Friday morning, not much work; just a quick meeting near Waterloo station, and we were free. After the meeting we went back to the Waterloo station to have an Irish Breakfast. Mr. Mitra was required to avoid red meat, not me. Bengali’s are famous for going everywhere and eating everything. And I am known for eating nearly everything that a human is known to eat. So I had the biggest breakfast available, with all sorts of meat in it. Filled up, we walked out, into the underpass to the Imax theatre opposite. The tunnel had a man playing one of the most soulful tune on his flute, and the wall had a very touching poem by Sue Hubbard, I wrote down a few lines.
I am not afraid as I descend,
step by step, leaving behind the salt wind
blowing up the corrugated river,
the damp city streets, their sodium glare
of rush-hour headlights pitted with pearls of rain;
for my eyes still reflect the half remembered moon.
This path unravels.
Deep in hidden rooms filled with dust
and sour night-breath the lost city is sleeping.
Above the hurt sky is weeping,
soaked nightingales have ceased to sing.
Dusk has come early. I am drowning in blue.
I dream of a green garden
where the sun feathers my face
like your once eager kiss.
Soon, soon I will climb
from this blackened earth
into the diffident light.
We were in luck, the Imax was showing “Superman Returns” and was having five 3D scenes too. The largest screen that one can watch a movie on, and with scenes in between in 3D, was a one – “unmissable” experience. But – I saw it with Mr. Mitra, not with…
The movie was kind of OK; was more a love story than a superman movie. The new superman should not be compared with the aura of Christopher Reeve but looked a bit younger, as he returned after 5 years (as per the story line). And the silly sentimental guy had wet eyes; god knows for what – in joy and in – whatever.
On to the Underground and a after changing the trains couple of times, we were back in Baker Street and walked down to have a Chinese lunch, we wanted to have something light as we will be having an early dinner tonight. So back in hotel we had a quick nap and set out for the theatre district by six. Down to Baker Street Underground station, a train to Covent Garden, then a walk down, Long Acre – Bow Street – Russel Street. There stood the theatre named “Fortune”, and we were scheduled to see “The Woman in Black, a chilling thriller currently in its 18th year. We were early, so walked back to the Bow Street and went in to have an Italian dinner, with Italian wine and a dish from Parma, that had rice in tomato curry with loads of sea food – all sorts of them you can think of. Filled we went back to the theatre. Just two actor, a young theatre director and an old man trying to tell his story, with a the woman in black appearing fleetingly, now and then just to add the screams in the small hall. A wonderful experience, again seen without a hand holding my arms, nails biting in.
Saturday was a lazy wake up for us, but I woke up early. Since these Brits were found not very skillful with rain, I prayed for her to come the night before. And I woke up to the wonderful wet breeze of rain soaked air. The streets were wet, and so was the morning. Couldn’t keep myself in the room – ran out, walked around those quite, early morning empty roads. Felt the drops soaking in, wanted to feel if it feels, and smells and tastes the same – thousands of miles away. In seconds I was lost, with her. Drops tickling on my face, from and down my face. Came back, and had the simplest breakfast till date in this land, and we set for today’s trip. A short walk out of the London Bridge station, and we were next to Thames. Passing by the floating naval museum, walked past the city hall and suddenly stopped on the sound of loud bells. The traffic on the bridge have all stopped, the bridge was opening up to make way for the high mast of a sailing ship. Walked up the bridge, crossed and went down with drops of rain coming down again.
Walked towards the Tower of London and chose to have a look without either the loud, traditionally dressed guide with wonderful stories or the headphone assisted virtual guide. Saw the ravens, and the weapons and the artillery, and the armors. We reckoned that we have seen similar stuff both in Victoria Memorial at Kolkata and Salar Jung museum at Hyderabad. Then off to see the royal jewels. Saw Koh-I-Noor, and the other jewels in a vault with 18 inch thick steel doors. And robes and staffs and gold. The dates confirmed that most of the stuff which were huge had gold stolen from our own land. Can one imagine a punch bowl larger than a grand Jacuzzi, four feet high and made of solid gold? Dated around 1850, whose gold can it be? When we came out and started to walk out, we were again greeted with a good downpour, Mr. Mitra was not very happy, but can I be complaining?
