April 29, 2006

The Deluge

Living in London, though it has totally burst the Wordsworth bubble, has made me realize that Eliot was right. April is the cruelest month. Up until the end of March, most things are alright, everyone in his or her proper place, but come April, everyone in the world packs a bag (or ten) and decides to come to London. People who have been trotting the globe have covered everything else in other months, but left London for April. People who have not gotten up from their beds for ten months (and have chips and cookie bits and tea cups from December in the vicinity of the locus of their laziness) have arisen, dusted off the chip and cookie bits, stepped on a teacup and crushed it, sworn, and come to London.

The media is keeping track of this activity. From "Trains dump toilet waste on the tracks" (that's news?) to "No Tourist in Souvenir Shop for Fifteen Minutes: Blair Launches Enquiry", the grubby hands of journos are on the pulse of the city.

It's supposed to be the city's "spring/summer collection". One chap spots a three-square inch patch of sunlight in Central London, writes about it to his friends, and set off a reaction that might be labeled nuclear. Net result: London is full. It might be useful for researchers who want to get their research right by asking their question to "every human being alive on April 29, 2006 AD" to stand near the London Eye queue from morning 11:59am to night 3:00pm (the Eye's operating hours) and ask everyone personally. For residents like us though, all the more territorial because we are temporary squatters and refuse to acknowledge it, it is a royal pain in arse (you have not lived if you haven't had the pleasure of hearing a Brit say that aloud, but if you are alive, you're probably in London right now, and that Brit there is totally thinking this about you, even if he's not saying it out of politeness).

My question is, where are these people living? Is every other building sheltering innumerable map bearers in funny blue, red and white hats? My other question is, what are these millions of cameras clicking? "And here's from this April's trip to London: That person behind those Japanese tourist is my wife Joan. That thing behind the Indian family is the Globe theatre. Cool angle, huh? I took it before I got up from the ground when that Spanish group knocked me down!" Though nobody's answering, my other question is: why with children? We have no food for them that is healthy! And really, the wheels of that perambulator make a terrible noise on the Millennium Bridge! And the final question: Can you see anyone, absolutely anyone, who is NOT wearing a funny hat and is eating those roadside caramelled peanuts? Do you understand the significance? Are you supposed to eat them? Good.

We central Londoners (note how absence of megabucks in the bank make this statement farcical) can forget about peace and quiet and sunny picnics in the parks. Looking around, I notice there are no other Central Londoners complaining! Where are they? Off to Australia to hug the cold? Or selling caramelled peanuts in some other corner of the city?

Tomorrow's headline: "Heathrow Terminal 400 Open. World Finally Ready For More Kids."

5 comments:

Ameet said...

One chap spots a three-square inch patch of sunlight in Central London

Pretty funny. Many years ago, I was one of the Spring squatters - although I arrived in May, not April, and was rewarded with - gasp - a rain free week!!!! Good times were had.

Siri said...

hahaha...if ever i decide to visit london i will do so in april and i would also look forward to hearing the royal expression from you :)

Deepak said...

"That person behind those Japanese tourist is my wife Joan. That thing behind the Indian family is the Globe theatre. Cool angle, huh? I took it before I got up from the ground when that Spanish group knocked me down!" LOL, may be I should come soon. I might just get some unique shots without trying too hard!

Nav said...

Truly understand the sarcasm and frustration in your post. But people take pictures for memories or to boast out to others that they have been to so-and-so place. I do not blame the tourists thronging London in April, right around the time gruelling winter is winding up (ofcourse this winter was an exception). Tourism sure is one of the best revenues for the city of London and we all have consiciously chosen a place to live..

Ink Spill said...

@Ameet: :)
@Siri: Most welcome!
@Deepak: Won't let you come soon, while I'm alive. Women in London apparently decided to stop wearing clothes today.
@nav: Arrey baba itna senti hone ki zaroorat nahin! Chill, despite the weather!