Bank Side Walks

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One of the many things I enjoy doing in London is going for walks on river side.

A long walk from Westminster to Tower bridge. Going under some bridge, going on top of the other, watching the crowd walk past, smiling at the kids playing with bubbles, stopping to watch the street performance. The picture is so perfect that you will get addicted to it.

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Its a rewarding 45 mins. You will get to see St. pauls, Shakespeare’s Globe, National Theatre, Southwark Cathedral and the Tower Bridge. The best part is  you will get to see the atmosphere changing with the climate. The shops, activity change with the weather. Be it summer holidays or winter, the place is filled with so many things to do.

If you are the kind who doesn’t enjoy the crowd, wants some peace with Thames, I can tell you a secret location where you can go to in London. On board thamesclippers(https://www.thamesclippers.com/) to Greenland pier. (All you need is the oyster card).  Walk along thames toward Nelson Dock, with the view of canary wharf.

The view is so beautiful that, you will wonder how it could be so deserted. It is ideal when the water level is low in thames, you will be able to get down on the bank and collect some shells.

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To understand the geography of London, it is important to get on the ferry.  Canary wharf, Isle of Dogs have thames on all three sides, how can you believe it unless you see it?

Bubblegum softie

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Little happiness in life, licking a flavor of softie you have never tasted before!

Smells Lovely!

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When you become an immigrant, you will see a challenge in doing almost any normal thing.

Say for example, you prepared this delicious cauliflower masala curry. Mind it, that you prepared it after a long day in office and there is a lot of effort on that bowl of curry. You definitely don’t want to waste it. You pack it for lunch next day.

Like always, you re-heat the next day in office and BAM. The kitchen smells Indian. Not too evident for my nose, but very evident for the others. They complement your food ‘That smells lovely’. The only problem is you hear the word smells, people try to say the worst in the best way possible.

You are confused whether it is a compliment or not! Well not that it matters, you are eating it anyways. But, you are reminded of the long lunch breaks in the corner of big food court, where you felt like yourself.

People project the best side of living an on-site life. Posing infront of London Bridge, visiting Scotland for long weekends, eating fish and chips with colleagues. Wondering if the people who crave for on-site is given the actual picture of it. You are agreeing to live a life of 2nd grade citizen on the name of visa, you would be complimented and paid thrice for the work professionally. But, you are going to ask a million awkward questions to random colleagues.

You are going to spread marmite yeast on your bread, you are going to open the dishwasher while it is running, you are going to be bad on small talks, you are going to end up ordering something you haven’t heard of for force-full office lunches. You are going to end up holding fork on your right hand trying to eat it.

You are learning something new everyday, it is like learning to ride a cycle. It takes time to find the balance and I am in the phase of trying hard to keep my feet on pedal. All this said, I do embrace the new life I have, it is salty sweet. You can’t help but laugh at all the funny things you do.

 

 

Colors

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One of the things which I never cared to notice back home is Colors!. There were always many colors around. Each room had a different color on the wall in home, each house had a different color in street. My sister made sure that her room was Pink. I stuck to neutral green color, since I always liked blue. Blue was somehow tagged as the color of boys by then.  Pink girls paranoia started, although that is something we are always discussing about.  (I am sure kids will get over it soooon!)

Here in London, when you walk around the people, who dress themselves in dull colors, you miss all the mighty blues, reds, yellows, pinks, greens in the world. I can’t remember the last time I saw a shade of violet. The spring flowers reminded me, how much I have been missing the mighty colors of the world.

I stood up, just to see the shades of colors, people are wearing right now in office. I cant spot any shade of red. All I see is grey, navy blue, dark green, black, white. I am sure that there are clothes of all shades in stores, maybe the black is the preferred one in general.

Sky is turning blue, flowers are blooming, sun raises before 5 am, sets after 9pm, days are getting longer. It feels so great to get out of work and feel like you are leaving at 2pm. No wonder people love summer here. With summer around the corner, hopefully I will get to see bright colors.

PS : Intended to post this sooooner, better late than never.

 

Engalish

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When you move to a different country, you will realize that the only friend you have is Engalish. British so kindly left behind their Language in our country and that’s all we could rely on when we are in their country. It doesn’t matter how many English movies you have watched, how many sitcom characters lives in your head, the language they left behind is never going to give you any confidence in their country.
I have never felt hesitant to talk or write in Engalish when I lived in India, because I learned Engalish, people speak Engalish back home and I am good in Engalish not English!

