I had not thought even in my wildest dreams that i would visit London one day.In fact it was not even on my list of cities to visit in Europe.I dont know, the fate had it or should i say -"London was Calling ", i visited the city.Infact i had a personal prejudice against this city , because it is the people from this land that ruled over us for over a century and did what not to keep our country under their reigns.It is the same people who looted our country and took back so many things to their land including our Kohinoor as war bounty.I already had some vague idea of how the city would be.Thanks to movies like DDLJ,London dreams,Namaste London and not to forget those Gurinder chadda films like It's a wonderfull AfterLife.After landing in London, i realised that London is definitely what it is shown to be in the movies.What i had seen in the films was not a glorified or hyped up version of London.This is how London is .A truly vibrant and modern city.
One of the things that strikes you the most after landing in London, is the the presence of a large Indian diaspora.Indians are everywhere .Right from the Taxi driver, the man at the ticketing counter in the Tubes,McDonalds to every other imaginable place.If you look around in the tube on a typical weekday rush hour, you will see atleast 4 in every 10 people is an indian.And, they have established themselves in the city in such a way that you instantly see that indian flavour and colour in it.Like keeping the fruits and vegetables for display in the footpaths in front of the stores and pukka Indian like Road rage.You will see people driving like hell like they do back in our country , without giving a damn to the traffic rules and pedestrians.Loved the masala dosa,vada,mysore masala dosa's from "Aaha Dosa"- a typical south indian restuarant in Hounslow suburb.Especially when i was seeing all these after quite a long time.
One of the experiences that anyone visiting London will have to go through (almost ritual like) is "The London Tube experience".What a huge and complicated network it has.You will be intimidated by the complex maps,colour codings and terms like picadally Line,district line,victoria line and what not.You will feel like scratching your head.But, this is only on the first day.The next day onwards you will comfortably interpret the Maps ,change stations and reach your destination in no time.One thing that i observed in the Tubes is that no one cares what the other person is doing or thinking about you.Everyone is immersed in his/her own world.You will see one person busy listening to his ipod, the other reading the newspaper and couples involved in a liplock in a crowded rush hour train.
There is a piece of history in every brick in London and that is what makes London stand out from the crowd.Take the London tube for example .It is one of the oldest underground railway in the world and also served as a shelter to the citizens of London during the world war 2 airstrikes on London.Another example is the the London bridge.It was completely destroyed in the late 18th century and was rebuilt again later.Another example is the Hyde park and Sherlock Holme's Bakers street,which you will find mentioned in many novels.
There is a sense of awe in most of the places you see in London.I was really awestruck seeing the Coronation throne in Westminister's abbey, after realizing the grandiose scale in which the coronation ceremony takes place.Another major attraction that cast a spell on me was the Kohinoor diamond in the Tower of London.I could not believe the fact that the world famous Kohinoor diamond was inches before my eyes.I was really ecstatic after seeing the kohinoor diamond.I wanted to tell the whole world that i had seen the famous stone.I felt as if i had accomplished something in life.
There is an air of romance in most of the places in London and no wonder couples have a great time wandering through the city at their own pace, without attracting eyeballs unlike our country.I have no words to describe my feelings walking the night on the Banks of river Thames, with London Eye completely lit up with blue lights on one side and the Parliament house and the Big Ben on the other.The song/dance ,silent street performances added up to the already lively atmosphere.Really wished i had a girlfriend by my side, so that we could hold hands and endlessly stroll the whole night ,obsorbing the romantic vibes and looking at the night sky.
There are so many facets of this city and so many experiences to be had, that you feel there is still so much more left to be discovered .This city has given me so many wonderfull memories that i will cherish for life.I really have to thank London for that.I am getting filmy now and i have to say this dialogue(modified a bit though) of Akshay Kumar from Namaste London-
"Coming from a Land of a 2000 year old civilization, we bow to you and thank you London with folded hands, as we think that we are not below or above anyone ".
"Namaste London !!!"