When the majority of people visualize London, they conjure up the image of a particularly historical looking city, maybe with a brush of modernism here and there, and accompany that image with a busy, metropolitan, and diverse atmosphere. For the most part, this is a fairly accurate assumption. However, once one ventures outside of central London and does some exploring, the picture becomes more eclectic and unexpected.
That’s what I learned today on the train to one of the suburban districts of West London. As we sped down the tracks toward Southall, I tried to imagine how it would look, smell, and feel to be there. I knew it was often referred to as “Little India”, but I had no idea how strong those South Asian influences were until we arrived.
When we stepped off the train and began meandering down the sidewalk towards Southall’s center, I couldn’t help but notice the touches of India and other South Asian countries everywhere. In fact, it was so apparent to me that I felt a little out of place being there.
There were food stores and markets sprawled down streets crowded with women shopping in Sarees and children riding their bicycles. The smells of sweet corn, Halal meat, and Indian pastries wafted towards my nose and had my mouth watering before I had even laid eyes on them.
There were people from Pakistan and India calling to one another in different languages which correlated with the hundreds of bilingual signs dotting the side of the main street, “The Broadway”.
With most of the area being residential, it had a homey essence to it and although I did feel like a fish out of water, it was very welcoming overall.
Written by Hannah Austin