My first months in NYC, exploring the city, visiting Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and many more.
My life in New York as a nanny – I had the great fortune to have worked as a nanny with this nice & warm hearted Indian doctor couple. Their daughter was just 4 months d when I arrived in NY city. They gave me all the instructions & other needful stuffs to care for their baby. We hit off well from the start. Me and the baby were in a separate room, such a precious sweet baby Jahnavi was! I spoke to her in Hindi as per her mom’s request and it was fun She was a non fussy baby.
I put in all my efforts to take good care of her. When she took a nap, I watched the Tv news. It felt different to be actually living & working in New York City for real! I couldn’t believe it. I could never have imagined to be in this city of the Big Apple one day, not in my life! I truly feel it was God’s plan for me to set foot here. My poor parents would not have been able to even send me anywhere even if they tried or wanted to. But I am glad I gathered enough guts& courage to break free from the shackles of the typical small town “can’t do ” back home mentality of Manipur!
I was not the stereotypical north East Indian gal, I was willing to test the unknown waters & see it for myself. So that’s why I did not go crazy trying to get a government job like all my home town / fellow north East Indian women would do. I worked hard in Bombay (now Mumbai) & took good care of my patients there as their private nurse. I earned their trust & that’s how I was recommended to my New York Indian doctor couple to be their baby ‘s care taker. When it comes to work, I don’t fool nor mess around. I did my work good ! ” No Mai ka laal “(any grateful woman ‘s precious son/ daughter ) can ever say that I did not do a good job! Ha!!
Anyway , some weekends , my boss & his wife would let me explore the city. I was very happy & glad to get some ” me time ” for myself . They gave me $50.00 for my 1st outing! I boiled some eggs and some dried fruits. A bottle of water to drink. I 1st walked all the way to the Penn station, it was quite some ways from where we lived in Manhattan. I felt like a newly freed butterfly! I bought a one day metro rai pass for $7.00. This allowed me to take the subway or bus as many times as I wanted.
But I boarded the wrong subway train which took me to the Far away rock station!! This was not where I wanted to go!
I was a little nervous but I did my best not to show it. I got down the train and asked some folks! They told me I was on the opposite end of where I had wanted to go! I told myself ” aare o jamure!! Jal di bhag yaha se”- o fool , get outta here soonest !!”… for I saw some people started smilling around me when they noticed me asking for directions & all that !! That gave me the hee bee jee bees! But I tried my best to not be affected. Thank God the train conductor came along and he advised me to take the subway train downtown to get to the Brooklyn Bridge!
I reached my destination after about an hour to down town City Hall station! I walked around & enjoyed the sights of the New York skyscrapers & the World trade centers. But my bucket list for the day was to walk the Brooklyn bridge! I had a great excitement looking & admiring the great engineering feat of the Americans who built this awesome bridge which withstood storms, heavy rains & other natural calamities. I have already knew about this bridge from the Bee Gees song ” Staying Alive “. I replayed the images of the Hollywood movies that I had seen with this bridge in the background. It felt wonderful and so fortunate to be able to see & actually walked on it in person!!
After this Brooklyn bridge walk, I proceeded towards the Staten Island ferry which was free!! I must say the then New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani did a great job making it free so that the international tourists would benefit from it. I boarded this ferry to & fro to Staten Island. I got a nice corner spot in the ferry, majority of us were all tourists & only few were the locals! I m
pretty sure they hated us for crowding their city ferry 🙂
We were there to enjoy the free ferry ride and to see the Statue of Liberty. It was super wow feeling to see it standing there with her stretched arms with the flame welcoming the immigrants to the country!
I can’t forget that awesome feeling I felt that day when I saw it first time so close!
This city is truly a very interesting international city. It was great fun to meet & see so many people from different countries around the world.
You can easily make out the Indian tourists as soon as you see or hear them from a far. They carry packets of $$$ saving snacks & what not. Some of the women wear heavy golden jewellery. Ha ha ha !! The love for gold is so obvious in Indian women! Now you can see why pickpockets/ thieves target such folks. No offence to none but it’s just my observation and my experience seeing them tour this city of the Big Apple! They can’t stop their bargaining habits here too.:) Some of them were shopping for souvenirs from corner stores on 34th street near the Empire State Building! The store owners were mostly Bangladeshis who spoke Bangla, I could hear them cussing out the Indian customers to each other for being “cheap” or so. I am glad I don’t have the typical Indian looks,He he he! I could pass off for some one from the south east Asia.
I tried to cover as much as I could for my 1st day off. I walked the Brooklyn bridge, rode the Staten Island ferry, around the World Trade Center , the Empire State Building & then to the Central Park. I had a good one hour rest there. I had to get back to my work place soon. It gave me a new high to do my job even better. I was very thankful to God for giving me this chance to work as a baby nanny for this nice family.
Not everyone would want to work like I did. My north East Indian brethren don’t have the same kind of thoughts as me. That’s the difference: they want a cozy government job by paying high amount of bribes to the officials to get the job and stay the same way as they were years ago! I wouldn’t have been able to breathe if It was me! I did not mind working any & every kind of job that came my way others would look down upon such thoughts.
But I would say ” Buri nazar wale Tera mung kaa la”- dirty / lazy minds your mouth” is black with disdain! This is my best translation I can get 🙂 Stay tuned , folk!
Author: Shanti Thokchom
About: Widow, working a nursing assistant in a nursing home, love to work hard and travel in my own ways!