Tuesday, 1 May 2012

A River Runs Through It

In the autumn of 2008, I packed my (rather voluminous) bags and left Indian shores for London to start work at a law firm here.

I was 22, excited about starting my first job and in retrospect, naïve and entirely clueless! I bumbled along fine though, largely because of the grace of an overactive guardian angel. In what feels like the blink of an eye, four summers have now passed. In a few months from now, I will pack my bags (made even more voluminous in the last few years) once again and move to the other side of the Atlantic to return to student life in chilly Boston.

I have heard great things about Boston from everyone who has ever been - they speak of the city's beautiful fall colours, its delightful restaurants and cafes, and of how charming it can be in the summer. 

The idea of moving on and starting a new life in a new place surrounded by new faces and accents is an exciting one.

Deep down though, I am a mushy sentimentalist, and even with several weeks to go for my move, I am sometimes overwhelmed by the thought that my time in London will soon come to an end.

There are many things that I have come to love about the city. For the foodie in me, it has been my window to the world. It introduced me to food  from places I have yet to travel to - faraway Cuba, Korea, and Vietnam to name a few.  

Comfortingly though, Indian food was never too far away. I found everything from curry leaves to kasuri methi, and even classic Malayali ingredients that are elusive in many Indian cities stashed away in London’s corner stores. London has a fantastic range of Indian restaurants catering to a variety of wallet sizes, and I fully intend to cover the best of these in a later post. Food-wise, I couldn’t have asked for better.

But there are so many other things that I find attractive about London.  I will miss the Covent Garden piazza with its carousel of weekend performers, the hustle and bustle of Borough Market and my hastily snatched office lunches on Whitecross Street. 

I will miss the distinctive blue and red London underground tube sign, which was something of a modern lighthouse for me on the many occasions that I managed to lose my way in a city that I call home.

I will remember jostling with fellow shoppers for groceries at Sainsbury’s, coming to terms with the full extent of my relative poverty at Selfridges and endless exchanges about British weather with friends, colleagues and even strangers. I will remember fondly British wit, and the chivalry and politeness of British men. The places, people, smells and sounds of London that are dear to me are too many to mention here. But I will carry happy memories of them all in a small corner of my heart. I leave you with some images of London that my brother clicked on a recent visit.

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