Boston Chronicles 1.0

So life in Boston has settled into its own easy pace. Cambridge is being kind to me for now. Every day brings with it some sort of new discovery. Now if only I could find more permanent, affordable housing, everything would be perfect.

The hobo, contrary to all expectations remains in my life six months in. Less pressure with more effort seems to sum up the whole scene, as A. said. It seems contradictory, but makes more sense. I get to keep my sanity, and flirt with cute bostonboys? Yes please.

Friday: After a pretty unproductive day at the lab, I was supposed to go out with a new friend from the lab and two of her friends for a girl’s night that promised to be wild. Her friends decided to bail on her however (blasted flu), and so I decided to rescue the night and have a girl’s night with a completely different set of girls. I recruited J and P, and the four of us decided that it was Friday goddammit, and we were going to have some fun. After some mulling over possible places- drinks and good food without breaking the bank seems to be a tall order- we decided upon ‘Brown Sugar’. Token American aka the boss suggested Bon Chon but AH dismissed it as fast food, thoroughly upsetting him. So Brown Sugar it was, and we set out on the shuttle, clutching our coats, ushankas and scarves. We waited in the lobby for a good ten minutes, making eyes at the puffer fish, and violently coloured snaggle-tooths in their aquarium before we got a table. The food was excellent, and served in preposterous quantities. I ordered Fishman’s Madness which was basically an explosion of scallops, squid, shrimps, mussels, mushrooms and peppers in this delicious chilli-garlic gravy. I have discovered that I really dislike scallops- they remind me of the pork fat that hobo and company tricked me into eating, and taste like nothing but blandness and blobs. The texture itself puts me off. The squid was for some reason carved like pineapples, but the mussels were great. Post-dinner we dragged our Garfield like selves to this tiny Japanese place where I experienced the deliciousness of mochi for the first time. I liked it so much that on Saturday I walked for half an hour to Trader Joe’s to buy myself some, which sadly turned out to be nothing like the real deal. I now have a pack of mochi lying in the refrigerator, covered in flour , all gooey and gross.

Saturday was spent waking up late, frantically running to the dysfunctional T and reaching Boston Commons nearly an hour late for my ice-skating date with the labmates. The weather was unexpectedly warm and sunny, the speakers at Frog Pond played old 90’s music, and we spent a good three hours there. Now this was my very first time on the ice and considering that I can’t even walk in a straight line, ice skating was really… interesting. My labmates were super patient though, and the scene wound up being something like one at each side, holding my hand while the third skated behind us. Every time I would wobble, the three would zoom up and huddle around me. By the end of the day, we’d all become a lot more physically intimate than we would have expected. Good first date, I’d imagine.

So after ice skating we grabbed footlongs at Subway and then I ran to Vanderbilt Hall at Harvard for choir practice. I got roped into it by AH from lab. Here’s how it happened: Hey, you should come see my acapella group. It’s gonna be a shitshow, but it’ll be fun. Hey, what’s your range like? Hey, you should do liptorrals and sirens. Hey, you’re a soprano. Great, our group needs help.

And so I’m singing ‘Fields of Gold’ in harmony with the Harvard Heartbeats at their cadaver memorial on this Wednesday. What’s a cadaver memorial, you ask? Well, people donate their bodies to science, see? And this Wednesday the families of those dead bodies along with all of Harvard Med School are going to come to this program at Harvard and watch me sing a solo, and harmonize with 5 other girls (it’s going to be a complete shitshow, since very few of them can actually sing and we’re getting roughly one and a half rehearsals in before the show). Random, but it’s a thing.

The other highlight of Saturday was the walk to Trader Joe’s where I bought Green Tea mochi, a pack of three dark chocolates imported from Belgium, and Trader Joe’s own smooth peanut butter cups made of dark chocolate (Dear Reese’s, nothing compares to you). Came home to find a note on the fridge from the second roomie saying, “Help yourself to banana cake if you like”, which I obviously did, and boy was it delicious- full of pecans and almonds and chocolate chip and dusted sugar. 

Sunday has been pretty useless, in a not so terrible way. Woke up late, stayed home, talked to the hobo, and made my new year’s list which I hadn’t all this while because I’d started off the year completely miserable. I also read ’50 shades of grey’ which a friend sent me the ebook of, and it was completely fucking awful, like I knew it would be. So recommendations for good literary erotica are welcome. What, didn’t you know that this was an adult blog?

