Sunday, April 15, 2007

Namaste London

First weekend in the city. Glorious day; bright, warm, sunny. Will go and check out the various summer sales going on in the city. Only hitch - short on cash before the first stipend payment. But hey, window shopping doesn't cost a penny! And since I've got the monthly travel card made, travel is also free. So, wait there London city, me cometh.

***

First day in office, day filled with form-filling and other stuff. The highlight of the day was the walking tour we had around the office with an official walking tour guide. As the gentleman said - "Every stone has some history in London." Starting with the Roman era, to the great fire of 1666, to the Victorian times - the city is filled with relics and monuments. Of course, we Indians do have lot deeper historical roots, but one has to appreciate the way the Western World preserves its past. Makes me sad to think about all the history spread all over India, ruining & dying slow death.

By the way, death does have some part to play in the history of London. All big monuments are either churches, with big grave yards (tombstones are still there, though all the bodies were exhumed and taken out of the city sometime in 1800's) or have someone important murdered there, after elaborate torture, of course. We saw a square where William Wallace, aka Braveheart, was executed.
[..]On 22 August 1305, following the trial, Wallace was taken from the hall, stripped naked and dragged through the city at the heels of a horse to Smithfield Market. He was hanged, drawn and quartered — strangled by hanging but released while still alive, emasculated, eviscerated and his bowels burnt before him, beheaded, then cut into four parts — at the Elms in Smithfield. His preserved head was placed on a pike atop London Bridge. It was later joined by the heads of his brother, John, and Simon Fraser. His limbs were displayed, separately, in Newcastle, Berwick, Stirling, and Aberdeen.
Who the hell used to come up with all that. Yikes! And yeah, the guide told us the executions there were still carried out even after London got the tube in 1860s. So you could actually come using the tube to see an execution. Beat that!

***

First day at the desk - mostly easy. Some stuff to be read and understood. Met almost the entire team. Had lunch at Subway with the two analysts from IIT Delhi. Left early. My manager was not in. London accounts for almost 50% of credit derivatives volume in the world and the volume runs in billion $; sitting on the floor where millions are made and lost was some thrill. Still don't understand many things, but surely this stuff ain't no rocket science!

Eventually got to meet my manager on the next day. Pretty busy and pretty aggressive guy. Heard he joined here after working in Chicago for quite some time. No wonder he is all full of the typical american aggression. Check out the meeting we had recently (all in good humor, mind you. Not really menacing)
Manager: We seriously are f**king around here. What happened to the slide I asked you to do?
Subordinate: Oh yeah. I know I was supposed to do it, but I guess it got lost in the process.
Manager: Yeah. In your world its "lost in process", in my world its called "f**king around!" See basically you f**k around because I am basically a nice guy.
Only if I could get a penny everytime he says f**k, my cash crunch will be solved for a very long time. Almost the entire desk works pretty hard and leaving before 7-8 is kind of stuff hallucinations are made of. Around me, I keep hearing lots of different languages, seeing lots of different colored people. The office is quite cosmopolitan and location wise its in the downtown London, sitting pretty just opposite the London Stock Exchange.

***

The place we (six of us: 3 from IIMC, 2 from A and 1 from B) are staying in is pretty cool too! Full of interesting restaurants (Indian, Chinese, Lebanese, Malaysian, blah blah) and shops, its considered among the better residential areas in London. We of course are staying in the company provided service apartments. The room, although a bit on the smaller side, is sufficient and quite comfortable. Usually I take a 15 minute ride in the tube to reach the office. The morning rush is nothing compared to the rush in Mumbai locals or even Kolkata metro.

So there, the routine is almost set and life is good.

2 comments:

dawson said...

I have found a very useful resource on restaurants and takeaways in London, UK I'd like to share. Every listed restaurant and takeaway come with menus and photos. It is so easy to compare dishes and prices.

Deez said...

hey, that sounds like the beginnign of an interesting soujourn.... keep us posted! :)