Back to blog, Amy Winehouse style!


Well well… long time no see. 😀  I have been away three and a half months from this page that I call my own in this big scary World Wide Web, but now that I have returned, it feels great, the way you feel when you come home. So my dear readers (who might have long since forgotten me) rest assured that this time I am back for good. I have completed ten great months in London, finished two semesters of my Masters degree, well under way on my dissertation, I have a new job to speak of and just a few hours short of hitting a life event (more of that later). So I am all set to rant away till the sun sets. :p

First about the blog title…Amy Winehouse style indeed! Let me just say that I am bad at giving titles and Amy Winehouse crooning Back to Black in her deep voice  just put me back in the mood to channel my thoughts into words. So here…I dedicate this blog to the joy and hope her amazing lyrics have given me and other newbie writers.

That done, let me tell you about what I have been doing all this while I was not blogging (or watching TV or simply lazing around :p). Ahhh don’t worry I will tell the story in pictures. 😀

Road tripping through Scotland happened.

Breath-taking Scotland!

This the kind of terrain we drove through. Real test of driving skills 😀

History, great hospitality & a beautiful land- the perfect recipe for an unforgettable holiday!

and a trip to Manchester

Old Trafford, Manchester United stadium

Manchester as seen from Cloud 23, the 23rd floor skyline bar

and York

The ancient York city walls

York as seen from the York minster tower

Old railway ads in the National Railway museum in York. They even had some of the first railway coaches.

Medieval house still used as The Merchant Guild Hall. York is dripping with history and architecture like this, Norman forts, Georgian houses and even Viking remains I learned.

and Bath

A street in Bath. Charming and well worth its UNESCO world heritage site title is all can say about this beautiful city. Quick fact, Bladud the legendary King and father of King Lear was supposed to have been cured of Leprosy after bathing in the hot springs in Bath following which he founded the city of Bath long forgotten after the Roman times in Britain

Royal Crescent the Georgian novelty houses turned hotels and museum

The Roman Bath complex housing the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House and the Museum holding finds from the Roman Bath

Natural Hot spring water gushing out of a spring overflow built by the ancient Romans to feed the different Baths in the complex

and Stonehenge

I finally visited the site and stared in awe and reverence while friends made fun of me! :/

The beautiful countryside near Stonehenge

Great Portland station- the oldest underground station in London. It was like I was transported back to 1900.

and Thorpe park

Colossus, the record breaking twisted 10 loop roller coaster

As if the Colossus wasn’t twisted enough, there was the Swarm. Seriously crazy ride. Thought I was a goner!

Ahhh getting drenched on a blistering hot day on the Tidal Wave. Heaven.

not to mention The Olympics

At the Opening ceremony rehearsal. I still can’t believe I was there!

(All the Olympic photos credit go to my friend Jodie and the Scotland & Manchester trip photos to Pooja, Hitesh, Umar & Vishnu. :))

An AWESOME performance!

The Indian touch. Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond’s ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture at the Olympic Park. Proud but still don’t understand it. :p

It has been an exciting summer here in Kingston and as I write, I hear the cheers resounding in the air for the Olympics Women’s cycling road race that is under way. Cyclists cruise through this town as residents gather around pubs and all along the route to cheer and blow horns, wave flags and show the cyclists support on their six hour long strenuous race. I did my part for the Men’s road race yesterday but feel too lazy today to move my butt to step outside into the rain and cheer. So I am showing my support by waving from my kitchen. Yes that’s right the cyclists cruise past my compound. 😀

Ok…the photo is the product of lazy zooming in amidst rain from my kitchen. See if you can spot the cyclists.

Anyway am saving  all my energy for my five hour shift at work tomorrow and I have no intention of standing there braving the cold. Yessss the sun is missing from the English summer or at least it is this year, as a British friend carefully explained to me. Supposedly the sun is a limited edition item even in summer here. Yeah all those shorts gone waste!

And we finally arrive at the topic of the major life event. 😀 J 😀

I turn 25 tomorrow! A quarter of a life well lived and I thank the person above for making these years as joyful as it has been and hope I continue to be showered with more blessings. Anyhoo at least now on I can blame all my confusions and crazy behaviour on Quarter life crisis and Pop! I have opened the champagne. 😀

You might also be interested in London through my eyes and Bangalore to London 2.

