I had visited Manchester in England as part of my cabin crew training. I and a young man from Bangladesh were the only people from Asia. But, I got many British friends after the completion of training. I had a desire to explore the London city. But, there was some distance from Manchester to London town.
My old schoolmate Rajesh Nair was in London. He invited me to his house when I called him. He said that he will pick me from the railway station. My close friend Joe, a British citizen, and her boy friend Sam dropped me at the railway station. I talked with an Arab man in train and we soon became friends. He was from Kuwait. Though the journey to London was long, I wasn’t bored as I liked his company. We would be surprised to see the clean and luxurious trains. The train journey was so comfortable.
I reached Watford Railway Station by 10 pm. Rajesh Nair was waiting for me with a car at the railway station. I felt as if I was in Kerala when I met him. I was completely satisfied when I got Kerala food at his home. Rajesh took 2-day leave for me. He had told me that he would show me the city tomorrow. I slept well as I did in my own home.
We left to see the city in the early morning itself. We travelled in car for some distance. Afterwards, the journey was in a special underground train called Tube. That journey was really beautiful. We can easily find the details of Tubes to different places by looking at the colour. We will unknowingly thank god when we see each sight in London, because we are fortunate to see these wonderful places. I saw the entire city in a giant wheel called ‘London Eye’. The famous London Bridge, front side of Buckingham Palace, London Parliament House and Wax Museums are only some among the remarkable sights. I bought some makeup products and perfume from the famous Harrods shop. I have used those cosmetics for the movie ‘Padmavyuhathile Abhimanyu’ in which I have recently acted.
The next day, Rajesh took me to Wembley. One could be confused if it is pollution-free Madras. There are shops which play Tamil songs and sell products like Kanchipuram saree and cotton mundu. I have seen many Tamilians who have been staying in England for years. The bar cum restaurant from where we had food was owned by a Tamilian. In England, we can live in the same way as we live in Kerala. There are many temples in England. Many Keralites came to see me when they came to know that Rajesh Nair’s friends has come from Kerala. All of them were from different districts. I was happy to see all of them living happily together. Next day, I called Mahesh who was my neighbour at Nilambur. He said that he was doing a research from Oxford University and invited me. I departed to Oxford in a train.
I felt that everything that I saw in the journey was familiar. The train reached Oxford station after hours. A man was waiting for me at the station. I was surprised to see Mahesh. The boy whom I had seen as a 10-year-old had become a young man. His house was near Oxford University. It was a well-maintained house. We have never thought during childhood that we would meet at Oxford after many years. We enjoyed the meeting after buying items to make Indian food.
I left London the next day. When I reached my home in Ireland, the wonderful sights in the London sight lingered in my mind.
(The writer is a popular actor in Tamil and Telugu. His latest movie is ‘Padmavyuhathile Abhimanyu’)