The kindness of strangers

It turned out to be a gloriously sunny weekend,and I enjoyed my visit to the lovely city of Cambridge. Getting there was a dream. Fast train out of the west country,then fast connections throughout whisked me there. But coming back on sunday was not that easy. I rang and checked before hand and the inquiries person said that trains were runing as usulal. Though the line to Kings Cross was being repaired, but trains were fine for Liverpool Street,from where I could get my connection to Paddington. Alas not, half way to Liverpool street the train stopped. The sound system was not working in our carriage, so we could barely work out what was being said. After being in the train for 2 1/2 hours,(it is normaly a 45 minute journey) we stopped at Totenham Hale and were told that the train was terminating there.

Why? Because the signals system was down so we couldnt go to Liverpool street. Ok I thought , we could take an underground here and get to where we were going? Nope, the underground (Victoria line) was down too! You can take a bus,no one to say where to get the bus from ,as we all got of the train,and faced the many exits and arrows pointing to all sorts of exits.

When we did finally got on to a bus, I tried to ask the driver as to which station I should go to in order to get to Paddington. He shook his, he did not know anything about the railway/underground .

And then I experienced the British spirit. As they say ,when the chips are down the British people come on their own. A man behined me, said he too was going to Paddington,and explained how to get there. He kept an eye on me throughout and pointed to the right station and platform. My knowledge of London is patchy,I only know the routes I normally travel. Being bussed to an area I have never been to before, I had not a clue as to which station I should take to get from one destination to another.Rushing down the stairs , a lady extended her arm and shared the weight of my suitcase. All of those who have got off the train were trying to help each other. As if we all were the victim of a common mishap, and we needed to look after each other.

I have witnessed this spirit of British commradrie before. In 1977,when we had a snow strom,we all looked after each other. I have read and seen some acts of amazing bravery by total strangers when the July the 7th bombing happened. People just look after each other as human beings, without worrying about the colour or creed of the person. If the hostility of some of reports and opinions is to be believed, the outside world is very angry with a certain part of the community . But yesterday I found no evidence of that. People smiled, made small talk and were kind and helpfull as always. To the extent that on the crowded train from Paddington,a disabled lady who had all her aids on the next to her, picked them all up,and offered me the seat. And then chatted all the way about all sorts of things. And no, before you ask I dont look like a helpless old lady! My profile picture was taken in May this year,so that is how I look! But I DO look like the Asian that I am.

This has re-enforced the belief in me that British people are kind and just,they inmost cases make up their own mind about events and act accordingly. It is the minority who get influenced by tabloid headlines or inflammatory rhetoric by those who have their own agenda. And that applies equally to ALL the communities.


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