Fear of MO

From Bihar to Big Apple

24 May 2016

About Me

I am a traveler by passion, blogger by volition, shopper due to pathological reasons and, a consultant by profession. I come from a state called Bihar in India and have called cities like London and New York city as my home which would explain the name of this blog just in case you were wondering. I intend to share my personal experiences, tips and trivia while I travel the world and live in some of the most amazing cities of the world.

19 March 2016

From Bihar to Big Ben

British imperialism was not a result of some great spirit of human adventure or over burning religious zeal. IMHO, it was a purely a result of bad weather when some pale skinned Britishers decided that they needed more than
two weeks of sunshine in a year. Also, now I understand why the entire Sherlock Holmes series seems so dark despite the usual cheeriness that Benedict Cumberbatch brings to all our lives; and my folly in fixing it, as no amount of brightness in a TV settings can fix the grim and grey of London.

That was my initial set of quips triggered by London weather and if you have not figured it out by now, maybe your brain cells have gotten a bout of London dreariness too. : P. Well, a few months ago we decided to move
to London during peak winters and hence, now I have earned the rights to talk incessantly about London weather.

These days, one has not lived a fulfilling corporate life (oxymoron!) without having gone through a takeover, merger, downsizing or international transfer. Hence, driven by one such corporate shake down, we made the move and hence the title from Bihar to Big Apple  Ben (p.s. I have been chuckling over this title ever since). Even though I am not even close to being an accomplished writer or even a writer, I definitely have a classic case of writer’s block. Hence it’s only taken a few months for me to position my mind and rear in a stable place long enough to spew out a post and I have not yet written my good bye NYC post (come to think of it, am not sure I will ever write it). Anyways, like always, I hope that I will be prolific and secretly pray that I will just write …

There are a few immediate realizations during any move and while some can warm up your heart and make you fall in love with a new place; others will make your heart sink to the bottom of Hudson and make you question
the entire move. I have been going through these highs and lows almost every day. The lows primarily because I left my dear New York and my friends and life behind but also because I am a tropical person and snow or rain, I’d like my sunny side up any day! But then you find out that Charles Dickens lived one street away from your apartment and you can go watch a play in candle light where Shakespeare produced his plays and when you walk by so much history daily that would be the combined age of all of NYC skyscrapers, and meet people from
India, Syria, Lebanon and Albania in the same day, you begin to marvel at this wondrous city!

Now there’s a getting used to the city and then there’s getting used to living in the city. Just like you only realize how fast your Wi-Fi is till you get to a slower connection; I had not realized how convenient and quick things were in NYC till I landed in London. Setting up a home internet only takes a couple of weeks and in this day and age, some of us very well age a few years in that time without internet. Thames water pressure may run so low that you want to kill someone by the time water trickles from your head to your toes and if I am fairly certain that I have added a few more wrinkles by the time my lift (note – I said lift) takes me to 5th floor. But in London real estate, everything that’s slow, inefficient and broken, adds to the charm; which may explain the overpriced and under equipped central London apartments. More on the house hunting adventures later …but for now, we have found a beautiful apartment that’s full of it's own and our own quirks, where we plan to host family and friends for the joy and laughter and warmth so it becomes our home. 

I have also come to realize that the grass is always greener on the other side of the pond.  NewYorkers
swoon over a British accent and royalty while Londoners gush over Brooklyn's urbane cool or Manhattan’s pace. Probably explains why a Brooklyn loft or a New York style speakeasy are the IT trends in London and a chandelier and Georgian architecture are the epitome of class in NYC.

I am hoping that the proverbial London spring and summer arrive soon and win me over. Here’s to meeting friends old and new, devouring cakes and tea , checking out structures classic and funky, rubbing off some history and literary grandeur to living in a new apartment with some old fittings. London be interesting! Cheers !

27 November 2015

Bloglets: of love affairs and anniversaries!

Nov. 27th marks 5 years since I packed my bags and left Mumbai for the big bad world of New York City. I had promised friends and family and especially the boy that it’s just an experiment for 6 months as I don’t want to let go of an opportunity to try something new. You see FOMO (fear of missing out) & YOLO (you only live once) have driven a lot of such random but wondrous decisions in my life! And if that was not yuppie enough for you, I got No DICE! 
It’s like they say, days and weeks are long in the passing but years go by quickly. I cannot even attempt to try to capture the essence of 5 years of my life here in one bloglet and but I will try to acknowledge it bit by bit and what’s left unsaid are stories that, long nights and bottles of wines are for.

