The 3rd day was in this city itself. Walking down
to the Royal Society of Medicine, waiting inside the famous hallway – our man
here Jeremy was reading a book on 18th Century England. And a lady
walked in, as if right from the pictures of the book – huge in size with
elaborate hat and dress.
Taking underground rain and walk – walk – walk. Two more
destination and a lunch of traditional “Fish n Chips”. And more walk! Lots of
faces – collage and continuous march of faces. Lots of beauties from eastern
Europe around. Its either because of the holiday season or may be lot of them
are here for good. So how do you differentiate them with the west European or a
Brit? The East Europeans have broader
and roundish forehead, short sharp nose and thicker upper lips. The Brits are
on the other hand marked by thinner, and at time almost non-existent upper lip,
tucked inside; broader and longer nose and a flatter forehead. You keep looking
and then you start knowing the difference.
The day four was again on the train, from Paddington to
Swindon. We decided to have our breakfast on the Paddington station. And I had
a major De javous, it was errie. I was picking up a pack of sandwich, Mr. Mira
was busy selecting a noodles breakfast
and the feeling struck. I was almost watching the scene. I closed my eye, and
knew what he is going to chose and where we are going to sit to have it. Tried
to change the table, only to see Mr. Mitra choosing the table designated
because it was under the shade. It sent down a chill down my spine. Off late
its coming sooner and in shorter gaps – third and most intense time after
From Swindon it was on a cab to Marlborough, Wiltshire. A
sleepy little township, with taverns and inns. The lawns and the portico’s all
over this country are great, but this town seems like having a competition
among them selves. And another cab to Ramsburry – down a road covered by the
trees on both side, with the vast expanse of English farmland just beyond. Down
Crowwod Lane to another sleepy place to a press that keeps publishing obscure
books. Some of the titles? “How to Fly a Messerschmit”, “Guide to brew Beer at
Home”. And a publishing manager who is forced to keep his windows open as they
do not even have a fan; so sitting with a spray-can of insect killer and
spraying on every bumble bee or wasp that dares to sneak in. Hardly got a
chance to have lunch – grabbed a few sandwiches and pasties on the way. Dinner
at a Chinese joint which had its chef winning the 2006 Master Chef competition.
The Braised Duck pieces were one of the best dish I have had on this trip.
The country is simply boiling. Broke its all time high of
July temperature of 36.1. The underground recorded a whopping 53 degree
centigrade? They are not at all equipped to manage heat; they keep on producing
heat to beat the cold – but never imagined that the global warming might give
us this kind of surprise. The Lord of Clouds gifted them a few clouds – which
were visible for the first time since I landed. Thought they might be able to
woo some rain with it. Guess they are not that lovable; I heard rain preferred
to deluge both Delhi and Kolkata while the gifted clouds remained starved of
Coming back to Paddington we had to buy the tickets for the
next day. All the people at the counters were one of the most helpful I have
ever faced, helping each not only with the detailed information but to plan the
entire trip. The huge gentleman at counter 6 enquired the lady about her trip,
“So where are you planning to go?”
“Kintbury – on Friday!”
“And when do you plan to come back?”
“After about 3 weeks?”
“No way – you don’t stay in Kintbury so long; that’s not a
place to saty!”
And we all had a smile in that sweaty muggy afternoon.
And what did we have for dinner? A Indian thali for 16 GBP –
that’s approximately Rs.1400; well the food was authentic tasting and the host
was cheerful. I had a north Indian thali while Mr. Mitra had a south Indian
thali. Well we also had a Alu tikki as starter (which supposedly the host has 6
a day!). The white Italian wine was also quite good.
Well the 5th day was really one of the worst in
terms of comfort. We were supposed to take a train to Rugby from Euston, come
back got to Paddington and then rush to Maidenhead. Two different direction,
both on the local network. The journey to rugby was pleasant as it was cloudy
and the breeze made it quite pleasing. Walked down to the Institute of Chemical
Engineers, and Caroline was a wonderful lady to talk to. Rugby is a town and
not a city – any idea what’s the difference? A town don’t have a Cathedral –
only a chapel. Rugby is famous for the origin of the famous game, and also for
its Public school – one of the most (in)famous alumni being Mr. Saddam Hussain.
The journey back was awfully sweaty – the trip form Euston to Paddington was on
a cab, but the journey onwards was even worse. The trains here are not equipped
for heat – so no aircon and not even fans. The windows are closed – so it’s a
perfect oven to bake you. While coming back found London Underground closed
down – apparently for fire. No lunch today either – only a Bagle and a
Croissant while coming back. Took a cab – after avoiding the long queue at the
station. And finally Indian diner –
with red Rouge wine.
The cab driver at maidenhead attended his cell phone, and
seemed speaking Punjabi with a slightly different accent. As soon as he ended
his call, Mr. Mitra quipped,
“Bhaisaab, aap Haryana ke rehne wale ho?”
“Aapka ‘muluk’ kidhar hey” – that’s a typical bong style.
“Ji samjha nahin”
“Ji aap kahan ke rehne wale heyn” – I chipped in.
“Ji Pakistan!” – Punjabi is not spoken in India only
“Punjan ya Sindh?” I continued.
“Ji Punjab ke! Ap logo ke padosi hi heyn.”
Mr Mitra jumped in –
“yahan ki mausam to apna ‘muluk’ jaisa bana dalen heyn”
“Ji pichle do hapte se aisa hi hey, per jald hi badalne ki
“Insa allah!” – I
On our way back, on the platforms of Paddingtom station, Mr.
Mitra had his shoe laces loose for the fourth time in the day. I was holding my
bag in one hand and the his in the other. I guess the heat went to my mind and
I was looking the other way, while swinging both the bags one in front one in
back and reverse. Looking at the guy distributing free cans of Coke Zero,
suddenly found Mr. Mitra staring at me with a smile and fruitlessly trying to
catch hold of his swinging bag! Glancing around I found a few other standing
back smiling too – ooops! Am I mad? Or just a few screws loose?
Tomorrow – Imax and a Theatre. Still missing someone badly.
Is it just because I am in a new place – or is it the communication that I am
missing. Guess when I miss I miss it all! Sorry all – not being able to check
your spaces or respond… will do it all once I am back…