Squirrel’s Instant Messaging

I met this squirrel a few years ago in Union Square park on 14th Street, New York City.

I remember that I’d given him the peanut that you see in his nimble hands. He had sniffed it before picking it up and strangely, unlike most squirrels, he hadn’t eaten it yet.

Give the picture a closer look – you might believe he’s looking at you.

Normally, I wouldn’t look at a squirrel with hope that it would deliver me a message. That morning, I hoped.

I’d lost my uncle the previous night in India and that morning, I was to perform in a play at Lee Strasberg. It was the last day of our month-long intensive and expensive acting course.

The tragedy in the family hadn’t stopped me from going to Strasberg, because I knew that if I hadn’t gone, I would’ve upset the departed soul. But I was crestfallen, and unsure if I’d remember my lines from the play.

I’d told my acting teacher about the death. His advice: Give it your best, Mahesh. Let it be a tribute to your uncle.

In the park, the more I’d gazed at the squirrel, the more I’d felt he wanted to tell me something.  And I remember that he hadn’t – until the last glimpse I had of him on my way to the Strasberg building – eaten the peanut.

I performed in the play thinking only about my character. My fellow students applauded the act, and my teacher praised that it was the best tribute I could give.

A few days later, somebody told me that squirrels do come with a message that one should take life a little less seriously. Perhaps the squirrel that morning wanted me to take it easy, demonstrating it by sacrificing his instant urge to eat the peanut.

An actor friend of mine who hadn’t known about my family tragedy linked the squirrel-behavior to indigestion.

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Take life a little less seriously is the Panacea (Daily Prompt). Take a Peek (Photo Challenge).

Bowlmor Friday Fun At Chelsea Piers

First off, bowling has always been popular. Millions of people have played it for thousands of years, believe it or not.

Way back in 5,200 B.C., bowling balls and pins were found in the tomb of an Egyptian king. In fourth century Germany, where bowling was part of a religious ceremony, those who could knock down the pins were believed to be of good character and those who couldn’t had to do penance.

Popular in America since Colonial days, bowling started the American Bowling Congress in 1895, which is now called the United States Bowling Congress. Martin Luther was a bowler.

Located at Pier 60 – just off the West Side Highway – and with 40 bowling lanes, laneside video walls, the flashing lights and sounds of arcade games, Bowlmor gave us the outing we’d long sought: a ride into a zone that settled us into getting our focus back, decimating the days of distraction.

The entrance is a mix of dark hues, symbolic of a thick colorful interior.

To the right of the entrance is this Golf Club: Manhattan’s only four-tiered, outdoor driving range. Practice putting, take lessons from professional golfers, feel free to hit full shots.

Entering the building, the first thing you see are ropes and harness, which Bowlmar claims is NYC’s only indoor ropes course.

Stacked in the shelves behind the front desk are bowling shoes. These shoes have a sole which allows a bowler to slide before releasing the ball.

Our reserved lane. Private is cool, but expensive.

The length from the foul line to the head pin is 60 feet. On either side of the lane are gutters.

All set to bowl with Agastya, who’s super thrilled.

Rolling the ball at the pins

Warmth of bonding

Thick bright lounge area

Here, in the brief clip, it’s my second roll at the pins. I knock them down – it’s a spare.

We got a few strikes. See the X in the small square.

With reservation comes food. Chicken tenders, french fries, cheese pizza – also, fruit punch and sauces.

At the arcade, he loved Air Hockey. His takeaway.

His first attempt at an advanced racing game…

…guess what, he did really well…

I don’t know how he managed it, but he came first. He thanked me – I kissed him on his cheeks.

On our way back home, we stopped by this majestic blue door, on 23rd/6th.

Though our fingers, elbows, and legs are sore, we are all smiles.

Central Park Zoo

On Sunday, we visited the Central Park Zoo in New York City.

This was our second visit in last one year and the tickets were “paid for.” Reason: Last year, during our first visit, the zoo was unexpectedly closed due to an explosion nearby. It was very unfortunate that a teenager tourist lost his foot in the blast. The visitors who’d purchased the tickets were given complimentary one-year-valid tickets since most of us couldn’t see all of the attractions. I remember we were on our way to watch a 4D movie when the accidental blast led the zoo authorities to initiate an early shutdown.

