post wp-admin edit 264781

Those Days in London

La Dolce Vita (sweet life) of a student…

Recently, after a long hiatus, I picked up a PG Wodehouse “Jeeves” Omnibus. PG Wodehouse is the genius behind the much-loved character, Jeeves. Jeeves became so entrenched in the popular imagination, that there was once (before Google) even a search engine named “Ask Jeeves”. Jeeves, a gentleman’s personal gentleman, or rather, a butler, is known for his vast repository of knowledge, and his uncanny ability to craft schemes to help Bertie Wooster out of sticky situations.

As I read the book, I cannot help but become a bit nostalgic about my 3 years in London. I graduated from King’s College London in 2009. I still remember feeling overwhelmed the first time I landed at Heathrow Airport in September 2006. Thankfully, my mother accompanied me to help me transition into student life in a foreign country. We would shop at John Lewis or House of Fraser for cooking items. Marks & Spencer or Zara for clothes and Sainsbury’s for groceries. I was lucky enough to be able to stay with my brother in the heart of the city, a stone’s throw away from Victoria Street Station for my first year.

In the mornings, I would walk along Victoria Street & Westminster Abbey to reach St James’s Park. An urban oasis, St James’s Park provided a sense of calm amidst the chaos of the city. Here, one could watch ducks gliding across the surface of the pond, or simply admire Buckingham Palace from a distance. Shortly after, I would take the Tube to Waterloo Station to attend classes ( I was studying Law). Once classes would get over, I’d walk up the Strand, past the Barristers’ chambers in the Temple area of London to reach the King’s Library. These chambers housed the most dedicated and sharp legal minds in the country. A Barrister is an advocate trained in the art of litigation. The UK is one of the few countries that have bifurcated the legal profession. It is notoriously difficult to become a Barrister in the UK. One must undergo rigorous training in Chambers called a “Pupillage”, which itself is hard to come by. Many students struggle for years and years to secure a Pupillage.

As a curious student, I once attended a hearing in the UK Supreme Court (then known as the House of Lords) in 2007. What struck me most about the legal proceedings was just how steeped in tradition everything was. Before entering the courtroom, barristers, dressed in gowns and wigs, would bow several times before the Judges. Judges could only be referred to as “His” or “Her” Lordship. The British definitely are sticklers for tradition. Take for instance, Oxford or Cambridge. Oxford and Cambridge, or “Oxbrige” as they are commonly referred to, are made up of individual colleges. A student who joins Oxbridge is immediately associated with one of the Colleges, where he/she studies, eats and sleeps. Anyone who has studied or visited these universities would be aware of a rather peculiar rule: you cannot walk on the lawns outside Colleges. Tempting as it may be to walk on the carefully manicured grass – this privilege is only accorded to “Fellows”. These are persons who, according to Cambridge’s own website are “members of the College who have attained high distinction in academic or public life”. Imagine my surprise when my friend, who was studying at Cambridge at the time, berated me for accidentally walking on the lawn!

Now, living in San Francisco, it is quite the opposite of tradition. Here, tradition goes out the window. There are no rules – you make new ones. I must say however, that in some respects, tradition can also be quite charming. For instance, the English tradition of Afternoon Tea. Now that is a tradition I’m sure many of us foodies enjoy!

 

 

Veerangna

I’m Veerangna, and I currently live in sunny California with my husband.  My parents are Indians living in Singapore, and that’s where my brother and I grew up.  After studying Law at King’s College London, I spent a few years working in law firms in Singapore before moving to San Jose.  For fun,I am learning to play the Piano, and have recently developed an interest in hiking.  My new appreciation for nature has helped me become a calmer person – I do believe in the healing power of Trees!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ubuntu

I Am Because You Are

Have you come across the African word “Ubuntu”, which translates to “I am because you are?” The African Journal of Social Work gives it a fuller definition: Ubuntu – A collection of values and practices that people of Africa or African origin view as making people authentic human beings.
man pointing at another man

Recipe for Managing Conflict

When was the last time you disagreed and argued with someone over something? Do you remember the unpleasant feeling and how draining it was? It is because, being social creatures, by nature, we loathe conflicts. Often, conflict starts with frustration. Frustration can happen when we least expect it, and it arises when things are not…
Suzhou gardens TCg March 2022 newsletter

Window Frames of Your Mind

Have you been to Shanghai and visited the famous classical gardens in Suzhou? If so, have you noted the different styles between the Chinese versus the English and French gardens? Besides the usual flowers and trees in every landscaped garden, the classical Chinese gardens feature rocks, ponds, pavilions, walkways joining different halls and towers in…
TCG 2022 February Newsletter - Tigger

What Tiggers Do Best

My very dear friend who grew up loving Winnie-the-Pooh once gave me a Tigger figurine, and it now sits on the shelf next to my work table. Since it is the year of Tiger, I thought to share with you this one and only one “Tigger” in the Hundred Acre Wood that has the audacity…
2022 January TCG newsletter tablet, books

My Diary, My Life Story

Each year, despite everything going electronic and online, I will still go out and get a diary/planner in Dec as part of my new year ritual. Last week, when I opened my new 2022 diary, I found a pleasant surprise, a lovely note inserted in its cover. Let me share the extract of the note…
Christmas bonsai plant

Que Sera, Sera

While “uncertainties” is not the favourite word for anyone, it is a fact of life. With so many festivals despite the chilly winter, perhaps our ancestors are trying to pass down some wisdom to us: to appreciate life as it gives and make the best of it as we can.
TCG social media

The Human Library: Real People With Real Stories

Before the internet, social media, and mobile devices took over our world, many of us spent our growing up days frequenting the libraries in search of knowledge. I love going to the libraries, so much so that I even volunteered to be a school librarian during my teenage years. A library to me is the…