London diaries

I cannot call these as London diaries or working (person’s) diaries, as they are not going to contain any detailed account of such thing. But would like to mention some interesting things here and there, only when time and interest coincide.

Today I had lunch with a friend in Whitecross street food market. Loved it. And then got lost in Barbican. Loved it too.

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London underground and a pregnant woman

It is dangerous for a pregnant woman to travel in London underground tubes. Particularly during peak hours. Peak hours or not, nobody is willing to give up their seats for a pregnant woman. Fine. I didn’t want it unless I was feeling dizzy. You could have seen that that I was looking as if I was going to faint anytime, if you dared not to look away. I am not responsible for your guilt.

Some even tried to kick me away when I couldn’t move as I was holding my hands around my tummy to save it from being crushed when tributaries of getting-down-stream were all around me.

Do they think “mmm, she had sex, didn’t she? what sympathy is she looking for now? She should stand!”, when they see a pregnant woman?

I bow those women who use tube to commute to work when they are pregnant. I bow them even for working when they are pregnant!

Don’t be nice to Desis

Warning: contains tamil script.

Day 1: 

I saw that Desi-like-looking guy walking towards me in the going-down-escalator. I panicked. I bent towards him.

“Do you know High gate (or sounding something similar)?”

“Sorry, no”. (looking at the tube map and directing him properly flashed in my head, but, there are staffs here and I should really stop being that friendly in London).

“Are you from Mauritius”?

I smiled. Ah. It is my tamil looks that is making him ask this question. May be he is trying to start a conversation. “No I am from India”.

“Which part of India?” (My guess is correct. he was looking for a reason to start a conversation. Did he have to walk against the escalator for that? how stupid. You got me scared, idiot.) I smiled.

“I am from Madras. The south. Where are you from?”

“I am from Gujarat”. (He looked more like a Punjabi or a UP guy). “Can I take you out for a drink”? (That was too fast. Do you think i am that available-looking? Sure I look tired.)

“ha. ha. errr.. no. thank you”.

“May be a coffee, what do you say?” (ah right. did you mean alcohol when you said “drink”? I thought it was coffee. And when I said no, you have concluded that I am not an alcohol drinker? And you did not think that I was saying no to you? )

“Emmm, It is flattering, I must admit, but no. thanks.”. I put my best lovely smile, no_soul_but_smile smile on my face and thought that, that should convey the message).

“why”? (what? my smile didn’t work?)

“I have to go home” (That damn smile again).

“Where do you work? here (referring to that station)”? (Hello, don’t you think this is getting too uncomfortable? Quick. how to get rid of this guy?)

“Emm, Not here, but, (what is wrong with this guy. should i stop talking? well, i don’t have to be that abrupt). ya, closeby”.. (started walking fast. that stupid smile is still on my face).

“What do you do” (I think I get you. You are one of those guys recruiting girls aren’t you. is my red tops giving such bad signals!. ughh!)

“emm, (what is the plan? why plan? let us see how it goes). I work in the council”.

“I work in Barclays bank. We lend loans to the council, yours” (nodding proudly). (Now the smile on my face has changed. It is still a smile, but, “you_poor_silly_idiot” smile).

“Yeah. Banks do that”. I nodded too.  another little smile. Walking fast.

“Listen. Shall I call you sometime?” (what! how? how are you going to know my contact details?)

“ahheeemmmmm,,, ya, why not” (Ok, bye bye smile).

“Can I have your number?” He has already taken his mobile and browsing through his address book to add my number to it! I am stunned.

“Emm, listen. I have to say I am very flattered. But, thank you very much. I have to go. OK. bye”.

“Why”? (what? Stupid. you are just not getting it, are you? You can’t recruit people by irritating them. You had a very bad training. haaaa. what should I reply? I chose to reply in a very normal way, as if I did not suspect anything at all. I just laughed sadly within myself, but..)

“Well, I am married for a starter”. Smiled as nicely as possible, considering.

“He doesn’t have to know” (Blimey!)

“I am not that kind”. (run_away_from_me_I_might_hit_you_any_minute_smile).

“If I give my phone number, will you call me?” (Bloody hell. That is what I call “confidence”. My eyes widened. I certainly have lost my smile).

haaa… “I wouldn’t”.

“why?” (This is what I call testing my patience).

“Listen. however flattering it was, I wouldn’t want your number. Get it? bye now”. (Little raised voice. that was the best I could come up with).

“OK. It was nice meeting you” (oh and hell with my manners. my hand extended automatically and shaked his hands)

and the automated “and You” from me (Oh please kill whosover got these things into my system)..

 

Day 2 Incident 1:

Very shy_looking_lost desi. “How do you how to get to…” “sorry I don’t know” just walked away.

Felt very guilty. May be this guy was not a bad guy. may be a genuine guy. he looks like very new here. he asked me only because i am a desi and he might have felt comfortable asking me. I shouldn’t have done this. The other guy was different.

 

Day 2 Incident 2:

I wanted water. Went to the shop around the corner in the underground.

“Are you from srilanka?”

“No I am from India.”

“Oh.  from which part?”

“Madras. I would like a vegetable samosa as well please”

“தமிழா” (Are you a Tamil)?.

