Friday, September 28, 2018




He is an immigrant from Turkey. Almost illiterate yet his communication skills leave nothing unexplained. Hardworking,truthful and helpful ,  I rarely saw him telling a lie or devoid of sincerity . I struck a  friendship link with him and almost everyday visited his footpath shop to buy fresh fruits. He sold variety and he sold cheap.

 He said this when i asked if the Muskmelons (  that he was selling ) tasted sweet.

" Everytime you look Muskmelons, you say how it taste. I can't say how it taste. This musk melon you buyin Westside ,you buying Whole Foods, you buying Barzini or you buying Traders Joe's or you buying  there that Garden of Eden  Store ,  it go same. I buying same  common farm market. You get me sir . I say what i know. If i say it sweet it turnout no taste. I seller here i no say tasteless. Then nobody come here. We  come here Turkey to earn honest way not  cheat. Here customer  from   Pekestan ( Pakistan) ,India,Boongla deish (Bangladesh) go asking "How it taste? " I say I not know. You buy not buy your choice. Spanish speaking peoples , African American peoples and local peoples bother not what it taste. They mix other salad ,green leaf, herb and olive and enjoy . You people cut knife pieces and eat single fruit . So you care  taste .

Hey sir look this way.  I   keep  this watermelon fresh fresh  .  It sweet. My assuring . Take  water melon . I taste. It go sweet juicy.Other fruit i know not. "

Monday, September 24, 2018



Dina Nath Naadim.(1916_1988)

Love this thought of stalwart modern  kashmiri poet Dina Nath Naadim.....

" Be kind to my youthfulness. It is winter, spring is still far off , impatient, it has sprouted ( like early spring greenery)  out from snow .  See that it witnesses the spring at least ..Be compassionate to this  restless fool."

"Ye yaavun myon nonn draav
feinji fatnaai sheena tal baaman,
Tche naai pananie nazar karhuss
Bahaarus taam vaatun gotchh...."

  (Naadim extreme Right Mavlankar Hall Mumbai 1979.. photo source ..Prof.Jaya Parimu  )

(Avtar Mota)

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Sunday, September 23, 2018




Love this fruit called Avocado . The Latin American immigrants brought it to the US and  it became a part of the  American food. In every store you come across people buying Avocados. Hass avocado is sold @two pieces for something around  four  or five dollars. The price could vary with size and location. . Hass avocado is   slightly   round with black  brown skin.

Avocado is a  climacteric fruit. This means that it ripens only after it is harvested, just like banana.Raw or hard Avocado turns soft if wrapped in paper and kept in open for two or three days. Cut it to two pieces, remove the  seed, and transfer the soft  mass to a cup using a spoon.  Throw away the hard skin. Make a paste of avocado, onion, tomato, walnut kernel and a pinch of salt in a mixer . That makes a thick paste or   guacamole. Ideally , guacamole contains avocado, lemon juice, tomato,  onion, green chilli, coriander (cilantro) and some salt . guacamole can  be applied to bread , bagels and Chapatis as well  .. You will forget butter or jams .

In India,  i saw imported Avocados in a Gurgaon Mall. Very expensive and beyond reach. Saw cheaper local avacados in  Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka  and  Sikkim.I also bought avocados from a fruit seller near Swaran cinema , Gandhinagar, Jammu sold  @750 per kg.The man sells fruits on  cart stationed permanently near  the outer wall of the Swaran theatre building .

Avocado Is incredibly nutritious. Loaded with heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fatty acids and fiber,  many doctors say that  eating Avocados can actually  lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.In the  US, i observed  that  avocado oil is also consumed and used in kitchen.The mono-unsaturated fatty acid content in avocado oil is even higher than extra virgin olive oil and this is one of the main reasons for  its use in cooking and also  as  a hair oil of choice .Avocado oil is  is excellent for moisturizing the skin. In addition to vitamin E, avocado oil contains potassium, lecithin, and many other nutrients that can nourish and moisturize the skin.

Avocados  are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as B-vitamins, vitamin K, potassium, copper, Vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin C. It is believed that consumption of avocado is  useful for weight loss. Many Mexican immigrants in Manhattan told me that  back home ,  avocado pulp is used topically to promote hair growth and speed wound healing.

Guacamole adds a fatty silk texture to burgers, sandwiches filled with cheese or  chicken.It is liberally used in Mexican restaurants  .

