Month: March 2021

My time in the UK – Part 3


Spring turned to summer soon after we moved into our rented flat in North London. If memory serves me right, it was, by and large, a warm, sunny summer. We decided to see some of the sights around London on a short road-trip.

I hired a car from close to our flat in North Finchley. Our first destination was Stonehenge. We reached Stonehenge in the late afternoon and were able to enjoy the place in the late afternoon sunshine, with hardly any tourists around. We did not spend too much time there, but there was something special about the place. We also visited Avebury, site of the largest megalithic stone circle in the world.

I do not recollect where we stayed that first night, but I do remember that it was the night that Amy Winehouse sadly died. The place was a lovely English cottage bed and breakfast. We enjoyed a relaxing stay at this place before making our way to Bath.

Roman baths, Bath

Bath was the highlight of our trip. The Roman ruins were stunning and atmospheric. In addition, the small size of the town and it’s architecture made it a beautiful town to just walk around in. We would have loved to spend an additional day there, but unfortunately, we had already made reservations at our next halt.

We then headed to the Cotswolds region where we halted at the charming village of Chipping Campden. The place was quiet and relaxed, but we were missing Bath, which took away some of the charm of the stay.

We were headed back to London the next day. The drive took us through Oxford, but we did not stop to see the place. I always thought I would be back to visit it one day, but that has not happened (so far!).

Monday Reads – 29/03

Photo by Jyoti Singh on Unsplash

A mix of articles across business, equality and travel make up this week’s list. And Happy Holi!

The Sonic (Entrepreneurship) Boom – Is this post-pandemic period going to be one of history’s most productive eras? Professor Scott Galloway reckons that this is the best time to start a business in over a decade. Read this article to find out why.

Nazara’s 22-year survival journey to $80 million gaming IPO – A fascinating article on how one of India’s oldest tech ‘start-ups’ navigated two near-death experiences and is now getting ready to list on the stock exchange.

John Stuart Mill’s Philosophy of Equality – ‘Sometimes in the debates about how to improve equality in our society, the reason why we should desire equality gets lost. In his classic text The Subjection of Women, John Stuart Mill explains why equality is critical for solving the world’s problems—because it allows everyone to decide how they can best contribute to society.

This ancient city is the perfume capital of India – There is so much to see and experience in India – it’s truly mind-boggling. This article talks about a town in the heartland of the Indian Gangetic Plains and it’s history of perfumery.

My time in the UK – Part 2

We moved into our rented flat in North Finchley in May of 2011. The flat was a medium-sized two-bedroom unit within a low-rise brick unit of flats. It was located on the ground floor and had a separate entrance through the kitchen. The place was tastefully done and perfect for a small family.

The place was about a 7 minute walk from the local high street which had pretty much all the shops one would need to frequent. The public bus terminus was a 12 minute walk while the metro stop was about 15 minutes away (it was on the other side of the high street from where we were located). It was a bit of a commute to my office (around 45 minutes) but that was an improvement over my previous commutes in Sydney and Mumbai, so I was not complaining!

May was a great time of the year to begin our new innings in London. The trees were by now all green, the weather was steadily getting warmer and the days longer. Work was also very busy, and after a couple of months, we decided to take a small road trip which I will write about later.

Finally, a note on the shops that we used to visit. For groceries and other essentials, our primary port of call was Sainsbury’s. We also had options at either end nearby – Aldi when we wanted to be more budget conscious and Waitrose for the occasional splurge! A special note for the ready-to-eat pizzas and other items we found at Waitrose – these were delicious, and far better than any we had seen elsewhere. There was a fashion store with good quality reasonably prized clothes for the entire family, Argos for domestic products as well as charity shops from where I added to my CD collection. There was an Indian store manned by people of Indian (Gujarati) origin where we could find delicious Indian and Gujarati food items. With a few cafes and restaurants nearby, the place was pretty much self-sufficient.

My time in the UK – Part 1

I was recently talking with some people in the UK, and it suddenly struck me that it was almost exactly a decade ago when we (my wife and I) had moved to the UK. It was an interesting phase of our lives. I had never written about my time in the UK before, so I thought of jotting down some of my thoughts from our time there before they become an even more distant memory.

We had been living in Sydney, Australia for over 2 years before we decided to make the move to the UK. I was keen to live and work in Europe (and UK was very much part of Europe then, before Brexit). As it happened, my application for a work-visa was approved and we decided to move. After leaving Australia, we took a 3 week driving holiday in New Zealand and then spent a few weeks in our hometown of Mumbai. So it was quite a shock to the system when we finally arrived in grey, cold and wet England towards the end of winter.

We were met at the airport by a close friend of my wife with whom we were to spend the first few weeks of our time in the UK while I found a job and we found a place to stay. Their place was in Essex, near Southend-on-Sea. It was great staying with friends as it definitely eased the transition into a new country.

Some of the memories from our time at Essex included visiting Southend-on-Sea as well as visiting some of the parks in the area and seeing the first shoots of daffodil poke out from the earth, heralding spring. Soon, the days started getting longer, brighter and warmer; it was fascinating to see the seasons change.

Shortly after landing in the UK, I landed a job in Central London. It was a long commute from Essex, but a pleasant one. By then, we had started looking for our own place to stay, and we found a place that we liked in North Finchley, London and moved in a few days later.

Monday Reads – 22/03


This week’s articles focus on topics that I am interested in – history / architecture, food and bird-watching. Happy reading!

The bizarre link between bird migration and quantum physics – Quantum physics is a topic that I got interested in a few years after leaving University. It still interests me, but bird-watching is a hobby that I pursue far more seriously. This article brings these two very different topics together in an attempt to explain one of the more profound mysteries of nature.

India’s Oldest Surviving Temples – Cultural heritage is a topic that I have recently got into. And I am fortunate to be living in a country where ancient heritage is all around us. I was fascinated by reading this article, especially as most of the oldest temples in India are located in small towns and villages across the country.

The Spice Route – Another aspect of living in India that’s so fascinating is the food – the diversity, the taste and, of course, the spices. This article explores the use of spices in different parts of the world.

South Indian Filter Coffee Is Like No Coffee You’ve Had Before – Regular readers of my blog would have likely guessed by now that I am coffee lover. Living abroad, my coffee of choice used to be a cappuccino (full cream milk, no sugar). After coming back to India, I realised that, while there is a growing coffee culture here, tastes differ and I was struggling to find a decent cappuccino. It was during these times of struggle that I rediscovered South Indian filter coffee. Now, brewing that decoction has become a daily routine that I look forward to!