Those words just define an emotion in themselves, don’t they? No other words could do justice to the feeling you get when you hear NEW YORK! More than being just a megacity, this place brings out the dreams in everyone to visit this place once in their lives for the sake of their travel bucket list.
I have had the honor of living in this city for three years. Yes, HONOR! Ever since I was 9 and was mesmerized listening to the intricate details about this city after my father’s trip, I never stopped dreaming about visiting New York at least once in my life. And as destiny had it for me, I was fortunate to get the opportunity to study in the States, at a place right next to the city of my dreams!
My joy knew no bounds. I did not believe my luck till the time I landed at J.F.K. International airport in New York City. I remember the day fresh out of my memory. It was surreal. The season of long nights let me witness the sunrise right as I stepped out of the airplane and as the sun shone brightly outside, it painted a bright picture of New York covered in the snow leaving me dumbfounded. All I could do was wish someone pinched me right then and there to make me realize that it was no longer just a dream. It was a freaking reality!
While waiting for my uncle to receive me at the airport, I stood by the huge window panes that opened up to the view of the traffic lining up right in front of the terminal. Apart from the white snow cover and almost all black cars lining up, there was one particular color that is absolutely difficult to miss in this city. Yellow. Yes, the yellow cabs of New York is a sight hard to miss. I smiled remembering the fact that the taxis did make a full-fledged appearance in all the movies of Bollywood that were shot here because they indeed are an important part. My nostalgia was cut short when my uncle spotted me and greeted. All this time I had this smile pasted on my face which made it extremely evident to him that I was excited to be here. We walked out of the terminal later to which I was welcomed by the land of my dreams with a freezing cold breeze. Even with the freezing temperatures, I had the audacity to ignore the breezy weather and still felt warm even without the layers I was expected to have on me. That I guess is what they call the feeling of content. I did not need anything else but the satisfaction of being where I wanted to be and the journey that I was about to have to keep me warm at that moment.
I started my journey during winters which meant I had to wait a few more months to explore the city. Summer arrived after a long wait of 5 months. Well, it was a really long time for me to keep my excitement boxed up. Soon enough the exploring began. Walking down the streets on New York, getting lost in this humungous concrete jungle left me awestruck..always! No matter how many times I walked down the same lanes, the city never ceased to amaze me. What about the city that made me fall in love with it deep and hard, is an inexplicable fact. The combination of skyscrapers along the banks of rivers with the widely spread parks is what gives the city a contrasting spectrum. The city bustles with an indefinite number of people on a daily basis giving out different vibes every day of the year. White collars during the week and party animals over the weekend depicts the perfect moods of this city. Parades during the day and fireworks at night is a way of the city’s festive celebration. Perfect sunsets teamed with the twinkling lights of highrises is an absolute delight. High profile eateries to the most amazing street food let you satiate your taste buds. Such contradictions, I believe are a rare sight which makes the city a vagabond’s and a photographer’s paradise.
States is believed to be a land of immigrants and well, there is no denying. Strolling around the city makes you cross paths with people of various castes and creed. The people here are way too warm and welcoming as opposed to the belief that the rest of the world has. Right from the extremely rich to the street beggars, everyone has a warm smile to greet you with. Tom Wolfe rightly said, “One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” I belonged to the city the moment I touched down and it would not be wrong to say that the city had willfully accepted me as a miniscule part existing on this massive piece of land.
This place holds a very special place in my heart and signifies an important phase of my life. The city has taught me tons of lessons through the varied experiences it made me go through. I was an introvert before but the city turned made me strong enough to be able to interact with everyone around me without any cowardice. I made new friends who continue to be a part of my existence while giving me the opportunity to meet some of my old friends after years. The city taught me to be independent as this was the first time I lived away from my family. It led me to follow my zeal for photography and introduced in me the love for writing. It gave me the courage to face the world all by myself and to stay strong no matter what the situations are. And last but not the least it taught me to be happy because it imbibed in me the trust that as long as I am here, the city going to take care of me and I can rely on it.
I cannot repay the city for what it has given me but I owe everything and with everything, I mean every bit of my life to New York. This places remains of utmost importance to me and will continue to remain till the end. All I wish is to spend most of my remaining lifetime and continue to build a realm of my own in this city of my dreams!