Next time , try this wonder fruit called  Avocado.Make small quantity of guacamole that is consumed in one  go as it turns a  little dark due to oxidation after prolonged exposure to open air. This oxidised guacamole is also good for consumption.

(Avtar Mota)

Saturday, September 22, 2018





Oil on Canvas by Edouard Manet ( 1832-1883 )..
In August 2018, I visited Princeton University Art Museum. I saw Exhibition of Frank Stella's work titled " Frank Stella Unbounded " at this Museum. It had his Abstracts ( Imaginary Places ) , Reliefs , Etchings , Aquatints , Lithographs , Screen prints, , Woodcuts, Engravings and paper cut images . The variety was amazing . Opened on 19th may 2018, This Exhibition was there upto 23rd of September 2018.
Princeton visit was a wonderful experience as original signed works of some Great masters were seen by me for the first time in my life. I saw Claude Monet's ' water Lilies And Japanese Bridge , Picasso's " Young Girl with a basket of flowers " , Henri Matisse's " Reclining Odalisque with Magnolias " , Paul Cezanne's " Provencal Manor ', Camille Pissarro's " Still Life ", and many more works in original. One such master and Pioneer who's work i saw for the fist time is Edouard Manet ( 1832-1883 ) of France .
A student inside the Art Museum told me :

" Sir we had International Designer and artist Maya Lin here in April 2018. She is doing a wonderful On site Art Creation Near this art Complex . This creation is known as "Earth Drawing " and " Water table ". It reflects Artist deep interest in environment . It shall be on display in October possibly .Frank Stella Exhibition you saw today. So many events ,Programs and visits by leading artists are a part of the Museum activity round the year .  This museum is visited by more than 200,000 visitors each year. Millions  visit the museum online. I would suggest to visit  Museum store as well. You can see creations of some highly talented Artisans. See Merrie Buchsbaum's polymer clay work. Fantastic colorful Mosaic pens. "

Art Critic Louis Gonse has said :

“Manet is a point of departure, the symptomatic precursor of a revolution .“ And To this day, Manet is considered to be the father of modernism in Art or what is known as Progressive realism . He is best known for painting Nudes , Parisian bars, cafes, races , cabarets , portraits . His work reflected both the joys of the city and the loneliness of urban life.


This painting ( Oil on Canvas ) is on display inside Museum of Art University of Princeton .Well preserved, It hangs elegantly on the wall on first floor of the museum . My  Guide told me that this painting was discovered in Manet’s studio after his death. He hadn’t named it. After his death , it was in possession of renowned artist Edgar Degas who named it Indian Woman or Mexican Woman.
This painting was done by Manet in Spanish style. The woman in the painting beams with confidence with her left hand on her hip and a cigarette dangling from her lips while She supports her head with her right hand . In her bold frontal pose, she looks like a carefree outsider. Her hair, dress and appearance support her robust carefree demeanor . Confident of herself , She focuses her gaze on some distant object . A horse is her close companion .

To many Art critics , the painting looks like some incomplete work of Manet . May be Manet wanted to add more .

It was later named “ GYPSY WITH A CIGARETTE” .

( Avtar Mota ).

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Friday, September 21, 2018




“ I believe you are from Kashmir. I have seen you coming to this park for the since last one week or so. Probably, you come after 7 p.m. Is it so ?”

“Yes, I am a Kashmiri. I come after 7 p.m. That is my time. I have no work but I am very busy. When I lived in Kashmir, I did almost everything myself and yet I was always free. That time, I did not think about anything and then I had not to wait. With advancing age, men like me start waiting and thinking and they become very busy. ”

 “ What do you think and what for have you to wait? “

  “ I keep going back to find out where I went wrong in my life. I seek reasons for this punishment and separation. Add to that, I keep opening my photo album and spend some time with it. Every photograph forces me to think and I keep thinking. You know every photograph opens floodgates of nostalgia and once opened, these doors or gates need to be closed as well. 

Here in our colony, nobody knows me. Nobody has any interest in people like me. For them, I am like a piece of dry wood, or a lifeless stone or a piece of broken and useless plastic. In these new housing societies, nobody except the watch and ward staff likes goodwill to be invested. What can you draw at the time of need if there is no investment? I mean the investment of time and goodwill. So nobody interacts even with his next-door neighbour. Under these circumstances, I have also learnt to talk, smile and weep alone. Now let me say about my waiting.

