Style Catalogue

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What happens when a law student actually gets the time to be a little creative? She starts a bargain-shopping blog, that’s what!

Even though I’d been dreaming about law school since the ninth grade, a part of me always leaned towards a creative career; fashion design, interior design, and the like. My grandmother always backed me up here, and she was very disappointed when I gave the idea up in favour of law somewhere along the way. I realized that art and sketching of any sort is beyond me, which was reaffirmed by a friend screaming “That is one scary cat! And what in God’s name is that lump next to it?” looking at my rendition of Calvin & Hobbes. Buh-bye design!

I’ve always loved shopping. No, this is not a ‘Yeah, all girls love shopping’ kind of love, I genuinely adore it. Even window shopping. But this is where it gets odd; I don’t like shopping for clothes, that’s just something I do when I absolutely have to. Earrings, footwear, bags and other accessories are my thing. Neither am I in favour of spending extravagant amounts of money while I buy stuff, bargain-shopping is my area of expertise. Also, as I’ve mentioned earlier, I may not be the next Ansel Adams, but I do appreciate and enjoy photography.

So this summer, I decided to combine both these pastimes and start a visual blog on Instagram, which goes by the name ‘Style Catalogue’. My mother and I sat down one evening and brainstormed, coming up with names ranging from ‘Law School Style Diaries’ (“It’s too long, Ma!”) to ‘Haute Couture’ (“It’s a bargain-shopping blog Vrinda, don’t get too big for your boots!”).

The idea for this small project stemmed from my friends’ curiosity about the origins of my accessories, and how I manage to get them so cheap. I’ve had the good fortune of spending countless afternoons helping them find what they need within a limited budget; a skill that comes in handy when you’re a broke college kid with zero savings, working unpaid internships every semester.

What started off on an impulse one evening actually piqued the interest of 500 odd people, and for that, I’m very thankful. College is starting in a week and if last year is reliable precedent, it’ll leave me with no time to breathe, let alone shop. But I will try to keep up the work.

So if you find the time, do check www.instagram.com/style_catalogue/ out. Tell me what else I can cover, and how I can improve! 😀

No Place for Women.

women's rights

Amidst heated protests regarding the 2012 Delhi Gang Rape, and the exponential increase in crime against women despite laws like The Criminal Law Amendment Act and The Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013, a question that has steadily risen to occupy its rightful place in the dominant discourse is: Is India No Place for Women?

Thinking back to my last two years in school, I recall that after the December 2012 incident, I had observed marked changes in the attitude of students. Taboo words like ‘rape’ and ‘sex’ had become indispensable parts of our daily discussions. We had started questioning everything we had been brought up to believe in and had begun debating government policies that we’d never even considered before. Skits about women’s rights and protests in front of government buildings became commonplace. Discussions with other friends at that time made me realise that the wave of unprecedented consciousness wasn’t specific to my peers; young Indians were questioning the existing social order and demanding change. But at that time, though we were questioning the system, we couldn’t pinpoint what was wrong with it. At least, I couldn’t. Feeling strongly about women’s rights but with no knowledge whatsoever about them, I enthusiastically entered law school and landed my first project, ‘Rape Laws in India’, which is what got me thinking.

Let’s talk statistics; to describe them as staggering would be a grave under-statement. Crimes against women, at 52.2%, are the most frequently committed crimes in India. This category is the largest contributor to total crimes (at 11.7%), but has the least conviction rate. In a shameful 22.4% of cases, perpetrators of these horrific criminalities escape scot free.

These figures exclude rape and dowry deaths, which have been included under ‘Violent Crimes’. North of 33,000 cases of rape were reported in 2013, with conviction taking place in a mere 27% of reported cases. Reported. What about the cases which women choose not to report, or those which are dealt with shoddily at the level of the police, when there is refusal to lodge the victim’s complaint? The given estimates are bound to be conservative.[1]

India only has 908 women per 1000 men; Haryana has the lowest sex ratio in the country, with only 857 women per 1000 men.[2] Not a single girl child has been born in 70 villages in Haryana for years. According to a recent UNICEF report,[3] 58% of women now aged 20-49 years in India were married off before 18 years of age. At 240 million, India constitutes a third of child marriages worldwide.  These statistics paint an appalling picture of the injustices women in India are subjected to on an everyday basis.

