It was a bizarre day. We were in a quaint village about to pop out for a walk. The air was nippy when we stepped out. And the drizzling rain turned into a pi**ing rain. And we squirrelled away under an awning. I was miserable but still enchanted by my company.
If the above sounds like a beautiful piece of writing – it is not. This is how people in London talk daily. And how can you not be creative and inspired all the time when you hear words like – Brilliant, Fascinating, Shocking, Cheers, Awful, Blimey, and Blighty – all around you? I secretly suspect that the language brings warmth despite the evergreen dampness in London.
London is my home away from home. Not only the diversity and the fact that people fit in London when they don’t fit anywhere – there are many other subconscious elements too. For example, people read books on the tube that I have read. Or, when I walk into a bookstore – there are books in the top ten sections I have read. All the secret nooks and crannies in the streets of London or even in tubes remind me of the secret series I loved as a child. And the fact that I can feel alone surrounded by people who know exactly what I mean by the word alone.
I will admit some things that I love about London have been an acquired taste. My love for English tea is a case in point. When I first got there, I could not understand how you could drink tea that is not boiled on the stove, but after countless networking meetings in the cold – I got my hang of it. Now, I know what colour the brand of tea (Earl Grey, Assam or Darjeeling) should be for the perfect taste.
Living in London has its drawbacks. It is primarily cold – and not just any cold, but the chill that just gets into your bones regardless of whatever you are wearing. Or, the fact that taps in the wash basin still have two taps – one for cold water and one for hot water. So, you walk up in the morning with one of your hands freezing cold and the other piping hot. Or how most houses do not have central heating or dryers. Tubes are unreliable. I remember one time hearing an announcement that can be summed up as seven out of ten lines having issues, but all other lines are working fine. This is where the Keep Calm And Carry On comes from. Only in London – it is acceptable that the tubes are so modern and the platforms so old that in some carriages, you have to walk to the first door to get off the platform.
Despite all this – London holds a special place in my heart, soul and body. It’s a place where I grew up in a lot of ways. And along that journey made friends who knew me when I did not have my guard up. I have friends who have seen me at my worst and who have seen me at my best. Who has seen me grow and evolve – and not judge me for who I am. Now, that is priceless – won’t you agree?
What is priceless for you?