Friday, November 30, 2007

The Candles

The candles burnt slowly, painstakingly slowly, as if they were trying to slow time down, trying to tell her something.

The illumination in the darkness seemed eerie, almost. She never really feared the dark, but she didn’t like it either.

The wax bubbled down. She touched it lightly, burnt herself mildly, felt strangely comforted.

She looked up and said, ‘The séance is over.’


They say that animosity breeds animosity.

He didn’t think so, obviously.

Stalking her every step.

Even though she’d made it clear

That she hated him.

8 years later, the stalking was less

The animosity more.

Finally he got tired of it – he grew


As he looked at her window one last time

She blew a kiss


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

London or New York: or London AND New York?

I just got back from a whirlwind trip to London (I was visiting for the first time after I graduated there 5 years ago), and apart from the obvious nostalgia attack, was struck by the differences - and similarities - between London and New York. Here are a few of my thoughts:

- London is way more expensive than New York. Consider public transport. A one-way ride on the tube within Zone 1 only is GBP 4.00 (roughly US$8). One way. Compare that with New York's one-way fare of $2.00 (less than GBP 1.00) for travel as far as you like on the subway. I mean you can get on at the first stop and off an hour and a half later on the last stop of any subway train, and your fare is just $2.00. Whereas in London, your fare goes up exponentially as you travel further away from Zone 1, if your point of origin is Zone 1. If you live outside Zone 1 and travel from, say, Zone 3 to Zone 1, your fare will be more than travel from Zone 3 to Zone 4, for example. Plus, London charges you when you get out of a tube station as well, whereas in New York you just walk out - payment is only when you enter. I was trying to figure out the logic of this and the husband said it may be because people jump the barrier on their way in, so the authorities want to make sure they pay on their way out. That makes no sense to me because someone who jumps on the way in can do the same on the way out and be none the wiser for it, if you know what I mean. Of course, there are bobbies (British policemen) at every station and chances are no one will really be able to get away with something like that!!!

- London pubs close at 12 midnight and New York bars are open till the wee hours, which gives you way more options to go out in New York than London. Pretty much. Apparently London bars are allowed to stay open but they don't serve drinks after 12 and after my experience in one of those where we were shooed out and the doors shut soon after 12, I wondered why they were allowed to stay open if they didn't want to anyway. Of course, one has the option to go to other, more expensive (of course) bars, like the one in the Hilton. Which we did. But we were shooed out of there at 2 AM as well. That bar was dead at 1 AM and closed at 2...but apparently it is better on weekends when there is a crowd that stays till 4 AM....or so we were told. Of course I'm not even going to go into the price of drinks in London compared to New York. My advice to heavy-duty drinkers is to either get rich if you aren't already, if you want to go out in London, and if you're not, just buy some bottles and get friends to come home. Your eyes won't pop out of their sockets when you wake up the next morning and look at last night's bill, at the very least!!!!!

- London pisses down rain almost every day of the year. Of course anyone who's lived in London for even 2 days should know this by now. When I say 'piss', I mean piss. It's not heavy, and neither is it a typical drizzle which stops soon enough. It just - well - pisses down continuously. Like some lurking stalker who refuses to stop - ermmm - stalking. No anger, tantrums, nothing. Just complacent pissing down from the skies. It's not even heavy enough to warrant carrying an umbrella, in my opinion, which is all the more irritating!!

- People have less manners in London than New York. It was not uncommon to see people pushing and shoving to get in the tube, EVEN BEFORE PASSENGERS WERE ALLOWED TO DISEMBARK at the station.

- One advantage that the London tube stations have compared to New York's subway stations is that with the exception of the L train in New York, no other station shows the wait time for your next train. In London, as soon as you get there you can look up and see when your next train is and what stop it is going till. This allows you to plan your journey and makes you less inclined to keep peeping out into the tunnel to see when that shining light will come rolling along, as the husband does at New York subway stations every - oh - 30 seconds or so!!!!

- New York's subway system is 24 hours. London's tube stops at 1 AM, and then you have no choice but to be at the mercy of cab drivers who, obviously again, are not completely inexpensive. Enough said. All the more reason why my advice to get friends home should make even more sense now!!!

- One of my friends from London who has visited New York, called London's Piccadilly Circus a poor man's version of New York's Times Square. I am inclined to agree, but in clear conscience the first time I saw Piccadilly Circus I was as flabbergasted as I was when I saw Times Square for the first time. I realise now that the scales of the 2 cities are completely different, so saying that Piccadilly Circus is smaller than Times Square is obvious but not necessarily a criticism.

- London is more old-world than New York, silly as it sounds. London has less skyscrapers, more old buildings and therefore....perhaps more charm? I'm still deciding though.

- The British accent is way more appealing than the American. Period.

At the end of the day, London and New York are two of the most multicultural metropolises in the world. There were points where if I looked around, I could have been in either city, because Brits, Americans, Chinese, Indians - they are all pretty much in both cities. And any city is what you make of it with your friends and family, after all.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Movie dialogues that make me smile

Jerry Maguire: ........I live in a cynical world. Cynical world. I work in a business full of tough competitors .......I love you. You complete me. And I just....

Dorothy: Shut up. Just shut up. You had me at hello. You. had. me. at. hello.

Tom Cruise as Jerry Maguire and Renee Zellweger as Dorothy Boyd, in Jerry Maguire (1996).