In India the problem of a girl being a victim of gender bias, sometimes even before her conception, is all-pervasive. The general scenario in rural and semi-rural areas is something like this. There is a bias towards sons, they will carry the family’s legacy forward. They should be showered with love, and educated well. The girl child is a curse, ise ghira do. If the misfortune of bearing a girl child cannot be avoided, she shouldn’t be educated. Ultimately, she has to bear children and do household chores, education is wasted on her. She is an extravagantly expensive proposition as it is, with the huge amounts of dowry the groom will demand. She should be married off by age twelve to a man much older to her.

India is a patriarchal society. Patriarchy prevails in the form of domination, a mode of family coercion, and cultural construct of property ownership.[4] But this society suffers from a grave paradox when it comes to women. On one hand, women are regarded as highly sexualized beings, who will never refuse sex, and on the other, society gives them no agency to make independent choices and exercise them. [5]

A woman’s consent is presumed. No means yes. She wants sex, she cannot refuse it. Whether it’s getting ogled at, eve-teased, harassed or raped, of course it’s her fault. The modern woman is the one ‘asking for it’ with her ‘provocative’ dressing and mannerism. “Ladke, Ladke hain, galti ho jaati hai”. Who are we to question that? Women belong inside the house. Working outside is to dare to step out of the shadow of gender roles. Chastity and virginity are her most prized possessions, but she has no right over her own body. She is property, to be passed on from her father to her husband; a crime against her is ‘trespass on (their) property’. Marital rape is not a crime, her body is her husband’s property after all.  She should be ostracized for having sexual relations before marriage.  If she claims to have been raped, two fingers have to be forced into her vagina, no matter how much pain and humiliation it brings her; if she has had sex before, she will never say no to it and the very concept of rape is flawed. Her character is mocked at every step of the ‘redressal’ process, because at the end of the day, of course it’s her own fault. Maybe “child marriage is a viable solution for rape and other crimes” against her.

This succinctly represents the challenges looming large over women in India today. The question that emerges is: Who devised these preposterous notions of ‘morality’ for women, and why don’t we question them? Regressive norms and notions, lackadaisical attitude of our ‘leaders’, the police and judiciary, and the deprecatory attitude of women themselves threatens their rights in this seemingly inherently patriarchal and misogynistic society.

While going through some court judgments as part of elementary research, I was stunned at the ratio decidendi, the logic, applied by our judiciary (in cases from 1947-1984), which is representative of just how deep the notion of patriarchy ran in India. Even now, authorities seem to believe that women provoke inappropriate conduct by certain aspects of their personalities and then seek to claim that it occurred because of their sex. The Rape Law in India is based on the notion of male rights over a woman’s body. Rape is not viewed as an invasion of the physical and psychological integrity of a woman, and neither has the concept of a woman’s right to her own body been given weight.  When the laws with regard to rape are formulated, these laws were conceived as instruments to protect a man’s property from the sexual aggression of other men.  Marital rape is still not recognized as a crime in India. Earlier, a vast range of crimes against women were all clubbed under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code, under the head of ‘Outraging the Modesty of a Woman’. Only after the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013 have stalking, voyeurism, acid attacks and other forms of harassment been recognized, and separate penal provisions now apply to them. Prostitution and the pornography industry pose entirely different challenges and questions.

To ensure their safety, girls generally preferred to travel with a male; maybe a friend, or a brother. But the December gang-rape presented us with a refutation of this proposition, where Nirbhaya’s male friend was beaten and completely immobilized by the perpetrators before they proceeded to rape her. Small, everyday incidents reaffirm that women are not safe, even with male escorts. My first time travelling on the Delhi Metro was with two male friends, but that didn’t seem to deter another passenger from gawking, and making obscene gestures.

Sexual harassment at the workplace has become all too common. The recent shocking incident at the Tehelka office, as well as harassment of a legal intern by a former Supreme Court judge are testament to the same. The title of this post is actually inspired by a debate on The Outsider by the same name, hosted by Mr. Tim Sebastian. I heard Ms. Shoma Chaudhry speak passionately about issues facing women’s rights. But my mind instantly reverted to the fact that when the time came to practice the principles she so vehemently supports, she stepped down and sang an entirely different tune. Instead of supporting the employee that her superior had allegedly molested, she attempted to suppress the matter to the best of her ability.

