Hola! Hope you're smiling :)
After pleasing my stomach with good food, my friend and I headed to the nearest tube station to get to Canary Wharf. Now, I had great things about this world famous business centre. The ‘Hi-tech city’ of London, akin to the ‘Hi-tech City’ area of my city, Hyderabad where I work. I didn’t quite know what to expect but I guessed it’d be good.
Why did I go to Canary Wharf?
My best friends around that time were my ex boss and his wife. The wife’s sister worked in an office at Canary Wharf and I had some gifts to deliver to her. I was happy to be meeting her and be free of the responsibility of keeping them safe as the package also contained some gold which I was highly apprehensive about. We changed at least two trains, an underground and an overground one to get to the place.
The meeting arrangement was very interesting. Madhu was to get on the same train as us and get off a few stations after at Greenwich where we decided to meet for drinks. I hadn’t seen a picture of Madhu but Catharine and I knew that it wouldn’t be very difficult to recognize her. She sounded as sweet as her sister on the phone so I was already comfortable.
I was glad to be on that overground train for two reasons – one, I will never forget the incredible sight of Canary Wharf that I could capture in less than 20 seconds and two, the train was very special in itself, it was no ordinary train but a lovely small train with only a few compartments, a Docklands Light Railway Train.
Universal Teenage Love
While on the train, I had the great opportunity of observing a group of teenagers, high school boys and girls maybe, they weren’t in their uniforms. It seemed like they were all going somewhere special, perhaps a play or a movie or some party. Some of them were dressed well and some were casually dressed. The boys were loud and the girls chatty. Except for the colour of their skin, they seemed very similar to their peers in expensive schools here in India. They all had cell phones and were clicking pictures endlessly. The girls wore make up and the boys were flirty. The most popular girl in the group who had the boys attention or at least the most popular boy’s attention was very prim and proper, not laughing loudly, speaking slowly and very well dressed. The most popular boy was athletic, had a cool hairdo, was a little shorter than the rest and was most active, he definitely had his full interest and attention in the classy girl. There was also another typical character in the group, a tom boy who seemed to fit in both the groups. The boys seemed comfortable teasing her and very generally rough with her while she was tough with them. The classy girl and the popular boy exchanged love-laden glances, a typical teenage love story. A story one would easily find in India and perhaps anywhere else in the world! I was happy watching them but they were clearly least interested in anybody or anything happening around them.
In about fifteen minutes, the train crossed Canary Wharf and I caught a fantastic sight. The amazing gorge- like infrastructure of shiny skyscrapers was the massive sight and when I zoomed in to one of the buildings, I could see tiny desks and people at them. Imagining what life must be as an employee there, I thought I’d really like to experience it someday. Someday! While the larger picture reminded me of the movie ‘Inception’ and the scene of mighty big buildings destroyed by mere imagination, the sight of desks seemed familiar – just like mine back home.
A stranger steps into the train
The train ran past Canary Wharf and I couldn’t see those shiny buildings any longer and soon halted at the train station. I could recognize Madhu in seconds, even before she got into the train and so did Catharine who went up to the stranger and asked if she was looking for Mubin. Catharine said she could tell the stranger was looking for someone and she’s Indian so it had to be her.
It was fantastic meeting Madhu. She resembled her sister Mauch in every way, except that Madhu was taller and stronger. We went to the first bar we saw after getting out of the Greenwich station. It was a really nice bar whose name I don’t remember but Google just told me that it is ‘The Gate Clock Food and Bar.’ While there, Catharine said she’d have apple cider. I had never had apple cider before. I grew curious about it – fresh and warm apple cider with spices! Warm?! With spices! I had to try it though I doubted if I’d like it. Madhu had to return to work so she ordered simply – a coffee. (of course she couldn’t have a cider!)
After chatting a little more, I asked Madhu if she’d step out a bit with for some air in the smirting area J. I was super glad that she had the same thought on her. We very both very excited, super happy in the moment and we talked more of travel, about Ladakh in summer and about Madhu’s sister and brother-in-law who were my closest friends. While we stood out in the winter chill, I noticed that the bar opposite ours seemed much more interesting, at least the artwork over it was epic! The next time I’m in Greenwich, I’d love to visit it. Googling now, I realize that it wasn’t a bar but a comedy club – the ‘Up The Creek’ comedy club.
I felt a little guilty about leaving Catharine in the bar alone but then I also knew that Catharine is a world traveler and has been in bars alone before, I knew she wouldn’t mind it very much.
Catharine’s sweet comment
Soon it was time for Madhu to leave. She was going back to Canary Wharf. I thought it was really nice of her to come all the way to Greenwich with me for a chat and a drink. Catharine and I saw Madhu off at the train station and while we waited for the train to arrive, Catharine and I shared our stories of the day with Madhu and laughed at how slow I am, worse than a sloth! At this point, Catharine said that she felt motherly towards me as she always has to check on me, wait until I catch up with her and make sure I am not lost, this comment endeared me to Catharine greatly – she was indeed motherly.
Why was I in Greenwich
On my list of things to see was also the ‘Royal Maritime Museum.’ A great fan of British maritime stories, I didn’t want to miss visiting the museum this time!