London.. The headquarters of the erstwhile superpower of the world, the center of power in a small island which almost controlled the entire world by its own, the city with rich history brimming in the foundation of power, wealth and politics, the city which has transformed itself into a living delight into the modern world of the 21st century, the city which now boasts of a cosmopolitan population, mixture of races language and culture. And this is the same city where I have now spent 3 years of my personal and professional life.
The river Thames running through the heart of the city, small in size but yet clean and beautiful. The walks along the southern bank makes you realise that you are encountering citizens of almost all countries – either coming here to pursue their dreams or a better living or just stopping by to absorb the pulse of life and attractions.
The now lonely red telephone booths scattered by the path ways speaking of a glorious past and yet now neglected to the mercy of the occasional tourists stopping by just to take a snap. The dials are rarely dialed now, yet the wires dangle awaiting their destiny.
The reverberating music echoing in the tubes or under the bridges speaking of unfulfilled dreams of dreamers and performers. Yet quite lively on sunny days thronged by unknown passerby stopping occasionally for a couple of minutes and then walking away towards their destination.
The tube network cris-crossing underneath the city and carrying people, some tired, some engrossed on music or fiddling with their smart phones. The same journey where you find to listen ten different languages in less than ten minutes. The travel when you are forced to rub shoulders against strangers, yet with a politeness that defies normal logic.
The long yet narrow escalators symbolising modern life when humans just keep running through the moving stairs with not a single minute available as a spare time to look around the boards showcasing the latest theatres. When standing on the left sometimes can be a big ordeal with you forced to chug along the uphill stairs till you reach the top.
The pubs at every nook and corner of the blocks filled with people enjoying their bubbly almost everyday. Where the less dressed girls do need to step out in the cold to draw on their cigarettes, hiding their shivering with occasional laughter.
Where the railway stations on late nights starting from Thursday are filled with dressed and beautifully painted women running barefoot to catch their last train home with the high heel shoes dangling in their hands. Where you will see some heroes walking like a knight in 10 degree centigrade with just a real short shorts.
Where you will find the elderly going religiously to the Lords cricket ground to enjoy the test matches and yet dozing off for quick naps just after lunch. Where you can still support England’s opponents with your top voice and enjoy the friendly banter with the fellow English supporters whenever your team is in trouble.
Where you will find the unique Kolkata egg chicken roll in the middle of the Zara’s, the Debenham’s of the world. Where Oxford Street stands for shopping and not related to education. Where you will see swelling crowds everywhere, irrespective of whether there is a ‘sale’ or not.
Where you will find immense greenery within the heart of the city, where ducks, squirrels, swans do not get afraid if humans go too near to them. Where you will find lazy guys sleeping with a cap on their eyes, where you will find roller skaters of varying degree of proficiency, where you will find people enjoying the sun on beach chairs without any beach nearby.
Where good weather means “no rain”, where sometimes summer starts by the arrival of the month in the calendar and not dictated by the ambient temperature, where you are forced to hear “mind the gap” on rainy days even when the gap is quite small for a toddler to jump across, where you are often reminded to take your own stuff when you leave the train.
And the list goes on and on….
This is a city which became part of my life and in spite of the rare sun you get to see, this is a city which touched my heart and which continues to make me wonder how so many people from so many countries and so many cultures make this city ever vibrant that you tend to enjoy.