Friday, October 01, 2010

Being A Londoner: Humanity and Hyde Park

There is one thing about being in London: You can't call the difference between freedom and slavery. Like, not being able to tell whether the glossy tabloids mark the freedom of opinion or the complete subjugation of heart, whether it gives or deprives us of opinion. It is a bit like not knowing whether it is pleasure or pain we get catching the morning 7:45 train to come to office; it gives us the daily bread, but not the way the Lord would have liked (if he was kind).

For me, the struggle is many dimensional - considering that the reason why I want to stay in London is to keep my freedom. To keep reinventing myself, to be the king of fresh beginnings, to pursue my dreams as they come without having to bother about what people will say. There is whole web of things around money: After doing a few years (as in Jail), it dawns on you that even the money can be equally liberating and subjugating.

The particular place I like about London is Hyde Park. Indeed, speakers' corner is less interesting now, as we live in a society of consensus, of the democratic centre. This is what the democracy has done: Taken the sheen out of the Speakers' Corner. Any opinion which does not agree with the basic premises of urban slavery are considered to be fringe madness. We have multiplicity of parties but ridiculously narrow range of opinions.

Hyde Park demonstrates some of the other human freedom. Here, for example, lover couples try to explore the limits of public view and privacy, often rather outrageously to challenge the boring perceptions of propriety. I guess the sexual love is one area exempt from the conformity requirements of our time: The sexual revolution is the only revolution which has truly happened. Hyde Park is, that way, a museum of humanity, whether the Speakers Corner is dead or not.

So, that's London: An endless stream of humanity overground and underground, round the clock, pushed by the sheer material pressures of existence. But, within this, the odd love, a stolen moment in the British museum, a living moment frozen in mobile camera, odd infatuation getting better of formulaic love, past and present jostling together - four weathers a day.

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