Southall is just few miles from our place. I was familiar with the name before and heard that it is famous for the biggest Punjabi (South Asian) Community living outside India. Since we moved here, Vishal always wanted to go there for having some Indian meal and also for Indian grocery which is not available in general super store. We never dared to go using public transportation as there is no easy commute to reach Southall. So we decided to go once we have car and last month we finally went there and found that it’s just 15-20 mins far. It was very cold that day so we just bought the bare minimum stuff and came back. We didn’t look much around.
Sunday was Holi and we haven’t had any sweets. I didn’t get a chance to made any and we were missing them badly. So we know where to go – Southall. To our surprise we have sunshine (sunshine in London is always a surprise) which was just perfect. We planned to start the trip with temple and then Chappan Bhog (yeah The Chappan Bhog!). We went to temple but it was so crowded that we took blessings from the gate. So its time to go Chappan Bhog. We had yummy Chole Bhature, Bhelpuri, Samosas and Jalebi. They tasted so Indian. Reva also enjoyed her first Jalebi, you know she had started making yummy sounds like mmmm, uuuuu – they are so cute and she did make them when she had jalebi 🙂
After pet-pooja we went headed towards grocery store and this time decided to go new one – The Quality Foods. I never seen such a big food store outside India. It was like mini Costco, I was really impressed. In fact I was all amused to see the place. If you remove London or UK from the Southall it is no different from New Market in Bhopal or Hazratganj in Lucknow or CP in New Delhi. There were Indians all around, music shops playing punjabi songs or Mhod. Rafi songs, Toys shops, textile shops hanging there sale itmes on curbs, Jewelery shops, Saree emporiums, fruit shops, temples, Gurudwaras everything was so Indian. Even there was Cinema who was playing Jeetendra’s Himalaya-Putra (!!!!). As we were roaming I was feeling little uncomfortable and I don’t know why. Dozen of questions came into my mind during my walk around – why are so many Indians are here, what made them to come here, did they came appropriately – etc etc. So after spending more than an hour we decided to leave.
Later in the evening we decided to watch “The Patiala House” movie. Oh my God, movie starts from Southall Community Playground, its like revising our visits. Movie was pathetic as expected, they spent pounds (that’s right pounds) on inviting Cricket celebrity but forgot to revise the script. And the most irritating part was there was the cricket match, looks like match was only between Akshay and Symonds. I don’t have words to elaborate its “patheticness”. The only thing I find it realistic that they shown the right weather in the movie – all grey and dark, so true for London weather (heh heh).
After visiting Southall I came to know lots of interesting facts about it like over 55% of Southall’s population of 70,000 is Indian/Pakistani, with less than 10% being White British. Southall was the main location for the internationally acclaimed film Bend It Like Beckham. Southall is also the location of the Glassy Junction public house, which serves several Indian draught beers and was the first pub in the UK to accept payment in Indian rupees. Southall has many well known restaurants such as Chaudhry’s TKC, Gifto’s, Madhu’s and Mirch Masala. TKC are known for the Chaudhry’s Tiara which is a one of its kind unique Pakistani bus which has appeared in many adverts such as walkers and in the bollywood film Jhoom Barabar Jhoom. But I don’t felt proud or anything – still confused about my feeling.