And the Journey Begins ..

And the Journey Begins………
It was yet another day in New York City. To every other person, it was just another Monday, the beginning of the week. I have a wonderful perception; for me, it was another special day in itself-a day that begins and never ends.
After reluctantly leaving the bed, I prepared myself for the day this morning. A cup of cereals with milk and a glass of orange juice, typically Tropicana with some pulp, marked the beginning of Monday morning. I caught the early morning train to work. The M-train to Delancy Street where I make a transfer to F-train to the Bergen Street and a couple of blocks on foot to the Provence en Boite, the French Bistro and Patisserie where I work. This has been my routine for the past two months of summer. It is Monday, when I do the ‘full day’ duty, meaning double shifts which starts at 9 AM in the morning till 11 PM in the night. But unfortunately, the night goes as far as 12 midnight generally, and it’s almost past 1 AM in the morning when I reach my room. So, at 7 in the morning when my cell phone rang as an alarm for me to wake up, I saw myself back home, exhausted, and having had a ‘not-so-good’ Monday business, and hence not very heavy on the pocket either. But then it was 9 AM and I was already there, eager to face a new day, with all the challenges welcome.
I love surprises every now and then. And this beautiful morning had some for me. I was off the schedule. I was free, emancipated as I would prefer to call it. I don’t care what reasons the owners explained to me about why I was off the schedule, that it was my end of the job. But how I interpreted it matters more to me. What I heard in my mind was, “Hey boy, this is the end of the summer for you. Now that it’s already the beginning of the fall. Go get prepared. You have some research proposal to do. You have some writing stuff to do. You have got to go and research about financing your studies. You have not visited some beautiful parks in the town. Go, have some fun. Enjoy life. You should understand that life is not all about bussing the tables all summer.” I was just enlightened.
It was second day in a row I had been enlightened. (How interesting that I get enlightened again and again!)
Just the previous day, I had been taught how important a person I was, that it was not worth giving myself up for trivial reasons. I was encouraged that I had higher dreams to rely on, that my present perceptions could not be my limits. It was good to know. The story had begun when I got enthused to a stranger. I know it is weird to be, but it is equally logical at times. Sometimes, it works out well between strangers. Sometimes, it makes sense to know what others are, and to let others know what you are, and then to realize that you have just done the right thing. It sometimes turns out that having missed an opportunity is an opportunity gone forever. You might not regret about it anytime in the future, for the reason that you never know what it was, or would have been like. But may be, that it would have been the best thing that ever happened to you. It could be worse either, but I don’t have the habit of looking behind the shadow. And with me, nothing can ever be worse. At least I believe so. I believe in speaking my heart out. And I did, as I have always done. I heard it in my mind, “Hey gentle man, you have a long way to go. You deserve more than what you are aspiring for. I don’t fit on the scale you measured with. You had a bad dream. Wake up and get going, go further.” I am not schizophrenic; I don’t “hear” sounds. But, I am pretty good at understanding things my way, so that I can keep smiling everyday. I believe in dreams. So, I also believe in nightmares. And I accept both. This morning when I woke up, I was a different person.
So, it was 15 minutes past 9 AM in the morning, and it had already been 15 minutes since I had been freed. I immediately followed my intuition, and was on my way to the biggest park in town I had not been to. Central Park was a nice place to be, especially on a day like this when every single thing looked different. It’s not because I had never seen the leaves falling off the trees, not because I had never seen a beautiful lake. It’s not because I had not seen the rocks, or that I had not seen people jogging, or walking on the sidewalks. Not also because people were playing football and lawn tennis, or because mothers were walking their adorable little kids. It was not the first time I had seen kids playing on their strollers, not definitely the first time I had seen an ice-cream stall in the middle of the