“ஆமா. (yes)” His accent sounded Srilankan. I smiled, unsure of how to react.

“நீங்க இங்க வந்து ரெம்ப நாளாச்சா?” (Have you been living here for sometime?”

“ம்ம்ம், 10 வருஷமாச்சு. நீங்க? (It has been ten years. You?)”

“நான் போன வருசம்தான் வந்தேன். இங்க தனியா இருக்கீங்களா? என்ன பண்றீங்க? (I came just last year. Do you live alone? what you do here?)”

“I live with my husband”. (smile. the kind of smile I give when I want to say goodbye).

“எனக்கு இன்னும் கலயாணம் ஆகல. உங்களுக்கு பிள்ளைகள்லாம் இருக்கா? (I am still not married. Do you have children)”.

“இல்ல (No)”. (I am giving money and packing my commuter bag to run away from here)..

“எனக்கு கல்யாணத்துப் பார்த்துக்கிட்டிருக்காங்க. உங்களுக்குத் தெரிஞ்சவங்க  யாரவது  இருந்தா சொல்லுங்களேன் (My folks are looking for an alliance for me. Do you know anyone?)”.

(Mummy!!) “இல்ல எனக்கு யாரயும் தெரியாது. (No I don’t know anyone)” (Why on earth this fucking bag is giving me this much trouble. trying to dump everything in). 

“ஏன். பத்துவருசமா ஏன் குழந்த பெத்துக்கல (Why? why do you not have a child after ten years?”. (Mummy!!! Please someone save me here!!) 

“I have to go. Ok”. looking frieghtened.

“பத்து வருசம் கொஞ்சம் அதிகமா தெரியல உங்களுக்கு? எதும் பிரச்சினையா? ஏன் பெத்துக்காமா இருக்கீங்க? (Don’t you think ten years is little too long? is there any problem? Why are you not having child?” (I don’t beleive it!)

“Okeyyyy. Bye” (I don’t know how I did not cry).

“மறுபடியும் எப்ப வருவீங்க (When can I see you again)”? (What? ammmaaaaaaa….. run run run baby run).

 

Day 3

A woman looking something like indian. Could be spanish or Italian. Just met another similar looking (indian or Italian? kind of looking) lady in the previous train. she smiled and talked nice. Just a couple of sentences, but very friendly.

We were waiting for our train. Train arrived. I ran all over the place in the platform, selecting best coach to choose my seat. I came to a conclusion after some running and I boarded the train. What a surprise, this nice looking lady was entering just after me. We smiled at each other, what can I say, she came and sat just opposite to me. It was a four seat with a table at the middle. It was just two of us sitting opp to each other. She smiled. I smiled back.

“Oh I am so looking forward to the weekend” (I started the conversation).

“Me too. I work in the north and coming home for the weekend and….

The conversation lasted until we parted. very nice. She lives just close to where I live. She has come just last year. She is still trying to find her feet. She lives with her family, both are doctors and they have a son. I offered an invitation to my house, thinking that she might need a friend/help. She changed the subject, but continued to talk very friendly with me. I got the signal, and continued the friendly discussion. she told me all about her personal life, but chose to end the relationship there. I just chose to be a listener and smiled at her all the time and acted as if we have been friends for ever. When her stop (just one stop before mine) came, she said “bye. may be we will meet again”. I smiled again. When my stop came I rushed out of the train to get my car, go home and watch my movie Insomnia, which I had stopped half way through yesterday, as I was very tired and feeling sleepy.

 

‘Kash’tomer Customer service

I was late and have already missed two trains. Rushed to the platform and found my square. I saw that staff behind the counter I was talking to yesterday and day before, walking towards me. Is he travelling today? not working? I smiled at him, thinking that he might recognise me. He did. Smiled back. In fact he was coming towards me.

“Remember the refund you were asking yesterday?” Oh yes. But, how do you remember?

“Do you remember there was another customer with your surname we mistook for you yesterday?, Dave did the same mistake and entered your refund to that person. For some reason we do not have your detail in our database, again this time also Dave did not enter, you know he thought it was that person, so he did not add another one in the database….. Can I take your ticket number to send you the refund to you, and also I am going to add your detail to our database this time”. You remembered to cross check? You came all the way up to the platform looking for me? And, today I was late and I might have hardly spent 1/2 a second in the counter area before I was flashing off to the platform.. 

(And, I submitted the refund form to Dave, the previous day evening on my way back home).

PS: Suggest a title please. Will change it.

Terror alert – Travel chaos grips UK’s airports

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4778871.stm

and read related stories in BBC and in all possible websites.

Trains I travelled were unaffected. no trace of such thing going on in another part of the city. a calmly flowing announcement now and then reminded us to be safe, not to travel abroad today or to check the flight schedules before going to the airport..

A news about evacuvation from 9 households in High Wycombe comes little shcoking (that is it this huge?). it gives an idea how huge the operation has been going on. Heathrow was shut, it seems, which imo is a huge action.  

If you are travelling this week, if you have option, change it. or take care about what you pack. hand luggage is not allowed at all. Only see-through bags are allowed to carry essential items after checking!