Even though I was born many years after India’s
independence, the influence of Great Britain on my life has been significant;
as I am sure it has been on many of our lives. English is my first language and
one I am most comfortable with by a long mile. While the phrase is not used
anymore, I like many are all “Macaulay's Children”. Of course we
all have been deeply influenced by the books we read as children – Noddy, The Famous
Five etc etc and the board game Monopoly. We knew London street names and areas
much before any one of us ever travelled to the UK. I am sure many saw the
recent Royal Wedding beamed to our living rooms from London. So the Queen of
Kutch and I decided to take a walk through `Royal London’.
It was a hot sunny day and the buildings looked gorgeous.
Most tourists have gone back so crowds were very manageable.
Our walk started from Charring Cross which led us onto Nelson’s
Column at Trafalgar Square guarded by the four lions. From there we started
walking down Whitehall with its magnificent buildings. The Horse Guards and the
two monuments in the middle of Whitehall, the Cenotaph and the newer Women of
the War monument erected in 2005, 60 years after the end of WWII came next. The
image of Charlie Gilmore swinging from the Cenotaph in a moment of madness
during a student protest in May 2011 is an image that disgusted many Britons.
The man faces a stint in jail.
|View from an arch at the Horse Guards|
|The image that deeply upset the Brits|
A short peep into Downing Street which has now been cordoned
off so getting to see 10 Downing Street is not possible.
From there we came onto Parliament Square,
the Houses of Parliament and the butt of all Gujju jokes, the Big Ben. The
Buildings are really quite magnificent. The rains ensure that the buildings
remain clean and the gold shines thru. Really quite nice.
Next up was Westminster Abbey. It’s huge and
parts of it very very old. The renovations and extensions over the years have
been so skilfully done that it’s really difficult to tell want is new and what
is not. Photographs are not allowed inside the main Abbey, I inadvertently
clicked one, a genuine mistake.
|The Abbey Roof with Big Ben in background|
|From inside the Abbey |
|Central Methodist Church|
From the Abbey we went onto Buckingham
Palace. Rather underwhelming I must say after the grandeur of the other
buildings. We all know its magnificent inside but the outside is unremarkable.
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