Today was the first day where I achieved one of my New Year’s Resolutions – I woke up early, at 7:30 am. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep it up and maybe start waking up a whole half hour earlier. I spent the morning on reading the Guardian, my regular newspaper and reading about coffee and tea, as I have an idea for the novel I’m working on around the knowledge and taste of the two beverages.
I then made my way down to the tube station, since it was the first day back at university. It was a day of torrential rainfall – unusual, since it hasn’t rained for a good while. I waited for the hands of the clock to go past half nine, as tickets become cheaper after this hour. As usual, even given the lateness of the morning, the tube was completely crowded. What was also irritating was that when the tube stopped at certain stations, the rain kept on falling onto my head, since I was standing at the glass partition between the seats and the door.
When I got into Central London, it was still raining. I made my way into university and discovered that I was very early for the programme ahead of me. I sat in silence by myself watching the University staff preparing for the day. After I’d gone through the formalities, I started talking to an Asian girl who I’d seen in the room with me. She was also a researcher and was looking into the possibilities for treatment of a particular disease which had none. She was a very lively and talkative person and told me a lot about herself, about her fears and hopes for the future. She had had an interesting life. She told me about how she had once foiled a suicide attempt and also how she had almost been blinded several times by freak accidents.
As the day wore on, this young Asian girl kept me company and livened up proceedings somewhat. I also met another young Asian girl – this one from India, who was researching in the field of law. We talked about Hindi films and the controversy caused by Aamir Khan’s PK, a religious satire which was targeted by the Hindu religious fundamentalists in the Shiv Sena party, probably because its leading actor is Muslim, while the religious frauds his characters denounce are Hindu. As we were talking, I mischievously began to converse about the intensity of emotion in India, when it comes to politics. I cited the example of the protestor against the Miss World competition who had burnt himself alive. I was making the specious argument that emotions were more intense in India when it came to politics, unbearably so. I also, even more mischievously, added that Indians would argue about any issue, citing the example of male group protestors who had voiced anger at Aamir Khan’s so-called misrepresentations of them in his television show, Satyamev Jayate, which addresses social problems in India and their solutions. The young lady failed to rise to the bait and just nodded, with a polite smile, casting cold water on my aspirations to solicit an argument.
After the day was over, I did a little shopping in Marks and Spencer. I bought a beautiful blue cardigan with brown buttons in the sales section, which was under twenty pounds, and then debated with myself whether I should also get a shiny, brown pair of shoes which were also on sale and looked immensely appealing. I reasoned myself out of the purchase, thwarting the collector’s habit and the unthinking consumer’s habits which I often have to wrestle with. I then walked about London in the dark, an experience which I have not had the opportunity to savour for a long time. For dinner, I went into the overpriced KFC where I discovered, to my dismay, that the meal I intended to buy was over six pounds in price. Because I hadn’t eaten at the restaurant in such a long time, I decided to treat myself now that I was here and got the enormous bucket for one which was only a few pence steeper in price. It was far too much food for one stomach – I can’t imagine why anyone would want to gorge themselves so much. I walked off the heaviness of the meal, going down the streets of London for half and hour, then back home. My mind was full of the day and my impressions of the new people I had just met.