Tag Archives: London

In Memory of the Poet Laureate on his Birthday – Lord Alfred Tennyson


Born on August 6 1809, Lord Alfred Tennyson was the poet laureate for two nations – Great Britain and Ireland. Compared to any of his contemporaries, Tennyson seemed the embodiment of his age.

Tennyson first published his compositions as a student in Cambridge. His first publication comprised a collection of boyish rhymes about himself and his brother. However, the major breakthrough in his works came only by 1830, upon the publication of his solo collection titled – Poems Chiefly Lyrical.

Since then, there had been no looking back. By 1842 he had already published two volumes of poems and was living in London. The success of his work Poems made him popular like never before; and eight years down the line in 1850, he was appointed as the Poet Laureate.

A master craftsman in his own right, Tennyson made use of mythological references in most of his works. Subject matters in his works ranged from medieval legends to classical myths – from domestic situations to even nature in its extreme forms. The influence early romantic poets such as John Keats and William Blake is often reflected in the works of this master. An excellent user of rhythm, Tennyson’s use of musical qualities exudes in his lyrical compositions. Use of figures of speech like metaphor, onomatopoeia, assonance and alliteration is prevalent in his works.

Tennyson is considered as one of the great poets of not only the early Victorian Era but also one of the great English Poets, almost at par with likes of Wordsworth or Keats and definitely above many of his Victorian contemporaries.

London Underground Explained By A Londoner

By Disha Shah

Each city has its own lifeline and for London it is its connectivity through underground trains. Every morning, a Londoner gets up and checks the tube update to plan a smooth journey to his/ her destination.


London Underground Logo

London Underground was formed in 1985 and today it’s a major business with three million passenger journeys made every day, serving 275 stations and over 408kms. It has 13 major tube lines covering the whole of London.

Metro 1

London Underground train

The transport for London website (http://www.tfl.gov.uk/) provides a journey planner where one just needs to provide the intended start and finish destination and the planner provides you with all information, such as time to reach station from home, which tube line to take, around what time, where to change trains, if required, time to reach the destination from the end station, total journey time, any planned closures, etc.

Journey Planner

                                    Journey Planner

The tube connects every part of the city to each other and it’s very convenient even for tourists. There are multiple ticketing options as well as day passes available to choose from. I would recommend just buy an oyster and top it up with single fare or day pass or weekly or monthly pass. Oyster is accepted on bus journeys so it has added advantage. The balance along-with the deposit os refunded back whenever one desires.

oyster card

Oyster card

There is a lot to learn from 150 years old transport system which breaks at times however never stops!


How Much Forest Does a Man Need

By Ankit Chandra

If you flew over Delhi around june 2010, one thing would be kinda clear. That you couldn’t see anything clearly at all from the window. Well, part of it could have been because most of the city was dug up for Commonwealth games, but there was a major part ascribed to plain dust in the air. Maybe it was due to scorching summer and lack of humidity in the air too.

But then the question comes, if there was so much dust in the atmosphere, wouldn’t everyone be inhaling it? And with lax industry laws, there of course are many pollutants in the air too! And all of them simply, pretty much forcibly just get into your lungs!

The next question is why are people not doing anything about it? Well, I think that’s because people, mostly, are not empowered to do anything beyond their own backyard. And the people who are empowered, are either so dumb to not see the issue, or plain and simple ignorant, or just too busy minting money to see that this effects everyone! including the PM and the President. Well, only when they are out in the open…

So then how do we actually see how bad the picture is? For one, every one could take a flight in to Delhi, which, for obvious reasons isn’t the most economical way of conducting a study. So I thought I should do the next best thing. Take pictures from high above and paste them here.

Thanks to google maps and jing technologies, I was able to put these pics here:

lucknow_googlemapsLucknow, India

hyderabad_googlemapsHyderabad Suburbs, India

nerul_googlemapsNerul, Navi Mumbai, India

noida_googlemapsNOIDA, India

schaumburg_googlemapsSchaumburg, US

niceParis_googlemapsNice, France

tootingLondon_googlemapsTooting, London, UK

I tried to compare apples to apples by keeping the resolution level the same. I also tried to consider only what I thought were suburbs, since they seem to have a better control over land and hence tree cover.

What is clearly visible is that number of trees in the captured area are faar less for Indian cities, no matter where they are, when compared to, suburbs in US or Europe.

This is not a research study, so I am sure the sample data I am looking at would be flawed after a point. But I definitely wanted to put up some comparison between what Indian cities are doing, vs the ‘better’  cities of US/Europe. Also, since these are suburbs, in both cases (India or others) they were settled down into, rather recently.

We all have known that tree cover is said to be beneficial for MANY things, including water table restoration, reduction in free dust just flying around in the air, reducing average temperature of the areas, and keeping the land healthier in general.

Given this, I wanted to hit at at least one problem. That of awareness in people in India about the shoddy state of their green cover. Only 12% of land mass in India is covered with forests, as compared to 33% in the US, 30% over the world, 34% in Canada, 22% in China and so on.

I think the green cover is especially more important in city areas given the concentration of pollutants in general.

Maybe we should start from where we do have control. Our backyard. And then move up from there. Otherwise the average life expectancy in our cities will continue to be low and maybe drop lower with new industrialization and growth happening…

Indian School Girls: Then And Now

women customers

By Ravi J Singh

10 things that have changed in Indian schoolgirls since I have left school –

  1. The skirts were 2” below knee; now these are 2” above.
  2. You’d call her ‘hot’ and she will go to teacher with a complaint; now you call her ‘lovely’ (and not ‘hot’) she will go to the teacher with a complaint.
  3. School loo were used for the usual stuff; now these are used as photography sessions
  4. Girls used to bunk at least 1 day in a week; now girls go to school at least 1 day in a week
  5. They used to have a Boyfriend; now its Boyfriends
  6. The age of having a boyfriend has also gone down. My times were between classes 8-10; now it is between classes 6-8.
  7. A non-veg joke to a girl was a strict no-no; Now it’s a part of daily cuisine.
  8. Very less girls had career aspirations then; very few now don’t have.
  9. Behenjis were majority then. Numbers are skewed towards fashionistas now
  10. There is a similarity though. They used to top schools; they still manage the feat

Disclaimer – Before the women brigades come after me calling me ‘a sexist’ or generalizing me as ‘shithead’, the points above are a mix of reality, fun, exaggeration and illusion.

A lot has changed since the time we used to be in school in 90’s and now. The paradigm of the Indian society has shifted, definitely has, towards west or its own ancient culture of more open. Non-conservatives can be a debatable fact of course.