Oxford, thirty years later.

My visit to Oxford after living there so many years ago had a distinct smell. It did not only smell of the three years my twenty-year old self lived there. It was beyond a familiar smell of a place I used to know so well. I took deep breaths there: it was that and much more.

I struggle to put into words what happened to me that day. Going back to Oxford brought back such vivid memories of the place and of what I used to be. My care free days as an English student, the friends I made, the routine at my school, my house at Bardwell Road, the river from which we would go panting on weekends, and, above all, how much that place shaped what I would later become.

I remember I used to skip the drab dinners at school and bike to Christ Church to watch the even songs. The magic of that chapel never failed to transport me to a different dimension.

I consent that I might have been too young for all the tradition.  For the Gothic buildings of the colleges and their vine laced walls. For the way the light transformed everything into a golden world.  There is something sacred about Oxford.

“Oxford still remains the most beautiful thing in England, and nowhere else are life and art so exquisitely blended, so perfectly made one”, said Oscar Wilde. And yet Oxford does not enjoy ostentations or celebrations. It has an elegance that requires you to “tell the truth slant” so maybe I am not yet fit to describe it.

Oxford is built on layers of tradition and learning. It silences you in a rather humble way.


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