Posted 25 July 2008 - 11:57 AM
It is one of my Indian Friend wrote me from London. hope that U enjoy reading and helps you there. If it does not, Forgive me.
I was beginning to worry i wouldn't have much to write about this week, unlike last week. I had a paper to submit and the lectures were getting heavier day by day. Everyone was locked up in their rooms burning the midnight oil. Breakfast time was no longer about - 'Hi! you're from...' or 'Hey! great to see you again...' or 'So i went to...and did...'. It was becoming more of a 'eat as you study' or 'get over and done with it' kind of period . Thankfully, that lasted only three days! Everyone got the burden off their shoulders and things came back to normal.
Before i mention what's made this week eventful (and worth writing about), i'll take the liberty of wandering off a bit into last week. After acclimatising myself to the London 'Summer' and window-shopping at Oxford street, i decided to tour a part of London with a group of summer-school friends. We left the LSE and visited Trafalgar Square and then went on to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. Alongside, by the Thames was the famous London eye (although nobody was really inclined to ride on a slow-moving, enlarged version of a Ferris wheel!). Perfect weather and a splendid view ensured some great snaps.
The next day (Saturday) was reserved for 'Changing of the Guards' at Buckingham palace. The ceremony was painstakingly slow but worth it. The palace is huge and parks alongside are pretty ( i didn't see Hyde Park though). Not too far away was Harrods and since the weather was pleasant, one felt like walking a bit. So Harrods it was. I got to Brompton Road in Knights bridge and entered the ultra-luxurious mall. Not to forget, there were stretched Limo's and elongated Mercs lined alongside the road and a few Lexus' and Audi's too!
Harrods is huge. There's an array of goods sold there. From perfumery to kitchenettes, electronic goods to pre-fall fashion collections. It isn't all 'exclusive' though. Rather, the store stays true to its motto - Omnia Omnibus Ubique - all things for all people, everywhere.
Harvey Nichols was also on my 'window-shopping list' and at the end of it all i felt like my head was muddled up and brand recall was zilch. Certainly, the book and the movie - 'Devil wears Prada' weren't enough to make me literate and 'informed'. Nevertheless, i felt 'enriched' after the experience!
I also managed to visit a relative at Finchley. He was kind enough to take me on a short drive through town and so i covered:
1. Camden town - this place has crowded markets but is also known for its punk culture. I got to see people with strange hair-do's and poor dress sense!
2. Lords - We just went past Lords. There was a cricket match going on (England v SA).
3.Abbey Road - Saw the famous zebra crossing that's on the cover page of the Beatles Abbey Road album and got a glimpse of the studio
So that was last week. The next four days paled in comparison and like i mentioned above, i was beginning to get worried. Thankfully, the river boat party came to my rescue. This was a summer-school party planned for Friday (yesterday) and the idea was to take a cruise along the Thames. I left my hall with a group of people and we all took the yellow line to Tower Hill. The tower bridge was magnificent. And in case you are wondering, it did open to let a ship pass! I managed to get a snap or two. The river boat cruise was awesome. It was a three-tier boat with a discotheque on the lower deck. There were lots of people to intermingle with, drink with (for those who wished to!) and socialise. The cruise ended in about four hours and by twelve everyone was on hard ground.
If you're thinking the story ends here, then you're way off target. I got back into a group of friends and everyone decided to eat first and then get home. Bad idea! The tubes shut by 12.30 and the detour became an expedition to nowhere. We criss-crossed streets and tried to catch a bus back to Central London. In about an hour, we managed to get onto a bus that took us to Leicester Square. Now, i had plans of making it to Leicester Square for a musical sometime, but certainly not at 1 a.m! As luck would have it, the group 'split up' while trying to cross a road and then 'got lost' in the crowd (it was as if it were daytime with the area packed with people). With only four of us to fend for ourselves (and our tummies), we decided to eat a hot-dog made by a road side vendor. Before i could add some ketchup, the guy scurried away to my utter surprise. And then i hear the noise of a police car somewhere in the distance and understood.
Right - as insane as it may sound we didn't get home anytime soon. After meandering our way through some dangerous looking alleys with some dangerous looking people and passing some massive theatres, we felt content about the London night-life we had been exposed to and agreed that it was late ( we finally came to our senses when we saw that it was 2.00). Attempts at catching the right bus home failed and it dawned upon me that i might have to walk it back home. So we did walk a bit, away from Leicester Square and towards Embankment which was a familiar area. But that was of little consolation when it became clear that we'd moved in the wrong direction!
Anyway, with some guidance from passers by we made it back to the LSE - which looked great even at 3.30 a.m! - and parted ways in groups of two, leaving for our respective halls. We had definitely thrown caution to the wind and perhaps been foolhardy but thankfully it turned out to be worthwhile! At 4.00 a.m i ensconced myself in bed and just before my eyelids shut, i noticed daylight streaming into my window. This was certainly not the right time to think of 'early to bed...early to rise....
DISCLAIMER: This mail dosen't cover a bit of what i've done all morning since i woke up at 10.00. I'll include that in another mail next time.
It's been 3 days since i stepped onto U.K soil and i feel at home already. London is beautiful. The weather is lovely (at times not so lovely though!), lots of good food, enough places to shop and several areas to explore.
LSE is great. The quality of lectures, course structure and efficiency of management is tops. Plus, there's a lot of scope for enjoying ones-self on weekends. The crowd at LSE is really international in composition and it's impossible not to bump into someone interesting. People are very cordial and professors are approachable. There's a lot of emphasis on self-learning and group activity.
In the time i've been here, i've managed to make it to lectures on time! There's been a downpour over the last couple of days and my umbrella has been a saviour. I've managed to attend three parties (official and unofficial) and savour some beer and wine ( note: i've not been on a drinking binge!). Considering that there are a couple of pubs on campus, i can't really be held to account, can i?
I haven't really travelled around much yet. A little bit of window shopping at Oxford Street or a few Bus/Tube rides from in and around campus or the residence hall still leaves a lot to be accomplished. I'll be making my itinerary soon and touring over the weekend.
Trust all is well at your end.
Will keep you posted on things as they progress.
No one is safe anywhere,
Thieves are rampant everywhere
Light is stolen,
Dreams are stolen,
Faith is stolen,
Mud is stolen,
Love is stolen,
Life and death are stolen
Alas! What can you expect from others,
When God himself is a thief?
In "Indra Jatra" by Dinesh Adhikary, Sajha Prakashan, 2051 B.S