'When I was leaving, my daughter gave me her extra suitcase and a hug and said: "This was so much fun, we must do it again".'
'When I reminded her that I'd hardly seen her at all during her vacation, she said, "But what's the point of that when we see each other every day at home?"' says Kishore Singh.
Illustration Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
With my daughter in between jobs, I thought I'd surprise her with a vacation in New York as a treat before she got busy again. I was going on work but said I'd find time for rendezvous between meetings, and we could go to some of my favourite places in Manhattan -- bars and cafes, shows and stores.
She agreed with the caveat that she be allowed some additional days on her own, since she had friends in the city with whom she wanted to catch up.
On the afternoon she was to join me in New York -- I'd flown in earlier to catch up on urgent work -- she said a college buddy of hers would pick her up at the airport, which seemed a fine gesture. Because they had another friend who was having a party in New Jersey, the two decided to stop by there before coming over to the hotel.
But from there to a rooftop terrace for some more partying, and then to a club where yet other friends were meeting, and then some pizza because they were hungry, meant it was the following morning that I actually saw her -- and then only briefly since she was now so jetlagged she needed to sleep while I had to go to work.
She did wake for lunch, and then headed out for some shopping where her friends from the previous day joined her, and what with bonding with them and the excitement of being in a new city, she thought it best if they had dinner together, and that I should not wait up but go to bed.
We had breakfast together the following morning, and then she was off to Herald Square and Madison Square Garden and other places on her bucket list.
In the evening we agreed to meet for a drink at the Rainbow Room at the Rockefeller Center but it was shut for the weekend, and it had started to rain, so our hope of strolling along Park Avenue came unstuck, but she did manage a stroll down to Times Square -- only not with me.
Over the next few days, she went to Macy's, trekked up Fifth Avenue and down Madison, shopped for clothes and shoes for her new job, and then for a suitcase to stuff it into. She ate artichoke pizzas and went confectionery bingeing at Magnolia Bakery.
Our Broadway date never transpired because her evenings were booked up, so the tickets went waste. She did come for an exhibition opening that was my reason for being in New York, but with a couple of hundred people in the gallery, she might as well not have been there.
On my last day in Manhattan, we made it to the Museum of Modern Art, but she spent all her time on the phone tying up with her friends for things to do when I wouldn't be there.
I'd hoped to take her to a fine dining restaurant for lunch, but she seemed more inclined to the Vietnamese Num Pang sandwich shop that was so crowded that we had to stand and eat out of boxes while dripping sauce on to my clothes.
When I was leaving, my daughter gave me her extra suitcase and a hug and said: "This was so much fun, we must do it again." When I reminded her that I'd hardly seen her at all during her vacation, she said, "But what's the point of that when we see each other every day at home?"