Friday, 3 July 2009

London: Some observations

Living in the City the first thing that comes to notice are bankers. Between five and six in the evening if one is anywhere near Bank chances are one will be surrounded by men and women attired in crisply tailored black. Quite appropriate for these times, considering the death of capitalism. Note to self not a good idea to wear a pink overcoat. But if one looks closely one will find that girl after girl in her black, whatever brand it is that posh people in London patronize (remember the pink overcoat), wearing running shoes under her formals. Probably to kick-start the economy though more likely for running down the escalator to catch the first train to escape this horrorscape filled with zombie institutions too big to fail devouring the life essence of this world. And by that I mean money.

Speaking of life essence brings to mind another hard to miss and probably more life essence enhancing aspect of London (i.e. if we follow Mr. Pico Iyer’s excellent treatise “The Joy of Less”), the parks of London. What are the chances that if one looks out of the window, if one is lucky to live opposite a London park, one will spot someone running or cycling down the towpath. I would say 100 percent. But the even more life essence affirming like thing is when these someone, for whom cycling is a means of transport for going from point A to point B and not just a hobby, dismount from their bicycles, pull out a bag from their backpack and start feeding breadcrumbs to the ducks. Or the two ‘rough-looking’ guys stop to sit on the railing at the edge of the pond, with the setting sun pouring through the gap between the buildings casting a golden glow on their backs, and watch the ducklings at play. The fact that they are feeding them potato chips is another matter. And at the moment we are focused on life essence so now’s not the time to bring up the effect of salt on a bird’s nervous system.

Parks naturally lead one to think of summer. And summer means girls in summer dresses trampling around in ‘chappals’. Suddenly everything is illuminated and one appreciates why Mike Jagger wanted to paint them black. At least then they wear running shoes. Seriously people in India you don’t realize the talent you possess to walk in a dignified or nonchalant manner (take your pick) when your toes are free to wriggle in the cool breeze. Thank your ma, your grandma and whomever else it was who shouted at you all those years ago to walk properly when wearing chappals.

But these same girls who can carry black formals with running shoes and not carry at all summer dresses with chappals have a talent that one could offer both eyes and both hands for. Often one find girls dressed as one has already mentioned a million times before walking down the street with their bags and dinners from Sainsbury’s in one hand and a thick book with the thumb holding open the page they are on in the other. They read a line, look up to see where they are going, read another line, and so on and so forth. Every action is so fine tuned and executed at such a fast pace that they appear to continuously keep reading while Saraswati in return for their exceptional devotion magically removes every obstacle from their path.

Then there are football fans who drink gallons of beer and eat fish and chips by the bucket full (I suppose) and sing or cry depending on the fortunes of their team and often have a golden Pomeranian named Rosie. When you meet them at the florists close to the corner pub they may even let you pet Rosie or say goodbye to her when its time for her to go home for dinner. However sometimes they may get arrested for fatally stabbing someone.


Ainara said...

This makes me miss London so much.

That, and the fact that we're around 40 degrees everyday in Madrid. Without air conditioning or a sad ceiling fan...

ahhh, the rain in London...

Anvita Lakhera said...

London does need the rain...lately it has been too hot though I am sure most of the above mentioned Londoners will disagree.