Saturday, 28 March 2015

A New Life in London - by Tariq Jazeel

by Amita Murray

She’s staring at the reflection of herself in those large glass panes. This sleek, postmodern architectural edifice, the fittingly imposing headquarters of Fraser & Partners here in the middle of Battersea, a building she worked in for so many years. She can see herself, now so different from who she was then. 

It was all so different when she rocked up to their offices on Great Portland street back in 1991, straight off the plane, jet-lagged weary, but so eager to start her new life here in London. You could shower straight off the plane back then, those showers at Heathrow airport offering the promise of fresh new starts for countless new arrivals. She had checked her luggage at Victoria station, carefully removing her pristine A4 sized portfolio, her ticket she hoped to a career in architecture in London.

Standing here now, staring at her reflection in those glass panes, she caught a glimpse of herself approaching the sliding glass doors of the old Great Portland Street office 24 years ago, Fraser Associates as it was back then. She was perhaps naïve, perhaps too innocent, but she somehow had a firm belief, a conviction, that rocking up at the Fraser Associates studio, clutching the one existing hard copy of her architect’s portfolio would be her ticket to a new life here in London. She remembers vividly, even today, that split second 24 years ago just before those glass doors opened when she saw herself reflected. Exuberant, hopeful enthusiasm tinted by a concealed tiredness faintly visible to only those who knew her intimately. But no one here did. The glass doors opened. Her new life began.

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