First things first, I love New York city only because it’s the greatest city in the world, period. You’ll just have to take my word for it. For someone who’s always suffered from the immigrant’s conundrum, I have found New York City to be home. I have thrived in this city and connected with it despite being an outsider because everyone else here is an outsider too. It’s as much mine as anyone else’s and I own every bit of New York proudly, even the dark and dingy alleys near Port authority. I don’t think I am even an inch closer to being an American in the last 5 years but I feel and live like a New Yorker. Heck, I became one the day I packed my bags and left India. And on this day of thanksgiving, I am very thankful that I did! 

Despite this love affair, sometimes one has to leave home and go explore the world. Maybe some of us are probably not meant to be at one place, are probably wanderers by spirit or driven by the primal instinct of looking for better opportunities to feed themselves and their clan.  As I am getting close to the end of my stay here, it’s time for this Bihari to pack her Bihari roots, her New Yorker snoots and head to London in search of more of life’s adventure, meaning and je ne sais quoi!!

P.s. Nov 27th is also my engagement  anniversary & my elder brother's birthday ! What a glorious day !  

 To be continued ……..

29 June 2015

In pursuit of pseudo intellectualism

It may be a sign of an early onset of mid-life crisis or after effect of some close friends moving away, physically or symbolically. However, I am convinced that I want to spend more time knowing about my friends and the world than just hanging out at a brunch or at a bar or a club (albeit it’s always a good time). This may mean some meaningful and some pretty awkward conversations but am willing to take the risk. 

Some friends including myself blamed it on my wannabe intellectual side and another friend blamed it on my regressed hippie side but that did not stop me from my pursuit. However, when I set up a blooming tea in a kettle and lit up incense sticks for my first soiree where I asked my friends to share a literary piece that had impacted them in life and how, I could not exactly fault these claims.
I am a firm believer in conversations, connections or moments that happen organically. However, in this day and age, distractions are one too many. Hence, sometimes an external stimulus might be needed, thus explaining the pseudo in my pursuit of intellectualism. Like regular extroverts and narcissists, we all love talking about ourselves but all that mumbo jumbo barely gives away what we really think of our lives, goals and the world unless prodded and no two friends can stake claims to a great friendship without knowing these things about each other. 

It turned out that these ideas were being resonated by almost everyone in my group here in New York in some shape or form and hence the proposal to occasionally dedicate some of our time to doing, reading, exploring or learning something new in lieu or in addition to alcohol and food was actually lapped up and quite a few promised to show up for the first soiree. An outcome I was pleasantly surprised and even bit skeptical about as I thought they'd collectively prank me and not show up. 
For the first turnout, we cracked enough jokes to get the awkwardness out of the way and the icebreaker game of identifying the lie out of three supposed facts a person told about himself or herself helped set the tone for more serious discussions. And so we shared; experiences about dealing with loss, accepting failure, falling in love, coping with inability to help others and yet supporting them or giving them hope, relationships with family members, learnings for life, exact nightly hour of raging sexual drive and you could see the body language warm with each conversation as we spent hours just sitting around, doing nothing but talking and sharing. 

Everyone was willing to share a part of their lives or emotions that they had carefully bundled away in some corner for fear of exposing themselves or just out of shyness or the fact that no one ever asked. Speaking of never asking, it slowly dawned on us that none of us knew what others did for a living, whether we loved or hated our jobs or were in love with our bosses. There would be nuggets of info here and there but not a single person had piecemealed all of them together. Hence, we decided to focus on knowing what we did for a living during the next meet up as an icebreaker quiz. Turns out, the only thing we were right about what others did for a living was – we truly had no frigging clue. 

So for the next soiree with a lovely view of the Empire state, we learnt about SaaS, how companies now prefer to build things in agile fashion than undertake long drawn projects, how central banks use Forex as a means to control inflation, how a portfolio manager can do insider trading, why we find certain restaurants at all the airports, how medical patents work, how PE funds are investing in software companies, why my Facebook feed shows ads for Neiman Marcus, who’s buying all the real estate and, how members moving away physically could actually be the best thing for a networking group.We also learnt how one of us could not take a pee break at work, another actually cold called CXOs for a living, a product manager wanted to become an entrepreneur, the one creating financial modules wanted to become a product manager, how two of us pretty much did the same exact thing for a living and how one of us would rather be baking than accounting.On an aside we also got to know about friends looking for career or job changes and how some of us could actually help make a few connections.  