To realize this I had to live in English land, eat Croissants for breakfast and say the word ‘please, thank you, sorry’ a million times. Apparently, in English its impolite not to say thank you, if someone holds the door open for you. In Engalish, we don’t care. If you don’t hold the door open, I will open it myself, what’s the big deal! If you are lucky and if I have time, I will nod and smile if you hold the door for me.

People who speak Engalish doesn’t say ‘Howudoing’ when they walk past someone. They say ‘How are you?’ that too only if you smile at them. Else they will act like they don’t care, which is because none of us do really care. There is a compelling set of behavioral rules which comes with the language English. Like, saying excuse me after you sneeze or asking the god to bless you since you have cold.

The behavioral rules are mandatory and not optional. It is like learning not to smile if someone looks at you, in India we smile! Next time remember how Prof. Mcgonall keeps her lip in Harry Potter movie. That’s English. If you smile you are Engalish.
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After a long day in office, I call my niece, who is half asleep in India. She will pick the phone and say ‘Who is this?’. In perfect English not Engalish because she watches Peppa. I’m sure she is going to lose the accent once she starts school because they will teach her Engalish and not English.

In short, I am sick of trying to speak English.

Underground

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Want to see real London, travel in underground trains during peak hours!

First few months, when I was hunting for work, attending interviews, I found tube journeys very adventurous. I tried to stand on the correct side of the escalator. I tried to match my pace to fast commuters, I tried not to rush, I tried not to stand on the way. Then, I simply stopped trying. People rush, people run, people push  and some doesn’t even say sorry after stamping you. Well, its all part of the city culture. You need to experience it and get over it.

Tube journeys are part of the Londoners life, you will see people running on their high heels, people dressed up in real suite (rare for someone who is from India), people with pink hair, people with dogs on their lap. You will see all sort.  All of these people look absolutely serious in their torn jeans, jackets. I felt that the people here are so stiff that they will break if you crack a joke. But, then I started working in a place where people attend meetings eating popcorn. They discuss finance wearing torn jeans and ripped tshirt. They scribble on the walls as part of work. They are so cool that they literally conduct meetings on couches and not conference rooms. Drifting away to a different story here.. London surprises you, wherever you go.

Tube journeys became part of my life once I started working, I understood that its okay to stand on the way once in a while. People read a lot in this city and I found myself charging the kindle . Oyster out- swipe- oyster in- kindle out- read- read-read-kindle in- oyster out- swipe. A month of this and now I can say aloud that I ‘live’ in London. Oops! I don’t have any pictures.

Fast forward to London

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From the Karamana river side to Thames rive side, the journey was very pleasant. Wedding day  memories has blurred leaving behind thousands of high resolution photographs.

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London, one of the oldest yet the brightest city of the world. The land which has been part of every history lesson I have learned back in school. Even a bad history student like me could recognise few of the many marvellous monuments while walking down the wet English streets.

London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady……

Couldn’t stop singing the above, during the first weeks here. My 3 year old niece wanted me to confirm if there was water under the bridge. Kids are sensible these days, don’t want to believe everything they see or hear.  😉 So we went to check it out on her behalf.

Until, I reached the Tower bridge, I was under the impression that the London bridge is the iconic Tower bridge. Well, London bridge looks like any other bridge while, the tower bridge stands as the icon out there for the world to see. So what I actually wanted to see was the tower bridge. I wanted to see it go up, letting a boat to pass by. I also wanted to go on top of the bridge.

We didn’t hesitate to buy the tickets to go up and to be on the glass floor. Yes, they have glass floor up on top to see the transport pass by below. Its 8gbp for entry and I would say its worth going up once.

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We on the glass floor!

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They have displayed some pictures of famous bridges, on the walls you will see pictures with description about different bridges. We walked in hope of finding atleast one bridge from India. But no, there is none from India.

As per the brochure : When tower bridge was built, it was the largest and most sophisticated bascule bridge ever completed. The bridge was completed in 1886 and about 40 thousand people cross it every day!

Well, you can google for the facts. All in all, it is a must visit in London.