Friday, January 20, 2017
On a red letter day for America (although many I know associate it with black for mourning), when Donald Trump got sworn in as 45th President of the United States of America, I arrived in London. It was one of the saddest flights I can ever remember as I sobbed bitterly through half of it. It had been a very painful departure from my brother Russel and my Dad and the two of us had wept freely—since our partings in the past have never been anywhere as tearful, I was left with a very fearful feeling that was rolled up in all sorts of dark premonitions—God forbid that anything should happen to either one of us. When Shakespeare said that Parting is such sweet sorrow, he had not seen our parting. There was nothing sweet about it—just hard raw painful grieving at saying goodbye.
Which, when you come to think about it, means that I had a splendid time in Bombay and made the very best of my time with my loved ones there. The young man who was seated besides me and whose heart broke for my loss said, Your father is so blessed to have a daughter who loves him as much as you do. As you can imagine, this only triggered more tears as my shoulders shook with the enormity of my loss. Still, that said, the flight was comfortable and being that it was in the middle of the night, I as glad I snatched about 6 hours of sleep—when I wasn’t crying, I was asleep!—which left me fresh as a daisy when we alighted in London after flying over the beautifully illuminated monuments of the Thames—Tower Bridge, the London Eye, The Shard, etc. On a cloudless night, they glittered like jewels just before we touched down.
Immigration was the worst I have ever been through—it took a whole hour and twenty minutes. But there was no wait for my baggage. I grabbed it, walked briskly to the Tube, hopped into it to Holborn and was delighted to have a young man offer to assist with one of my cases as we negotiated a few stairs. Then I was in a black cab heading to NYU where my other case had been stowed. I spent the next hour sorting through my stuff, emptying the little carryon case that my friend Raquel had lent me, putting together a back pack with the few things I would need for the next week while in Oxford and Essex and then I was off. I stowed off some of my things in the Porter’s Room and left to meet Raquel.
Into the Tube I hopped again on a very chilly day. But the sun was out and flooded the city with golden light. It was glorious. In about half an hour, I was in Maida Vale, taking the stairs up to Raquel’s place where I met her and was sorry to find that her son was unwell and had stayed home from school. We spent about half an hour together, exchanged the gifts I had brought her from India and took possession with delight of the gift she had bought me—Michael Chabon’s new book Moonglow, which she had got signed from me by him. I did not stay long as I had heaps to do. We said our goodbyes and I left on the Tube again and back to NYU.
I spent the next hour in my office, eating lunch (Curried Laksa Soup from Sainsbury’s) and getting some work done on my computer and then I left with my back pack to check into my digs for the next two nights—the Youth Hostel at Bolsover Street in Fitzrovia, not far from NYU at all—which is why I picked it. I found it soon enough (after a twenty minute trek) and found my bunk bed in a 6 bedded female bunk. It was all very next and clean and comfortable and after stashing my backpack in the cabinet with a lock, I left for my next appointment.
I was headed next to Victoria where I reached on the Tube from Oxford Circus (to which I walked from my hostel). I arrived at Elizabeth Street to buy a bottle of perfume from Jo Loves and then I walked to Chelsea for my next appointment—Tea with my friends Michael and Cynthia at their home. They were waiting for me with hot lemony tea and slices of stolen—one of which Cynthia gifted me. We had a lovely visit indeed but I left them at 5.30 to keep my next appointment. A 6.30 pm coffee meeting at Café Veragnano on Charing Cross Street with Natalie Golding whom I was meeting for the first time after following her on Twitter for a couple of year. She turned out to be a lovely bubbly person and our chatter was constant and fun. I had the mocha latte and we split a chocolate tart—which was really delicious. I chose the place as my friend Rahul had told me that it was London’s oldest coffee shop and one of the best renowned.
An hour later, I left with her on the Tube again to get back to my hostel where, being deeply jetlagged, I fell asleep after brushing my teeth in exactly half an hour at 8. 30 pm.
Until tomorrow, cheerio…