LONDON! "DETACHED"

June 22, 2017

 

 

There is a slow trickle of realization that slides down my bones... And because it is the bones it only slides​ and seeps in very little. This feeling of being in England finally and that too alone is possibly the strangest thing and for the first time I feel closer to Alice from Alice in wonderland than ever before. This seems like a strange dream. The one that I will wake up from any minute. 
This was fated I guess. Else on any other day no one would have let me go alone and I doubt if I would have made that leap myself. But here I am. The flight had been surprisingly painless. The travel later was made easy by extremely helpful signboards and a kind french lady(see the paradox) named Silvia who helped me see 'being human' better if not London itself... 
The common English man is surely kind. And alarmingly good with dry humour.. I sign off about the first day.. the trickle is still trickling and later half of seeing London shall be nothing but a tidal wave... 

If every city had its own word London's would be detached. It is an experience rather than a place. Most of outskirts of central London aren't London at all. All of life and it's English typicalities crowd around in central London and yet it seems as though everything and everyone is detached from one another. This universal detachment though provides  it's unique form of commonality and acts as a binding agent and central London and it's people including us as tourists become a big part of all that formality which helps us visit each other but doesn't really mean we are particularly close or in love with one another. The love and touch of personal affection is however pulled in by threos by the artists and writers that this land has produced. 
When I got up this morning it was bright and the sun seemed to be screaming for the world to wake up. But he is an on and off guy. One minute blazing the other soothing light bulb-ish. And then the trickle which still persisted turned into a tidal wave. A wave of realization that I was looking at Westminster Abbey that sits to the west of original Roman London but more of that later. 
It is easy to see London (central strictly Everytime I use the name) and understand why the English were able to rule the world for so long. The secret lies in their politics. The nature of local English politics is of such turns and upheavals and unfortunately dictated most of the times by moody and taciturn Kings that one has to learn to force their hand to survive here. And if you learn to do that among these people then it's no wonder that you are able to rule the world. You just need a hide's skin and a robust understanding of survival; which essentially means fight to survive and dominate to live. The tales of these Kings and queens and their fetishes and their love hate relationship with rest of Europe is possibly why they come across as borderline insane to people who hear it today. The royalty's off behaviour seem to have instilled the fear induced awe among common English persons as it seeped a sense of discontent among the intellectuals and opportunistic tendencies among trades men. And it's a blend of this awe, discontent and opportunistic natures that shapes England and the English. And yet London is an architectural patch work of all these notions and is also an objective landmark of a very difficult and dangerous history. Had the English royalty played a less crucial role till the recentest times London would have been a different being. However she is the home of some of the finest names in art and literature and you can see them suddenly crop up on the side walks. Their memories and words immortalize as they bind themselves firmly to the periodic London that has refused to change the way it was in their times. And as each piece and place firmly remains in their respective times, London becomes a living monument of everyone right from early Romans to the currently ill-famous Teresa May and from the fantasy of boewulf to the equally fantastic Harry Potter. As you walk through each street you notice a strange English thing and that's their obsession with monarchy and the literature they have produced. One is their grounding spot for social engagement and the other for personal. And because most of their history is so full of turmoil and uncertainty, they are probably so oddly attached to strangest of customs and ideas that would otherwise seem ludicrous in a digital capital of the oldest first world country. 
Culturally though the English are far poorer as compared to rest of Europe. Most things are borrowed and have a heavy Italian and French or even the Romanesque influence to them and hence while the rest of Europe seems much more grounded and stylish and individualistic in character, England seems relatively brutish and a little barbaric at times. That such people should become our colonizers is indeed a little insulting rather than disconcerting. 
While I was assimilating such a range of disquieting observations l felt a sense of connect to these people. It could be because of our colonial roots or because of the excessive exposure to English literature and drama and modern day audio visual productions but I don't crib about England the way one impartially criticizes. I do it with the endearment that two begrudged relatives hold for one another. Sweet and sour. 
It is very hard to put London in words. It's shades need different segments all to themselves; their history needs a place, their fetishes​ and finally their literature needs it's separate place and then because these things are so inter-vowen with one another a patchwork will be formed. Not unlike London itself. Together but separate. Close yet detached. Yours yet somebody else's. And home; but one that shall never truly belong to anyone at all not the Tudors not Lancasters and definitely not us. But probably to the sentiment of being English and the sentiment of being free and an insistence of being different and yet wanting to keep that difference asserted in oddly silent ways for the world to notice but not too much, for the people to at times dislike but not hate and for me to observe and allow a bit of it to seep in a little deeper... 
London is a lazy mistress she doesn't do much but she draws you in and she drew me in...

 

 



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