Writing our stories

Writing our own stories. Isn’t that what each and everyone of us is doing. Some do it in spectacular style. Others fall by the wayside. Some drift along where the tide takes us. While others try to rewrite theirs. That is what Gareth Southgate told his team. “Write your own stories” he said and they obliged. As the team writes themselves into England’s footballing history, let us write our own stories. It may not be significant to anybody else but to us it is nothing but. 

And so I started my day, another page in my life story. The radio presenters were in a more jovial mood than usual brought on by the events of the evening before. When I arrive at Kavitha’s home to pickup Amma, Lakshmi is still there waiting to go to the childminder’s. She now wants to come with us and starts crying. I shouldn’t have turned up this early. I don’t like to see her crying. 

The plan was to go to Oxford Street, do a bit of shopping and then Trafalgar Square, National Gallery and then meet up with Kavitha for dim sums in Chinatown. Delays on the underground made me change my plans. We got off at St Paul’s. 

Paying the exorbitant fees at the Cathedral was not an option when you can get in for free at certain times of the day. So instead we went into the private chapel and said a quiet prayer or two, circled the perimeter, took photos and walked to the Millennium bridge. The Tower Bridge and other important London landmarks are visible in the distance as you cross the bridge, which in itself is a well known sight gracing many a films. From the south end of the Thames, we walk along the Riverside past the art galleries and reach Shakespeare’s Globe theatre. The afternoon show only starts at 1400 and I tell Amma about the time I took Asha, my friend, there. 

The Globe theatre is an almost exact reconstruction of Shakespeare’s theatre using available information from that period. Around the stage there is a standing area to watch the show and then the seating area around the standing zone. The standing area is exposed to the elements and only the seating area is sheltered. The day I went sightseeing with Asha, we hadn’t planned on watching any shows, but we arrived just in time for one to start. As we didn’t have time to sit and watch a whole play, we paid for the cheapest tickets and the plan was to stay for a few minutes, watch the beginning and leave. The tickets were for the standing area and you are not allowed to sit even if there is space for safety reasons. The show started. I think it was ‘Much ado about nothing’, I can’t remember clearly. The act was quite entertaining once it started and we didn’t want to leave. About 10-15 minutes into the performance, the heavens opened and we had to make a dash for it. I remember us running into the pizza place next door to dry ourselves out. We laughed and recounted our escapade over a pizza and tea that afternoon. 

From here we walked to London Bridge past the ‘Golden Hind’, a full scale reconstruction of the original 16th century warship, using parts from the actual ship captained by Sir Francis Drake in the late 1500s. As we walked down the Riverside and the cobbled streets musicians entertained us with gentle tones from their guitars and accordions. The weather forecast today was for rain, but not a single dark cloud could be seen. The pristine blue skies, gentle breeze and temperature in the low twenties made our stroll a very pleasant one indeed. 

Next stop was Borough Market. None of this was on the agenda today, but Amma was delighted. We made our way through the stalls selling food from around the world, both hot and cold, including a dosa stall, although the dosa batter didn’t resemble anything I’ve seen before and the stall was manned by European ladies. Amma marvelled at the different types of fish, stalls selling all sorts of mushrooms, cheese, preserves, chocolates, etc etc and tasted a sample paella. 

From here we caught the underground to Oxford Circus and walked to Leicester Square taking in the sights. Kavitha couldn’t join us, but I took Amma to my favourite dim sum restaurant. From here a walk around Chinatown and then Trafalgar Square. 

The forth plinth at Trafalgar Square has art work which is replaced periodically and gives artists a chance to showcase their art. The plinth was meant to hold a statue of King William IV on horseback. The project ran out of money and it was turned into a public art platform.  The latest artwork is a replica of a statue which was destroyed in Iraq by ISIS, made from 10,500 empty Iraqi date syrup cans. We finished off the day with a quick tour around the National Gallery. Amma enjoyed Van Gogh’s sunflowers and Monet’s water lilies. It was time to go home.

I check my health app when I get home. I have made Amma walk 11 kilometres, which is almost 7 miles today and she is still fine. At home Lavinia gurgles and smiles at me for the first time. I can see dimples in her cheek, something I wanted and used to feel envious about when I was a child. I used to try and press my cheeks to make a dent and then gave up when I knew that it wouldn’t work. 

And hence the day ended, another page in my life to treasure and bookmark. 

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