Column: Impressions of London

By Ashutosh Mishra

London: As we came out of our apartment in Lewisham the sky was clear blue and the entire area was soaked in bright sunlight. It was a cheerful day inviting you to explore a bit of the city. The bus from Lewisham to O2, one of the landmarks of the city thronged by music lovers and movie goers, not to mention shopping addicts, passed through streets lined by rows of shops and houses that looked monotonously similar. But the houses that followed the same architectural pattern had an old world charm about them.

Around Greenwich we saw people soaking the sun in open fields on both sides of the road. It was a picture perfect landscape. Greenwich meridian is an imaginary line used to indicate 0 degree longitude and passes through this London borough. It terminates at North and South poles and helps determine the standard time.

On the way we saw several under-construction buildings with due care taken to surround the sites with protective enclosures that keep dust and rubble away from the roads. Such work never ever interferes with normal life including the flow of traffic. What a contrast with our own dear Bhubaneswar where dumping construction material on the road side is a normal practice.

O2 is a huge area bustling with activity. There are open spaces with people moving around, walking right upto the Thames river front where you can see small yachts with people on board enjoying themselves. I particularly liked the river front and the statue of the mermaid which is a major attraction.

Inside O2 there are exclusive shops and restaurants where people at leisure like to spend their time. We saw long queues of people waiting for the concert to start at the main amphitheatre. For movie goers there are a lot of choices. Bollywood films are quite popular, especially among the members of the diaspora.

Once again what strikes you is cleanliness and discipline. There is no litter anywhere in sight even though O2 is such a big area. Inside restaurants all the rubbish is carefully dropped into the garbage bins by visitors who are as keen on maintaining cleanliness as the owners. Queue jumping is an anathema, something unthinkable. I saw even older people showing a lot of patience when standing in long queues.

We changed two trains while returning to our apartment in Lewisham. The journey was comfortable. It was late in the night with few people commuting at that hour. There was hardly any conversation among passengers which I found to be so different from our country. We Indians are anyday more gregarious than people in this part of the world. Even in the apartment that we are living in with our daughter in London we hardly get to see our neighbours, let alone talk to anyone. But the concierge is very friendly. Each time we go out and he happens to be there we exchange greetings. It is such gestures that make life worth living.

(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are author’s own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)