Even progressive, independent women sometimes foster regressive views. On my first weekend back from college, a friend asked me what projects I was working on that semester. On the very mention of ‘Rape Law in India’ she said, “That law should be very strict, and allow no flexibility to the victim! Women misuse such laws all the time.” On informing one of my school teachers that I was undertaking an internship with a women’s rights firm, she promptly responded, “Go where the money is; all women want to do is hire expensive lawyers and extract services for free, they never want to pay.” The impact of already poorly implemented legislations on curbing crimes against women gets further limited if women themselves are possessed with such views. Progressive women are also found to be recalcitrant when it comes to sharing experiences of harassment. They are reluctant to even file a complaint.

Educational Institutions sometimes, inadvertently or otherwise, foster a divide between males and females. There exist “Co-Ed” schools with walls separating the spaces to be occupied by boys and girls. Some colleges prohibit girls from leaving their hostel or entering some parts of the college wearing shorts, or certain kinds of ‘revealing’ clothes, while no such restriction is imposed on the male students.  “If you can’t wear this to your workplace, you can’t wear it to college,” it seems.

Why is gender-based sex selection and child marriage still widespread? Why are the streets unsafe for women at night? Why are women gawked and ogled at, eve-teased and raped? Why do we need a male companion to provide validation to our existence, and ‘protect’ us? Because India is No Place for Women. I had shamefully restricted knowledge about the challenges to women’s rights during my school years, and I’ve only just scratched the surface. This post isn’t an attempt to pin blame or condemn the male species in any way. It’s just me, expressing what I’ve come to believe in, hoping to contribute to transforming India from ‘No Place for Women’ to a ‘Safe Place for Women’.

References:

[1] National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs Website, Ncrb.gov.in, (2015). Welcome to National Crime Records Bureau. [online] Available at: http://ncrb.gov.in/ [Accessed 16 Jan. 2015].

[2] SRS Statistical Report 2012

[3] http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/at-240-million-india-has-a-third-of-child-marriages-in-the-world/article1-1251139.aspx

[4] “Rape Laws in India”- Dipa Dubey

[5] “Seeing like a Feminist”- Nivedita Menon

Change.

I’m writing after a really long time! So here goes…

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Twenty fourteen was an amazing year, probably the best yet. From topping my board exams to getting accepted into my dream colleges to meeting some of the most brilliant people ever, this year was better than I ever expected, or dared hope.

I have changed. I can feel the impact of every new experience on my personality, and I can feel myself changing. I have never been the kind of person who has dealt with change very well and I feel like every time I encounter it, I leave a piece of myself behind, for better or for worse, and in twenty fourteen, I did both.

During the last two years of my school life, the ‘recurring advice’ prize went to: “Study now, college is a chill place, you won’t have to study at all. You can do whatever you like there.” Bullshit. While the latter part of that sentence might be true, the former is a lie I wish I hadn’t fallen for. I relaxed in the two months before college like never before. Movie marathons, reading and chilling with friends are the only things I remember from that period. And then, on the 4th of August, I was thrust into the big bad world of law school, where landing a job with that Magic Circle firm or winning that international moot were all people seemed to care about. Or so I had heard.

It is more than true that life in law school brings with it very, very high pressure. Exams, endless submissions and (missed) deadlines hardly leave any breathing room. Even co-curriculars like mooting activities take up more time than I care to admit.  But I will happily concede that going there was a good decision. Now that first semester is over, I can look back at the six months I’ve survived there; replay all the memories I’ve gathered, and be thankful for the friendships I’ve forged.

To be very honest, in my first week, I felt like an uneducated dummy that didn’t have an opinion about anything. I like to think of myself as social, and I love talking to people, but for the first time, I felt like I had nothing to contribute to the narrative. Left and right wing politics, feminism were topics that I had never considered giving any thought to earlier. Amidst these self-deprecatory feelings, one of my batch-mates telling me about how she was a “pro-feminist, pro-leftist” left me utterly baffled and feeling completely out of place. A classmate quitting because she found the course too hard wasn’t much of a confidence boost either.

But as time passed and we all learnt to manage our time and balance the never-ending History readings with general time-pass (or so we told ourselves), we started branching out and trying to expand our knowledge base. Almost all of us picked other activities we were interested in; the shining stars picked mooting and debating while lesser mortals like myself settled for helping organize competitions and engaging in general research.

My very first attempt at mooting was rather abysmal, which culminated in me almost bursting into tears before the judges. Let’s not get into the embarrassing details. Although I have promised myself that I will get over my irrational fear of speaking my mind in front of authority, it’s very weird. Pit me against any one of my classmates and I’ll successfully argue my point, but in front of professors and judges… bam! I could be doing a FeviCol ad.