garden. I had also seen cyclists race along the road, and children playing on the sand. A number of times that I had seen couples sitting on the grass, and being mushy or guys sitting on the bench, reading novels or newspapers. But honestly, it was the first time a leaf ever fell off a tree as gracefully, revolving and rotating and swerving and swirling and swaying and comfortably landing on the ground, being turned upside down, and around before being swept away with the dust by a puff of wind. I could not exactly figure out what stage I was going through, whether I was still there growing on some branch as a plumule in the spring, or staying fixed, mature and strong, or falling off loose, weak and pale. I did not know how many turns I had to take, how many rotations and swerves, or whether my landing would be as comfortable, what puff of wind would blow me, on which direction, to what destination. I did not even know whether I was the tree losing a part of it, or a leaf been freed. I did not know whether the tree was missing its leaf, or waving it a goodbye with honor. I did not know whether it was happy about a new one that would take its place, or worried about the dear one that it lost. But I prefer to believe that I am the leaf still there, affixed, beatifying the grace of the tree.
After a few hours of wonderful moments at the Central Park, I was on my way to another of my favorites, the Union Square Park. Union Square Park has its own charm. With a number of art stalls laid by the sidewalk, and painters and designers showing off their artwork, with craftsmen selling their handicrafts and full of people with their eyes stuck at the beautiful paintings and designs, this park has its own specialty. Public gatherings, of women collected to share the experiences of maternity, or those to talk about the reality behind 9/11 attacks, or the people from societies against cruelty to animals displaying “Adopt Me” dogs and cats, Union Square Park is a unique place in its own. Also because of the vegetable and fruit stalls on the other side, or the flower shops on the other, because of the café at the back, and because of the famous statues that attract pointed fingers, the park is a beautiful place to get lost into nowhere. Whether you want to sit down on the lawn and be engulfed in thought or walk around to see the art and paintings, and plunge into the world of imagination, this is a wonderful place to be. It had my beautiful morning glorified. Having spent the morning of a life time, I came back home.
Sitting down with my computer now, I am looking at my journey in retrospection. The transformation from a decent student to a sandwich maker to a stock boy to a delivery boy to a waiter to a cashier to a busboy and runner, and the tremendous changes I went through in every transformation. The way I learnt to live life through the journey, and to find areas to take a rest on the way, to revitalize and to rejuvenate for the long way yet untrodden, as everyone has to, under his own circumstances, walk it till the end. Beyond the journey from Myrtle-Wyckoff to Bergen, or from Rolla to New York City, or from Kathmandu to Rolla, or even beyond that from Kathmandu to Bhopal to New Delhi, or that from Sunsari to Kathmandu, I am trying to conceive the journey of life, and the turns it takes every now and then. I am trying to understand how your choice of the right path at the crossroad leads you to the destination. I am trying to fathom that mystery of life which always leaves you with a choice of multiple paths at the crossroad, and saves you from the dead ends. I am trying to see the beauty of life in the way journey continues. I am trying to solve the conundrum, of meeting strangers round the corner, befriending them, walking along some distance together, and departing at the crossroad that comes.
I know it’s never about the destination. It’s not about where you are heading to. It’s only about the journey you traverse, and more so about how beautifully you do it. It’s only about the precious moments when you forgot how far you had come or what pain you went through to reach there. It’s only about the time when thorns pricked your sole, and you knew what pain was. It is only about the euphoric nap you took on the shade of a tree by the road in the middle of your journey. It’s not about where you reach, when you reach, but only about how you walked your way. For, life, to me, is a journey- well, a series of them. When it seems to be the end of one, it is, but the beginning of another. Sometimes, some days, begin, and never end.
Signing off,
bipul (Aug 6, 2007, NY)