Since the complimentary tickets were to expire in July this year, the last Sunday had to be the day.

The Central Park Zoo began as a menagerie in the post mid-19th century; the place has since seen several modifications, making it the modern zoological garden, now home to an indoor rain-forest.

You enter the zoo walking with a sizable crowd, and disappear down the trellised walkway. It may look like a conflict zone if you believed the fear-mongering some, but multiculturalism thrives and works toward a peaceful co-existence. The vine-clad purity, breath of fresh green; the brick trimmed with granite.

Since we missed the 4D movie last time, we began this tour with a movie: Ice Age – No time for Nuts.

How a saber-toothed squirrel on a chase after his acorn, which a time machine dispatches into different time periods, makes for a fun viewing experience.

Ready with our 4D glasses – our son thoroughly enjoyed the film.

We avoid fast food but have to make do with it when options are scarce. The monopoly of a lone restaurant in the zoo can quietly drain your wallet: $14 for a cheeseburger. I ate half of my burger in disapproval. The street vendor right outside the zoo would charge more or less the same, charging $3 for a 700 ml water bottle, for example; in other places, the same bottle costs $1.50. Uniformity in food prices kicks competition out. But, french fries tasted better after a while.

Right outside Tisch Children’s Zoo which was to be our next stop, this brilliant musician played Wheels On The Bus Go Round And Round on his saxophone.

At Children’s Zoo, waiting to feed the goats

Alpaca, which resembles Llama, is a domesticated species of South American camelid.

Feeding the Alpaca. (Look out – Alpacas can spit.)

Spider web play area

White-naped Crane – needs shallow wetlands and grassy marshes to forage, nest, and raise their chicks. 70% of these cranes breed in Mongolia which provides perfect habitats.

Ducks’ feeding time

Baby Tortoise with egg as shell

Cavies come from the same family as guinea pigs. A family of rodents native to South America.

Intelligence garden (in the Temperate zone) is an idea borrowed from a Chinese emperor who believed that the best way to develop intelligence was to observe animals in their natural state. 

Where next?

Walking toward the Tropic zone. Glass-roofed pergolas add to the beauty.

A grizzly bear stands 3 to 4 feet tall on all fours, but can reach 6 to 7 feet tall when standing up straight.

The bear’s private pool

California Sea Lion can dive hundreds of feet deep and stay underwater for up to 10 minutes.

Flora that lends beauty…

It was zero degree Fahrenheit…descending from the pass were the marks of the Snow Leopard; they can venture as high as 19,000 feet. Watch its eyes at your own risk.

Red panda – found in the Himalayan foothills, this flame-colored animal shares both territory and a name with the giant panda, but not genetics. Red panda is actually related to Raccoon.

The Victoria-crowned pigeon is a large, bluish-grey pigeon; has elegant blue lace-like crests, maroon breast, and red irises.

Blue-headed Macaw Parrot. Pointed tail, large bill.

Amazon Tree Boa is non-venomous, found in South America.

Banded Mongoose – females give birth within a few days of each other and everyone cares for the babies.

Texas Tortoise – thrives in exposed dry scrub and grasslands; forages on cactuses.

Slender-tail Cloud Rat – one of the largest rats in the world. Guess its weight when fully grown? Around five pounds. Its penetrating look – as if it knows what we’re thinking.

Penguins in the Polar zone. Just chill.

The Yacht Man

For Day 3 of my B/W Photo Challenge, I present to you the Yacht man. I captured these moments one evening from the living room of our apartment.

He was up on the mast, repairing the halyard. When I was clicking him I wondered: what he’d eaten for lunch, if he’d fought with his family that morning, and weirdly, if he’d added coke or soda to his vodka.

I don’t think he’s checking his phone here. He may want to — the altitude might give him a good reception.DSCN1555

Here, he’s trying to pull a tool out of his repair kit; he’ll have to find it first.DSCN1564

Work has begun, and he’s peering in the direction of Brooklyn.DSCN1553

Is someone calling him from below, or is he gauging the altitude? “Will I survive if I fall, and if I survive, what’ll be left of me?”DSCN1554

He has a good view of downtown Manhattan, and with dusk approaching, the Hudson River traffic will peak.DSCN1562

The full view of the yacht and the man. Way ‘up’ to go.DSCN1545

A wider view.DSCN1559

The widest view the camera could get. Spot the yacht man?DSCN1561

The most zoomed-out click. He looks tired.DSCN1565

I figured by the end of it all that I had forgotten to eat lunch, fought with family in the morning and that, I would’ve added soda to my vodka.