Walked and searched for a cab, and off to Aldgate East; a “Bangla para” tucked in the corner of the city. Mostly Bangladeshi, but everything from the street signs to the store and restaurants were bangla. We were looking for the place called Gram Bangla. A fully bangla food, Rohu, Hilsa, Dal, Uchche (karela), Kucho machher muiththa (a ball of small fishes), and misti doi. The hilsa didn’t taste the same, as it was a dish from the “opar bangla” (the other side of bangla – Bangladesh), they cook it a bit differently. But the rest were – simply superb. A super-mart, having all possible fishes, though frozen, and hilsa cheaper than Kokata (Ammi conformed the current rate later). A collection of vegetables that can make any market in Kolkata proud, and stuff that I have not seen since 1999, when I left Kolkata. Five kinds of lemon? Pui shak, kumro shak, note shak? Am sure for most non-bongs these will be greek and latin, but for me these were a treat to watch and feel. All complete with Jhorna ghee, Rangajoba Alta and Dabur Amla tel…
At night we went back to our Lebanese joint and had the same White Wine we enjoyed earlier. This time I had a Arab family of young ladies sitting opposite, with heavily made-up eyes. I am sure it was not the wine, but engaged in some harmless flirting – guess the womanizer was surfacing. Then while I was gazing out of the glass pane beyond, a familiar face playing with her hairs emerged, questioning with flinching eyebrows and a mild smile. My conversation with Mr. Mitra faded. I ate silently and afterwards also bought three bottles from the shop next to it. A French Sauvignon, a bottle of Chateau Gardey de Soos, and a extra dry Martini.
As we walked Mr. Mitra commented, “You seem to be a very moody person!”
“Moody? May be! Its basically the wavelength with the other person at that point of time!” how do I tell him that I was lost in thoughts of someone; someone special.
“So you mean, our wavelengths do not match?”
“Not exactly. I also mentioned the time – at this point of time may be what is there in my mind didn’t match yours.”
“What is there in your mind?”
“Rains, rains that falls there back home and here.” I told him yet I didn’t.
“Oh! So you are having romantic thoughts – pure romantic?”
“I prefer to call myself Eternal Romantic Optimist” Much unlike you, I thought, who is perpetually confused and always ruing about what we have not done and should have done. And that too, after oscillating frantically between choices.
And we walked silently, he may be thinking how mad a person can be; while I walked talking to myself and her. That’s how I have turned, may be. May be if it was you, I would have chatted endlessly.
Sunday morning, and I was out alone, walking towards Madam Tussaud’s, which is just around the corner. Mr. Mitra has seen it, and was not interested in spending the 25 pounds. I walked in, waited in the queue for 45 minutes and entered. Kept snapping, unlike others who preferred to snap themselves beside or gesturing – hugging the models, I snapped them as them. Laughed my way through the screaming – yelling “The Chamber – Live” show and the star show. Suggestion – if you really want to enjoy the place, don’t go alone, or you wont enjoy the shows like “The Chamber – live” and the “Star show”.
A walk with Mr. Mitra to the nearby place in search of an elusive Chinese joint revealed another place near James Street off Wigmore Street, a huge collection of food joints, from all the places, English, Irish, French, Italian, Greek, Spanish, Chinese, Indian and Thai. We opted for the Thai today. Wonderful Tiger Prawn and Chicken Red Curry. A walk to Oxford Street towards Marble Arch and then taking the underground route to Tottenham Court Road to walk back. Particularly, it was a shopping trip, where Mr. Mitra was interested in buying stuff for him and especially for his young wife. No such need for me, so usually most cases it was a short look inside and then coming out to wait. I kept my effort on to meet my friends on prams. Got quite a few of them. And kept watching the endless stream of crowd all around, a holiday crowd that came out in this wonderful pleasant weather. Yet I ended up buying some trinket souvenirs and locating some cosmetics and other stuff I plan to but for a few people back there. Ended the day exhausted in our neighborhood Bombay Spice, with Indian food and a bottle of Blanc de Blanc.
Entering the last stretch of the trip. Thinking just how some voice has the power to transform you and how you feel; especially some voice with excitement. How in-spite of being under so much excitement you keep missing people. Thinking how important some things are, even when you are fulfilling one of the most cherished dreams of your life. I hope the dreams that are born in this trip are also fulfilled in near future.
I hate people who sneak in without reason – so would prefer people revealing there identity – or keep shut!
And more importantly those who has valid reasons or feels the need to stay obscure, yet knows that their comments are awaited and loved are requested to pardon and inform about their wish…