birthday!!!!

i know this is coming days after my birthday. been very lazy! but nonetheless, here i am.

ashish, chetan and nanika visited me on the 13th. i had a tutorial in the morning, and just as i finished it, ashish called. he had said he would give me a ring when he got closer to surbiton. little did i know that they would reach before me! i had to walk back home as the buses to clayhill do not operate in the clockwise direction in the afternoon from 12 to 2. took me a while within which ashish called me twice.

reached clayhill and met them. was more than happy to see some well-known faces on my birthday! since we were all hungry, we decided to get some lunch first. went all the way to pizza hut in kingston. now the pizza huts here charge a bomb by normal standards. but they give you so much that you have trouble getting up from the table!! first come the starters with the garlic bread. then the buffet salad bowl. then the pizzas. then the desserts! ashish loved the desserts the most. according to him, that was the best he has had since coming here. i couldn’t agree more šŸ™‚ the chocolate fudge cake is worth every penny.

we left from there content. came back home, put all the bags in, and the guys handed over my special birthday gift!!

this is how it looks –

speakers

by the way, those are speakers for my laptop:) excellent, deep bass. not LOUD but pleasantly powerful. enough to shake the doors, and at the same time equally beautiful sound at low volumes. played ‘indian rain’ by colonial cousins. that is a test for speakers, especially the bass response!! i am more than thrilled!

hung around the room for some time. mails were checked, everyday stories were told, ashish cracked jokes about chetan’s obsession with cleanliness, and chetan repeated for the nth time the reason for his obsession. it has something to do with a stocky, fred flintstone-like fellow who stayed in sion…!!

as the evening wore on, we decided to go around for a couple of drinks! toiiinnnggg!!!! there’s this very nice old english pub called ‘the coronation hall’ opposite surbiton station. had showed it to the guys when they had come round last time. went there. tried the well-known russian vodka stolichnaya and the polish zubrowka. was too good! the cold outside bit my face a little less, and i felt warmer. not drunk, mind you. got back home at 1130 as srini and priyanka had got a cake. i cut the cake at 12! so i celebrated my birthday on the 14th technically! but it was great anyway šŸ™‚

pics will come soon. **SRINI’S CAMERA PHONE**

as planned, we left for wimbledon in the morning. ashish was too keen on visiting the place. me too. felt a bit criminal as wimbledon is two stations from where i am at šŸ˜¦
had breakfast the chez julien delicatessen. they have the world’s best strawberry juice. we had almost 2 bottles of the juice each. and the awesome awesome baguette. that place is the best to start off a day with. ashish is going to get his parents here.

arrived at wimbledon in some 45 minutes.

car 1

car 2

before i get any comments, i wish to make it clear that i was wearing nanika’s white coat as i had stupidly left my jacket at home. i knew all along that it was looking stupid, but for the sake of staying alive in the freezing weather, i kept it on.

entrance

went in to the main reception. on the way the guard told us that the center court was being renovated. some work was being carried out for its roof. we were really disappointed to know that we had missed the only tour for the day by five minutes. they run just one tour in the winters. we then decided to visit the museum. and that was the best thing we could have done with our time! the museum is simply terrific. it charts the journey of the game from the victorian times when women used to wear dresses that weighed 4.5 kgs!! they even had a video showing a player taking all her sport costumes off. the attendant made us count the items of clothing. it came to 13 if i remember correctly. we could hear ashish sigh in disappointment as the woman finally disappeared behind a curtain before everything came off!

the attendant showed us final matches from the seventies. the most important ones, that is. i felt great as i had actually watched some of them. mcenroe, connors, lendl, edberg, becker, steffi, martina, hingis, pete, andre…every match was great to say the least!! after the matches were over, i went and asked the guy for how long he had been working there at the museum, and he said “i’ve been working here for 14 years. i’ve met almost all of the people you saw on the screen right now!” THAT was something!! he then showed us a display that had some of the 13 items we saw the woman take off on the screen. they had a tiara that resembled the one venus (or was it serena?) had worn. he placed it on nanika’s head, and we like obedient kids took a picture.

nan

ashish and i took turns looking silly in john mcenroe’s wig!

ashish

moi

for once, i knew what it felt like to have a head full of hair…!

then we went on to take some nice touristy pics.

ashish with audience

three

ashish with trophy

moi1

chetan

moi2

looking

went around to the shop. i remember bhushan had told me once that they have wimbledon towels for sale, each costing 25 pounds! i saw it for myself that day! t-shirts and stuff are very expensive, starting at 35 pounds each. other things like mugs, key rings, calendars, soft toys are ok. i bought some postcards and a cute white teddy, with which i intend to scare shashank when he comes over on the 20th!!

we decided to head out to central london as was the plan. on our way out, ashish asked the guard if he could manage to get us a sneak view of one of the main courts. he obliged, and very quickly led us to court no. 1. the moment i climbed up the stairs and set my eyes upon the court, i was overwhelmed. my hands and face all felt tingly,, and i could hear the crowd cheer as they do for every match. i could hear the ball going all around the court.

court

court 1
i will come back here with shashank in time for the day tour. and i will take many more snaps.

rolex

watches

from wimbledon, we headed on to central london. had plans to go to madame tussaud’s. but dropped that. went to the tower bridge. it is splendid! i had seen it from a distance, always from the millenium bridge or the south bank side. it is an imposing structure. and it opens up in the middle to let ships pass through! we got to see that twice:)

bridge

three.1

nani&ashish

three.2

there was a really nice christmas market on the bankside under the bridge. we went in to find an excellent trumpet band playing all 80’s tunes. they were too good with it! hung around there for a while. mulled wine, dry fruits, hamburgers, sausage rolls, chocolates…everything that you would find in a small christmas market! the whole festive thing is infectious here! it will be great to go around kingston town center and london with shashank. he loves street photography, and i am sure he is going to find a lot of photo-ops here!

well then, that’s it for now. i have finally developed two rolls of film that have been lying around for almost a month. will post them here or on picasa soon. cya šŸ™‚

(P.S. all pics have been taken by a camera phone, which is terrible in low light. kindly excuse.)

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