k^infinity to http://kpowerinfinity.spaces.live.com/ & http://kpowerinfinity.wordpress.com

Pushing the limits ... to infinity! This blog has now been split into two. My personal blog is now located at Live Spaces and my more technical blog is located at Wordpress

Monday, June 06, 2005

The City of Egos

Yes, that's how Tony, our Guide [an Audio casette] described New York to us atop the Empire State Building. And when you do stand there, you realize that even though the skyscrapers rise to thousands of feet in front of you, the egos rise higher.

New York is a city which denotes the pinnacle of human endeavour. And what better way to celebrate human endeavour than to leave a mark, a permanent structure of steel and cement by your name in the city of New York. There was this story about a competition between William Chrysler and the Chairman of the Bank of Manhattan on who builds a taller building, the tallest building of his times. Both built fervently, and when the construction for both was finished, Chrysler sprang a surprise; he went over and attached a spire to his building, which made it the tallest. Though not for long, the crown was snatched from his very soon, within a year. And what would they get out of building the highest building in the world -- not much, just the recognition, the fame, the high-nose; and By Gawd! that's worth a lot, much more than the billions they would be pouring into the construction.

When you walk the streets of New York you realize how pride has its own place in the hearts of men - how men could give up everything just to build that one memorial in their name, you start to gauge that feeling in Shah Jahan when he built the Taj Mahal. Was it just a memorial to his love? Naah! It is also a memorial to himself. His ego. Snatched brutally by his own son - and his last days spent appreciating his creation from a distance.

And when you walk the streets of New York, you realize arrogance is not a vice, it is a virtue, you begin to live Ayn Rand, you begin to think like Howard Roark - its not about money, its not about food, its not about anything else, it is just that special shape of the heart - the heart of lions - which separates wheat from chaff. It is about John Galt - who decided to show the world that its only the handful who decide to show the world "what mettle they are made of" that the world is able to move the few yards. It is about narcissists being the lubricant which move the world.

Take a walk on Times Square! Take the walk in the night. The tops of the buildings merge into the dark of the sky and below them stands a miasma of Neon. A fellow human can at best feel diminutive in this outgrowth of cement and neon. There is not a single brand worth its salt which does not vie for space in that tiny mile square path of land. If you are not there, you are not anywhere.I would call it "Neon Real Estate", its far more costly than any real Real Estate, perhaps.

Every part of it has a story, even the drain covers - you begin to wonder if it was there that Marilyn Monroe did her famous flying-skirt act. The roadsides have bronze globes - and Broadway seems to be chuckling behind, whispering quietly, "I own all of those!"

Then again, there is a lady in green, whose flame has liberated many a millions, the green copper of her body being the manna many thousands worshipped everyday. The face has a certain calm, the diadem a certain glory, the posture reassuring. This is the right place if you look for freedom, liberty, opportunities, appreciation.

In the same harbour cruise, you can see the vaccum where once the World Trade Center had been. And you feel a similar vaccum inside of you. Despite all the evidence about the the arm pulling of the United States, the act can not be justified. Not to the Indian couple who had come to the place to see the name of their child in the list of the dead hung around the site.

Take a train to the Grand Central Station. I could never have imagined people could actually maitain the heritage status of such a common and frequently-used place. Walk along Park Avenue - everything starts seeming within reach. Those "big" companies you always dream of have their offices there. And you feel: that's it! JP Morgan Chase - just a building, with a slab containing the letters "JPMorgan Chase" in bold print. And not just that, Boston Consulting Group, Morgan Stanley, Ernst & Young, you name them, you dream of them, you can touch them! People around the world worship that bold print. Go touch it! Click a pic!

Walk to Wall Street, take the "Bull" by the horns! Look at the New York Stock Exchange, the building bang opposite - the owner JP Morgan made it only a few stories high just to make it different from all the skyscrapers around! A dwarf establishing his towering presence.

And then you start wondering, "Wow! What a place to live in! What a place to work in!". And just then you meet that stranger in the subway, who tells you the other story, the story a tourist can't know. Of how his neighbours refused to accept a letter in his name, when he had to go out for some work. You realize he really means it when he says, "They isolate you here! You live alone in a city of 21 million beings!" And suddenly you are thankful of all those you love and who love you...


  • At 8:01 AM, Blogger SidSeth said…

    A very well written blog indeed. New York is truly a global city. People from various parts of the world have made it what it is today.
    Keep blogging dear. You write very well.
    Cheers !

