The unfoldment of Boston cityscape was incremental in the predawn dusk .It was slightly foggy and the roads had gone wet due to night long shower and the winding roads weren’t of a first worldish looks and the city lights shone their yellowish beams laboriously through the fog blankest . The terrain was by no means Sarasotian like flat but hilly and undulating . Unnikkuttan’s house was on the crust of an elevated territory which was in sharp but progressive relief from the sea front .
In American nomenclature of houses Unnikkuttan’s house came under the description of a town house . It was part of a community and it was wooden ,two storied or rather three storied in that it had an underground or sub terrestrial space the plinth area of which matched that of its visible wooden super structure .The massive sub structure of the central air conditioning machine was held in this underground enclosure .Its unpartitioned space had spare room to take in any household articles of suspended utility and unlike the wooden walls of the actual above ground living quarter its peripheral walls were solid brick and concrete construction .
The cumbersome brick and mortar house back home would be a perfect foil to sheer functionality oriented housing solution concept of America .Since of wooden panelings they are of inverse weather sensitivity ,slightly warm inside in freezing cold climatic condition outside and as for dog days the house interior witnesses balmy cool pussyfooting without let up day in and day out.But our monstrous desi constructions further scorch up in scorching heat and further nosedive intramural temperature in the freezing atmospheric heat loss .We are destined to take this catch- 22 lying down to shore up our vanity
. All varieties of pride do not prognosticate a fall especially when it is just confined to a benign tradition of book love .Our stock has always had a bibliophile slant to our collective family temperament. When I saw Unnikkuttan’s collection of books and rummaged through it pride and joy welled up in my mind .The expatriated Nair , his wife and their progeny too had an abiding fascination for books .The assorted genres that went into the making of their home library included Literature,History,Medical science , Mathematics ,advanced computing ,Chess books, Finance,Philosophy and those unscrutinised due to logistical reasons .High techism ran in the family father being a professional geek and the son a Phd researcher in futuristic robotics in the University of California Berkeley .Such people needed a toy in their home which went with their techno-savvy fascinations .A tubby and brownish digital girl who answered to the name Alexa ,an omniscient piece of robot, would proffer an answer to any and every of your query asked aloud in its direction
The problem with Indian made foreign liquor was that they all came with a delectable vast variety of rum,whisky,brandy,vodka,jin etc but they were all invariably distilled from one single brew worthy substance of molasses .Of course they looked,costed hierarchied and sometimes even tasted differently from one another and it was the only great leveller in India besides birth and death
.But in America each variety of liquor was brewed from their officially designated substance and so each variety threw up its unique taste ,flavour and never bred a blanket inebriation pattern ,an unflattering attribute of the Blighty liquor manufacturing practices .Bourbon ( a strictly American brand ) and yet another one that we tasted at Unnikkuttan’s place we took with marginal dilution with water and properly iced and then I knew for sure that genuine distillation practices using the designated substances only made all the difference. Back in India if I tippled on empty stomach sometimes it would cause slight headache and bouts of unpleasant hangover.But in Boston it was by no means a mixed wining experience instead it was joyful all the way to the hilt .Just two days into our stay in Boston in the evening we three Unnikkuttan,Sree and myself visited Boston harbour after darkness had fallen and been freezing cold anticipating which we were in dark and heavy fur coat .The nocturnal view of the city presented a spectacle of beauty being mixed with mystery .The sparkling waters of river Charles ,the anchored boats some of which at least were masted, the lights spotted dark silhouettes of the skyscrapers of the Boston skyline together presented a psychedelic ambience .The English explorer to Boston originally named the river the Massachusetts river but when it was conveyed to Charles the 1st of England his majesty took strong exception to christening the river after the vulgar tribe of Massachusetts and ordered it to be changed after his own name and so got the Charles river its name .