We then dived into more intense and personal questions and some pretty goofy stuff but I would save that for another time. I would be naïve to think that these meetups would lead to some sort of spiritual nirvana or forge the deepest connections but am pretty sure, it will lead us to understand more about each other and more importantly, create a safe microcosm to be able to freely share our frustrations, weaknesses, happiness and life goals. As in many cases, it’s the side effects that may outweigh the immediate results. I have had more conversations about books we read, poetry we enjoy, life’s philosophies in last couple of months than probably even last few years. So, here's hoping that this continues as sustained enthusiasm is what separates the more evolved of our species from lesser mortals.

14 June 2015

Ricercato, Osservato, Acquisto ! - Fashion and shopping tips learnt from my trip to Italy

My recent trip to Italy was fabulous in every way. However, before the trip, I was stressed about what to wear and pack given how well Italian women carry themselves. Hence ‘ricercato, osservato, acquisto ’ i.e. I researched, I observed, I shopped.  Here are some of the things I learnt the easy or the hard way -
  • Take clothes that will not risk you being stopped at duomos or cathedrals; as a thumb rule maybe wear clothes that at least touch your knees and cover your shoulders. I had a near escape at Milan Duomo thanks to the girl in front of me wearing a shorter skirt!
  • Carry a nice leather handbag; you are in the land of leather and iconic Italian fashion so you have no excuse
  • Pearls go with almost everything that you can or should plan to wear
  • Almost everyone in Italy wears cool glasses so feel free to wear your funkiest pair. No one even blinked at my otherwise in your face red D&G frames
  • Don't tie your scarf on your head in Italy as it’s very French; unless you are French. Throw it stylishly across your shoulders or wrap it around your neck 
  • Forget contacts, prescription sunglasses are the way to go especially if you plan to go into water
  • Italian youngsters wear leather everywhere i.e. leather jackets paired with jeans, leggings and short skirts. Something to keep in mind if and when you plan to go out
  • Don't try to compete with Italian women when it comes to walking on the cobbled streets in high heels; you've not been trained by birth 
  • In fact, do not carry any shoe that you cannot walk in as there is no getting around walking in Italy. My RL loafers, Jimmy Choo wedges and low heeled ferragamo sandals worked out just fine for me and I never once used any other heels I carried. I had also researched how Hogan sneakers (owned by Tod’s group) are all the rage in Italy and saw it firsthand.
  • Shopping in Italy is great. Period! It’s the land of iconic brands like Armani, Bvlgari, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Prada, Valentino....; so many that they can have their own alphabet.. so plan to splurge on a few of these brands if they catch your fancy! If you like outlet shopping, you may be able to find a few good deals but be ready to slum it out with other Asians !  
  • Try and find some local designers as the delight of self-discovery elevates any shopping experience. I was not sold on more popular Italian brands like Liu Jo or Pinko which are as expensive as the Italian brands you may have heard of. Instead I discovered and adored the beautiful tops and dresses from Massimo Rebecchi, shoes from Vicini (same house that owns Zanotti) and silk scarves from Massimo Ravinale.
  • While shopping for leather in Italy, no amount of research substitutes what you can deduce by look and feel. We looked into quite a few stores and distinctly found the difference in quality of leather and stitching in the shop that we eventually purchased from. Rest, time will tell!
  • Italy is probably the only place where your grocery shopping can likely exceed any clothes, accessories or shoes purchase. The pastas, sauces, mushrooms, truffles, spices, wines, mushrooms…..I could go on.
  • VAT refunds can make shopping worthwhile but expect to stand in long lines for VAT refund and preferably take cash as the return on credit card comes late and at an unfavorable exchange rate
  • Bottomline, don't pack everything you want to as you will find something even more beautiful in Italy if you are willing to look for it! 

p.s.  Let me know if there's a better Italian translation available !

06 April 2015

Icelandic Adventures - Northern Lights, Blue Lagoon and Reykjavík

I wrote the prelude (read my earlier blogpost here) to my Icelandic adventures almost a year ago and have since then helped plan trips to Iceland for several friends but never got around to the follow up blog posts. Clearly my writing has not caught up with my yapping. Well, it’s time to fix just that. I have not explored enough of this beautiful country to legitimize any authority on it but I can definitely claim to have the ability to pique your interest.
View of Reykjavík from top (Courtesy Closed Shutters)
Sometimes, it’s hard to instantly shake the grime and hustle of city life by just geographically transporting yourself to a new place. During every trip, there usually is a distinct moment or inflection point, when and where you become aware of being in a different paradigm. It could happen at the destination airport but with McDonalds, Burger King and Starbucks mushrooming the way they have been; it’s getting harder and harder to get that feeling right away. 