What I hope to do with the rest of my evening: shower, laundry, read papers and come up with a list of relevant questions, finish the new year list.

Other highlights of the week include visit to Rodney’s Bookstore where the guy at the counter, who is writing a book and draws comics for an indie newspaper, directed me to the underground music scene and gave me recommendations on where to live (Allston, baby!). Also lunch at cafe Au Bon Pain, where Robin Williams and whatsizname played chess in ‘Good Will Hunting’. Lunch consisted of rain and a salmon-wasabi bagel which was both delicioso and affordable. Trek to Somerville to look at a potential house which turned out to be completely unsuitable. Trek to Inman Square where I discovered the Bukoswki pub which I definitely intend to visit. Also multiple visits to Flour which is close to work, has hipster baristas, and  the most beautiful lamb sandwiches- gigantic, fresh and dripping with cranberry sauce.

In other news: I bought a guitar, and I’m getting a tatoo in March which is when T comes to visit. Life is definitely having a ‘What R did’ moment right now.

The thing is, it could be the time for a “nothing’s the same” post but it isn’t that kind of time. Apparently if you’ve suffered DMSO exposure, you start tasting onions and garlic. Now I can’t really smell so I’m just going to have to be very careful with all the strange molecules and drugs we like to play around with. “You belong here”, I was told. I felt like I should have been in a movie then, with quietly powerful music playing. There is a huge common area/ conference room with a huge sofa where you can expect to find people napping, glasses askew, shoes flung over at an angle, at any given time of the day. There are these huge glass walls and it’s a little surreal standing there, dangling my legs over the couch, reading- it’s the old penthouse dream I had.

I am the littlest thing. I am inconsequential. I am homeless. I am suffocating.

I used to think I liked the smell of smoke. It hangs around all the time and it makes me want to retch. Violence of emotion and then dullness. Please, please, please.

Please, please, please.

I am the most ungrateful wretch that ever was. Maybe it is the time for a “nothing’s the same” speech after all, but there isn’t anyone listening.

I can ask you to love me, I can indulge in fitful periods of unconsciousness and wake up disconsolate, but I cannot move you.

I turned twenty one, unhappily. I flew across the Niagara and shared breakfast and music with a driver from the sixties. I can barely remember him now, but he had kind blue eyes, and when I told him that I was unhappy he offered me kind cliches and tales of how he’d been arrested when he was my age. Here’s what happened- they were smuggling their friends across the border to go buy alcohol where it was legal. So there are these two guys in the trunk of the car, and then the police asks ’em to open up, and put ’em up, and don’t you know. I’ve already forgotten his name and I thought it was important to remember, so.

So there was that, and then I got into the airport and this strange, really disorienting thing happened. It so happens that my ringtone used to be this song by Dylan for various reasons. So I’m standing at the airport, filling out customs forms and suddenly I hear the song playing, with the distinctive train-whistle-like beginning. I look at my phone but it isn’t ringing, and the sound seems to be coming from elsewhere. I look around, searching, and briefly consider the possibility that I’m going mad. Finally I track it down to a speaker on the wall close to where I’m standing. This makes no sense, so I ask other people if they can hear it, and they can. They look at me like I’m a little insane. The song plays in its entirety and then there’s silence except for announcements. That was the only song that played the whole time I was there.

Lots of things happened, and didn’t. Family is a strange thing, distant family even more so. Living in the suburbs of Massachusetts is another experience altogether. I have my own sadness, man; I don’t need yours. I have not asked for your frustrations or anxieties or hopes. I am not as nice as you would like to believe, and I do not care. I do not ask anything in return, except to be left alone.

Going on a completely unexpected trip through my head. Everything appears slow and all at once. The universe is a whole and also fragmented and disjoint. I’m in a videogame and can’t feel my face. A speeding car and lots of nightmarish christmas lights and deconstructing absolutely everything. Boston at my feet, I’m in a car that’s turned into a plane. Prepare for take-off. It’s a sea of lights. I will never do this again. Knock on lots of doors, make lots of calls, find soulmate- whoops, something totally random and unpredictable says that you can’t have it.

I travelled up a lonely hill, through scraggly trees with only moonlight and someone in the distance. I stood on a bench and looked down at Boston. It was a lot darker than I expected. The woods are lovely, dark and deep. Thewoodsarelovelydarkanddeep. I walked on water.

