Monday, October 27, 2008

The Riches of Richmond

Monday, October 27, 2008
Richmond and London

Exactly a week after I first began foot exercises, I awoke feeling a looseness in the muscles of my calves and hamstrings which, I hope, is a positive sign. My body clock woke me at 6 am, leaving me a whole hour in which to catch up with email and send out Diwali messages to my Hindu friends all over the world for whom the Goddess of Light and Wealth, Laxmi, will be arriving at the start of another New Year.

With breakfast done, I began to get myself organized for my trip to Richmond to meet Dorothy Dady, a second-generation Anglo-Indian photographer in the UK whose interest in her community led her to publish a splendid coffee table edition entitled Scattered Seeds: The Anglo-Indian Diaspora.

It was a long and complicated journey by Tube--first the Central Line to Notting Hill, then a change to the District Line to Earl's Court from where I got a train going forward to Richmond. Dorothy arrived a few minutes later in her spiffy black car and drove me through the beautiful suburb of Richmond to a local pub called the Lass 'O Richmond Hill past some of the most expensive real estate in the area including the home of Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall that overlooks a bend in the River Thames. The pub was atmospheric in the extreme with a low beamed ceiling and furniture that was shiny with use. We settled down to chat over coffee and hot chocolate and Dorothy began to speak candidly and thoughtfully about her life as an Anglo-Indian in the UK. I am amazed how much I learn with each interview that I conduct and how many insights I gain by exposing myself to a variety of individual experiences.

Before she dropped me back to the Station, Dorothy was kind enough to drive me around the famous Richmond Park, the largest expanse of park land within London. This was the stomping ground of King Henry VIII and his sporting pals who hunted deer in these environs. So it was with delight that I spied huge herds of deer all over the Park--deer whose pictures I clicked every so often. Autumn leaves were scattered in crinkly dried carpets along the walking paths where people led their dogs on leashes or pedalled on their bikes. It was a lovely morning, brisker than it has been these past weeks, and I was grateful for the cashmere scarf that I pulled on before I left my flat. Once we were outside the park, Dorothy took me past the Thames at Richmond Hill once again so I could take a few more pictures of the gold that has tinged the tree-tops and made the season glow.

Then, I was on the Tube headed back to the city. My legs, though still feeling shaky beneath me, seemed to stand the journey stoically and except for the last ten minutes when my right foot began to ache, I did okay. Back home, I pampered them a little with a warm water soak and an application of the ibuprofen gel before I curled up in bed to catch up with my email. But within a couple of hours, I had to leave again to attend a meeting at NYU's campus with Fred Schwarzbach, our Dean who is visiting London from New York.

Before I arrived at the meeting, however, I popped into Boots to pick up the Dr. Scholl Gel Arch Supports that I had special-ordered yesterday. I am hoping that they will bring my aching feet much needed relief and will speed up my healing process.

Walking rather slowly from Tottenham Court Road, I arrived at our Bedford Square campus where we had a nice dinner meeting with wine and beer, sandwiches and wraps, at which several of our faculty members had a chance to interact with each other. Beth Haymaker, our Study Abroad Coordinator was also present and when she and Fred heard about my diagnosis, they both told me that they have heard of this condition rather frequently and that it is fully curable with time and patience. Both of them told me that I am looking at approximately two months of discomfort but that it will slowly disappear. I was so heartened by their prognosis that I gladly welcomed Fred's suggestion that we adjourn after the meeting for a drink. My colleague Karen Karbeiner joined in and the four of us gathered at the Museum Tavern right opposite the British Museum where over a half pint of Guinness and some red wine, we talked shop for a long while before moving on to lighter subjects.

I caught the bus back home and because it was dark and I am still unfamiliar with the bus stops, I got off, by mistake, one stop before I intended! Still, this allowed me to pop into M&S Simply Food for some milk before I arrived home to indulge in another foot soak and ibuprofen massage.

Of course, I could not sleep without giving Llew an update on my condition and it was while I was almost nodding off that we called off and said Goodnight. I realize that with Daylight Savings Time, it is now getting dark by 5 pm and when my wrist watch shows 11. 30pm, it is actually past midnight. Ok, time to call a halt to my musing!

No comments: