Armed with an Oyster card, a sling bag, sunglasses and comfy shoes – I was the happiest when I was out on the streets – Oxford Street, Downing Street, Bond Street and so many more. The etymology of simply the streets of this beautiful town called London, among its abbeys and churches and towers and palaces and shopping arcades, continue to stay with me as fresh strawberry stains on a picnic spread. Yes! That’s where it all started – a picnic at the Hyde Park with my bestie and her wonderful family!
It’s not a new idea – a picnic. Yet it hides within it a surreal love for relaxed conversations, careless retire and just being. Refreshing this familiar vocation along with my first love, theatre, continues to be the highlight of my escapades at this city of drama! We walked into a packed audience for ‘The Play that Goes Wrong’ in the middle of the day! Are you kidding me – that’s luxury! A day later we were watching Shakespeare at the Regents Park open air theatre over Pimms and peanuts – really, who needs more!?
Well, a counsellor needs more. She must also use this trip to gain insights into how the universities in United Kingdom add value. And so, started the exploration to LSE, Kings and even the Cambridge University.
A memorable train ride to the city of Cambridge (with a Norwegian mother of four, taking her 16 year old son for an open day at the university) leading up to the Cambridge University – the grandeur of 31 colleges, with three admitting women only, along with a fact sheet that reads ‘third oldest university, founded in 1209’, this place exudes the aura of Nobel laureates and geniuses such as Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton, and Stephen Hawking. Alleged to have been created by fleeing Oxford scholars, Cambridge is an eclectic mix of the archaic and novel. I was in awe!
I’m an LSR alumni and the pride of my alma mater rings in my interactions. What is it about these places of study that make one develop a sense of self, I wonder. It can’t be academics alone. I think it’s a life long hangover of a culture and ethos that gets so deeply engrained that you become that entity, an identity for the place that gave you its identity.
London hides within it a number of secrets. Not the kind that stay within the royal family, not even the ones on Baker Street; these are unrevealed layers that unfold as you spend time with the city. Thank you for opening up to me dear London.
See you again, soon!