So here’s another incident, from my Paris-London trip. It was the first and last time, when I had borrowed a DSLR Camera, Ever!
Back in 2015, Me & my wife had very basic Micromax phones. It’s camera quality was nothing as compared to today’s phones. Hence, she suggested to arrange a camera, so that we would be able to capture good quality pictures of that trip. At that time, I had no idea how to handle a DSLR. I still don’t know anything about it. Anyways, I borrowed it from a friend of mine. His name was Lakpa. He told me to put the settings on automatic and click as per the default settings, to which I didn’t pay much attention and kept it on manual. Later, I even thought that he had told me, to not to put it on automatic. So I never even tried.
It’s lens was bit loose so it used to go blur while clicking. It needed a fair good time to adjust it. It was a big struggle between focus & out of focus. Don’t even ask, how did we manage to click the pictures in Paris, until one day someone on our last day in London, changed it to Automatic.
Anyways, there were countless moments from that trip, that only exist in our memory. Not because we prefer to live those moments rather than clicking them, but the reason was, there was so much hassle to take even a single picture from that camera. So, the basic procedure was, taking the camera out of it’s case, then twisting and turning it’s strap onto the wrist so that it won’t fall under any circumstance, then removing it’s lens lid and putting it back in the case, then arranging the focus, then clicking the picture, again putting the lens lid on it & finally putting the camera back in it’s case!!
Unlike Mumbai, a bright sunny day is actually beautiful in London. It was such a relief from the chilling wind that is there, even in summers. It was our third day in London and we had planned to go to Madame Tussauds. We took our day bag, filled it with crisps and beer, took the underground and reached Baker Street Station. It was just two minutes walking from there. Thankfully we had pre-booked the tickets, so we skipped the line & entered directly.
There were so many life size, real looking statues. So we took our camera and started with the procedure. We clicked pictures with the statues of Hollywood celebrities like Bob Marley, Morgan Freeman, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Depp, George Clooney, Jenifer Lopez, Julia Roberts, Daniel Craig, Charlie Chaplin, Ema Watson, Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt. There were also the statues of Marvel Super heroes like Wolverine, Captain America, Hulk, Nick Fury. There were statues of Bollywood celebrities as well. I personally didn’t like how they had made them. They were not looking a bit like we see them in movies. Even Hrithik Roshan was not looking handsome! Anyways, We were clicking pictures for around two good hours there, but then ultimately it got bit boring. So we decided to leave.
Now, we were out again, back on the lively streets of London & went straight to the city tour bus counter. We had pre-booked a two day hop-on hop-off passes for us. So we waited for a bus to arrive. It came in no time, we went to the upper deck, had some beer and crisps, while enjoying the splendid view of Oxford street and Piccadilly street in that good sunny day. After 15-20 minutes we got down at the famous, Big Ben. “London Thumakda” songs from the bollywood movie Queen was quite a hit at that time. I remember we were singing that song as well. I have no regret of it! After we clicked few pictures, we took a stroll on the Westminster bridge. We had a spectacular view of London Eye from there. We stayed there for an hour, then hopped-on to another bus to Trafalgar Square.
Trafalgar square was very vibrant. It had a festive feel to it. I think, they were starting to prepare for some concert then. Huge stage was being made, just next to the massive fountains. I remember there was a group of Spanish musicians, busking over there. Lot of people were watching and were dancing on their latin songs. We looked for a while, then joined the free dance party. It was good fun, to form a circle with unknown people in a foreign land and dancing the hearts out. We were there for around an hour. It was around 5:30pm, the sun was about to set, so we decided to leave to see other nearby places as well. That time we were asking directions, mainly from asian people. They seemed very welcoming and everytime we say ‘Hello’ to them, they say ‘Ni Hao’, which means “Hello” in mendrin but we were in love with that.
So I saw two Chinese girls coming, I went straight to them and said, “Hi, excuse me!” They smiled & said, “Ni Hao”. In return I replied the same. Then, I asked one of them “Can you please tell me with the way to Buckingham Palace?” She pointed towards a street, that goes straight to the palace. Told me about an archway over there and said to follow that road.
It was not far, just a ten minutes walk from there. So we started walking towards it. I remember we were crossing an old bookstore on the palace street, suddenly we heard “Saanson Ki Zaroorat Hai Jaise…” It was a 90’s bollywood classic song & was being played out loud. Though there were lot of Indians staying in London, but to listen a bollywood song that loud on the streets of London for the first time, was such a different experience.
When we finally reached Buckingham Palace, it was dark & the entry gates were closed. So we saw it from outside. There was a huge Victoria Memorial Monument right in front of it. It was lit beautifully & was quite an attraction. People were clicking pictures with it. So we also decided to get a couple photo of us. I found a Asian guy standing there. So I went to him and said “Hey brother”.
He said “Hi, Yes!”
For me he was the first one who didn’t say “Ni Hao” in return. It was so unexpected.
I further asked him, “Can you please click a picture of us, with this monument?”
“Yes, Ofcourse!” he said.
Though he didn’t say the magic words ‘Ni Hao’, but he was ready to click our picture. Hence, I handed him the DSLR and went towards the monument. When I & Anchal were posing there, I realised that guy was stepping back & was going bit far away, focusing on us with that camera. I got anxious, I thought he is going far because he is planning to run with it. I doubted him from the beginning. I started to think how much is it going to cost me? I had never asked Lakpa about it. I have to pay him back. But wait, I am a sprint runner, I shouldn’t give up like that. I can chase him, wherever he would go. But these Asian guys are fast. He might outrun me.
My mind was filled with all these foul thoughts and I didn’t realise when did he clicked our picture & started to come closer.
“Sorry guys, I had to go bit far because I wanted to capture the entire monument behind you.” he said.
“Well, Thanks a lot Brother.” I replied.
I was so relieved that I still had that camera, (that I was sick off) & yet ashamed of myself, to think of him that way. As I was repenting, he said “Can you click a picture of me?” I smiled and said “Yes Man! Definitely.” He said “Can you please click it the way I had clicked yours?”
He handed me his phone & I started going far away to capture the whole view.
My settings were changed!!