 Every morning, I wait for my turn to take a shower. I wait for my turn to read the newspaper. I wait for the tea in the morning. I wait for my grandchildren to come from their school so that we have our lunch together. I wait for them to finish their school work. Thereafter, I wait until they fall asleep. I wait for my son and daughter in law to come from their office to have my evening tea. I wait for months for some relation or old well-wisher to drop in.”

“ And what about Your wife. Is she alive ?”

“ She is very much alive like me. She is presently at Ahemdabad looking after the newborn baby of my daughter. My daughter and son in law are both employed. In old age, our existence and engagements depend upon the openings that are created in the households of our children. In these openings or vacancies, we are direly needed and sought after. If there is no vacancy it implies no work and no work means no utility. But nature is a great engager. It keeps creating openings and work for us. Currently, my vacancy is at my son’s place and that of my wife is needed at my daughter’s house. I can teach children and transfer knowledge. I help them to do their homework. I help them to have their lunch and I make them sleep thereafter for at least two hours. My wife is experienced in changing baby diapers. She is good at feeding milk to infants and cooking food. So currently she has a utility. You get my point. ”

“ Myself Bansi Lal Dhar. I am a retired principal. My son and his wife are in Dubai. I went there once for 2 weeks but somehow I don’t like Dubai. And then it is very hot. I have decided to live 
with my daughter here in Gurgaon ”

“I have heard everything is air-conditioned in Dubai. I mean the buildings, shopping malls, buses and offices. Does heat still create unpleasantness over there ?”

“ Come, sit here with me on this bench. I will tell you all. There is no need to hide anything now that we are friends. You see, as human beings, we face many types of heat. The heat from the sun, heat from the machines or electric appliances and intolerable high temperature created by living in Joint families. The last heat kills your peace of mind. You get my point. And then my daughter in law’s parents are living there helping them in taking care of my grandson. So lovely baby. Miss him. ”

“ What about your wife ?”
“ My wife died three years back. My son in law is a software 
engineer. He has recently purchased a three-room flat. I have one independent room for myself. My son in law has put one TV set with a dish connection in my room. So I am busy with TV serials, news and other programmes. My room has additional independent access from outside. I can come in or go out without disturbing others. My room has an attached toilet and a small balcony. My daughter is married to a Maharashtrian boy. Very gentle. His parents live in the US with his younger brother. So there is no problem for me over here. We have a full-time maid in the house. She cooks food for us and also takes care of my one-year-old grandchild. My daughter is employed in a multinational software company. Presently she is associated with some project. So currently, she works from home. That way she is almost in the house for the full day. So I have no worry or problem. ”

“Myself Bushan Lal' Three by Six'.”

“ What? ”

“ Three by Six ”

“ What is this Three by Six ?”

  “ 'Three by Six 'is my new surname. Are you surprised? Let me clarify. It is the size of the bed upon which I spend my time in the present house. 'Three by Six' is my world or my current space in the two-room flat that my son owns. You see Bansi Lal Ji, one room is used by my son as his bedroom; so forget about that room. Now remains only one 10 feet by 12 feet room. I along with my grandchildren sleep in this 10 by 12 feet room. If there is a guest in the house, he is also made comfortable in this room. My grandchildren use it as their study room. And Underneath this three by six feet bed, lies the suitcase that has my clothes, medicines and an old photo album. Now I am in love with this three by six feet bed. If your space is defined, you start getting used to it however small or troublesome it may be. And once you get used to something, you resist moving away from it or I should say you resist change. ”  

“ Are you comfortable in this little space? ”

“ What is comfort and discomfort I don’t know because I don’t live. I pass the time. And when you pass time, no line differentiates between comfort and discomfort. To live in this world, one needs to have freedom of choice. If you don’t have this freedom, you simply pass time. By this logic, most of us simply pass time. Bansi Lal Ji, I have yet to come across a person who is living. They may be busy or idle; they may be eating well or hungry, sleeping well or suffering from wakefulness, spending lavishly or living miserly and earning enough money or not earning at all yet I find that all of them are not living. They are simply passing time. They don’t know why they exist. You get my point. Yes sometimes in my sleep I feel a little comfortable when I see myself in the Dewan- Khan ( guest room ) or Kaeni( top floor ) or the Dubb ( attic ) of my house in Srinagar. But that is a world of dreams. The moment I open my eyes, this three by six bed
is the reality. ”

“ Where did you live in Kashmir? Which Mohalla? What is your family’s surname? 

