Thats’ Hello Chennai in Tamil! Am back at my hometown after a gap of a few years. The welcome has been nothing but warm…actually more like sweltering heat. There are no seasons, albeit hot, hotter and some rain! My welcome began on the flight, as we touched down my hair decided to announce to the world that we were back in a humid city. All of that apart, am back with my parents – something that is common place in India. Am back enjoying the love and pampering of my mother. Fresh, home cooked food, made mothers’ style. Enjoying all those little things like tropical fruits that you don’t get in the US. Catching up with friends, I haven’t met in years. It feels more like a holiday , for the moment, rather than a relocation. Tedium and routine are yet to set in and I miss my two little nephews, dearly. I wait anxiously for my boxes to arrive, carrying my precious lessons from NYIP. Lessons, that will dictate my future. Till then, I guess I can enjoy the little things!
I leave the US on friday, but I bid New York a very final goodbye today by capturing her other side from the borough that lives in the shadows of the Big Apple. It is a gorgeous spot to be – Brooklyn Bridge Park – smack dab between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. The walk into the park entrance on Main St is an excellent set up for what is to come when you enter the park – as you walk down Main St, the Empire State Building peeks out from underneath the majestic Manhattan Bridge. As though getting dressed up for one final date with me, the Empire State Building was lit in red, white and green, today. The park is dotted with couples getting professional snapshots of themselves for impending nuptial announcements and tourists. I had a New York moment today at the park. As I was wrapping up my shoot, a Japanese tourist walked up to me and asked if he could borrow my tripod. The man did not speak a word of English and spoke to me in Japanese and pointed at what he wanted. As I helped him set up he did not have a base on his camera that could screw into my tripod, I could see the disappointment in him as he figured this would be a huge impediment – a)He couldn’t shoot pictures at all using a tripod because he did not have a base screwed into his camera, b) He would have to ask me in sign language for a base. Truth is he never had to ask, I had an extra pair and we used it on his camera. I am an Indian, who met a Japanese man with no English skills in New York City and we helped him out. New York can be mean, but it wasn’t today! As the park filled in with more couples, tourists, dog walkers and joggers, I walked away with my last sight of New York – a gorgeously beautiful city, twinkling away to glory.
It is with a heavy and ponderous heart that I write this – I am relocating back to India and I have to leave New York City behind. I know not what lies ahead. The excitement and opportunities that she has given me have been beyond my imagination and luck. In retrospect, and despite all my complaints in these few years spent here, it has been nothing but a delight to be here. Its a city where, electric excitement will jolt your body if you will allow the energy of the city to sink into you without letting yourself be beguiled. Last night, as a fond way of saying goodbye and to capture one last memory of this beautiful giant, I stood on the other side of the Hudson and listened to the clamor of glasses on a party yacht that cruised by, the sounds of a tug boat and a barge, the sound of the ferry as it chugged away from the pier, the sound of distant traffic, the sound of gentle waves made by each passing boat – despite standing on the other side you can hear and feel her in every inch of your body. I love New York, there is always something for everyone and I will miss that. As I stood there desperately trying to capture one last picture of her expanse from the George Washington Bridge to Battery Park, I made a promise to myself to return here someday. For now all I have of her are her pictures and memories – that pictures can’t capture. It’s truly an affair to remember…..and maybe someday I might actually stand in line to go up the Empire State Building and capture the length and breadth of New York City with a wide angle lens! I truly missed a wide angle last night whilst trying to capture a panorama of the city and just for that I am going to have to return here.
The pictures were taken with two different lenses – an 18-55 and a 55-200mm at f 11 at an exposure of 2.5 seconds.
“New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothing you can’t do
Now you’re in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Hear it for New York, New York, New York” – Alicia Keys, Empire State of Mind Part 2