London and Dublin

Taking photos in London has always been challenging to me. London deserves special attention. And like New York there is so much to do in the city that if photography is clubbed with anything else, there is no way one can do justice to anything. In the end I am left with an unfilled desire and then the pictures don’t speak much. I have been to London many times, and yet not been able to take enough pictures. Hardly anything. It is hard to capture on the go. There is this rich history that is alive in those iconic sites. There is this huge body of splendid architecture from the old and absolutely stunning modern situated side by side – the Inns of Court along with modern architecture. There are streets and buildings that bear the names from the classical English texts – Dickens and Conan Doyle. There is cricket and the hallowed halls of Lords. The tube, Foyles. There are people of all kinds – interesting characters – and just too much happening to keep focus and attention. Time is always short and whether you get enough of the museums or lager and lime – well – it is just way too much. I wish I am able to live in London for a length period of time to take some pictures – some day maybe. The easiest way to get a quick overview is to take a walking tour, which is what I did.

The city stirs up my familiar colonial psyche that has always looked upon the mother country and its capital as the hallowed destination. Wrapped in the fables passed on my grandfather and the exemplary standards set by the British, there is a sense awe that permeates even before I get there. With a sense of reluctant but deep appreciation, I feel I owe this land for the language and everything that has allowed me to walk about in the international arena and also filled in with the curiosity of this once all-powerful country of the planet. This quest to find all of these – to discover – comes in direct conflict of taking pictures. For London is not Paris. London is vibrant, noisy, in many ways a filthy city that is on the move. The old charm is not really so much distinct like in Paris. Much of the city had to put a modern veneer during Olympics. There is no romance that I could find on the surface. It is not like The Kinks singing Waterloo Sunset. The London cabs are decked with advertisements these days. St. James and Picaddily look like Times Square. There is not much of a difference I see between cities these days as a matter of fact. On the surface yes, but then in the next layer – there is nothing much. Even the street acts were the same elsewhere – the woman plastered with silver paint feigning to be a statue – the parkours and street rappers – hard to tell whether they were from East London or from Bronx. But I am sure, beneath this layer there is a huge difference – and to discover that will give a lot of delight – but I have not been able to get it. The quest remains. Overall – a nice family union – meeting cousins, uncles, and aunts — just the right way to shift to the next leg in Dublin.

Dublin was mostly all indoors with an occasional walk to Grafton street. To me if you love literature, this is the city for you. The literary walking tour was the highlight where two actors banter and enact scenes from different iconic books – from Waiting for Godot to Joyce. Joyce permeates through and through – mainly because he has immortalized Dublin as a city. Several tours through the city – even a luncheon at the The winding stairs – a bookstore and a restaurant was quite interesting. Apart from that – a lot of Guinness. Strolling in Temple Bar. The visit to Trinity college was interesting – especially, the Book of Kells. Missed going to other parts of the country. Maybe next time.

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