Tuesday, March 27, 2007

And then there was one...

One of the defining features of my undergraduate life was "the boys."
"See you guys, I'm off to see the boys."
"Where's Rhea?" "She's probably with the boys."
There were four (the ranks grew over the years, but they were the core).
Completely different characters. Incredibly loyal friendships. Always up for some fun. They expanded, among other things, my music selection, my TV show choices, my bar preferences and my penchant for spontaneity. Life with "the boys" was always interesting. As were the women who popped in and out of their lives.
Cut to 4 years later.
1 married.
2 engaged.
1 to go...
Who would've thunk it?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Where everybody knows your name...

Most people I talk to about why they love New York say that anonymity is a big factor. They like that nobody really knows them, that they can do whatever and nobody interferes -- "hey, it's your business."

I understand that. I grew up in a fairly big city that had a rather small social circle and yes, everyone always knew what you'd done, who you knew, where you were. Reputations were easy to acquire and hard to shake off.

At the same time, though, there's a lot to be said, to borrow a line from a popular sitcom, for a place "where everybody knows your name." I appreciate that a lot more now than I used to. Back home, there are owners of restaurants who kiss you on the cheek or the bartender at that place who'll keep the establishment open a little longer just so you can have that last drink..

Given New York's anonymous reputation, I didn't think I'd find that here -- and you don't in quite the same way (you can kiss the maitre d' at your local diner perhaps, but not at the hottest table in the city, unless you're, y'know, Gwyneth Paltrow or equivalent). But, despite it's size and the 18 million people stuffed into this city, it's still possible to carve a personalized niche in your neighborhood, as I'm realizing I have. My dry cleaner smiles and waves whenever she sees me passing by. The deli lady near work pulls Honey Nut Cheerios (my preferred mid-afternoon, need-sweet-but-need-healthy snack) off the shelf when she sees me coming. When I haven't been to the convenience store around the corner for a few weeks, they greet me enthusiastically and ask where I've been. Even my sushi delivery place practically knows my order..

(Oh God, have I become a creature of habit??)

Either way, in a city as large and relatively impersonal as New York is, it's nice to know that people do know, if not your name, at least your maki roll preferences.

Monday, March 19, 2007

An "ahhh" weekend

What's an "ahhh weekend"? It's when you get to Sunday night and instead of pre-Monday blues, you've got the happy glow of 48 hours well spent. Satisfaction to the point where you almost don't mind that it's back to work tomorrow. Almost.

Friday: horrible sleet and pseudosnow and plunging temperatures outside. Ghar ka khana and Dhoom 2 inside. Quite enjoyed the action, the fact that Ash didn't annoy me that much, that Abhishek was in it (period.), and that Hrithik reminded me of a party a few weeks ago where I was told, "God, I thought you were Suzanne Khan for a minute." (not the first time)

Saturday: slept in. Scrambled eggs and cappucinos with an old, old friend I haven't seen in some 5-6 years. Caught up on everyone and everything -- as much as possible in one afternoon ("Remember the time *that girl* pretended to drown and we all nearly got expelled??"). Strolled down 5th Ave, listening to church bells chime, and without realizing it, walked about 40 blocks home. Then on to celebrate St. Patty's with a belated Holi party (!) with much bhangra and filmi music, much dancing and much color.

Sunday: slept in even more. Malaysian lunch with D and her sister at Nyonya (with memories of other recent trips we've made there with "other company"; we're going to start getting preferential treatment). Coffee and conversation. And The Namesake, which was very real, very moving. Thought Kal Penn proved he can do serious roles. Tabu was beautiful (and talented) as ever. Loved the scenes between her and Irrfan Khan. A movie can never quite do justice to a book, but I thought Mira Nair did a pretty good job, considering. Random surprise: childhood friend did the costumes. Then, on to Coldstone Creamery.

Yes, all good weekends end with chocolate.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Simply Red, anyone?

I don't know when I last spent time thinking about Simply Red. I don't make a habit of thinking about them since there's usually very little to say. But my quest to find "that one good song by that band with the word 'red' in it" began last night at the cute French wine bar on 51st where we were continuing the tradition of champagne with some of the best Kir Royales I've ever had. Anyway, so I thought it was going to be murder to find a song I don't remember the name of by a band I don't remember the name of with lyrics I can't remember from a year I can't remember. But Google's pretty amazing that way. It took just a handful of experimental searches to pull up Simply Red, which sounded right, and then another quick search of Wikipedia (if it's in Wikipedia it must be true) to find "Sunrise." FYI, it was a "hit single" in 2003. So, I guess that's when I last thought about Simply Red.

Good song, though. Very blast from the past-ish. Reminded me of a particular time in my life (which songs tend to do). I think it was being back home after college and reinventing life there with all the changes that had occurred since I'd left. Though, it's quite amazing how much stays the same, too.

Anyway, have spent the better part of a lazy Sunday afternoon playing every "favorite" song (ooh, remember "Return of the Mack"?) from every era I can think of (current favorite is still "Promiscuous") All rather reminscent of those (not-sooo-long-ago) days of hairbrush-mike in hand, hair swinging, dancing around the room. I'm a better dancer now, though. And I've ditched the hairbrush.

Which reminds me of this article I read last week about how scientists think that dancing might be a method of sexual selection. The better the dancer, the more attractive to potential mates -- something about being indicative of good genes. Hmmm... and to think my dad complained that I spent most of my time in college dancing instead of studying. Apparently I knew what was good for me!

Saturday, March 03, 2007


...was a good month. A bit of a ride -- intense and busy, hence the lack of posts -- but a very good ride. Birthday, out-of-town visitors, enjoyable work, out-of-town visitors, parties, friends... did I mention out-of-town visitors??

I could use more "February" in my life.

Friday, March 02, 2007

End of an era

Okay, perhaps that's a tad dramatic. But my food & wine, activities and general good times partner in crime has left the city. So, I'm entitled to a little drama.

Rox's farewell dinner and drinks affair was... memorable. It was perhaps one of the worst meals and the worst excuse for service I've ever experienced in New York, but hey, we won't soon forget it! I think the best thing I can say about Tao is that it has a sexy, fun atmosphere. But that's where the compliments stop.

The enormous warehouse space was uncomfortably cold (hello, it is still winter, people. Turn on the heat). The food hovered somewhere between mediocre and poor (the miso sea bass was the exception). And our waiter was the antichrist. Apart from the fact that he was pretty clearly racist, there was just something incredibly disturbing about his demeanor, in general. He had vacant eyes, an inability to smile and absolutely no features that would explain why he was hired by the service industry. He hardly said a word the entire night and when he did, it bordered on rude and definitely condescending.

(Needless to say, they've lost a patron in me. I have very little patience for attitude.)

Still, as Rox said, we've rarely ever had uneventful New York experiences -- so this is one more to add to the books. Too bad it was unpleasant-eventful rather than just interesting-eventful on her last night in the City. On the other hand, it probably made leaving easier. And I'm sure new adventures in Hong Kong will make up for everything. So, cheers to that.

PS: I would post a photo of the last supper, but the antichrist was also an appalling photographer -- let's just say his efforts give "Where's Waldo?" a run for its money.