Even though the crunchy, cold and clean air threatened to burst our lungs and miles of nothingness tried to drive home the change of scenery, the light bulb did not go off till we sighted the faint visage of the northern lights right from the Reykjavík harbor on our first day. Faint green bands reminding us of the tricks up nature’s sleeves and at that glorious moment I became aware. Jumping like little kids, the boy and I hugged each other and ran to score the best seats on the tour bus that was to drive us into darkness and magic.

As mentioned in my earlier blog post, seeing Aurora Borealis aka Northern Lights was the raison d'être for our trip to Iceland in February 2014. The bus ride was spent in acute anticipation and once it stopped outside the city in what seemed to be the middle of a frigid no-where, we scuttled down like rabbits to stretch our legs and pupils. And there they were! Dancing, prancing, teasing, and putting up a show like a coquettish performer with green, red and pink plumage! They swayed and marched and jumped in and out of the dark curtains of the night. My favourite part was when it’d appear that the night's curtain has parted and the lights would spread out as laser beams into a semi-circle of red or green. 
Their majesty - The Northern Lights 
While most folks scrambled back into the bus at some point due to the cold, sweet sips of captain and coke (packed in a moment of puerile genius) helped our behinds stay perched longer while we soaked in the brilliant display.If you are in Iceland for a short time, I’d recommend booking the tour earlier in the trip as the tour operators allow you to go a second night for free if the lights flake out on you the first time. There are more luxurious ways to see Northern lights including watching them from the lounge/ hot tub of ION hotel. You would think that my trip was successful, but I came back wanting to go see the southern sister concern, Aurora Australis!

Blue Lagoon: Most people think of a naked Brooke Shields when they hear the term Blue lagoon. Imagine having to compete with that and yet, Iceland’s geothermal spa ‘Blue Lagoon’ is able to establish its own mind space. Amidst the freezing temperatures, a periwinkle blue lagoon of warm water with mystical vapors is set against the backdrop of black rocks and a panoply of white and light blue sky; the imagery is startlingly unique. You can chill in the warm lagoon, apply freely available silica mud pack for a self-induced beauty treatment, frolic in the hot showers and fountains or disappear into multiple steam baths or sauna rooms. Add to that a whimsical floating massage wrapped in a warm blanket and a glass of wine or ice cool smoothie in the lagoon bar and one starts thinking that this must be how it’d be like to bathe in heaven; hopefully with fewer and better looking folks around.
Blue Lagoon (Courtesy Closed Shutters)
Blue lagoon in Grindavik is 24 kms. from the Keflavik airport (Iceland’s main airport) and about 50 kms. from the city of Reykjavík. You can either drive or buy one of the bus tours (Reykjavík excursions, Iceland excursions, flybus) which will pick you up from hotel and drop you back or to the airport. There are several packages to choose from but I’d recommend booking in advance if you want to avoid the lines and carrying a towel or slipper if you just want to do an entry package. If relaxing so hard makes you hungry or bored, you can try out the delicacies at their Lava restaurant or shot at their souvenir shop.

Reykjavík: First things first, I had to unlearn pronouncing Reykjavík as (Rik-ja-vik) and say it the right way(Rey-e-ka-vik). For a capital city, Reykjavík is pretty understated but then one can blame it on the Danish influence. It’s about 50 kms from Keflavik airport and again you can either book a bus tour or rent a car (recommended) to get to the city. Car rentals can get pricey to book when you land so better book online or use some of the cheaper ones (Budget, SixT) located about 300 mts. outside the airport.
Colorful Reykjavík (Courtesy Closed Shutters) 
Reykjavík’s city center is its lifeline and that’s where I’d recommend people to stay if you want to be in the middle of action. Most of the sightseeing spots as well as restaurants, boutique shops and bars are within walking distance. Best way to explore Reykjavík is on foot and you can plan to cover most of the city in a day. The Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavík is the most well-known landmark with its simplistic yet unique architecture and a very large pipe organ (15 metres tall and 25 tons in weight).
Hallgrímskirkja church, Reykjavík (Courtesy Closed Shutters) 
While driving around the city, we came across the frozen lake Tjornin and the childlike joy of sliding down and running over a frozen lake has stayed with me as one of the other moments where travel transports you not only to a different place but to a difference plane in the time space continuum. 
Frozen Lake Tjornin (see if you can spot the skater) 
Despite not being in city center, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Icelandair Marina hotel with the beautiful view of the marina and the ice capped mountains. The hotel with its quirky décor and theme based rooms was kind of a treasure hunt the daily breakfast spread of fresh salmon and heavenly pesto dip sealed the deal for us. The close proximity to Harpa (the business/community center close to Harbour) was an added bonus.
View from outside and inside of Harpa
Harpa has won several architecture award but for us it was more special as were able to catch the chef's battle finale of the ‘Food and fun’ festival as well as explore the farmer’s market with local vendors offering everything from rye bread (one cannot escape it in Iceland), wine, sea salt, fresh produce, sausages, soaps, scrubs, to kleinas (Icelandic donuts) and other delicacies including horse meat (don't ask why!) 

