Moments of Truth

That every day we face. And being honest about it!

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Location: Monroe Twp, New Jersey, United States

TeeBee for many, Manthru for some, Sunny for a few, Myna for selected, Suresh for record. Hailing from Thrissur of Kerala and now lives (read survives) in Monroe Twp, NJ with wife and daughter.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


It is difficult to ignore, at least for the first time and particularly if you are new to the city, these big black letter words on a yellow background that is often seen in subway cars or stations of New York city. Though it might look like some encrypted set of keywords or a puzzle of jumbled letters, actually it is Spanish and the meaning is : "If you see something, say something!". And these are reminders from Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) and NYPD (New York Police Department) to report suspicious activities and objects, repeated at various places both in English and Spanish. I always look around to see something and suspicious or not, I see a lot.

Very recently I was greeted with the Metro news paper, I get it for free at the entrance of the subway where I start my daily journey to my NYC office with a regular and monotonous "Good morning and have a nice day" greeting from the lady who distributes them, that talked about expected subway attacks by terrorists in that week. Security was tightened up with more NYPD officers in stations, either talking to each other or looking too much into the faces and luggages of commuters, and random baggage searches. I said to myself: "Vow! What a nice way to start a day and journey". Although I knew that NYC is vulnerable to attacks even before my recent move to New York, this was the first time I was actually getting a warning of an imminent attack that came from reliable sources as it was claimed. With a smile on my face, amused at what is in store for me or the city, I enter the train and look for worried faces around. To my surprise, I see most of the people listening to their latest iPods or portable CD players. Some were deeply into the books they have been reading and some were busy reading the tabloids. One or two looked at me suspiciously. Probably they were looking for signs of a terrorist which was published in news papers after NYPD announced it after the London attacks. I could pass for one with a backpack, a suit that may not fit well with the weather and a rhythmic movement of fingers to the sound of train's wheels.

The culture and heart of NY is difficult to understand as it looks like a fusion of cultures all over the world. The city is always busy and have no time to worry on anything. It wakes up to at least one news of rape or murder or stabbing or shooting although I learned that it is much lesser than it used to be. Youth is busy in dating or drugs and enjoy cracking glass bottles on the street. A big set is after their pets and gleefully forget to clean up even though it is the law. 9/11 or Katrina has not affected the bulk unless their immediate relatives or friends were involved. The city goes on its routine and if a set is dead, a much bigger set is waiting to take their place without worrying much about the past or future. Terrorist attacks kill! Then so are Hurricanes, War, Road Accidents, Shootings etc and life goes on with nothing achieved from the destruction.

Public transportation is good (cancellations, rerouting, delays etc are always there and hence the complaints) and a rough estimate of 4.5 million ride the subways on an average week day. It is in here they drink coffee, eat burgers, cut nails, make up for lost sleep, read favourite books and newspapers, listen to music, romance, prepare for conferences or meetings or exams, watch movies on cute handheld gadgets, gossip, sew the latest fashion hand bags or dress. Subway life is part of the NY city culture. With $2, one can travel for endless hours underground without exiting the station. Unknown nationals from all over the world sitting side by side and travelling to their destinations. Those who have own vehicles pay huge tolls and parking fees and travell miles to save 2 cents on a gallon. When they are not travelling, they look for sales coupons in news papers and wait for Christmas to get summer clothes. On mother's and father's day, they call up their moms and dads (if they know) respectively to say hi and that they love them.

As I near the kids care centre to take my daughter on the way back home, I hear a loud chorus.
"Black penguin, black penguin..what you see?
I see yellow cheese what you see? .....".

Each parent might be thinking about a future for these kids. The kids themselves, once grown up, will surely have their own. Then there is one from the terrorists too! Who has the right to make it? Tell me the name of the book that taught violence is the way to resolve issues and an example from history to prove it. If you know something, say something!


Blogger R.Nandakumar said...

truly, the 'big apple' comes alive there (at least to someone who has not seen it 'live')!

9:52 PM  
Blogger Myna said...

Statue of liberty looks pale and sad as ever since 9/11 entry inside to the upper levels was prohibited. The question is with all kinds of restrictions and loss of life, did anybody achieve anything? Or will it ever be achieved? I doubt as this world is not in the hands of a mere small percent who embrace violence to solve problems. Have you ever seen somebody who drives disregarding laws and fellow drivers on highways and still get away with it? If only others were smarter (because they follow rules and respect others), would that have happened? dear friends out there.

6:11 PM  

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