It was yet another day in New York City. To every other person, it was just another Monday, the beginning of the week. I have a wonderful perception; for me, it was another special day in itself-a day that begins and never ends. (more…)

Summer Blues: Breaking the Stalemate

Summer Blues–Breaking the Stalemate
Summer in New York has been pretty COLD. Cold because things have frozen. Cold because life has been static. I am missing the fluidity of human life.
Job hunt for the summer has been a BIG chapter of my life. I am just one more added person in this 12 million population of the city. New York is a BIG place. Living in the city of Brooklyn, where do I go find a JOB? I have gone into almost all of the restaurants and fast food cafes of Brooklyn heights. I have left my phone number and name in some hundred places (literally). I burst into laughter when people ask for a couple of years of experience for a DISHWASHER position. I have more than 8 years of experience. I have been doing it since I started living away from home. Unfortunately, that doesn’t qualify me. There’s no reference. There’s no name of an owner associated. Sometimes, I am asked if I am legal. Unfortunately, I am not. Initially, when I went inside a restaurant, I would be puzzled when they asked me what position I was looking for. I don’t know any position except waiter, cause I can’t do the kitchen. Well, I can, but it’s a RESTAURANT. I will be IN, and everyone else will be OUT. Then I had to do some research over the internet, to know that there are bussers, and runners, and barista, and etc. positions to look for. The next time I go into a restaurant, I have a number of positions to look for. But they don’t want me IN, for some good reasons, but I need to work. Either there’s no manager, or they don’t need anyone now, or they just hired some guys few days back, or i should check back in a couple of days, or I don’t qualify, or if the best can happen, I should go and give a try if I can do the work. WOW!! That’s great. I would love to.
Well, I believe everyone can’t do every job. Thats why there are different fields, and specialized people for that. Anyway, even though not my kind, I started well with it, and was a kind of satisfied. It was going good with me, only to be called by the owner within next two weeks. I was FIRED. I didn’t ask a question, as I see no point in asking. Well, the quest begins once more. A hundred places to visit, leave my name and phone number and etc..
Roaming around the city, I see “HELP WANTED” on the doors. I have been used to with it now, I can go into any store or a cafe or a restaurant anytime and ‘irritate’ them asking if they are hiring. I would probably go mad if someone came in like that when I was so badly waiting for at least one customer for the evening. I like the way they tell me that they just hired someone a week ago. At times I come across advertisements for “FLYER GUY”. Its a position for distributing flyers in front of the store, and SHOUTING at public “Cell Phones Inside, Check them out”. “You have to be “REALLY LOUD”, says the owner. Well, this in not the job for me, it is better for one of those RAP guys roaming around here. I am better jobless. And few more hours on the Craigslist.com, mailing to tens of advertisments. Nothing works. I know I need a few more days of stroll around the town.
After a tiring day out, and with hundreds of ‘not positive’ responses, frustrated and exhausted, when I come back home, and I have my computer on my lap to play with, some place called hi5 to find people, places to pour down my brain, some friends online to talk to, few things to look at and be happy about, this one hour of the day is not just an hour but an added hour to the 24 we have in a day. I LIVE 25 HOURS A DAY EVERYDAY.
But to make it worse, there is this wonderful nuisance called the Microsoft Windows. This Vista thing they boast about asks for an update, only to leave my ‘pirated’ softwares unacceptable. Now, I can’t access my Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or Imageready. There’s no way I am going to buy it. Give me some time, and I will find a way out, and run a ‘pirated’ copy again, a free download over the internet. This is a challenge to Adobe, you can’t afford not to let a person like me use your products. Challege me, and I bear the capabilities of being in the Adobe development team someday. And there is yet another nuisance called the unsecured wireless internet. I really hate it when it disconnects at the most crucial time when I need it. But the best part is, this way or that, things work. The world keeps going. And I keep finding reasons to smile. Be it a beautiful picture over the network, an impressing profile that I bump into, a luring job advertisment in the Craigslist, or a hopeful assurance from a restaurant, or a wonderful joke in a forwarded mail, I come out of the stalemate.
Someone gives me a job. I do everything the BOSS asks me to. Remember, EVERYTHING. When I am polite with the customer, he thinks I am not confident. When I am loud enough, he thinks I am screaming at them. When I am cleaning the table, he thinks I should not leave the register, when I am waiting the register, he thinks I should not be standing still. I know, you are a BOSS, but you are a boss only because you are bossing around. You are not QUALIFIED. But it is OK for the next two months. I work for half a week, and he says “Your training is over tonight, you will be paid now onwards”. “So, what is my schedule for tomorrow?”. “Oh, tomorrow you are OFF”. What a joke. I didn’t come to New York to volunteer cleaning your dishes.
Summer as a student, the ultimate test of your indurance.
My next NEW job is starting this weekend. Its just yet another Busboy, Truckboy, or whatever boy job. (at least someone is still giving me a boy job…lol). Until then I am FREE. This free time is my time for some ‘creativity’ (few words sound better in Nepali though). Some time on the computer to live the best moments of life. Type down some Nepali articles written years ago. Attempt to sketch and paint using MS Paint. Read some beautiful stuff. Listen to music -Bob Dylan, Don Williams, Jagjit Singh. DREAM. Do something. Try to add fluidity to life.
I know “Pain and suffering is inevitable, being miserable is optional”.
“…..Khushi nai ho ki kya ho man ma bhaera aauchha,..chhin ma lahar anekaun man ma uthera aauchha,….Hazar Sapana haruko maya lagera aauchha…Bachne rahar jasto feri bhaera auchha……” …signing off with Bhaktaraj Acharya.
signing off,
bipul
(Jun 14, 200

Summer in New York has been pretty COLD. Cold because things have frozen. Cold because life has been static. I am missing the fluidity of human life.

Job hunt for the summer has been a BIG chapter of my life. I am just one more added person in this 12 million population of the city. New York is a BIG place. Living in the city of Brooklyn, where do I go find a JOB? I have gone into almost all of the restaurants and fast food cafes of Brooklyn heights. (more…)