There is a sublime, eternal quality to the weekly break at NITK. The terrible burden of rushing to class by 7.55 a.m. falls off one’s shoulders. The lack of interruption by classes gives free rein to a wide range of possibilities. Of course, it varies in duration: for some it starts on Friday night or even Thursday night, for others it’s restricted to the confines of Saturday morning to nightfall on Sunday. That’s right, we have two full days off, unlike the poor sods at Manipal or the floating wonders in Bangalore.
Man is a sum of his habits. We’re guided and influenced by our habits more than we’d care to admit. Personal hygiene, capacity for hard work and moral integrity are all shaped by deeply ingrained,sometimes even unconscious, habits. Each of us is nothing but a mass of habits. Most of us associate this word with antisocial “bad habits” like smoking or alcoholism. However there are several patterns of behaviour which if cultivated lead to a more productive and fruitful life: being courteous to others, daily exercise, attempting to avoid lies, getting up by 5:30 AM, frugal eating habits and so on.
The United Kingdom offers great opportunities to learn and explore for the energetic tourist. It has exploited its potential for tourism, from London to the suburbs and rural villages,to the hilt. In Oxford, every college was selling souvenirs; one of them was selling milk chocolate too! Tube stations are particularly tourist friendly with prominent, yet not out-of-place, signboards pointing the way to nearby tourist destinations. Within the train itself posters show important tourist spots along the Line. It’s almost as if the Underground administration is assuming many of the commuters will be tourists.
The British are genuinely polite and friendly. Being warm and courteous in every human interaction seems to be drilled into their cultural DNA. Maybe this is because we were so obviously tourists, or maybe not.
This is the final day of our UK trip. As the garden is such an integral part of life in England, I decided to try my hand at some gardening. The house where we ‘re staying has a large garden at the back and also a front porch.
Observant readers may have noticed I’ve skipped Day Nine. Imaginative readers may be wondering what happened on the missing day. Did I slip into a time vortex? Was I kidnapped by aliens?
The truth is far more prosaic and probably boring than any of these. Day Nine was a bit of a rest day. We went to nearby Guildford for a few hours. This is not an indictment against Guildford tourism. It offers plenty of opportunities for tourists but we didn’t want to exert ourselves too much. We went to Guildford Castle which was constructed by William the Conqueror in 1066. We saw Lewis Carrol’s house which he moved into after writing Alice in Wonderland.
Yesterday was also the day of the Brexit referendum. I was very surprised and somewhat shocked to see Leave winning. However the consequences of this may not be as terrifying as envisaged.
Today we went to Oxford. We changed trains once at Reading. The scenery outside the window was wonderfully picturesque.
This is the bus we take everyday to Guildford Station.
The portion of the shop seen on the left is where I buy my papers. Today I decided to try out the Daily Mirror. I found it far more readable than any paper I’d bought till now. Editorial is presented simply and forcefully on the third page itself. There were several interesting articles like how Tom Hiddleston is not a patch on Daniel Craig and can’t come miles near landing the Bond role with his “Where’s my phone?” look.
An interesting aspect of British newspapers, as seen from the front page, is how they’re not afraid of upholding a specific view-point. In this age of information overload, logical opinion pieces are very important.
Mild weather today. Rushed to Lord’s for their guided tour at 11 AM and made it comfortably.