“ I am from Kaarpora Khushki, Rainawari. Khushki means dry or patch of land distant from water. In Rainawari, we had Kaarpora Aabi as well. Aabi means damp or a patch of land close to water. There in Rainawari, I was known as Bushan Lal Tabardaar, Saakin e Kaarpora Khushki. Saakin means resident of or residing at. You must be knowing these Urdu or Persian words like Khushki, Aabi, Tabar( axe ) and Saakin, etc. Here it is neither Aabi nor Khushki and you will make yourself a buffoon if you say you are a Tabardaar ( a woodcutter or a man holding an axe ). It is simply 'Three by Six' .”

“ 'Three By Six' surname! I don’t get you. Never heard anybody having such a strange surname. How can it be a surname? ”

“ I have adopted it. This is my new identity. I have nothing to do with my old surname. It gives me nothing except embarrassment. My father would say the popular Persian phrase “ Dard e dandaan ikhraj dandaan ”. This means if the tooth gives pain, better get it extracted. Is everybody happy with his surname? Many would like to change it at the first choice if it were so easy. I mean the Kashmiri society in particular and their strange surnames. 'Three by Six' is better than many surnames like Mandloo ( buttocks ), Zaaroo ( gambler ), Zorro ( deaf ), Thaal-Tsoor (a man who steals plates ), Thaploo ( snatcher ), Gagroo ( rat ), Braroo ( cat ), Punzoo ( monkey), Khar ( donkey ), Shawl ( jackal ), Kaaw (crow ), Wangnoo ( brinjal), Mujoo ( radish ), Kakroo ( cock ) Sharabi ( alcoholic )and many more. Do I look like a bird or an animal or a vegetable? Do I look like a 
thief or a snatcher? Then tell me why should I have any such surname; somebody has to bell the cat for a change . Let it be me. I will gladly do it. ” 

“ Bushan Lal Ji you are being selective in listing surnames. We have other surnames also like Kachru, Shangloo, Khosa, Langoo, Wangu and many more. “  

 “ I will explain about Kachru ( a man with brown hair ), Shangloo ( a man with six fingers ), Wangu ( a man with bent legs ), Khosa ( a hairless person ) and Langoo ( a limp ). You can dye your hair and Kachru can have black hair with modern science. Every Shangloo can be treated by an orthopaedic surgeon. 
 A Khosa will no more be hairless if he visits a skin specialist. Langoo can be set right by orthopaedic surgery or artificial limbs. After all, these surnames were linked with our 
profession or how we looked or placed ourselves in that old social set up or how people ridiculed or made fun of each other 
. Now the entire social fabric has undergone a radical change. So let us forget all these surnames. Coming to Kashmiri society, in particular, a nickname became a surname gradually. Can you realize how rigid surnames have been in the past? Even after so many centuries, A Waza ( cook ) remained a Waza  
by surname or a Wattal ( sweeper ) remained a Wattal by surname even when they were high profile civil servants or headed as CEOs of some big companies .”

“What surnames should we adopt then? ” 

“ We should adopt newer surnames which are relevant in the present milieu. We have a variety now. We have a great choice now. Why not Surnames like Duplex, 3BHK, 2BHK, 
1 BHK, Indica, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Yoga, BP, Allergy, Nursing Home, Ayurveda, Health Insurance, Debit Card, Credit Card, Physiotherapy, Jaimala, Ring Ceremony, DJ, Dance, Food Stall, Buffet, Tile, Marble, Modular Kitchen, Basmati, Chakki Atta, Pizza, Broccoli, Mushroom, Burger, Microwave, Aqua Guard, Air Conditioner, Laptop, Pendrive, Online, Shopping Mall, Herbal, Organic, Speed Post, Amazon, Chivas regal, Three Tier, Two Tier, Metro, Passport, Visa, Flight, Green Card, Depression, Green Card, NEFT, Email, etc.? And I believe every society is bound to adopt these surnames now or later. Those who were forced to migrate out of Kashmir valley in 1990 under the shadow of a gun get the additional choice of surnames like Geeta Bhawan, Queue, Camp Purkhoo, Camp Jhiri, Camp Mishriwala, Camp Muthi, Camp Jagti, Camp Battal Balian, Camp Nagrota, Camp Bhapu Dham (Delhi), Camp Moti Nagar (Delhi), Camp Baljeet Nagar (Delhi), Gas Connection. School Admission, Application, Sanction, Rejection, Affidavit, Ration Card, Agreement, Power of Attorney, Tent, Heatstroke, Snakebite, Form D, Non-Relief, Voter List, Account Transfer, Bank Locker, SRO, Maharashtra Quota, Displaced, Migrant Quota, Ashram, Hawan, Puran Ahuti, Prasad, etc. We are more familiar with these words, activities and things now. These have become a part of our existence. What is the problem in using them as our Surnames ?. “

