I can not believe this was 3 years ago today!! Oh, to be back in London!!!
Thursday – 6/21/18 After a day of work (after getting up at 4 AM), I was on my way to Logan Airport in Boston to take flight across the pond to London, for a weekend I would not soon forget. Without mentioning the airlines, I failed to realize that my 7-hour flight (starting at 9:20/21:20) did not include any sleep as part of the itinerary. Apparently, the flight attendants had their clocks mixed up and thought it was 9:20 AM rather than PM and talked and laughed all night long.
Friday – 6/22/18 Arriving at Gatwick Airport at 8:30 AM, the various modes of transportation were about to begin. (Good thing I bought my Oyster Visitor Card ahead of time.) I quickly found the Gatwick Express train to London Victoria Station. From there, I entered the underground (tube system) and took this very crowded means to London Paddington Station where I retrieved my TEP unit, a.k.a. Mobile Wi-Fi Internet, so that I could “remain connected on my trip while avoiding all those ugly roaming charges”. So glad I had this with me the entire time, as it also included a proper charger which I could use for my cell phone and tablet.
I then got on another train, and at the correct stop, I would find the bus that would take me to my hotel around Hayes called ‘Grapes’! (I don’t know why they call it that, but I will find out.) UPDATE It was just revealed to me by a good friend there that ‘Grapes’ is the name of the pub. Go figure, I didn’t even notice there was a pub. LOL
I arrived 2 hours early but thankfully the room was ready. Time to shower and take a nap before getting ready for the event I had traveled there for … Navin Kundra’s first ever U.K. concert Voice of Legends! Ok, so I was too wound up to sleep at this point. Instead, I would iron the sari and pray that I would wrap it correctly. Because I don’t wear a sari often (only for special occasions), it took watching several videos and a few hours before I got it “almost right”. I seriously considered wearing something else at this point, but later was glad I didn’t give up. (I think, lol)
Fast forward to 6 PM (1800 hours) when my friends Amita and Vijay, who were also going to the concert, arrived and we were on our way to Beck Theatre for the SOLD OUT (600 seats) event!
The Beck Theatre is beautiful and everyone in their colorful outfits made it even more so. I soon met Navin’s beautiful family (who, at the heart of his supportive team, put this event together and worked tirelessly to make it a huge success), his close friends and the NKVIPs, all for the first time.
The next thing I knew, I was asked to do the honors of going on stage just before intermission to present Navin with flowers. What? Who me? I was absolutely blown away and humbled by this request, as I had no idea anything like this had been planned. Now, all I had to do is hope I would not come unraveled (mentally or literally, as the fringe from my sari did get caught and wrapped on one of the dancers sequins backstage) or fall as I walked ever so slowly across the stage whispering “don’t trip” all the way until I presented them to Navin and walked back behind the curtains without looking out to the 599 people in the audience who were watching … mission successfully accomplished! Although, in my nervous state, I forgot to take the flowers out of the box. OOPS!
The concert was brilliant, one-of-a-kind like I had never experienced before. I say experienced because that is exactly what happened. It was a show where everyone was part of it. For three and a half hours we laughed, we cried, we sang, we danced, we cheered, and created wonderful memories! The evergreen songs were by the legends of Bollywood music – Kishore Kumar, Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Mukesh, Asha Bhosle, and Jagjit Singh, brought to life in a way that you’ve never heard before, emotionally and beautifully sung by Navin and Ambika Jois, with special guest star singers Ketan Kansara, and Shin DCS, set to the music of the 515 Crew and graced by the dancers from the Shiamak London Dance Academy. Navin also sang one of his #1 (for 12 weeks) love songs, ‘Tere Liye’ (‘For You’) and his brand new love song, ‘Ishq Humara’ (‘Our Love’). The latter being accompanied by an amazing choreographed dance by the Shiamak team.
Navin not only set that stage on fire but also raised the bar on what a genuinely great musical show should be! What made this musical experience so incredibly special is not only his talent but his uniqueness and passion for music and his goal to touch people’s lives and hearts with it! He drew us into the experience and took us along on his journey.
Everything was so beautiful from the songs to the sets, the band, singers, and the dancers! He pulled out all the stops to create such an amazing night that everyone who was privileged to attend will cherish forever! When the finale concluded to a standing ovation, we all wished the show was just starting so that we could immerse ourselves in it all over again.
A meet and greet session followed the show, and we were able to get Navin’s autograph and have photos taken with him.
The after party was quiet and consisted of family and a close circle of friends, so it was nice to get to meet and speak with everyone. By the time I arrived back at my hotel to crash, the birds were singing …. 4:30 AM!!!! (exactly 48 and a half hours, since I had gotten any sleep and boy did I need it!)
6/23/18 Saturday was a rest day, to say the least. Although I would have loved to go out and see the sights, the furthest I managed to “travel” was the Beefeaters restaurant next door for lunch and the shopping center across the street for some gluten-free items, once it got cooler. So much for being adventurous.
6/24/18 Sunday was the day to travel to Amita and Vijay’s house. Amita took me on a beautiful walk in the unusually hot weather for London (record heatwave actually), and we toured the historic Harrow Museum.
We drove to and walked around Trafalgar Square, felt the cool breeze from the Thames River with its many boats, saw the NEW Scotland Yards (only from the outside lol), the famous red telephone booths, and the London Eye. We traveled across the statuesque Tower Bridge (not to be confused with the London Bridge which is a half mile upstream), twice no less. We just missed touring the London Tower, as it was closing when we arrived. We walked through town, and after striking out at being able to dine at the Bombay-style cafe Dishoom (due to an exceptionally long wait), we ate at NANDOS!! Finally, I was able to try the only heard of Peri Peri sauce! What a nice late-night treat before we went back to their house for the night!
6/25/18 Monday came too fast, as the weekend was gone, and it was time to make my way via fewer modes of transportation this time (only car and bus) to Gatwick to travel back to the U.S. with beautiful memories and gifts that I will cherish forever.
To sample some of Navin’s amazing talent for songs of all genres and languages, as he sings in English, Hindi, Punjabi, and a bit of Spanish, please go to his YouTube channel and subscribe. You can also find him on Facebook. Here is his official website too.
Here are mine and Navin’s posts about the concert.
I can’t wait to be back there for Voice of Legends (VOL3) concert in the future!!