the fatwaif diaries

the workings of a wandering mind

Monday, September 12, 2005

travel glutton

It's official. the one time i had endless, important, fascinating and fantastic things to write about, opportunity failed me. i've been through a long travel tunnel with no easy internet at hand and now its mildly irritating for me the exhibitionist and hugely frustrating for me the writer.

after being chased by swirling eddies of sand on the way home from shopping trips in dubai and relaxing in the thoroughly airconditioned luxury of of m's parents home, we left for london.
this is a city full of vignettes. quaint, quirky little situations, arrangements and architectures. it is so layered in history, everything tells a story, everything is so human interest!
even k's intimate matchbox home has a sense of that quirkiness with a single hugely oversized window in the living room with a view of passing trains. .
we did a number of touristy things, including visiting greenwich and the origin of time: the prime meridien. the museums were awesome to say the least. the greenwich maritime museum, london's natural history museum (of which we had only got through the dinosaur section before our legs gave in) the national gallery on trafalger square where we feasted on the works of italian rennaissance painters etc.
how can i forget the notting hill carnivaaal where we danced with other drunken revellers on the street, collected the free condoms that were distributed and stood in serpentine lines to use the boxy loos.
a sunday at picture postcard brighton with its magical pebble beach with millions of smooth round stones. the fair on the pier with my first ever rollercoaster ride as an adult, prompted by m and comforted by k. the ride was bone-chilling by my cowardly standards. m sulked the rest of the day because i refused to accompany him on other more challenging rides - the ones that promise to hurl you 360 degrees in the air several times.
then there were people's homes: dv's house in croyden, dinner at anshuman's which ended with me retrieving m from the neighbouring jamaicans' barbeque party, shreyas' home for dinner where he'd cooked up a storm in nonveg - the night i was on laughing gas, john's idyllic home and angelic kids, mal's home along the dock after the night at the famous wine cellar (dnt remember what the cellar was famous for though) and many many cosy nights as a family at k's endearing hovel.
i love london for its style and vibrance, the sense of 'big things happening' and people on the move. but it makes me feel gauche, frizzy-haired, poorly shoed and amidst all the cosmopolitan bustle quite a bit the outsider. m, on the other hand, seemed more comfortable than he is at home. he tends to prefer cross cultural company. sometimes i can't help but wonder if i am just to provincial.
i missed madras with its warm homely smells. i missed bangalore and its familiarity. both cities that i feel i own. i wondered if i would ever feel at home in a city so sophisticated that most people you see on public transport wear make up and a sizable number read novels en route.
the absence of the 'third worldness' made me realise how the luxury of belonging has nothing to do with the convenience of it all.

sigh. having said all this, there's still a lot more i wanted to say about london. and i haven't even begun on toronto.