 “How can such things become a surname ?”

“ You are mistaken then. We have done it in the past and probably people have forgotten it. Tell me what is Pyaala ( cup ), Gadwaa ( jug ), Moza ( a pair of socks ), Dullu ( A big pot ) and Choncha ( Aa handle used in the kitchen ), Wakhlu ( small stone mortar used in the kitchen ) Achkan (a long coat ). That is why I say I am happy if I am known as Bushan Lal 'Three by Six ' .”

“You mean your children shall also adopt this surname .”

“ Children are masters of their will. Nothing can be forced upon them. Not even care and affection. They feel it as an act of control and command. We have love and emotion to deliver while they have logic and utility in their minds. It is a mismatch. You get my point. My Children and grandchildren are at liberty to move from 'Tabardaar ' to 'Three by Six'. I can only confirm for myself. I have already said that so many persons would willingly change their surnames if it were a simple affair .”

“ What is so special about 'Three by Six '?”

 “ 'Three by Six' is simple, straight and the final measurement of the minimum needed space by an individual under all situations  
; But I fear, over time, 'Three by six' may shorten to 'Thirty-Six '. ”

 “Thirty-Six! "
"Great! 'Thirty-Six' is a great idea Bushan Lal Ji. Kashmir’s Shaiv Darshana has 36 Tattvas that define the creation and physical reality. Thirty-six is also a sacred number for Jews. A great connect! “  

 “I don’t follow what you say. Then Chinese relish dried fish ( Hogaad of Kashmiris ), lotus roots ( Nadru of Kashmiris ), collard greens ( Haak of Kashmiris ) and many more things that Kashmiris eat . Is there a great connect with Chinese also? Coincidence does not establish anything. I don’t know anything about Shaivism. I am not interested in any connection between Kashmiris and Jews. Leave this aside, my optimism makes me believe that this 'Thirty-Six ' may not stay permanently with us. After prolonged usage, the word 'Thirty-Six' may further shorten to 'Thirsty'. And that should be a welcome thing for us. When it happens, we may have so many persons with “ Thirsty ‘ as their surname. Many people will adopt it instantly. Thereafter, names like Ashok Kumar ' Thirsty ' or Ashok 'Thirsty ' or some elder with Ganga Sagar 'Thirsty ' or Ganga 'Thirsty ' as his name shall be very common. Doesn’t word 'Thirsty 'give a feel and a purpose. And as exiles from Kashmir, we have been stressed to remain thirsty for truthful empathy and genuine attention. So, why dislike 'Three by Six ' that may finally settle at 'Thirsty'. ”

“ Thirsty is again a great idea Bushan Lal Ji. It conveys poetic pain. Doesn’t it look like a poet’s name? For the world at large, our progeny will be deemed poets merely by using this surname.”

 “At this stage of life, I have no interest in poetry or poets. Merely by calling himself a poet, no man is absolved of his basic responsibilities in life. Merely by writing poetry, he can not shut his eyes towards basic issues of existence. I don’t look at it that way. Yes, this world is going to be thirsty very shortly. This is something that is going to happen under all circumstances. We have done nothing to forestall it. We can’t avoid it now. Our rivers, wells, oceans, streams and lakes are all polluted. Everywhere this drinking water is getting costlier than milk or food. We may shortly ration drinking water. Human population, animals and plants shall be engulfed by this word 'Thirsty'. So 'Thirsty ' shall be a surname of future. Take my word .”

