London must have gotten its foggy reputation from the Ithum Noida of the coal in the olden times, because any time I visited London, I didn’t see the famed fog. Rain, drizzle, cloudy skies, mist, a slight haze, yes; but fog, no.
Usually, we explore cities by taking walking tours, but at this time, we could walk less than we thought we could. Despite the cold and the rain, when staying outside was nearly impossible, we enjoyed London. London in rain boasts of a different kind of splendor, especially when one is inside a taxi or a bus. The drivels of water soften the view of the street from the windows, as if looking out of something frosted but liquid at the same time. The edges of buildings, people, vehicles, street signs blur into each other and the city seems like one framed piece of art.
On one of those really rainy days, we took the bus. Since people wore bulkier clothes, the seats felt smaller, aisles tighter, and railings too slippery to hold. Once we sat down, we observed the people around us, checking their bus route maps. The tube is easier to figure out than the bus routes and even the resident Londoners carry these route maps with them.
Once the doors closed, the floor inside the bus glistened with moisture and the windows fogged up. The bus wrenched and twitched as we pulled out of the station. The driver was having difficulty stopping and starting. Yet, the people knew where they’d get off by the sheer sense of the road from the movements of the bus, as if in time travel.
On such a rainy day, when the bus slowed down at some place, we heard Bible verses penetrating the interior, reminding me of Broadway preachers in New York City. I wasn’t far off. When I wiped the window with the back of my hand, I saw a man under the eaves of a shop with a Bible confronting the passers-by. He had a megaphone in his hand. From their body language, I understood that the people were not very happy about this because the flow of the crowd parted and left this man in the middle, as if to strand him on his own island.