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Midnight in London


Have you ever been so taken in by a place that you would ditch your perfectly sound, normal life to go and live there? Would you be so in love with an era that you would do anything to be transported back to it? Right. Midnight in Paris. And the lesser known fact that I am such a person.

I am an incurable romantic. I love history. I love fantasising. Put all these together and you have a recipe for disaster. No wonder I have ended up as a dreamy eyed retard who lives in the world of fantasies.  If I count the number of hours I have spent reading up and fantasising of bygone eras, it would account for half of my lived life.

How else do I explain my constant fixation with anything that would qualify as ‘old-worldly’?! As a kid sitting in history class and listening to the lectures on times long past, a chill would creep up my spine and I would get goose bumps while I imagined the Kings, Queens, revolutionaries, wars and struggles in flesh and blood. Even after the lecture was long since over and we had gone home I would not be able to get them out of my head and I would read and re-read the text book and dream about them with my eyes wide open. My parents sensing that help was needed would buy me fact books filled with details of historical milestones and I would read them all in one go and ask for more of them. My journalism undergrad degree had a module of history in the first semester and I still remember it as one of the most fulfilling semesters. I would scrounge the University library for history books and encyclopaedias and had created extensive notes that got termed as the ‘Guidebook for 1st sem history’ aka the notes that were photocopied by all my classmates and the succeeding junior batches thrice removed. It was sure fun to watch them all try to make sense of my indecipherable handwriting that got nicknamed the ‘jalebi’ writing.

And did all those antics satisfy my thirst for romance and history? You wish! Outside of class work, I read historic romances, novels with a historic theme or anything that referred to or was set in the days that involved lamps, horses and elaborate dresses. God, this is crazy, I know! But beat this; I was so taken in with the London of Sherlock Holmes, the period dramas of the Bronte sisters and the magic created by Dickens that I quit a job, chucked everything and moved to London to write. (Thank you for the applause and I can hear the soap opera style guffaws too.) There are times when I walk the streets and think, “I wonder how this street would have looked in the 19th century” (This had happened in Delhi too, especially at the Red Fort). My friends have termed me mad, my family is perplexed and I am astonished with the lengths I will go to live my fantasies.

Another place that sends a chill up my spine- Hampi, Karnataka

And then I watched Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen’s Oscar winning movie and it rang a bell. Actually a siren went off in my head saying ‘wooooo wooooo familiar territory wooooo wooooo’. After watching the movie I am half relieved that I am not as much in love with London as that guy is with Paris to start seeing things but a bit sad that I will not be picked up in an antique car at midnight and be transported back in time to the golden ages to rub shoulders with the literary giants that I look up to. Man, I would give anything to go back in time and meet Conan Doyle, Faulkner, Dickens, Fitzgerald and the like and get my novel looked up by Hemingway! Brrrrrr. I guess from now on every time I walk a street at night I will half hope to be picked up by that ‘time machine’ car.

Midnight in London
Picture courtesy: Timeout London (I guess)

And now I can’t get the jazz out of my head. And I can’t stop looking up the Eurostar prices to Paris. I can’t stop thinking about how wonderful it would be to be transported back to Victorian London even if it was for a few hours. Looks like I will have some interesting dreams tonight. Anyway time to hit the bed and before I do that, I might just look up the schedule for the upcoming Shakespeare’s Globe festival. No missing it and yeah I might as well look up the opening time for Warwick castle too (wink wink). And meanwhile let’s sing along with Cole Porter: 🙂

Birds do it, bees do it

Even educated fleas do it
Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

In Spain, the best upper sets do it

Lithuanians and Letts do it
Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

The Dutch in old Amsterdam do it
Not to mention the Fins
Folks in Siam do it – think of Siamese twins

Some Argentines, without means, do it
People say in Boston even beans do it
Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

Romantic sponges, they say, do it
Oysters down in oyster bay do it
Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

Cold Cape Cod clams, ‘gainst their wish, do it
Even lazy jellyfish, do it
Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

Electric eels I might add do it
Though it shocks em I know
Why ask if shad do it – Waiter bring me
“shad roe”

In shallow shoals English soles do it
Goldfish in the privacy of bowls do it
Let’s do it, let’s fall in love