  “ I agree. Yes, this word 'Thirsty ' has the potential of Global surname. It can give any person a Global identity. Say after fifty years, here you will have Sanjay 'Thirsty ' while in Europe, You will find ' Robert Thirsty '. The world will come closer. This surname has flexibility so it will have adaptability and universal acceptability. While I agree with all that you say, I somehow tend to differ with something like a social withdrawal that you seem to be conveying even when you live in your own son’s family presently. ” 

“ What Social withdrawal? Say social reality. The size of the shoe is known only after wearing it not merely by looking at it. You get me Bansi Lal Ji “   

Bushan Lal Three by six and Bansi Lal Dhar started meeting regularly after that. They had come to know everything about each other. A friendship created by compulsions of passing similar phase or the time slot may not be constructive or lasting 
. It may be devoid of compatibility of minds yet the very sharing of time and space is bound to result in some connect however unfastened it may remain. Intellectual compatibility may not matter in such liaisons. It is like two unknown travellers of varied backgrounds, varied levels of education and exposure sharing a train compartment.  

Bushan Lal 'Three by Six' would leave the park exactly at 8.30 p.m. while Bansi Lal Dhar would stay up to 9.00 p.m. Bansi Lal 
Dhar had understood that Bushan Lal 'Three by Six' had no interest in literature, TV Serials or news. Other than that he had nothing to discuss. For both of them, sitting together even in silence was also a get-together and communication. A handshake, a smile and then sitting on the bench and then thinking about some common issue to be brought to discussion. Rarely they could find one. That is how their friendship moved ahead.

And then something unusual happened. For some successive days, Bansi Lal Dhar did not turn up. Bushan Lal 'Three by Six' felt worried. He decided to speak to him on his mobile. 

“ Is everything fine Bansi Lal Ji? I didn’t see you in the park for the last week .”

“ Yes. I have some problem. My daughter and son in law are moving to Australia. My son in law has got an offer from some overseas employer. My daughter is also moving with him just after 10 days. This flat they are putting on lease with some company along with furniture and gadgets. My son in law has spoken to the secretary and the president of the housing society. They are prepared to accommodate me in a 10 by 12 room of the Society’s office but I will have to work as an honorary accountant at the society’s office. The room has a small toilet attached to it. A tiffin man will deliver dinner and lunch. I need to prepare my breakfast. I need to buy a gas connection, some utensils, a small TV set, Beddings and a three by six folding cot. “

“ Folding cot! 'Three by Six '! “

“ Yes, 'Three By Six'. Henceforth call me Bansi Lal' Three by Six'. I am no longer Bansi Lal Dhar “

( Avtar Mota )

This is the work of pure fiction. Any resemblance with any person, group or society or incident is a mere coincidence.

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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Tuesday, September 11, 2018






New York underground Metro rail network is more than 100 years old. Platforms are not air conditioned or air cooled.. As per Newspaper reports, it is difficult to do air-conditioning of the platforms presently for so many practical reasons. Accordingly , it is a  little unpleasant experience to wait for Trains at Metro Stations in hot and humid summers especially in the months of July and August .The intermittent thud of the wheels created by the speeding train( as it moves over the rails ) is loud and too much . But the trains run promptly and about 4.5 million people ride Metro trains every day . This traffic gets halved on Sundays. This Subway or Metro network connects Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn through what is known as Rapid Transport System that operates almost round the clock everyday. The elevators installed at stations have provision of carrying physically challenged( in Wheelchairs) and infants( in trolleys . While you can travel all over the City for just $2.75 a ride, the size of the subway system can be   frightening for Newcomers to the city . Panic  not: As a matter of fact,    it is quite easy and simple .And   MTA run buses and Trains have a common Metro Card that can be easily recharged on machines installed at Subway  stations or may I help You counters at the entrance to  Platforms  .  On the machine , You can  recharge Metro Card by Cash or using   credit  Card  payment mode .

Apart from Buses, Cabs  , Subway  is the  most visible , Robust, Affordable, Convenient and fast Public Transport System in New York.


