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Sunday, May 20, 2012

"Sorry mate... cheers mate"

I'll miss a lot of things about England. I always yabber on about Germany or Hong Kong or any of the other places I've lived in and people must find it nauseating. But the truth is, I chose England to be the place I'd want to spend 3-4 years of my life - not America or Singapore or wherever. I chose the English education system for university just like I'd done for all my schooling. I always dream about living the European life-style and going to cafes and walking cobble streets at night but England is part of Europe too and I take it for granted. I know I will miss many things when I move back to India.

I love the weather in England. Yes, I said it. I love it and I will miss it. The drizzle, the wind and endless, melancholic grey that sort of sighs at you when you leave the house. Growing up in hot countries has given me a profound appreciation for rain. The feeling of warmth when you emerge from the elements into a heated building is made nicer by the cold you felt before it. I will miss how happy these get when they see the sun. I will miss wearing my coat - I'm sure my scarf will find many woolly companions at the back of some cupboard in my house in Bangalore.

I will miss the way people make small talk. Sometimes it is a good, natural ice-breaker and sometimes it is infuriatingly drawn out but it is something that is totally British. Oh how they love their endless small-talk. Any conversation worth having is worth having well and I admire that. Feigned interest is still interest. I will miss business emails that use correct English. I will miss the civility of it all; saying thank you to bus drivers and holding the door for strangers and smiling at the Pakistani guy in the news-agent. I will miss the undertones - the ballet of suggestive speaking is lost on us blunt Indians. I'll miss apologising and thanking people 25 times a day for the most minute things.

I will miss the football and the pubs in which we watch it in. The tension in your body when you see a player through on goal and say as one larger sipping entity, "Go on...". The analysis before a game and the banter after it. I'll miss the banter. I will miss how utterly engrossed we all are in football and the effect it has on us; seeing a friend drop some food on himself and instinctively saying "it's just not his day" or "he'll be disappointed with that effort". Thank you football commentators for whispering vapid, meaningless cliches into my ear. I will miss living sporting weekend to sporting weekend.

I will miss chip-shops and the off-licenses. I will miss the way scummy people play horrid rap music from their 8-bit mobile phone speakers on the back of buses. I will miss the way strangers can talk to each other without inhibition. I will miss using words like "butters", "standard", "bare" and "budget".

I would have liked to have stayed on for a while and worked in London but I guess it's not meant to be. Till then, retarded double-tapped wash basins, cheerio.