who told us it wasn't possible to get direct train, that we may need to change at atleast 2-3 trains. We headed down into the 42nd st station...we decided to ask someone and get the right one. Usually, the subways are very deserted and not nice places to be at for a long time. Got some weird people too, and a very good potential location for theft, mugging etc.

We had stood there for like 10 min (the trains are pretty frequent) when I saw a train arriving..I was at that time taking a video of some guy playing the violin in hope for a few cents.

A very sad, depressing and eeiry tune too.
Just the setting needed for a twist.

Thinking that my team-mates were behind me (actually not thinking at all) I stepped into it, without turning around. The doors are automatic and close after approx. 15 seconds. I looked back after getting in, and saw to my horror that they were still howering over some vague map we had got on the way. They looked up, saw me. I looked back at them with a sense of shock creeping in. They had the "What the F*&% do you think you're doing??" look on their faces...I rushed towards the doors...and...

zzzzzzzzppphhhhhhhhh...

The doors shut full force on my face.
The train started moving...away...away..away from the only people I knew within 400 miles of that spot. My PM ran towards the door, but these trains do accelerate pretty fast. As the train started speeding away, I saw him showing desperate direction signs. You see, I consider myself pretty good in Dumb Charades. Ambadi and Jimmy (my college DumbC team-mates) will give excellent testimony to that (won't you dear buddies??? :p ) But there was no way in Hell (read NYC) that I could figure out what my PM was saying in those 3 seconds. Would have been a national college-level record if I did.

And then silence....
We were in a tunnel and I came back to reality.
I looked around, at the strange unfamiliar faces of even stranger, unfamiliar people around me. The bogey was pretty deserted, hardly 5-6 people. I felt my heartbeat rate increase. I forced myself to shut out the rising panic and focus at the pros and cons of the situation.

pros : hmmm...lets see...I knew my hotel name and address. The Grant, 94th st, Manhattan. Not even sure about this too. ummm...nuthin more...

cons : I had no idea how to reach my hotel. I had no idea where this train was going. I hardly had a few dollars left in my pocket, cos I'd spent quite a bit that day and the rest of my cash was in my bag, safe (and useless) in my hotel. I had my new citibank card though. Problem was, I had never used it before. I didn't remember the PIN. As luck would hav it I had left the sheet having the PIN at my hotel. In RockVille. I had no phone, I didn't know my hotel number. My team-mates didn't have phones either. There was not a single way to contact them. I was in a crazy busy city, famous for its dark side and I was lost.

Well, you could say the odds were heavily stacked in my favour. *smirk* I asked an old man sitting beside me about the train's route, but he just kept on nodding his head. He didn't understand a word I presume. Or he was just plain deaf.

I think I started sweating. Ten minutes went by.This train was a limited stop one maybe cos it hadn't stopped yet.Five minutes later it did. No one got out. No one got in either. I did'nt get out too. I looked outside, didn't see any people and I didn't wanna totally freak out in some isolated subway station.

I waited for the next station and got out. I could either find my way back to 42 st. and hope my team was waiting patiently for me. What I didn't know at that time was that my PM had almost passed out due to tension. He'd already started imagining his superiors enquiring about what had happened to me, and put the blame on him. hahaa..every developer's dream - his boss hearing the music. Well, atleast this time, I didn't want that to happen.

Well, I decided to find my way back to the hotel. Somehow. It was the most logical thing to do. Looking at the walls, all the destination station names I saw did'nt make sense to me. The Bronx, Chambers st., Lincoln. DEAD END.

And then my luck changed. Night became Day. Hell became Heaven.

I looked up and saw a female standing some 20m away, holding a luggage bag, waiting for a train. So I walked upto her. She was blonde. American maybe. Beautiful without doubt. And she seemed to be around my age too. She was a bit shocked when I said Hi. A stanger approaching you on a dark subway station ain't very pleasing. I couldn't blame her for being paranoid.

"I moved to New York City for my health. I'm paranoid and it was the only place where my fears were justified." -- Anita Weiss

Well, as nicely as I could, and trying not to sound desperate, I asked her which train I could take to reach 94 st. She was said there wasn't any direct train but Train C was going to 168 st so maybe I could get down somewhere near 94th. I said thanks and almost walked off. But then I stopped myself and decided to tell her my about my plight- that it was my first day in New York City, I had got separated from my friends and that was I kinda lost. She was so shocked and whispered "Ohhhhh-My-Goddddd". And then she said "Hey, say what, I'm waitin for Train C too cos I'm headed the same way, why don't you come along with me?"

"alliiiyaaaaa cheyyyyyy...."
PEACE.

Well, we sat together on Train C, talking to each other - on stuff like India...New York..the places I'd visited...why I'd come to the US....etc. Her name is L* (sorry guys) and she's from Los Angeles. She had come to NYC to visit her friends. She told me came here often cos she loved the city.Well...she was very friendly and sweet and we kept on chatting, and after about 40min...we reached 96 st. and got down there. I felt kinda surprised that she was headed the same way, but what I didnt know was that her house was just 2 blocks away from my hotel! She took a route so that we could reach her place first. We kept on walking, past Central Park and 95th street, chatting on topics ranging from DC to our personal Saturday night plans, until we reached her doorstep 10 minutes later.