Subway/ Metro  advertising puts message right in front of you  when you are actually   in need of a distraction.  These advertisements target the  captive audience   comprising   of Students, Householders  , Office goers , Workers   and Tourists.  You can not escape looking at the Advertisements /  Billboards . These are before you while you are waiting for the train to arrive . These are in front of  you while you sit  inside the train. These  billboards are  in front of your eyes  as  or you move  out of a Subway Station . The advertisements/  Bill boards  inside Subway stations and  Trains  ( Meant for Aggressive Marketing )  reflect the prevailing  socio Economic Reality of the Country .  I read  something like this :

“ Diamonds may Not be always for ever.  For Divorce / Bankruptcy Call us ….. “

“ This winter help a homeless  …Call us ………..”

“ If you see something… Say something …   Dial ……”

“ Health care at Lowest premiums …. Call us  

“ Parents need time to be with Newborn kids . Paid Childcare  leave is  a birthright …. ”

I didn’t see Political advertisements in Subway Trains or stations . I also didn’t see any liquor or Cigarette advertisement .


As you step down from any avenue or street corner to enter the subway platform, you may find some person stretching his hand at you saying:

" Any Change ? "


" Can you spare a Dollar sir? "

He may be on the Staircase steps or near the entry gate where you swipe your Metro card.

So many singers with Recorded music played in the background occupy busy and convenient places on the platforms.They perform in Solo or in a group. They attract your  attention apart from provoking many commuters to dance and pay anything they deem suitable.

Then you have simple beggars who toss up coins held in glass. These beggers generally move from person to person in a moving train or they may be on the footpath near the subway entry . And you may also listen something like this:

" Good day guys. I got two dollars. My evening meal costs six dollars. Would any gentleman give me just four dollars to let me sleep with food ? I welcome change or coins to make up my shortage. My big big worry fight tonight's hunger. Any gracious sir. Jesus bless him. Jesus bless all. Jesus great provider through many good people sitting here. You bro ,you sis, you my Indian sir . Anything will do." And he moves to next car of the speeding train.

You find another group of young acrobats who perform in moving trains. These acrobats will suddenly appear as you board a metro train and make yourself comfortable .

Quite often you observe that someone has placed a deck type recorded music player on full pitch in the train . And then as the train starts, A boy suddenly starts break dancing like Michael Jackson. He moves close to your legs. Afraid, You pull yourself in and move towards the window. He then hangs himself on the steel bar over your head and dances. Quite often with one hand . If there is a little miscalculation on his part, he may land up on your head.This looks strange and risky . Some commuters smile while a few make frowny faces but everybody keeps a watch on his movements. He makes strange body movements as if he was flying in the air.This all he does for a few minutes and then asks for money. As the train comes to halt , he moves to another train with his music system.

Another fellow may come and say something like this :

" I Earnest Tobo. I teach now retire. I know all history and politics of African American, Native and the European People. Ask any question i got answer. "

‌Suddenly ,he may move towards a row of commuters sitting on their seats and starts pointing towards individual travellers . He says :

" Your name william, your name Roger, your name Charles, your name Susan, your Philips, your Margret ,your jack, your Ricardo and you last Daniel. I close my eyes. I dance and i twist. But i remember all your names. I remember because jesus give these names to you not me. You all deserve his love and blessing. He make me remember. Hey you william just one dollar , you bro roger just dollar or change, you great prince Charles just 50 cents, you sis Susan help your hungry bro to eat, my great Philips sir your friend hungry , O you Margret , Jack, Ricardo , Daniel just pool one dollar together. Jesus be kind to you ."

And he moves to next metro car.

“Yes i don’t like all that action right in front of my face and quite often close to my body. I need to remain careful till this show goes on.. What can else can you do? ”

said a commuter to me.

A dancing acrobat told me:

"Sir we don’t  force anybody pay . Watch free .We here entertain and make a living . We also put a kinda little friendly mood in New York’s No Lookin No Talkin Metro travel .We invite you for lookin at us and enjoy. we make you lookin each other and smile. You getin me sir. People share  smile or  laugh watching us. That make travel happy."

You may enjoy the performers or just ignore them but they keep you on alert. Many passengers resent becoming a captive audience for the acrobats and break-dancers in a crowded subway car.

If the beggars do nothing offensive, The acrobat dancers (even if highly skilled ) create a risk to themselves and to the public on a moving metro train car that shakes, sways and jolts as it moves. I personally didn't find any special entertainment value in what they were doing except creating a safety risk for passengers by turning, tossing, somersaulting and pole-dancing in crowded metro cars.

(AVtar Mota)

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