I wanted to get lost. It was really as simple as that. I thought about how calm I would stay in situations like these. I would secretly laugh at those idiots who panicked like babies with the sense of not knowing where they are. Until it happened to me.
It was 10 degrees celsius. Pretty warm for April in London, I would say. The sun was out, shining on the wet, glistening tar roads. The British weather and women – dealing with them is like handling explosives. You never know what hits you. The rains and sunshine alternate with the blink of an eye.
‘Walk around the block and come back’, my aunt had said, as I got out of the house and looked at the blossoming tree. I’m glad I didn’t listen to her because I would never have been able to experience what I did. So off I went, for a walk. Admiring the various styles the houses were built in, enjoying the light breeze that played in my hair. Blasting music in my ears. I was pretty obsessed with It’s Time and Chasing Cars that time, and I had them and a couple more songs on repeat as I swiftly left the neighbourhood block to go ahead onto the main road.
The brief combination of the sun and the rains produced the beautiful product of a thin rainbow in the sky. I felt really good. I had aways dreamed of taking a walk in a foreign country and cold weather with the music of my choice and this moment lived up to every one of my expectations.
There were hardly any people in sight. It was a superb contrast to the hustling and bustling Mumbai footpaths with the sweltering weather. I saw various schools on the way, an occasional man walking with his dog or a lady with a stroller. I passed the local recreation ground and boy, was it huge.With well manicured green lawns and shaped shrubs. There was a cemetery not far from there.
The evening slowly dragged into dusk and I began to feel the chill in the air. It was sharp. And I could see my breath forming white blurry clouds as they dissipated in the air. So I began to retrace my steps. It wasn’t that hard, because I had taken pictures of every lane’s name on my iPod. That was until I came to the roundabout. It split into four ways and that’s where I took the wrong turn.
It was eight thirty in the evening. And even though it was still sunny, I was losing light rapidly. I asked a couple of people where College Hill Road was and no one seemed to have an idea. People usually relied on their navigation systems. Even while on long journeys, they blindly follow the GPS system installed in the car, unlike in Mumbai where we stall the car and ask passers by for directions.
There was barely anyone around. I really wished I could ask someone for directions and that’s when I realised how helpful the shopkeepers and the Vada Pav wala’s and the Pani Puri wala’s can be when it comes to situations like these. Nickelback’s How You Remind Me did nothing but increase my agitation, and I stopped playing music immediately.
I saw a man with his German Shepherd. I went up to him and maintaining a safe distance, shouted out to him for directions with my best possible English accent (it turned out to be an epic fail by the way). He looked grumpy and irritated. Probably unhappy at being disturbed during his quality time with the pet. He only shrugged at me and walked away, leaving me absolutely angered at his indecency. Annoying pompous British. (No, I don’t really mean that.)
‘Excuse me, do you need help?’ It was almost as if an angel had come to my rescue. Probably because I had given a ten rupee note to a homeless man back in India, I reasoned. Making a mental note to give a five rupee coin to some beggar everyday after flying back to India, I turned around.
A fat black lady was standing on the opposite side of the street and I quickly made my way across to her. Deciding to go Desi with a normal Indian accent this time, I explained her about the fix I was in. ‘Well, I don’t know where College Hill Road is, but I’ll find out for you.’ She removed her iPhone 5 and showed me the way on Maps. I was smart enough to take a couple pictures of the map on my iPod. I thanked her heartily and slowly made my way back.
None of my family knows about this.
I have also picked out my 10 songs for the week and here they are (in no particular order) –
1) Closer – Kings of Leon. It’s got really good and unusual beats.
2) The Red – Chevelle. It’s your typical alternative song, and yet it has managed to retain an originality to it which makes it quite catchy.
3) Nothing in My Way – Keane. It was my favourite song a few months back.
4) Wasteland – Matt White. This song is from the soundtrack of She’s The Man my sister made me watch a few years ago. I sorta liked the movie.
5) Full Sail – Ryan Farish. I like to play it sometimes on low volumes when I study.
6) Take on Me – a-ha. and
7) I Want To Break Free – Queen. These two are the perfect 90’s songs. They’ve got a very nice touch to them.
8) Ants Marching – Dave Matthews Band. This is a perfect song to dance to, with so many instruments playing in the background. And they’ve got a really nice guitar piece in it. And I love his voice.
9) Night Time – The xx. It’s a very unusual song. Some may not even like it. But It’s got a nice surprise in it, and I love the beats in almost every song by The xx.
10) Exile – Dualist Inquiry. This guy’s an Indian. Which is what makes me so happy. And every time I listen to this song, I vaguely imagine myself in a suit and tie with a stylish suitcase i hand, nodding my head in tune with the beats, and surrounded by glass buildings. Kind of like in the 2011 movie In Time when Justin Timberlake visits Greenwich Time Zone for the first time.