//the rest of this post has been edited and will be sent, by request, to the very curious.

Naaa..jus kiddin...we said our goodbyes right there and parted. I came back to my hotel...and my team-mates reached 20 minutes later, very surprised to see me sitting there smiling and looking very happy.

I don't know why, but looking back now...
Perhaps getting seperated from my friends was the best thing that happened to me in New York.

13 comments:

US said...

Dude always keep some MONEY, otherwise it could have gone very wrong - in the middle of nowhere - with no money - is a real scare.

Anyway, as long as good citizens (good looking is an add on), exist everywhere, there is a bail out.

But consider this --> you are out of money, went through 5 different routes without success ... hungry ... smelling like rotten eggs ... ... ... few days later ... torn clothes ... arrested/detained ... without passport ... no contacts ... OR worse still ... abused by a gang of thugs ...

The downward spiral is not worth it. How expensive is a phone card for 3 months - I bet not too much - GET IT.

Anyways, this tops the list of scary/creepy/out-of-the-blue experiences you've had in recent times (and there've been many - airport, mall ...)

--
US

Aslan said...

frickin awesome buddy boy. u sure are DA MAN!!

mintu said...

stunney... be careful out thr...

keep some money with u.. and take some phone connection...

luck wont favour u like this everytime... i wud like to see u in the same way u left this place...

R.Shriram said...

when staney met scary directed by staney himself ...
awesomely scary stuff. Probably could make a movie out of it....

godspeed man, take that extra money with ya. Perhaps i should suggest a VIP pickpocket (huge smirk)

keep safe be safe ...

more and more wanted shall watch this space

Guru Panguji said...

First of all, congratulations and celebrations... :P!

Hehehe, and second of all, dude, u sucked @ Dumb C! I mean, Vineet and all beat you at Dumb C during the two Dishaa's =D!! Hahahahaa!!

Just kidding bro, and you know to pull your leg and back into reality :P!!

Kudos and hopefully the best thing that happened to you rite now, better turn into a heaven's paradise :-D!!

The trainee said...

boi!!! After all this you still went back to Rockville??? I say, quit your job, go back to NYC and get her.

Else you'll end up singing some country songs (alone)... remember... the Eagle(s) won't be flying in the sky for long.

stan_da_man said...

@us: I know, I know...but I didn't expect to blow off that much money in NYC man...spent almost 240$ in 2 days!!! frickinnnn....gotta start saving now for my lappy...boo hoo!!! :))

@aslan: Didn't seem very awesome sittin on that train buddy...but anywayzz..no pain no gain! ;)

@mintu: yayaya..i'm careful alright...i planned all this dear!! ;) hehee..yea ritte!! yea i know i was lucky to not get into deeper s**t. Maybe your prayers.... :))

@shriram: seriously dude!!! felt like a movie alright!!! felt like i was in some freaky twisted plot..and I didn't know if the movie's ending would be bad or good! guess it turned out ok in the end...

@pangu: hey hey hey....no-one speaks to the Marian DC team dat way!!! we got first in Dishaa 05 dumbo! and hav beaten ur SCT teams all the way to beirut! hehee...hope u doin gr8 thr buddy! don't try n get lost now!!

@the_trainee: another one...Wasted Love. (hahaaa!) Yup i did come back to DC, but maybe my mind's still stuck there!!! gotta freee my mind!!! ;)

arun said...

hi this is arun

i guess this is the second time i hit ur blog.

the last time was when u started it and sent the link to my hotmail inbox.

i thought u were writing this post from that 'sweet' girl's house

any way thank god u came out of the whole thing unscathed

thank god

regards
arun

stan_da_man said...

@arun: howdy u boy? long time!! hehe..yea i know u'll imagine me writing dis post from dat gal's house! hehehe..very funny...anywayz yea I thank GOD too that everything turned out for d good in the end!

Shailaja said...

HEy staney.... atta my boy..

Great.. just read ur writeups n looks like u r having a fun tme.. gues all the others have told u enuf, so wont say anytin..

The mail reason for me writing this comment is that ,Now dont tell me u have fallen in love with that BLONDE.. For god's sake no... Hav eu really fallen for her ?? :(

n HEy, u r looking super cool man.. Sexy HOt handsome etc etc etc are NOT the words im gonna use if u thought so.. hehe.. hey u r looking great in those pics... congo!

stan_da_man said...

@shailu: ohhkaaaaaaaay....thanku thanku gal!!! hahaaa...enuff of all the flatterin...but sounds nice anyway! :) Well, i'm not in love or anything dumbo!!! but if there was sumtin like 'love at first sight', this wud come pretty close...except its not love ANYWAY!! kindaa like a light at the end of the tunnel kinda feelin...hehee..i kno i'm spkin nonsense, so lets pack it! :))

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