Don’t get me wrong, I was a pretty decent speaker in school, but I’ve never been any good at extempore debating. Actually, I’ve always been afraid to try. One of my batch-mates in college has even pointed out how my hard work on paper wouldn’t actually translate into anything if I can’t put my point across when I’m speaking; it’s good advice that I’m going to hold on to.

Eventually, I gained some confidence in myself and my abilities. I found that organizing things is something I’m comfortable with, and accordingly enrolled myself in appropriate activities.  Good choice, I’m learning so much, and gaining new skills. Research for some of my project submissions also helped me develop opinions about things like patriarchy in Indian society, crimes against women, the right to die etc.

“Friends don’t last in law school” is one of the first things our seniors told us, but I’m the ’too close, too fast’ kind so initially, I disregarded that. Now I find that I’ve drifted away from people I was very close to in the beginning. I’ve also become close to new people that I have more in common with. I suppose it’s a cycle, and one can never be sure when, or where, it’ll end. Through this, it’s vital to have a couple of people you can count on, and I think it’s safe to say that I’ve found mine.

Hostel life is a dish best self-served. I had heard so many stories about it, but my own experience has been so different, and enriching. Being a single (girl) child, I’ve always led an excessively protected life. I was very keen on showing my parents what I was capable of if they would give me a little space, but I was also scared out of my mind at the thought of having to manage on my own. I think I’ve become more independent, conduct myself a little better than before, and my parents have definitely begun trusting me more as well. Though I find that any attempt at a logical argument with them still fails; some things never change, huh?

The best part of my college life yet is, without a doubt, the vast medley of people I’ve interacted with. Everyone hails from diverse backgrounds and our opinions are often poles apart. Standing in front of the Amul shop, talking about third-wave feminism and the exclusive, aggressive approach feminists sometimes adopt rather than an inclusive, explanatory one (“How are we supposed to have an opinion about something if you don’t fucking tell us what it is!” one friend exclaims); this is something I would never have imagined myself engaging in six months ago. In school, I was the kid with the good grades, and that is what people have always associated me with. Now, it feels nice to be recognized and appreciated for who I am, and not only for the kind of grades I manage to get.

I’ve learnt to respect others’ opinions even if I don’t necessarily agree with them. I’m learning to handle criticism better, and I’ve got accustomed to the fact that that is something I’ll be getting a lot here. I’ve learnt that my grade-sheet is important, but it certainly isn’t the only thing worth focusing on. I’ve learnt to let things go, though I’m yet to discover if that’s as good as it sounds.

Yes, life here is hard. Yes, exams suck. Yes, it hurts to lose people you once cared about. But through all this, having the right people around you makes life much easier. Staying out of the hostel after curfew eating cheap Punjabi-Chinese food in the Vice-Chancellor’s garden while gazing at the stars one very rarely sees, travelling in the metro (without parental supervision, finally), going to India Gate at night with two of your closest friends and hogging mango-duet ice-cream, sitting in Central Park after exams polishing desserts out of Wengers’ boxes, emptying a bottle of beer in front of the VC’s residence, getting caught eating outside after curfew, making ‘crossing the border’ jokes about classmates… the list is endless. I’m currently interning at a women’s rights firm, doing legal research and designing social media campaigns, and I’m absolutely loving it.

I have come out of first semester stronger and more confident than I thought I would be. These have been my six months of self-discovery, and I’m looking forward to many more in the five years to come.

One semester down, nine to go.

Come at me.

Linkin Park: Living Things

26th June was probably the most awaited day for me in 2012. Linkin Park’s fifth studio album, Living Things, was finally out and I couldn’t wait to listen to it. I was a bit disappointed after A Thousand Suns and was really looking forward to that typical Linkin Park flavour with the bold rap, the fearless, unrestricted vocals and instrumental that I had missed. So even though this album is in sync with the latest electronic textures, the guitar, bass and those epic drums are back with a bang!

Thumbs Up:


All the songs have strong, solid melodies, with each and every chorus commanding you to join in.

Mike Shinoda carries off the rap brilliantly. Comparitively, he has a much more significant and impactful role in this album and the rap, as usual, makes you want to join in. As compared to A Thousand Suns, which disappointed fans with a far-fetched and incomprehensible theme, the theme and lyrics of Living Things are much more personal. The rap-rock interplay is commendable and the feel of the album reminds me of the earth-shattering 2007 release, Minutes to Midnight. The percussion and synth is reminiscent of Hybrid Theory. The record is essentially, a good combination of different beats and tempo.