In my usual tradition, I had made reservations at supposedly one of the best restaurants 'Laekjarbrekka' in Reykjavík. The restaurant had excellent service and I tried the Icelandic platter (whale, fermented shark, puffins and dried fish). Whale tasted a bit like beef, shark more like stinky sticky cheese and I have no recollection of any distinct flavor for the putin and the fried fish was well fried fish. Apart from that and a good glass of wine, there was nothing notable to remember about the restaurant. Later our concierge recommended the Icelandic platter at Seafood grill but I had enough of rare meats for one trip. Le bistro for French and Icelandic influenced French food was a nice yet rushed meal. No matter where you eat, do not forget to try the rye bread ice cream at Café Loki in front of the church or world’s most famous hot dog Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur when in Reykjavík.
Icelandic treasures (fresh salmon, rye bread ice cream,world famous hot dogs and hlölla bátar)  
Although 70% of Iceland’s population lives in Reykjavík, you would not see too many souls waddling on weekdays. Weekends are a different story when Iceland comes out of hibernation and comes out to party. This was evident at the 'Slippbarin' in our hotel which transformed from a hotel guests only bar to a buzzing cocktail lounge full of hip crowd in a matter of few hours on Friday. I really liked Loftið club for it’s cool lounge vibe despite a little bit of Icelandic snootiness and dress code but was not a big fan of being in line at Austur for spotting celebs whom I could not even recognize even if I bumped into them. We ended up at B-5 which was full of drunk and belligerent college crowd; this went just fine with the boy’s idea of a great night out. The happy hour and movie trivia night at “Lebowski bar” was a great way to blend in with the locals and yes, Big Lebowski is big across the world! After downing several rounds of Katla (Icelandic vodka and Brennivin (schnapps and Iceland’s national drink), we found the perfect 4 AM food in ‘hlölla bátar’ (chicken sandwiches).
Glimpses of Reykjavík's nightlife 
I have used unique to describe Iceland for very many reasons, one of them being the Icelandic Phallological Museum dedicated to phallus. It houses specimens from land and sea mammals including homo-sapiens for scientific research and enquiry if one is so inclined. For a country, that’s looking at tourism as its poster child to come out of its economic slump, the prices are a little prohibitive. However, once you consider the natural wonders, unique experiences, breathtaking landscape, friendly locals and a buzzing nightlife; you'll start looking at flight tickets. In my next blog post, I will cover our tour of the Golden circle and an adventurous South shore trip. I guess, it’s time to take out that bottle of Katla and have a shot! Skál

15 March 2015

Bloglets: Holi ! Hues of Nostalgia, Romance and Survival

Holi for the uninitiated is the Indian ‘festival of colors' which signals the arrival of spring and also coincides with the Hindu new year. One cannot escape the vibrant cacophony of colors around Holi; so, I decided to add a bit of color to my blog in the spirit of holi! Well, technically I wanted to represent the multiple hues through various perspectives, but coloring my fonts seemed so much easier and fun!
Didn't I say, I was in mood for some fun, so I painted too :)
As for adding color through perspectives, I will give that a shot too and if you do not like it, I have a popular Hindi adage associated with this festival for you - ‘बु रा ना मानो होली है ’. This literally means, ‘do not get upset, it’s Holi’ but mostly implies ‘I will do whatever the f&*# I want, deal with it because it’s Holi ’.

