I have never been to London. Or maybe I have. Not in the stories per se, in the tales of my uncle. My Mother’s Sister and her husband stayed in Westminster University Hostel for 12 days about 20 years ago.

‘Since it is a university hostel, we were told to stay in separate rooms,’ he tells me smiling, ‘but the warden was Gujarati and even before asking, he told us, “I understand. Indian women aren’t accustomed to living alone in a foreign place. You can stay together.” You can get everything delivered to right in your room except food. It’s the most strict rule in the hostel: You can eat food only in the dining room.’

London

‘It’s a beautiful place: London. So well connected. I travelled so much, that I feel like even now I can go to any place in London on my own. We used to purchase a daily travel pass for £3 (at 6:00 am after which the price would increase to £5 at 8:00 am, £7 at 10:00 am and £12 at 12:00 am) which would allow us to travel via all modes of transport for the day. The railway network is underground and like we call Mumbai Trains as Locals, they call their trains as Tubes.’

‘We visited Lord’s Cricket Ground, and also got lucky to have a glimpse of a county match. We also saw Wimbledon Stadium but didn’t go in. It’s too expensive. Made for Tennis enthusiasts only perhaps. We also visited London Eye, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Madame Tussauds wax museum, 10 Downing Street and Buckingham Palace.’

‘London is filled with brands. Everywhere you go, you will only find big brands. We didn’t purchase much, only clothes for each of our three children who we couldn’t bring with ourselves. They were happy as minions when they saw the clothes. And I also bought a jacket for me.’

‘It was an amazing experience and I could still remember so much vividly. Now I want to make a Europe trip. So we will also get a chance to visit London again, this time with our children and grandchildren,’ he adds laughing.

Though I do not have a personal experience of London, just by listening to him, I have fallen in love with the city. I could almost see the people and the places in his stories. And I could almost feel it. Feel it through my blood and bones.

I have never been to London and I still miss it.

This article was first published on Travel Talkies – An Awestrich Initiative on 7 June, 2017.

Also read: Mews: The Cutest Streets In London.