To find myself in a completely new country after living my whole life in India was an exhilarating experience. I never thought I wanted to leave India, but here I was, in a first world country, where people don't worry about electricity or water or heat or air-conditioning. There was barely any dust in the air and there are blue skies in the middle of London. I could barely remember the last time I had seen skies that blue. I'm sure it must have been Himachal Pradesh, at the foothills of the Himalayas, or even in Ladakh itself.
No littered the streets here. Well, at least not as much as on the streets of Delhi. It seemed like they had been thoroughly washed. And of course, they were. By rain. It was more rain than I've seen in a long time too. And by golly, I loved it. (Don't you just love the British tongue?) It was like the monsoons were here to stay. Still, it wasn't the violent storms that lashed Delhi only too seldom, this was a gentle continuous drizzle most of the time. I don't even think I've seen any lightening here, which seems odd. I must admit, the charm of the rain still hasn't worn off. I don't think of rainy days as cold, damp and depressing. I quite like them. But I do appreciate sunny days a bit more now. Amazing how perspectives can change.
Even the neighbourhood of Hounslow, where my friend Shabad's sister, Simran, and brother-in-law, Romit live, a place universally regarded as a 'shithole' seemed charming and quaint to the most part.
London itself, even with such a wonderfully colourful scape of red busses, famous black cabs and the mileu of people from every corner of the planet, still had enough space to boast peaceful parks and grand old buildings whose stones speak of the Britain's powerful past and promise to stand long into the future. The people I've met here, though, seem less optimistic about the country's future – understandably, I must admit, considering these are the hardest times the UK has seen for ages. But there is still so much glory, so much strength, so much beauty in this tiny little island.