It’s one of the festivals that make me very nostalgic about my hometown and childhood. To begin with, Holi legitimized everything that would have landed me in trouble any other day of the year. Whether it was running on streets with abandon, getting dirty, playing with anything that can be used as a proxy for color, using ammunition like water balloons and color slings, bickering over pichkaris (weapons of water based mass destruction), hiding in inaccessible places..you name it. On top of that, Holi in my hometown was anything but civil. Oil paint, mud, cow dung, garbage, ponds to dunk people; anything was fair game. Only if you have been party to that ‘anything goes’ kind of Holi, will you understand the kind of base and free spirit it reminds me of. I am sure the mention of some of these will lead to a few crinkled noses, but I’ll take my chances.
In absence of any images of Holi from back home; close second from web (Source: http://iarani.blogspot.com/) 
Apart from the interesting choice of ammo, the strategies and rigour that went into it, made it even more memorable. We would douse ourselves in oil so that the colors won’t stick. Some would paint their own faces so other’s don’t get the pleasure and some would hide behind shields (locked doors, old grandparents, babies) palpitating and dreading their capture if it came to that, and mostly it did. Most kids would wear something that had not been worn in last few years and would at least be a few sizes too small (Try arguing with a middle class Indian mother!) for obvious reasons. If you really played Holi, piece of your clothing inevitably went home in your friend’s pocket. Then came the part around taking off colors where everyone would share tips on how best to get rid of the color or peel your skin, whichever happened first.  

It was also probably the only time when looking like a boy (I didn't know I had rights !) worked to my advantage as I was not the first target of the boys’ gangs. Yes, there were all sorts of gangs who would take to streets and visit all the houses in the colony looking for their willing or unwilling targets. Gangs of young boys and girls who would start early and make initial rounds, followed by the male members and then the female members would join in after all the cooking was done.One of my favorite memories of Holi is of my dad carving out logos or funny quotes that he would stamp on people’s clothes and my mom humming while cooking delicacies in the kitchen.
'Lathmar' Holi in Barsana (Braj) ; source (wikipedia; image by Narender9)  
A flirtatious society is usually a healthy society and the red of romance is an integral hue of Holi. No festival imbibes the naughtiness and flirtatiousness of Holi; which probably is second only to Garba in Gujarat during Navratras when it comes to sexual escapades. Part of this could be attributed to the fact that in local folklore, this festival finds its origins in Lord Krishna’s raas-leela (flirting and romancing) with thousands of his girlfriends/wives (16000 to be precise). Yeah, he is a GOD! Come to think of it, Holi epitomizes the dichotomy in Indian society. A prudish and sexist society legitimizes flirtation, free intermingling of sexes and thandai (Indian milk based drink often laced with bhang, a form of weed) during this festival which surprisingly also hardly has any religious rituals associated with it. So, we get one day of having pure unadulterated fun in the year(thank you ancestors!). Hence, I also feel that we do a poor job of promoting this festival. The lathmar holi; when women play act beating up the men with sticks and the stampede of color in Barsana in Braj (birthplace of Krishna) can rival any cultural travel experience in the world whether it’s Tomatina in or  Boryeong. 
Life in technicolor during 2014 Holi party in Brooklyn 
Even though I am usually mentally prepared but sometimes, there is a sharp tinge in my heart when I wake up hoping to see colored faces, some fervent running, shrieks and smell of “gujiyas” (typical Holi dessert, similar to sweet empanadas) and instead find that it’s just another snowed in day in New York. Thankfully, I have a few partners in crime and we try to create our own microcosm on festivals. So, even though our Holi starts at 10 PM with Indian take out and is played strictly with dry colors within a radius of 1 meter in my apartment; we still make it a point to celebrate Holi on the same day as in India every year. 
Holi 2014 in my apartment 
I know I've been reminiscing like an old lady but frankly it's not so bad. Living in New York comes with its own set of perks and you get to celebrate festivals from across the world. There are a few Holi events every year, granted they could happen 3 months after Holi. The Brooklyn open air Holi event last year in May (Holi typically is in March) with the smog of dry colors, technicolor faces, rap and hip hop music and, food carts selling chicken wings to South Indian dosa was as much a success as it was representative of the cultural melting pot that New York is. This year, a day party in Midtown Manhattan on Holi weekend was timely and more than made up for missing out on fun at home with some Bollywood numbers, dhol and non-stop revelry.   
Holi Party 2015 
To no surprise, the free spirit of Holi can also be misused but I don’t want to go back to black today so saving that rant for a darker day. And yes, the colors can harm your skin, eyes and hair and but then so can sun, air, and rain; so, I'd still say play a little, live a little. My olfactory memory is in overdrive as I write this and I can almost smell my mom's cooking and am humming ‘रंग  बरसे भीगे चुनार वाली' (a famous and definitely inappropriate Indian song about a girl getting drenched in Holi colors).

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