I link Blewbird for this challenge. This blog has several breathtaking pictures.

Character Buildings In New York City

In continuing the series on New York City, this is my third post (firstsecond).

This will take you to the clusters of glass, steel and concrete. The tall buildings of NYC. Capturing them on camera was easy.

Brilliant architecture and lovely designs have infused life into these buildings, giving them character.

Hyatt and Chrysler621360_10151289585220625_2132890286_o

Chrysler Building177675_10151289585395625_999917920_o

Apple Store57395_10151316771850625_1463415113_o

Bank of America Tower171927_10151316773960625_1502696759_o

Freedom TowerIMG_3875

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photo (4)

Some magnificent structuresIMG_3728

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From atop the Empire State: the downtown viewIMG_3046

Midtown and uptown viewDSCN0247

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Bergdorf Goodman 52769_10151316772390625_508349399_o

Time Warner Center415740_10151316766140625_1119920250_o

The Plaza Hotel665979_10151316765520625_1439334392_o

United Nations132815_10151289586985625_179817469_o

Gorgeous skyscrapers172755_10151289584115625_2029968795_o

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Metlife Building176963_10151289584585625_1355493259_o

Rockefeller Plaza398143_10150620599720625_610141746_n

Washington Square Arch200943_10150229688495625_8185752_o

St. Patrick’s Cathedral402441_10150620598770625_1378830332_n

The Empire State11146_216692215624_2278989_n

New York Stock Exchange35331_453780580624_5642733_n

New York Public Library176164_10151289581685625_942165916_o

Citi Building193096_10151289578500625_1557436214_o\

Engravings615611_10151289579355625_755672449_o

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The National Museum of the American Indian 461815_10151193686415625_910738829_o

Grand Central Terminal401070_10150620607595625_987334125_n

(from the inside)IMG_3944

Downtown Manhattan skyline (view from the apartment)IMG_6004

Midtown Manhattan skyline (view from our previous apartment)35379_453780890624_7495325_n

 

Each contributes in New York City

This is in continuation to my post about New York City. It’s a brief list: I’m sharing what my camera chose to capture.

There are several fountains in the city. Each unique and beautiful. Sit nearby, sip coffee, and watch the flow.622774_10151289577975625_1830168443_o

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There are lane signs galore. This one caught my attention: manages the traffic well.56295_10151316754980625_2082077326_o

It’s the city of pigeons, too. When they’re bored on the ground, they have a vantage point.55405_10151316766690625_132147015_o

Drinking fountain – drink and hydrate yourself.177327_10151316755425625_1871769200_o

Though drivers adhere to the speed limit, there are exceptions and fines.334426_10151289590740625_1888029463_o

No free parking that is615409_10151289592615625_1137667108_o

This is important considering how buildings come up thick and fast.334463_10151289576390625_382414106_o

Where heavy trucks seek rejuvenation56487_10151289594425625_1422531215_o

Free and paid. Upgrade yourself.77777_10151289594605625_1918897414_o

Paid and timed. Or fined.622017_10151289589905625_2022720298_o

There’s no dearth of parking garages; supply meets demand.615953_10151289591200625_1747003207_o

See red, and streets and avenues pause.131693_10151289591630625_1672860108_o

Underpass and tunnel ease traffic congestion.456142_10151289587790625_1316764048_o

Quenching the thirst415752_10151316763690625_887944791_o

This is everywhere, keeping the city healthy.54915_10151289594890625_1903161895_o (1)

When art gets public space and attention

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Plenty of chairs. Can’t be tired for long.134036_10151316754635625_19978666_o

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A bus stop waits for engines and hearts.200935_10151289591855625_1225518007_o

Subway entry. Tranquil stairs now.413297_10151289591430625_532724696_o

Wanna call? Have the coins?337165_10151289580085625_1804629126_o

Go round and round, child.175206_10151289589560625_1230927842_o

Time’s everything.415679_10151316773120625_1116823728_o

 

 

 

What’s New York City without them

There are things without which this city cannot survive: NYPD, FDNY, yellow cab, street vendors, to name a few. And there are things with which the city continues to thrive: street performers, among others.

