A few days ago, two of our friends from Boston suggested that we all go to music artiste Prasanna’s concert in New York. Prasanna is a renowned guitarist from India. We were immediately excited about the idea. Though we had been to several concerts over the last few months in the States, never had we attended a concert by someone from our native place — Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. So we packed our bags, and after wrapping up the day’s work on Friday, drove to Grove Street, New Jersey.
Amid rows of black trash bags, we walked to a vegan bar called Pet Shop in downtown Jersey City. It was almost 11 pm, but the streets were lively with small groups of people engaged in lively conversation. All warming up for the weekend ahead.
Inside Pet Shop, now joined by the two friends, who drove all the way from Boston, we worked on our beers. As the bottles emptied, our conversations gained momentum. Personal life, lives of friends, college stories, politics, office gossip, everything was poured out, dissected, and laughed about. It was 2.30 am. There was no change in the number of people in the bar. A floating crowd, even as a bunch walked out, another bunch walked in. The place still buzzed, like the evening had just begun.
We stopped at another place, one of the few that was open, to get a box of sweet potato fries. By the time we reached our hotel, one box was empty. With our mouths full, we said goodnight.
The next day, we woke up at noon, and headed to Kati Roll Company, to try one each of their every vegetarian variety. Mixed vegetable, panneer and channa. We washed it down with mango lassi, and headed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to check out some South Asian and European Art.
Three hours later, after soaking in the works of Rembrandt and Anthony Van Dyck, we walked to the subway station to take a train to Terraza 7 in Queens. The event around which we had planned the weekend. Terraza 7 was nothing like the set definition of a concert place. A small mexican bar with two floors. The upper level is where the concert happens, and in the lower one is a big screen that casts the live performance. With a seating capacity of 50, the band might as well have been playing in someone’s house. But this ambiance is what made the event unique.
Prasanna and his five-member band played A R Rahman hits of the nineties, songs that most of them in the crowd knew the lyrics to. We finished our drinks, and gave in to the music, which went on for two hours. After which, we made our way to Pye Boat Noodle in Astoria and met two of our other friends. A nice plate of Pad Thai later, we dug into a slice of cheese cake at The Strand smokehouse. Rest of the night seemed a blur, until we reached our hotel, and fell into one of the best sleeps ever. The next morning, we checked out, and stopped by Cafe Lalo for an elaborate brunch. Fed on a fresh mozarella, pesto and tomato sandwich, and a cup of affogato, it was time to drive back home.