Lotus Temple, Delhi. (Image via Wikipedia)… or Bangalore when I relocated to London. Yeah, that’s right. Ladies, and gentlemen, I have relocated to London, and I am already missing sadda Dilli terribly.
First of all, I have to get used to people calling it a night, when it’s still blindingly sunny outside. And that, if you have just stepped off the boat, plays havoc with your jet-lagged body clock. The sun rises at around 5:15 am and sets around 9:30 pm. On top of that, as if they have daylight savings on. What the hell. There is so much daylight to go around, that they need to shift the clock an hour backward, so that the sun sets late night, instead of a much more respectable evening time.
Secondly, the cost of going the same distance, or travelling the same time in a cab here is exactly the same as you would pay for an auto in India, except that it’s in pounds. Which makes it a whole lot expensive. It doesn’t feel really bad when you shell out 70 pounds for a half-an-hour ride, because it looks so little. Only when you get out of the car, and start walking away, and have time to convert that amount into rupees, you realise, that was 10 times your monthly allowance in India. Holy crap.
Similarly, a burger costs you 3 pounds, and it doesn’t even taste that good. So on and so forth. Note to self: must learn the multiplication table of 83.45, or whatever the exchange rate is, to prevent bankruptcy.
Last night I was having dinner at my hostel mess. The mess boy/man (can’t make out his age), came up to me when I was taking a bit too long, and looked expectantly at me, as if asking whether I was done. In India, if I nodded, he would have picked my plate and walked back. In London, they just point to the kitchen. Oh well. Atleast I don’t have to workout so much anymore.
In some ways, though, somethings haven’t changed. It’s still impossible to tune the shower to spray water at just the right temperature. So you either decide to cook yourself, or ice yourself up depending on what the weather channel has to say. Mostly I go for the well-cooked option. Arreey yaar, what will people back at home think, London jaake bhi chokra takes bath in cold water.. tch tch.
The weather is awesome: It’s nice and breezy and the rain here is disciplined, and falls straight down and doesn’t go sideways like in Delhi. But don’t tell the locals that. Somehow they find the constant drizzle a pain in the neck. Me thinks, anybody who cribs about the weather should be made to stay in Rajasthan for a month, to see how much the people there, would love natural drip irrigation, and that too, for free.
And there is that other favourite crib point about London: The Tube. I can’t believe these idiots! Me thinks, all of them should be given a life-changing assignment of getting from Noida to Rohini within 2 hours (which is about 50 kms apart). When they come back, they will kiss each tube train they will see.
Not only do they crib about their city, they crib about everything else! Consider this: Mukesh Ambani’s plane recently got into trouble, for not paying taxes, and it made the page 11 here in a newspaper I generally patronise nowadays (The Metro newspaper that you can pick up for free :P). There were some interesting figures there on the page: the price tag of the aircraft, the amount of tax unpaid, Mukesh Ambani’s yearly income, and… the number of people that go hungry everyday in India. All very relevant, I tell you. Just imagine, if Mukesh Ambani hadn’t bought the plane, and had gone waltzing into the hinterlands just throwing dollar bills at every person he meets, India would be such a better place. Sigh.
A lot of my friends have moved en masse to London, with some of them popping in and out of this place often. So, my social life would pretty much be the same. Which is a relief. I couldn’t stand so much angrezi anyway. It’s only here, that I realise how much I miss talking to people in Hindi. Which is kind of weird because I have taken to chatting with the manager of a local Pakistani restaurant, and he talks to me in Punjabi, and I talk to him back in Hindi, interspersed with what I think is Urdu. Works well.
Most of all, I am missing my sheltered life of being a student. Suddenly here I am in the big bad world; though I can’t complain that I haven’t had ample warning. But still yaar, when it happens, it’s kind of saddening. Still sometime, before I get homesick though, but that is another day.
Anyway, this is just the sort of post, that I wanted to avoid writing, but there goes my resolutions out of the window, because of ear-popping schedules and other engagements. I am deeply aware of cardinal sin I have committed. Shall be rectified very soon. In the meanwhile, I have come up with some brilliant ideas, I would like to expound upon, so dear reader, you just have to be patient while I find the right words for them.