Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Old City, New Girl - the sublime discovery

#written on a rainy evening sitting by the window in my apartment in London, posted only now.

When I landed in London, along with two pieces of luggage I arrived here brimming with excitement and my dreams sprinkled all over. I was going to be in a new country all by myself and the uncertainty of how days would unfold gave me a high every time I wondered about it. The time had come - to experience newness in life, to open my mind to a different culture, to explore and discover a new me. That was the dream, after all. And I was not going to let go of this wonderful chance, I said to myself as I stepped onto the streets of London on my first evening. 

I spent my time walking amidst castle-like buildings and sprawling lush lawns. I found company to visit places on the outskirts - small towns like Twyford and Henley-on-Thames, Brighton's beautiful (and sunny!) pebble beach, Wimbledon, the Roman Baths; and sometimes even to share the pure joy of uninterrupted shopping as well. Other times, I would hop on tubes on my own, turning every direction my heart would beat for and I was hardly ever disappointed.

But, whenever I sat down to capture and pen down my thoughts about London, I'd invariably find something missing. What could I possibly say about this beautiful city that wasn't said before, that wasn't captured (even preserved) already. So I always kept it for a later time and date, hoping I'd figure out the Midas touch that made this city so special for me.

In just over two months I had fallen in love with London. I began to share a very special attachment towards it, like the city was my own. And it made me wonder to the point of enticing me to find out the real reason for my unconditional love for this city. Was it my exciting job, my weirdly wonderful team mates at work, my small and cozy apartment in Stratford or was it my independence. I kept thinking - closed-lip when out and aloud when in a shower - what has this city really given me...
Actually, the answer was right in front of me all that time. Only, it had taken me a while to reach to that realization. 

During my first week in London, I met someone - a colleague, friend, companion - whatever name you'd want to give. A complete opposite of how and who I am. Disciplined, sophisticated, having some clear goals in life, living with reason and logic - but at the same time, he also knew to enjoy life and its eccentricities, just the way I did. And it made us tick from the very beginning. Our innumerable conversations sitting at a dining table are perhaps some of the choicest of moments I'd savor for the rest of my life. 
I wonder sometimes, would I have enjoyed the train journey home from work as much everyday had it not been for his company; would my visits to Hyde Park have remained as magical had he not come with me to share that bench by the lake in the rain; or would my knee have hurt more had he not walked with me that evening and taken care that I get home safe in one piece... or would that Sunday afternoon be any funnier had we not turned up wearing clothes in the same colour-combo (absolutely same, believe me!). 

When I had come to London, I knew it was going to be all 'me-time' - away from the usual hustle-bustle of my life back in India, away from all things and people familiar and I'd take a step closer to understanding myself better. But now I know, the joy of discovering oneself lies in sharing oneself - one's happiness and sorrows, one's dreams and hopes, one's successes and failures - with someone else. Now I know, the strange love I feel for London is actually the warmth of love for this friend - with whom I learnt to share my fears and fantasies, my trials and tribulations.

As beautiful a city as London truly is, it can get equally tough on you. It is fast and keeps you on your toes - quite literally. And, in the daily drill of chasing our goals, unintentionally sometimes, we forget to notice the small joys of living. So, for a few moments, take your mind off the innumerable post-it notes stuck to your laptops/PCs at work, refrigerator-doors at home and try to find the special, unique feeling that puts a smile on your face; that makes your city, your life even more beautiful for you! Who knows, you might find a friend for life just the way I did!