That week in England, just before I was to leave for home, I decided I had to see the London Eye. Although it was unashamedly touristy, I felt this urge. On reaching there I was told there was a technical problem and it might open only at noon; it was 10.30.
I walked towards the Dali exhibition, then sat on a bench and starting writing something morbid, my pen twisted at an angle as though reluctant to commit. A few people hesitated before asking me to take their group pictures. I felt like taking back a digital memory as well. I managed half a smile and returned to my place.
An old woman came and sat next to me and unpeeled a sandwich wrapped in plastic; it looked stale as dry crumbs fell. She remained expressionless, looking nowhere but at the target of her hunger. There was so much desolation in those few minutes – was that her lifetime?
So lost in thought was I that I decided to walk back towards the gate. There was already a queue. I had not bothered to exchange my counterfoil for a ticket. I ran quickly and was being ushered into one capsule. After the metal detector and the rummaging of the bag, the security person asked, “Anything sharp?” I had already moved ahead but I called out to him, “Yes…”
He arched his eyebrows in a query…what??
I did not wait to see his reaction.
Inside the capsule we were told to take precautions since we would be going very high and could feel dizzy or get sick. I started clicking – the sky, the river, the Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, buildings, others in the capsules, people below – tiny figures. We all look like crumbs from stale sandwiches.
As we were descending, an announcement was made that our pictures would be taken by a remote camera and we should all move to the North-east side. Everyone stood…well, most did. A bit diffidently, I felt I too needed a souvenir. I ambled to a spot. When I went to collect the picture, there were several flashing on the monitor.
I was there with the thick line that ran across the capsule dividing me into two. The girl at the counter apologised, “Sorry about that.”
“Not at all. That’s me, all right.”
"“Anything sharp?” I had already moved ahead but I called out to him, “Yes…""ReplyDelete
If you had a long beard, topi, and/or other Islamic features, you wouldn't have had to turn back to see his reaction.
You said :
"If you had a long beard, topi, and/or other Islamic features, you wouldn't have had to turn back to see his reaction. "
Interestingly and idiomatic famously shallow enough to be Thomas Friedmanian.
Nicely written. I have a question, do you write everywhere you go? Don't you do normal things?!ReplyDelete
Yes, your mind is 'SHARP' and that was good one, quite spontaneous!
I have never been to those London capsules....it looks like you really loved them and that's the reason this is your second blog on London eye and capsules....
Your description compels me to make my next tour to London eye and experience this unqiue experience myself....
hmmm, I think FV is doing all the normal things just like you and I, with only difference that she writes what we don't and that is the reason she is a born writer and an accomplished one.
I did not turn back because I did not want my wit to go waste, just in case he did not get it! You think this might qualify as an Islamic feature - like bearding the lion stuff?
No, I did not love them. I just had an urge...now if an urge is love, then maybe :)Besides, I had nothing to do...
Did you hear what Circle said?!
I do write wherever I go, pretty much. I understand this might not appear to be normal by some standards, but trust me I can write only if and when I do other things. Those may not be normal.
Hope you are having a good Sunday!
FV, Priceless answer to the security people :-), and I can understand your not looking back to check if there was any reaction.ReplyDelete
No, That isn't you! You kind of look different in that one:)ReplyDelete
I did not look back because I did not have a felt-tip pen to sign an autograph for him!
Ah, looking different is not the same as being different :)