This weekend, I was in London with a friend of mine. We had planned to execute a number of very important tasks. Naturally, in order to accomplish those tasks, we first had to get distracted by food at Portobello Market and then the most amazing luxury gelato in the universe. I don’t think I can ever have mango gelato anywhere else now. It was so perfect, it was perfect.
In our walk from Portobello market to Oxford street, we walked through lovely neighborhoods, located JUST off the main roads. One could hear the insanity of London, in a wonderful muted way. A reminder that the rest of London lies beyond that row of houses, but here, it’s peaceful, elegant and perfect. I found myself revealing my secret ambitions to my friend, and how happy I’d be if I could live in a neighborhood like this. An urban area, in the heart of a city, but somehow shielded from the harried speed and chaos of the city. So one can choose when to interact with the rest of the urban-humanity.
I didn’t photograph the path that really inspired the ‘I want to live here one day’ feeling. It felt too close to heart and I was afraid I’d lose the feeling if I took the photo. Not the photo-taking itself, but taking myself out of the warm moment to do something like photography. It seemed like a very deliberate and surgical act that I didn’t want to attempt for that road. I don’t think I’ll ever go back there. Intentionally. Those few minutes were too good.
This picture was taken right after we had exited that particular street. We were crossing the road and I ran to the center of the convergence to take it. We were going in the opposite direction and I didn’t walk down this one. I didn’t need to. This street is not a lot like ‘The One’; the houses are bigger, the street is wider, the cars are further apart, but it has the same self-assured quiet about it. Nobody drove past, or walked past. The muted noise of the city was still there. The essentials were there.
And now that makes me wonder what ‘the essentials’ were for me. I think it’s mostly about the presence. The place I live must have a presence. Not in the building or flat itself, but in it’s place in the greater fabric of the city. I wonder if I’ll ever have it. But for now, I have the memory and feeling of that road. This road is a sufficient proxy. It’ll do for now.