Ode to London

I am in London, and all is well with the world.

It is fantastic to be back in the city where I grew up, where everything is so familiar and comfortable. I feel like a missing puzzle piece that has finally been popped back into it’s place.

I grew up in a leafy part of South London, and my parents still live in the house that they bought when I was five. Everything here makes me painfully, almost unbearably nostalgic.
When I walk to the station, the smell of honeysuckle and fresh grass reminds me of childhood summers spent at Wimbledon park. The pair of slouchy teenagers at the bus stop wearing half-undone uniforms, remind me of my secondary school days. Even the music in Marks and Spencers (Jarvis Cocker) makes me happy.

So here are some of my favourite things about London…

  1. Mobility. I don’t need a car to get anywhere! As a visitor I don’t need to rely on anyone to get anywhere, I can just put on my coat and go. Everything is supremely walkable, and if not, bus-able and tube-able!!
  2. Veggie-friendliness. The knowledge that good quality vegetarian food is  available pretty much anywhere I go, is always a bonus. Even the museums and galleries have great meal options for my kids (take note Smithsonian Institute, and the rest of Washington DC!)
  3. Anything goes. There is a slight craziness to London. Eccentricity is appreciated, and not many heads turn when I wear something particularly outlandish, or my child talks loudly in Tamil on a bus.
  4. Tea -Time….with a proper cup of strong tea…with milk….and good biscuits. Why has this not caught on in the rest of the world? It is the most beautiful part of the day.
  5. The customer is always right. When you ask a sales associate where something is in a London store, they will not only give you a courteous answer, but they often walk you to the product, and help you pick it out. No sneering. SO nice.
  6. The Asian Connection. There are a lot of Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans here. Many are second and third generation immigrants. It is nice to be part of such a large and established community. My daughter was excited that people knew what Bindis and salwars are, and amazed at the variety and number of ‘aunties’ around.
  7. Good Design. The British are a design savvy lot, and don’t settle for rubbish much. Even the chocolate wrappers are designed more thoughtfully over here.

I could go on and on, and I know I’ve left out some really obvious stuff. This is just what has been on my mind for the last couple of days. 

Anyway, I won’t keep you any longer, I’ve got a cup of tea and some biscuits waiting! Oooh, and my parents. I’m so happy.

3 thoughts on “Ode to London

  1. Julo

    oh so sweet. I can see that you do miss it! It’s good to be able to appreciate it when you are home. I am like that too. xxx ENJOY Cheetah! xx

  2. Jennie

    Hallo Chitra, I HAVE enjoyed reading your observations and insights from your travels. I think you can discard that coat now that summer has finally arrived in the UK! By the way, I visited Atlanta, to see Neil Diamond in concert, then on to Memphis, to visit Elvis! He really is ‘alive’ it seems. Graceland was a very moving experience. Too short a trip, but a tantalising taster. I look forward to seeing the influences your trip has on your designs. Jennie

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