Culture Shock

I realized something this weekend: If I’m not careful enough, by the time I leave NYC, I will be both, broke and obese. Really. Nonetheless, it was a great weekend.

Let’s start off with Friday. After heading over to Barnes and Nobles, Syl and I walked around a Japanese market and ate some good ol’ sushi. We also went for a Soprano musical at Carnegie Hall – not because we are cultured, but because it’s all part of the New York experience. To give you a fair understanding of the atmosphere we were in, all I need to say is that we were the only ones casually dressed, the only non-Caucasians, and the only students. (Don’t take that student discount for granted! We paid $25 when others paid about $100. Next time this year, we will have to pay the full price. This is disturbing. But, it will be my excuse to splurge for the rest of the summer.)

At the concert, they handed us descriptions of artists’ backgrounds. Naturally, being the nosy person that I am, I had to flip through their life histories while they performed. However, as I flipped, some guy a few rows ahead of us turned around and glared at me. Now mind you, this is in spite of us sitting at the very end in the balcony. I was spoiling his musical nirvana.

Ballet auditorium after concert

In any case, I have no idea how these singers reach such high pitches. Apparently, in singing lessons they are taught to raise their voices from their foreheads and their eyes. Somehow they can hit every single note that can reach the human ear. Now that’s talent.

It is pretty sad that us commoners are completely incapable of appreciating such singing. Instead, we listen to talentless artists like Kesha who use electric effects to make themselves sound bearable. I am guilty of this. In fact, we left halfway through the show to walk around Columbus circle. Not because it was bad, but because listening to high-pitched singing in a language we didn’t understand for two hours straight was impossible.

To draw a ridiculous comparison of Gen Y’s inability to appreciate/sit through a whole opera: We Indians (I’m making generalizations) cannot appreciate subtle flavors in food. We need to add sauces and spices to like it, no matter what. I became concious of this fact a few days ago when I went to Manhattan’s best Chinese restaurant, Philippe Chow and spent almost $50. On dinner. I know. It’s obscene. And the food was so-so. However, on Friday, I met Insha and family for a late dinner at what has to be the best Chinese restaurant I’ve been to in America thus far. I am convinced that it was only my favorite because of the spice.

As for Saturday, I was very kindly escorted around Queens. I saw little India, little China, little Korea, little Philippenes, and many other little things. It’s pretty amazing that just in one city you can get a taste of any country you’d like. I also witnessed multiculturalism personified in its finest form: An entire Indian wedding procession took place on the streets of little China. Yes, that includes the hand-clapping, the dancing and the road-blocking. What was even more bizarre was that there were Chinese folk dressed in Indian clothing.

Wedding procession in Queens

Later that evening, I went for “Next to Normal” with two friends. It was possibly the best Broadway show in the history of Broadway shows. Of course, I have only seen a total of 3 Broadway shows in my lifetime, but still. It was about a woman with bi-polar depression and her family, and it reached and surpassed all levels of intensity and of painful emotion. But the night ended on a happy note – we took pictures with the cast, passed by a crazy bus on Times Square with people strutting their stuff from their windows, ate the best food at an everything MeatBall restaurant, and finished off with delicious, sinful crepes!

But that amazing weekend, my friends, is why New York, my city of dreams with all its opportunity, diversity and culture, may also be my pathway towards bankruptcy and obesity. I need a Kiboo account.

This entry was posted in Broadway, Concert, Food, Intern Summer 2010, New York and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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