Friday, 19 May 2017

London Diaries

Tower Bridge
So this year we had a very british holiday - quite literally. Thanks to my bestie and her ever accommodating husband, we finally took a huge plunge to cross the ocean and treat ourselves to a lavish 2 weeks vacation!

After weeks of planning and replanning, we shortlisted two cities - London and Edinburgh. Of course, that doesn't mean we covered every nook and cover or for that matter even half the popular places. Because I don't believe in running around when on vacation. I am the kind of person who would rather visit one or two spots and really get to soak the place than hopping around trying to cover everything. For example we spent close to 10 days in London and still somehow didn't get the "time" to visit Buckingham palace. We were either too busy driving around aimlessly in the countryside or exploring gastronomic delights on the streets of Soho!


Since there is too much to talk about, let me take this post for London. The countryside is pretty scenic, sometimes they remind you of lush greenery of India in monsoon and for a moment you wonder if you really are in UK. But the stark contrast is evident the moment you arrive at town/city.

In suburbs, most of the houses looks identical (they have planning permission which legally binds them to follow certain norm). And they have beautiful well maintained gardens and this uniformity is surprisingly quite pleasing to the eye.

Another odd thing you would experience is how long a day feels like because sun shines from 5 in the morning to 9 PM and that's loong! That said, London is usually under cloud cover and it can get pretty grim.

London Eye
The city itself is quite lively and like any other metropolis is a cacophony of cultures. London is so global that sometimes you have to really search hard to find a true Brit!

Bond Street
The biggest cultural shock is their "mannerism". It's rude to look at people. It's rude to rush in public transport (they have excellent train connectivity throughout the city). Not to mention "please" and "thank you". I was so used to thank you's that today when I went to my local supermarket guy, I slipped a thank you and to my pleasant surprise without a second thought he smiled and said you are welcome.

Although I couldn't help but notice that in our own way we have few luxuries which most of the people outside India don't. Like an average Indian here can afford a maid/cook. Our society and family circle which feels overbearing at times, reduces the chances of loneliness and abandonment. And you realize how we take a lot of things for granted here, even sunlight which we constantly crib about makes a huge difference in our overall mood.

At the end I returned home with memories I would cherish for a very long time. And a rekindled affection for India.

But yes I would miss London for it's picturesque countryside and endless eateries, from it's black and white hues to melancholy blues. I would miss travelling in the tube and soulful musicians on the street. I would miss the time I spent with my old friends and company of our new friends. But more than anything I would miss exploring myself through a new city.


On my return flight, I watched an ad which perfectly captured the emotions I was going through.

"We travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us. Not for the airports, but the moments we want to never end. Not for the status or the symbols but the places we've never been. For the new perspectives and what remains to be discovered, for a chance to know something new. For the experiences we have acquired and those still yet to come. For the stories we are given and those we create for ourselves. Every story has one thing in common- a beginning, by the end we are not the same, we are more..."

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