“If you can cut down on the number of pieces of gear, you can create a signature sound for the record.” -Mike Shinoda. The songs are clean, straight forward and adhere to a certain genre or idea.


Thumbs down:


The individual tracks and even the album as a whole is very short. With just about 36 minutes of music, there are four tracks under 3 minutes and not a single songs makes it to the 4 minute mark. Us fans need our regular dose, don’t we! Some songs don’t express their ideas clearly enough. For example, ‘Victimised’ wraps up in less than 2 minutes and definitely needs more room to breathe. The close of some tracks is abrupt and just as you begin to get the feel of the song, it ends. 


My favourite songs in the record have to be ‘I’ll be gone’ and ‘Castle of Glass’, with their compelling songwriting and addictive drum beats. All in all, Living Things is a great album and is like redemption to Linkin Park fans after their previous album. It builds on futuristic sounds while remaining true to the band’s rock roots. 


“The band’s most powerful (material) since its megahit 2000 debut.” -Rolling Stone

Beginners’ Guide to Camping

The steadily increasing hoo-haa about camping these days left me curious to explore a summer camp for myself. I generally am the adventurous kind and couldn’t get over the thought of indulging myself in adventure sports for ten days days straight. So bearing this in mind, I got my parents to put my name down for the Inme expedition at Tons, Uttarakhand. After the six- hour train journey to Dehradun and then the arduous nine- hour bus journey, I was hoping and praying that my experience would be worth it. Turns out, it exceeded my expectations in every way imaginable.

The camp lies nestled between a lush green pine forest and the idyllic Tons river. There is a very rocky stretch to be covered and a bridge to be crossed to reach it.

Top tip number 1: Always, always carry a rucksack to camp. As I watched others struggling to drag their strollers and suitcases, of sorts, I felt rather proud of myself on having had the sense to carry a backpack 😉

After we were allotted our tents, we ate our lunch. As expected, we had to wash our own utensils.

Top tip number 2: Try not to balance your plate in one hand when rinsing it. It sprays you with muddy, foodie water if it falls.

The next day, we left early for our activities. My first sport was rafting, which i had done thrice before, and being the water-baby that I am, I was thrilled to be near the water again. The instructors were friendly and fortunately, my raft had fun people!

Top tip number 3: There is always an instructor in a kayak, beside the rafts, for ‘rescue’ purposes. Ironically, his mission in life seems to be to pull people into the water for which, ice- cold is a grave understatement. So, jump in before he pulls you or lock your feet in the cross line tight. If you’re insanely elastic, you might survive the pull!

On the first day of rafting, there is a part of the river that provides for cliff jumping.

Top tip number 4: Just go for it! Cliff jumping was something I was really looking forward to and I couldn’t believe that most of the people were just sitting around in their rafts waiting for us lunatics to finish jumping. I completed 5 jumps at that time and another 15 later in the day! High score 😉

On day 3, we were supposed to face a huge, grade 4+ rapid and as luck would have it, the water level was at an unprecedented high.

Top tip number 5: While paddling in your raft, try not to smash the paddle in someone’s face despite the adrenalin rush. It provides for a perfect imbroglio 😛

The next three days were spent biking. It was one an astounding experience and is recommended for all adventure lovers. Tons valley gives one of the best mountain biking stretches in the country. The steep uphills are indeed tiring but the high-speed downhills with the wind racing across your face and the riveting scenery make up for that.

Top tip number 6: Try to stay well in front or way behind the other bikers if you enjoy going fast. Yeah I know that sounds weird but then again, your entire downhill could be ruined by that one tortoise in the front.

Top tip number 7: Have a couple of fingers on the brakes while going downhill. Control your speed or you could end up with your face in a rock.. Ouch!!

The last day of camp was when we were made to play ‘Helter- Skelter’. This was the time for us to go completely nuts (not that we had been doing anything else over the rest of the trip!) with forming teams, thinking of catchy names and playing the amazing team games.

Top tip number 8: Make your team name as whacky and unusual as possible. Ours was ‘Kaddu ke Chilke’! Yeah as I said, whacky. It’ll fetch you extra points!

Top tip number 9: Play lots of mafia at camp! Multi-multi player game enhances your bluffing skills! 😛

All in all, Inme was an unforgettable experience. Even though we missed our train on the way back, the 21 hour bus journey gave all of us a chance to get to know all the amazing people we had met. And hey, it’s always better to be sleep and music deprived in a group 😉

Top tip number 10: Go back to camp every year!  

