Was idly typing away summation formulas into excel cells at work when a name popped into my conscious – “HOYMAR CYRUS MISTRY.” (name changed obviously)
It sounded familiar but I couldn’t put a face to the name.
Actually, that name did not show up just like that.
Earlier in the day the new colleague Madam Jane Doe (who’d just moved from India to the USA) was complaining about how an acquaintance of hers from India had promised to help Madam Jane Doe setup once she arrived in the states. But this acquaintance was no where to be found once the poor lady actually landed.
Coming back to Hoymar.
Hoymar was an acquaintance of my father’s.
My memory’s seems to be able to navigate the fog of time and forgetfulness and arrive at a plausible destination. He was more than an acquaintance.
HOYMAR was a visitor from the USA whom I’d given a tour of the Golconda Fort in Hyderabad.He tipped me a dollar for it. I cannot remember his face or voice but I still have that dollar bill, in my stamps collection album at home in New Delhi.I also have a picture of us in front of the Golconda Fort in the same album.
Later that week, when he was leaving for the airport to catch a flight to the USA, Father and I had gone to see him off at his hotel.
HOYMAR shook my hands and said ” If you ever make it to New York someday, look me up. Bye kiddo.”
I did make it to New York.
I did look him up.
I made it in New York? Not yet.
He sounded super enthusiastic over the phone and told me to drop by his home in MANHATTAN over the weekend.
Some background : As students studying in New York(with hefty loans from the SBI), SOUTH RICHMOND HILL in QUEENS (arrested between Liberty &Atlantic Avenues) is where the whole lot of us desi students put up. Usually four people per room in a two bedroom one bathroom apartment; two more occupied the hallway for a reduced rent. The J&R Store on Park Row & The TIMES SQUARE VIRGIN MUSIC STORE were the only two points in MANHATTAN I had ever traveled to. So when Hoymar invited me to come visit him in MANHATTAN I was super thrilled.
This was a time before the ubiquitous google maps and iPhones (at least 2008 was for me) any trip that fell outside the university route required careful planning with the aid of ->
So I mapped out the route on hopstop. Wrote down what stops to get down and which transfers to make. Powered up the trusty W580i (on the Cingular network!) and listening to some pawan kalyan movie songs, took the A train going into Manhattan.
for here on I am blurry as to how I got to the address or what the address was.
I know I got down somewhere in Manhattan. Changed two trains. It was a rainy day. Took a bus across central park. Don’t remember if I was going from east to west or west to east. I have a bad sense of direction anyway. Got down from the bus three stops before my intended stop due to anxiety of missing my stop.
Walked like ten streets. Asked at-least five people for the building address…one of them being a homeless man..who i did not know was homeless.
Finally walked into the building, soaking wet, was greeted by a sharply dressed doorman who escorted me to the elevator saying ‘Mr & Mrs Hoymar’ have been waiting two hours for you. I joked something about Indian Standard Time. lol.
The apartment was gorgeous. Chandeliers. Floor to ceiling windows. Two Bedrooms. Shelves overflowing with books and periodicals. Huge paintings hung on the wall. A kitchen with two sinks.
AND A CARPET.
A CARPET was peak luxury in my book.
I was offered tea and snacks but no leads for an internship.
They said their son went to Stanford or somewhere to study economics but transferred to art and is now dating a Chinese girl from his class for who he is learning Mandarin so that he can write poetry.
Mrs. Hoymar said I should get a girlfriend. Mr. Hoymar said I should drink beer and have fun. They both said I should enjoy my USA experience to the fullest and go for spring break in Florida. It’s just like in the movies they assured me. Lots of sex.
< where are the internship leads bro?? >
After the tea was drunk and the snacks polished off, they gave me a pat on the shoulder and said bye-bye.
I retraced my steps and managed to reach QUEENS by midnight.
After all that mental plumbing, I kinda remember his face now.
It was only when I logged into my untouched since F1 days email account to grab a screenshot of the message posted above that I realized I had his name wrong.
So I googled him. Armed with accurate info this time around.
Hoymar had passed away on October 10,2018. He was 86.
So it goes.
Tears aside, what I’m desperately trying to remember is the Building I went to.
I caught a lucky break here.
In the 2008 email he’d listed his phone number. (The relevance of a 212 in a phone number had dawned on me much later in the course of my NYC residency. Hoymar was a legit New Yorker.)
After he passed away his, Hoymar’s estate had sold the apartment but his son had retained the phone number.
If you buy/sell property in NYC, the minutest details of the transaction get listed in the The Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS). A few mouse clicks and I found an address. Plugged it into google maps as my heart was racing. Saw it on street view. It was THE building.
And the best part…it was down the street and an avenue away from my current building.
2008 to 2018. QNS to UES. It was destiny.