It has been a little more than 4 months since I have moved to London, and I’ve had a glorious experience so far.
I’ve moved cities before — Mumbai – Bangalore – Mumbai – London — and like all great cities, this one has a different charm to it that makes me love it in its own unique way. In these 4 months, I have explored as much of the city as I possibly can, and here are my experiences…
So without further ado, here are the top 10 ways in which London is different from Mumbai:
10: The Weather
Any conversation about London cannot begin without the mention of the weather. Everyone is talking about it and it is almost always used as an ice-breaker! The rains in London are a steady mist, mixed with the occasional downpour. Everyone I have spoken to, tell me this is pretty much how it is throughout the year. While some people might have a problem with that, I absolutely love this weather. I must confess that I have no idea how it will be like in December, so more updates then!
<Broad_generalisation> While pretty much everyone here complains about the weather </Broad_generalisation>, did you know that annual precipitation is higher in New York than it is in London? Ha!
09: The scenery
Absolutely nothing prepares you for the stark difference in scenery between Mumbai and London. Save for Nariman Point and a few other places, there are not too many lung spaces in Mumbai. London is a polar opposite. I’m absolutely gobsmacked by the beauty of the place. The urban-explorer monkey in my head goes *clap-clap-clap* every time I head out on one of my long walks.
While the walk on Marine Lines can be rejuvenating, it is short. In London you can walk along the Thames for miles and miles! That said, each place has its own charm.
08: The British Words & Phrases
When you move to London, something very peculiar happens. Your friends and acquaintances start using British words and phrases with you. All of a sudden, you see an increase in the usage of words/phrases such as cheers, God save the Queen, good lad, right then, I say, etc.
I understand that the British have their vernacular down pat, but when you start noticing folks you have known for years use them, it does sound a bit fishy!
07: Nothing is ‘spicy’, everything is ‘hot’
It is true. If you tell someone here that a food dish is spicy, they won’t understand. Here, ‘hot’ is interchangeably used for ‘spice’. I have no idea what will happen when I warn someone about a scalding hot plate of food. That will be fun.
06: High-fives Are Uncommon
I hate to admit it, but on more than one occasion, I’ve been left hanging. Quite a few people here just don’t get high-fives and in the end you end up with one hand awkwardly in the air for some weird reason.
I’ve stopped giving high-fives. Onto the next point then, no. five!
05: Plan Weekends 2 Weeks in Advance
In London, planning is EVERYTHING. No one will meet you spontaneously. Everything is planned weeks and weeks in advance. I actually bought Fantastical, so I can easily manage my calendar!! Nobody wants to meet for a quick, unplanned coffee or ice-cream. Your experience may vary.
04: Chopped Veggies
Let’s be honest here, while chopped veggies are available in Mumbai, most of us are not rich enough to buy them from places like Nature’s Basket! In London, the chopped veggies are actually cheaper than their organic counterparts. Every week, my dreams of cutting onions as fast as Gordon Ramsay are dying a slow painful death.
03: The Ales
Nothing, and I mean absolutely N-O-T-H-I-N-G compares to the sheer variety and quality of Ales available in London vis-a-vis Mumbai. You’ll just have to believe me on this one. I have no interest in writing a novel about it.
I’ve been an absolute Google Maps devout from the time the app was launched. My faith has been unwavering, even when it has taken me down shady alleyways, promised that I could take a car down a road that was too narrow, and in one instance asked me go down a path when no road existed! I have persevered. The experience has been great and with every incremental update, my relationship with Google Maps has become stronger.
Then, I laid my eyes on CityMapper. It was an ex-boss (my very first boss, actually) who introduced me to her. I had to admit the real-time updates on the next bus/train were pretty sweet. Add to that its ability to calculate fare costs across multiple travel routes and you have a winner.
I do go back to Google Maps from time to time, but now, I primarily use CityMapper for all my urban exploring needs! I hope they launch the app for Mumbai soon!
By far, the most biggest difference I have seen between London and Mumbai is the apologetic nature of Londoners. They are incessantly apologising for everything. Sometimes, for the most banal reasons. Am sure there are different ways of being polite. Much to my chagrin, I find myself apologising needlessly too these days. Sometimes, an old dog can learn new tricks.
BONUS: FUNNY SIGNS ACROSS LONDON
Too many of them! I’ll let the pictures do the talking. All from my Instagram account (I’m actually tired of typing now):