Only fifteen days now until I leave for America again. I will once again be travelling on the Hare Krishna Youth Bus Tour for eight weeks, criss crossing North America, assisting with festivals in over thirty cities and having plenty of adventures along the way!I had a wonderful time last year – it really changed me quite dramatically, dissolving some of the shyness and inhibition, that I felt had characterised me for a long time. Living with forty people on a bus for two months is an intense experience, and the relationships formed are priceless. What to speak of the satisfying feeling that comes from performing service as a team, in countless temples, from Toronto to LA. But I’ll really miss home too. This year, (unlike last year when a small group came from England) I will be going on my own…oh well, onwards and upwards.
I had a really nice day on Monday. I went into Central London with some of my best friends and we visited the V&A Museum.
I love the V&A – it’s an art and design museum but the range of artifacts housed there is quite amazing. There are all different departments, arranged by country and culture, and also those arranged by artistic medium (e.g. silverware, ironwork, marble sculpture). You can lose yourself for hours, just exploring the warren of corridors and staircases. Art is everywhere you look, from floor-
It’s always amazing and inspiring to look at these works of incredible craftsmanship, and imagine the worlds that surrounded them. Particularly in the South Asia department, looking at the exquisite sculptures, frozen yet animated;
or the intricately strung necklaces, heavy with precious stones – I find I can catch a glimpse into the opulence that once pervaded ancient India. I remember reading in the Mahabharata that someone had an average army which included 400 elephants – I can’t even imagine that many elephants in one place, at one time!
After the museum I made a quick stop at the temple in Soho, home of their beautiful Lordships Sri Sri Radha Londonisvara (the Lords of London).
photos by Sanatan
I grabbed some lunch at Govinda’s and ran down Tottenham Court Road to catch the tube to Waterloo. I waited to meet my mum outside the Royal Festival Hall, on the Southbank. The air was so balmy and the lowering sun glanced off the water and the glass of the building – I wish all days in London could be so beautiful.
A little later I went into the Queen Elizabeth Hall to watch Anoushka Shankar in concert.
She was playing her sitar with a group of amazing musicians – piano, flute, tabla and drumkit. It was such a great concert. The acoustics of the hall translated the sparkling sounds of the sitar so clearly and the musicians were a joy to watch. It’s always so wonderful to watch people perform together when you can see they’re really enjoying it. After the concert I spotted another of my favourite musicians – Nitin Sawhney, at the front of the hall. I suppose it’s a small world.
We walked back along the Millenium Bridge, the water now illuminated by the city lights; and as I took my last journey home on the tube for the next three months, I said a little farewell to London.
Above all ryvers thy Ryver hath renowne,
Whose beryall stremys, pleasaunt and preclare,
Under thy lusty wallys renneth down,
Where many a swan doth swymme with wyngis fair;
Where many a barge doth saile and row with are;
Where many a ship doth rest with top-royall.
O, towne of townes! patrone and not compare,
London, thou art the flour of Cities all.
from ‘In Honour of The City of London’ (in Old English)
by William Dunbar 1460-1522