Familiarity breeds ignorance.So, before I get familiar and the excitement of such a place dies away; I know I have to write something about my first week here, in London.
First of all, I can’t believe I am here. It’s like being fascinated with a certain idea, but not giving a thought that the idea could be reality some day. Now, that it is reality (I pinched myself and have confirmed this), it seems all surreal. It’s a wonderful feeling no doubt. I guess reality can only fascinating if it is dreamy. I am in that dream so far.
Walking in the streets of London is a joy. It’s a relief, in a way, that you stop existing and everything outside of you takes your attention. It’s like being a part of the play and a spectator at the same time. Yes, and it would definitely help if your shoes are comfortable too.
Though it would matter where in London you are walking. Right now, I have Central London in my mind. All the buildings look colonial. In the evening with the dim lightings, the buildings look grander. I don’t know whether it is to match the architectural beauty or not, but if you are not looking at the buildings you can look at the women. I guess it could also be the other way round. The buildings have a certain disadvantage with the women folk of London around. When you pass by the buildings you don’t smell lovely perfumes.
Talking of spirits, that’s one thing that you would not fall short of. Beer is available in plenty in even the ‘General Stores’. It’s hard to walk for five minutes without having seen a pub. The pubs are peculiar in one respect though. They will have fancy Menu Cards being displayed on their windows boasting about their food varieties. But, the kitchen closes at 5 in the evening. I guess, people have their dinner during the lunch time.
Hmm ... Food. Well, I would say, what’s the point of being in such a lovely place if you have to die of hunger? It’s impossible to survive on the English food. Well, you could survive actually, just that you would need to add a lot of ketchup to it. The food is cold and bland. But it has certain advantages which are quite evident. Having such qualities that I have mentioned, English don’t eat a lot. Since they don’t eat a lot, they don’t become sloppy, it does wonder to their work efficiency. Since the meals are not elaborate, they could be had while doing your work. But actually, I don’t mind the English Breakfasts and their salads.
Transportation is something that the English should be proud of. Be it bus or train transport, a literate man could read his way through to any part of London. Travelling in a tube is also an experience. I am sure, if I was to ask each and every person in the tube, their country of origin, I would get more than 5 distinct answers. The instructions and directions have put in place assuming that it’s your first day in London. Tube stations also offer another important facet. People playing music for money. They don’t seem like beggars at all. I could not help but stand in awe at the music they played. It’s not just the normal guitar but the electric guitar with set of speakers.
The weather being so nice, walking being so comfortable, the landscape so beautiful and the convenience thought of at each and every point … the mind remains clear. It’s simple, when you are outside walking on the road, and you don’t see any poverty, any traffic or any kind of pollution, the mind remains at rest. You don’t carry any of it home where things are as comfortable: - Carpeted houses with heaters, Windows that don’t make noises when the wind blows, not a gap where the cold from the outside leaks inside. In such circumstances, when your physical self is at rest, the only problems that would bother you are the ones that you have created for yourself. But it may be quite to the extent where you might start feeling lonely.
Well, tried to note everything that came to mind down here, but one part remains. The people of London. Unfortunately, the only interaction that I have had is asking people for directions, where they have been very polite. Or talking to the Hotel receptionist where she has been very helpful. As for now, they seem to be a witty lot who would keep a certain distance always.
There are certain interesting facts that I have noted so far.
People here don’t drink water. There are no beggars on the streets. People with vehicles don’t honk without any reason. People come to office with foldable cycles. Girls like to get pierced on all sorts of places on the face. There are more girls than guys in a tube compartment. At least, I did not notice the guys. People walk fast with no reason at all. There are no stray dogs. You get free newspapers which come with single headlines of somebody being stabbed or getting drunk. The cost of repair may exceed the cost of the equipment itself. It rains any time. They don’t frisk bags while coming or going out of offices. Showrooms don’t keep your luggage bags as you do shopping. Eat fish n chips, and you know chips taste better than the fish. You realize you are not born here. You forget that not less 65 years ago, these guys were still ruling your country.
All said and done, I think it’s hard not to appreciate the fact that it’s a wonderful city that these guys have built and right now I am just happy of having got the chance to come here. But I am as curious to know my thoughts a month later.