Chocolate covered Macadamia nuts made with aloha. Funny eared, frightfully important men. Virtual piles of ‘awesome’ papers. Two days and I’m reeling. Nightly phone calls that last for hours and stretch out over miles on foreign soil. Forcing concentration on talks that are strangely comprehensible and interesting. Being told that the future may not be exactly as I’d anticipated. Certain closed doors begin to swing open again, and certain open doors seem to never have been.

Lots of random chances. Lots of emotion. Blank. Give up hope. Blank. Overwhelming anger. Blank. Nervousness. Weakness. Comfort Seeking. Blank. Blank. Blank. Intimidation. Mind numbing exhaustion. Blank. Blank. Blank.

Retreat into self. Read,read,read.

I had a prayer. I said it over and over and it came from the deepest part of my soul. It went: please. please, please, please. please.

Please.

So two exes bot…

So two exes both uncomfortably interlinked wanted to meet up on the same day at the same time. No to both? I think so. For different reasons though.

The heat continues its long drawn devious scheme to drive us all completely insane. They’ll be carting people to lunatic asylums by the truckload soon in Cal. Never thought I’d be missing Canadian weather, but 40 degree weather and 85% humidity does that to you. Got off work early today and decided on the spur of the moment to go to the Jain temple at Belgachia. Got off the metro, walked around in the heat and reached the damn place with my tongue hanging out like a dog’s, only to be told by the sleepy security guard inside the gates that the temple is only open on major holidays. Clearly, there is a lot to be said for planning vs spontaneity.

Someone committed suicide by jumping on the metro rail tracks AGAIN. This one was at Kalighat. We literally have one metro-suicide a week these days. It doesn’t seem like a great way to go to me. I mean, not only are you offing yourself, you’re causing about an hour’s delay and inviting the curses of thousands of people on your departed soul. 

45 minutes. I counted- 45 minutes is the time it takes to clear a dead body off the tracks and for life to continue like it doesn’t matter a whit. You are merely a replacable cog for the most part. Harsh but true.

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Things I have done so far in Cal

I arrived on the 23rd of April, jetlagged and exhausted from the long-ass almost 24 hour flight from Toronto to Calcutta. Crossed oceans and continents and there I was. And here I am. And this is a bunch of stuff that I thought I should put down for posterity. So far I have

1. Visited the South Park Cemetary with Noor

2. Gone along with my uncle/cousin brother to a teeming slum where this tiny old lady beckoned to us, led us into her room/dwelling (for want of a better word), lifted up a ghoti from her puja shrine and sold my brother 100 Rs worth of ganja. Yep, so technically I TOTALLY scored. Of course I’ve never even come close to smoking pot. But it was pretty cool.

3. Visited Jora Sanko, Rob Tag (Rabindranath Tagore’s) house on Rabinda Jayanti- his birth anniversary.

4. Visited North Cal in the process

5. Chilled at Oly with a steak and Vodka meal. Chicken a la kieve too.

6. Bhaar er chaa at roadsides, frequently and with much relish

7. Watched The Avengers- T’s treat at Fame (solid, solid entertainment)

8. Dahi Vada from Vivekananda Park

9. Roamed around College Street and picked up 2 books- Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Milan Kundera’s Laughable Loves.

10. Had lunch at the Presidency tank- book in hand (Brave New World), maggi and curious glances for company

11. Started work at The School of Tropical Medicine

12. Devoured books- LOVED (yes in capital letters) Shashi Tharoor’s The Great Indian Novel, Brave New World (only gets better on the second reading), Murakami’s Underground, The Fault In Our Stars by John Greene (wept bucketloads), and started on The Butterfly Generation

13. Spent an evening with Stoner Jesus at the Tolly bar, spilling out intimate secrets which were answers to questions that had never been asked before

14. Evening spent reading at Starmark (South City) and Crossword (Elgin Road)- read Animal Farm and TGIN

15. Raichak on a day trip with the whole extended mama bari Choudhury clan

16. Wedding reception with the whole extended Ghosh Dastidar clan

17. Afternoon at Tolly with the brother- dosas for lunch and coffee swirls for desert= perfection 🙂

18. Metro rides. Oh so so very many metro rides. WHY?

19. Afternoon at JU meeting all the fraands