A trip down memory lane: Europe’11

The very thought of visiting three countries one after the other was enough to make me excited and restless. I was looking forward to the scenic splendour of Switzerland, the glamour and romance of Paris and the shopping in London.  The constant sparkle in my eyes, the sound of carefree laughter and the feeling that I could hug the whole world, that’s what my trip to Europe felt like.

Day 1

Take off! The second we landed in Zurich, Switzerland, I knew that I would enjoy every moment of the four days there. The adventure-filled mountains, idyllic lakes, exciting towns and panoramic landscapes make up the four worlds that Switzerland is home to, all waiting to be discovered. We began by visiting the Rhine falls and then, Lake Zurich. We just couldn’t get enough pictures! We drove through the Bahnofstrassse, the most famous shopping avenue of Switzerland and then headed for… dinner! At 7.30 and in broad daylight! Yeah, that’s going to take some getting used to.

Day 2

Beguiled by the bright sunlight, we began the second day of our trip. But little did we know what was in store for us at the top of Mount Titlis, 3020 m above the ground. The 45 minute cable car ride to the top of the peak was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and the scenic beauty of the snow-clad peaks and glaciers was absolutely enthralling. I was a little taken aback to find huge posters of DDLJ fluttering in the gale but hey, the place became popular after all the movies Yash Chopra had shot there!

Day 3

This was probably the most adventurous day in the trip because it was the day that we visited Europe’s tallest peak, Jungfraujoch, 3454 m above ground level. We boarded a 100-year old cog-wheel train from a small town called Lauterbrunnen which took us to the land of eternal snow in about an hour and fifteen minutes. After a quick lunch, we had enough time to explore the glacier cave and indulge in adventure sports. In the afternoon, we visited Interlaken, a charming city nestled between two lakes and the Bernese Oberland Mountains.

Day 4

On to the world’s fashion capital! During the city tour, I was amazed by the monuments with their elaborate sandstone architecture and intricate carvings and inscriptions. We saw the Arc de triomphe, La Bastille, Square de la concorde and the opera house.  The nominees for the highlight of the day were; the visit to the third level of the Eiffel tower with a view of the entire city (keeping aside the endless lines, long waits and excessive PDA :P),  the cruise on River Seine with views of the Saint Paul’s Cathedral and Notre Dame, and the shopping on the Champs Elysees.

Day 5

We went for a guided tour to the Musee du Louvre, where we saw the controversial yet beautiful and incomparable Mona Lisa as well as the Egyptian and Greek sections, with a local French guide. I was fascinated with the architecture and planning of the Versailles Palace with its huge rooms, fountains and gardens. In the evening, we got a sense of the culture and glamour of Paris with the Lido Show.

Day 6

Disneyland! This was the part of the trip I had been looking forward to the most.  We spent an entire day in EuroDisney enjoying the awesome rides, Space Mountain being the best, and watching the Disney parade. It felt great to scream like a small kid again! I was surprised to know that Disneyland is the most visited place in France and gets more visitors than the Eiffel Tower every year. PS: I still haven’t got used to the dinner in the sunlight L

Day 7

Onto UK, our final country! We took Europe’s fastest train, the EuroStar from Paris to London which zips past the English channel in 2 ½ hours. We began experiencing London with the Madame Tussaud’s wax museum where we even saw ‘Marvel Superheroes’ in 4D.  Apart from the horrible replicas of Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai, the other wax sculptures like those of Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp were great and the craftsmanship was commendable. We then proceeded to the London Eye 450 ft above the river Thames, which gave us a view of the entire city with yet another another 4D movie to go with it.

Day 8

On the city tour we saw all the major landmarks of London including the Trafalgar Square (minus the pigeons), Piccadilly Arcade and the London Bridge. We even admired the guts of the soldiers wearing thick red jackets and bear-skin hats in 30 degree Celsius while watching the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. After spending an entire evening shopping in the non-AC stores on Oxford Street, we decided to take the Tube back to our hotel, where we were to pack for our departure the very next day.

The feeling of going back seemed to be weighing on my heart. Even though I knew that this odyssey had to end, I didn’t want, or for that matter, even expect it to happen so soon. Also, I had failed to memorise a poem for school that I had thoughtfully carried along with me and so, the dread of returning increased. And with it, came a longing to stay back forever…