  • At 11:17 AM, Blogger BS said…

    whoa ... little late , I wanted to be the first to comment on this ! Indeed , not only have u taken a walk around the places but also taken the readers with you ... thats a sign of remarkable writing !
    give urself a pat , I have finally given a comment !!! :)

  • At 12:17 AM, Blogger whoami said…

    u some agent of the american tourism department or what??

  • At 12:37 AM, Anonymous shaunak said…

    was just thinking of bugging you with "whats up??" but then read ur blog ..
    must say its rele wonderfully written and made for a truly enjoyable read even at 1 in the morning !!
    keep enjoying and do keep writing too ..

  • At 12:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    kk u rock be !!

  • At 1:32 AM, Blogger Sunny said…

    awesome post kakes!

  • At 3:03 AM, Blogger kpowerinfinity said…

    2Sid: Thanks man! we sure had fun

    2BS: Ahh! thanks for commenting ... keep coming back :-)

    2WhoAmI: arre yaar .. not their agent ... but ab achhi jagah hai to kya karein!! waise, dont u think i was harsh on it as well, towards the end.

    2shaunak: you are welcome to bug me anytime, and if YM is a problem try mailing me!

    2Maalu: Thanks man! You do too!!! Keep having fun!

    2Sunny: Thanks dude !!! been awhile since I visited your blog.

  • At 4:50 AM, Blogger Ashchord said…

    Hmmmm .. No babes dude ?? What did you see then [:P]!!!

  • At 7:55 AM, Anonymous prashant_b said…

    damn good description kk....
    well written specially the last paragraph

  • At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    while i was reading ... i really thought i was there watching these skyscrappers .... u rock kk !!!


  • At 6:57 PM, Blogger deep said…

    very true..the strength and the power of the west can never match the societal fabric of the east..nice thought at the end

  • At 12:58 AM, Blogger princessriz said…

    For most its lonely at the top, the zenith of ones ego, the temple of ones power....the lone warrior fights with the striking winds.....But some lucky ones also have the shield of loved ones...thats the thought i like the best ... though the journey itself is great!

  • At 1:32 PM, Blogger krishna bhaskar said…

    ki re? you sound really like a sports writer there!!

    nice post.

  • At 10:20 AM, Blogger Bhim said…

    Looks like you're working more and blogging less... not that it should be reversed! I was just stating a conviction :P

  • At 2:33 PM, Blogger DD said…

    great blog! did you watch taxi driver?

  • At 10:20 PM, Blogger Acroyali said…

    nice post; but i NY comes across as a trifle too intimidating from it... was it actually like that?

  • At 12:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey K^Infinity
    Looks like you're having one hell of a time. Good for you... Nice to see ya after so long. I've been busy with my final exams, and since yesterday with movies and Zzzzzz :D Will put up something on the blog soon. See ya!:)
    - Di

  • At 8:30 PM, Blogger Arvind Iyer said…

    Damn good, except the last paragraph, where it seems to get pseudo-philosophical.
    You should have given your opinion on ego-projection and narcissism, rather than neutralize the article by extolling your people.
    Your words flow smooth ! I admire the fact that you can grab my attention without using humour or shock.

  • At 4:23 PM, Blogger abnegator said…

    Read ur blog KK ... its nice .. I mean the city of ego's post is truely the best I have ever read. Yes truely .. i dont read much but its quite good to get an appreciation. Keep it up. Your way of thinking is for sure going to take u high ! I had a lil smell of ur ego there too :) !

  • At 1:20 AM, Blogger capriciously_me said…

    wow..just back from a trip to ny & u took me back there...awesome writing...

  • At 2:44 AM, Blogger Chakshu said…

    "Live in NYC once, but leave before it makes you cold" ..........[hoppe i got that right]

    from the song : Suncreen

  • At 3:52 PM, Blogger Pallavi said…

    Man thats very interesting way to put it !! :)

  • At 11:50 AM, Blogger Phippogriff said…

    Great post! all the great achievements of human race have 'ego' somewhere in the background playing it's role....The worst fear for man is the fear of getting lost among the crowd. Some cultures(esp western) help the narcissist attitude get a footing early on in life upon which the seeker actualizes his dream monuments.The fall out of it ,the feeling reflected in the last paragraph is the other side of the coin seldom noticed.It requires closer attention and no one has time for that in the so called make believe,fast paced life.


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