In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Re-springing Your Step.”
Certain things happen for a reason. No. Everything does.
It was raining and the wind was strong. Even the glass pane of my tightly shut window was shivering. Heater was on full swing, and Arijit was sound asleep inside our cozy hotel room. Feather soft bed, neat pillows – still I was unable to sleep. My throat was sore, forehead feverish. I got out of bed and drew a chair by the window pane. Thought of writing a blog post, but then decided not to trouble you with my delirium. “My sense, as though of Hemlock I have drunk” – I remembered Keats. After all I was in his city, last Tuesday.
I looked outside and found the street lights quite familiar, like I had seen them before. I had got this feeling of déjà vu also in the morning, when I was walking from Borough Station towards the London Bridge. The bold wall of the HSBC Bank, the arches and the pavement– felt like I had been there before. I wish. The traffic was familiar, crossing road was not scary. The double-decker bus and the heritage feel of the black cabs, exactly how things should have been. The red cottages lined next to each other with their front yard and a garden at the back; I’m sure everybody writes wonderful poetry here, sitting in those arm chairs on any given Sunday afternoon.
I came to Doha last July, and was rather being home sick. Of the many things that are not easily accessible here, a journalism job and local pubs seem to be two of them. There had also been a visible dearth of Christmas and New Year celebration in my life this year. Arijit was to go for an office trip, and as there was nothing much for me to do here, I tagged along. Thus, I could coax my two night stay in London.
I was so happy and totally oblivious of the sudden change of weather I was exposing myself to, I managed to catch a little cold. But that’s okay. I recovered quickly. Only sad part is, I couldn’t go for the two walking tours, missing a major part of our sightseeing programme. “I will come back again”, I have consoled myself, “and next time, I won’t leave so early. 🙂 ”
Although I missed Keats terribly, I have most certainly met Mr Dickens and Oscar Wilde. Gee, you got it! It was an absolute delight, the whole tour de museum of Madam Tussauds. Also loved the ‘Spirit of London’ ride, through the pages of history, witnessing the Elizabethan & Victorian Age, the Industrial Revolution, Great fire of London and the sixties and seventies. However, statues of the Bollywood celebs appeared to me as forceful entrants sans the life-like magic. The short 4D film on Marvel Superhero Comics was fun again, and we left the museum quite content.
We spent the major part of our last day in London loitering around the Trafalgar Square and Tower Bridge, soaking in as much as possible. It was a nice evening, followed perfectly by a romantic dinner with fish and chips, merlot and mulled wine. Horniman at Hays is the pub next to HMS Belfast that I would want to visit again.
I asked the bartender for the mulled wine recipe, and the kind gentleman shared this: Combine cider, wine (preferably Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot), honey, orange zest, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, and ground ginger, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Pour into mugs and serve. This soothed my throat like bliss.
Back to Doha, I found winter has come here after all. Temperature has dropped quite a bit and wind has turned chilly. The day we landed was pretty cloudy. I heard it had rained here, when we were away!
I have never been a fan of winter. Even back in India, winter has always turned me a zombie, a logger head. But this time, the beauty of London Winter brought back the spring in my steps.
I attended my first class of Arabic language today. The lady who sat next to me was incidentally from Britain. As we started talking, she said she has recently come here as an English teacher of an International school, and missing her country a great deal. She has found a friend in me, or so I think.