A revisit:

New York City Police Department:  There’s a fine line between their alertness and friendliness.174996_10151289560360625_112948555_o

Fire Department of the city of New York: All of us know what their contribution has been (before, on, after 9/11). Don’t (therefore) hate the sound their trucks make.329351_10150392331585625_996432770_o

Blue Boat: I see one of these every day from my apartment. Their reach is far and wide.337459_10150392342150625_1065411757_o

Yellow Cab: Ubiquitous, and the need of the minute.413176_10151289590500625_1986082458_o

School Bus: Safe and sound, and in shape.171941_10151289581240625_125984412_o

United States Postal Service: They do deliver.617041_10151289590285625_68339071_o

Deli: Coffee, croissant, muffin, and more.339788_10151289592250625_252827647_o

Street Food: Devour it.53854_10151289596590625_64169138_o

Laborers: The most ignored are the most hardworking.665054_10151316757600625_1890988838_o

Citi Bikes: Ride them.1043854_10151770789410625_1175918212_n

Horse carriage ride: Harsh?665344_10151316762490625_1720755098_o

Solo ride is light ride622616_10151316764330625_1317395301_o

Scare the brave201156_10151316768525625_2053913873_o

Hug the loving394091_10150620600735625_227385326_n

Street Performers: Talented, and though they do this for money, they won’t ask you for a cent.

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My Undying Love For Bridges

Bridges connect lands, shine after rain, and wink when there’s sun on steel.

I’m very familiar with these bridges — they get my undivided attention.

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge connects Staten Island and Brooklyn. Longest suspension bridge span in the US. 11th longest in the world.29511_441632925624_6890669_n

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George Washington Bridge connects Manhattan and New Jersey. World’s busiest motor vehicle bridge, carries 102 million vehicles every year.Manhattan.20mile walk.pregnancy 218

Manhattan.20mile walk.pregnancy 189

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Manhattan.20mile walk.pregnancy 209

Brooklyn Bridge connects Manhattan and Brooklyn.  Love locks and the everlasting love.

ggggg

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yyyyy

jjjjjj

How Thick Blanket Of Fog Obscured Manhattan Today

It felt surreal as I clicked these from our apartment.

A thick blanket of fog appeared out of nowhere, as though a jet whooshed past inches above the Hudson River leaving contrailsphoto 3 (2)

The more the fog thickened the less the sun’s intensity; the downtown Manhattan skyline is bracing for impactphoto 5 (3)

The sun’s misty brightness; its rays’ reflection in the river were drops of sparkling pearls. But where’s the skyline?photo 3 (1)

The sun and the fog: Will they or won’t they…?photo 5

They met and merged. Every obscurity may not mean enmity. There’s life, love. Any of our interpretations is only reflective of our identity photo 1

Shades And Spots

These are some of my favorite clicks:

When the sun was setting amid dark rain clouds (West Jersey)57404_10151289597130625_1617344439_o

As the sun rose in Florida its patch of white light with its not-so-flattering reflection in the river (from aboard the Norwegian Gem)69748_10150112127110625_4662958_n

The circle of dark orange protecting the thick sunset of white (the East River, NYC)6016_139051120624_8135282_n

The disappearing hues of white and orange knocking on the windows of twilight (New Jersey skyline)75878_10150093045210625_1588157_n

The dusk’s only a few moments away (Manhattan skyline)IMG_8116

How every sunrise is the beginning of freshness (downtown Manhattan)IMG_9447

This quiet surrender wanting you to surrender too (Sandy Hook, New Jersey)334297_10150380642230625_6636000_o

How this day was glorious like any other day (Jersey City skyline)76391_10150093044755625_2593560_n

White with shades of gray and black (A night in Kerala, South India)615390_10151294044070625_1254638598_o

Spot the patches, those landings on the Moon220014_10150229692720625_2113731_o