Happy New Year!
Annual fireworks at New Year’s in London
Most people would be happy to see 2008 go by. But even in a year that deserves to be called annus horribilis, there were some things from the past year, that still brings a smile to one’s face.
One of those was the first Diwali, co-incidentally the new year in the Hindu calendar, we had in London. Here is the list of things we did in random order to mark Diwali in London:
- Went to Trafalgar Square to see London get together for the thoroughly Indian occasion, that is Diwali. Made mental note of not to do that again. Reasons include:
- having to watch fat aunties dancing on stage to ancient/local Ballywood music, half-scared that the stage might collapse, leading to a catastrophic avalanche of aunties into the crowd.
- having to watch n falana renowned gurus of Indian Jazz dance (WTH is Indian Jazz?) perform the Mexican wave with 30 kids on stage, call that amazing stuff, and make the kids clap for themselves.
- Bloody desis, who act normal when caught one at a time, but when in congregation of 10,000 upwards (not joking), become extremely messy, noisy, exuberant, and prone to doing the bhangra even when you don’t have standing space, causing extreme discomfort to other people. Also, prone to trample upon people to get in front of TV camera. (Extreme right-wingers, please to be noting, Diwali at Trafalgar is a very soft-target for you. Go for it next time)
- No fireworks.
- No mithai
- Prams, with steel bumpers. Which parents insist on taking right into the middle of the crowd, while carrying the babies for whom they are intended. Of whom you are not aware of, until the said vehicle takes a good portion of your shin/calf with it.
- Shitty music, crappy compere, sound system a la merde, scheiss programme. There, that should be clear enough to most people in the world.
- Went to the Diwali Party at a prominent business school. Note to self: Free drinks are not always a good thing, when combined with free food. Especially, when you are the sober one, and have to take glares from cleaning staff all the way home.
Must not act surprised when people call you bhaiyya, and curse under your breath. Even when said people are good-looking women. I am that old now.
- Went to the Neasden temple and back on Sunday. Prudent decision to not attempt it on Diwali itself. Mental note to self, to check where places actually are on Google Maps, before rushing out to go there and getting lost and walking upto 3 miles to get there. Also, whack those idiots who had been showing off their Google Maps/GPS features on their mobile phones.
Also, either have lunch, or not take whining, starving friends to tag along, unless you have cotton to stuff in your ears.
Should definitely not take junta who are obsessed with the answer to the Life, Universe and Everything. Atleast not to a temple. Unless you are bored enough to watch a priest and said junta spar on the theological truths of existence.
Should definitely take note of Anwar’s, a delightful homely Pakistani restaurant near Warren St. Tube station, and thank Ali (the guy who runs the show) personally, with a discreet tenner, for saving my tummy from self-digesting itself in intestinal acid, and shutting up my whining friends. Still dreams about the lovely 6-quid all-day all-you-can-eat buffet.(Suggestion: if you ever pop in there, do take a cup of masala chai)
- Went to Southall. The home to the pukka desh da puttar in London. Mental note to self: Stop acting surprised, when you see Sardars walking around with swords longer than your leg, Punjabi only-signs or a Mahindra tractor with a huge load of sugarcane in Southall. Must put idea in somebody’s head that Southall must be the new capital of Punjab (tee hee). Must take English-Punjabi dictionary.
Not ask junta in these parts for directions on the bus, just when they are about to get out. Said junta will stop back for you, make you memorise the latitude, longitude coordinates of where you want to go, with precise directions (like It’s either the 3rd or the 5th turn, beta, I am sure of that. Or it could be straight ahead. ), get off 2 bus stops from where they are supposed to get off from, and make you feel horrible as hell for making them miss their stop.
Taste mithai before buying them. Yes, mithai can be horrible, sugar doesn’t cover everything. Also, not to be buying sweets from chap who looks blank when we ask for stuff like boondi de laddu. Also, not to be buying more than 5 kgs of sweets at a time.
Encourage friends enthusiastic for fireworks to just watch them, and steer them away from shops where they were selling local replicas of Stinger missiles. Information to general public: You need a license to burst crackers in London. Just so that you aren’t saddled with firecrackers going for at a 70% discount which you can’t burst. Should try whacking people as a good tool to encourage and making them understand, and justify with an ominous laaton ke bhoot baaton se nahi samajhtein.
And last but not the least, take your umbrella always, in London. Or else, you could be cursing a very very enjoyable White Diwali. That’s right 🙂 It snowed that day. And God saw it was good.