This Writer Gal

Kakul Ehsan Butt

London, a mini global village

What I love about central London is that when I step out of the underground; I automatically step into multiple conversational bubbles that surround me left, right, back and front.  These conversations are not part of me, yet I am a part of it as I walk alongside them. Though I may never understand what is being said, it is familiar in a very comforting way. London becomes a mini globe for me.

As I stepped out of the underground, I stepped right into a conversation between some women speaking in unfamiliar language. From the conversation, I deduced that they could possibly be speaking a European language. Then as I stood waiting at the traffic lights, a French couple surrounded me in their charming bubble. And then as I walked further on, I overhead Mandarin (or was it Korean, Japanese or Burmese?). I felt like a tourist in a global village. The globalism was further enhanced with world flags adorning the central London skies, as the city prepares for Olympic Games. The world flags gave me a feel of visiting the entire the Globe under short few hours.

Being an observer gives me an opportunity to listen into conversations and picking up on unusual accents. I enjoy playing guessing games of where people come from. I do this when I am on a tube, sipping coffee at a cafe or moving along with the human traffic. At one point, I remembered Emily Kasriel’s TEDx talk about meaningful commute and breaking the ice with strangers. She talked about carrying a strange object that would draw attention. Obviously I didn’t have a strange object on me and I don’t think I would have carried it to break an ice. But it did come into my mind. I however did smile at a stranger, which did not get a positive response but nonetheless was my way of breaking the ice (somehow).

Friends and strangers on social networking sites often tell me how lucky I am to live near London and how they wish they could visit London. But I think I am luckier that on each visit, I feel I have travelled almost all over the world. I feel that while I don’t often get an opportunity to travel abroad, I get it at my doorstep, in form of sumptuous accents and ‘lost in translation’ moments.

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