Sunday, 12 July 2009

Stress in London

AnjoolI am not originally from London, I hail from a small town in North East England which, to be frank, when I was younger I couldn't wait to leave. Having been in the Capital for approaching 15 years now even going back to Yarm in Cleveland feels a bit odd. It's the sort of town where you either go to an exclusive posh school paid for by daddy or you're one of the masses who either joins the army, goes into a menial job or just drifts. There's not a lot of options.

Someone else from my home town Yarm that evidently felt the same way was 24 year old Anjool Malde. He came to London and, evidently brighter than the likes of me, became a rising star in the City. So I, and lately Anjool, became part of the lifeblood of young new immigrants that London constantly sucks in from around the world to write more pages of its amazing story. And together eight million of us continue to make this city the greatest in the world as we showed when we stood proudly together in all our diversity in the face of attack just four years ago. But amid that race towards all our goals we should remember that some of us get hurt in the stampede.

Because with rapid success comes pressure, particularly in that sector of finance. And last week Anjool committed suicide having been reprimanded at work for some minor email offence. Dressed in his favourite Hugo Boss suit and holding a glass of champagne he made a decision. And jumped out of the 8th floor window.

A microcosm of London life is our Shepherd's Bush Green which I walk across every morning. How many of the alcoholics on the benches were once rising stars but ruined either by their addiction or who now seek solace in it. And of everyone else, the many thousands who swirl past on the roads and pavements around that Green on bikes and cars and on foot everyday in the rat run, many will be on the up but some will be on the down. And some, sadly, will end up like poor Anjool. Or some will end up like the rough sleeper I found on the Green one freezing cold November morning, lying unconscious with his trousers round his ankles as people walked past, noses crinkled at the sight of his backside. The ambulance crew knew him by name and told me he had hypothermia. Again.

That incident alone is what prompted me to start this blog, though I still don't know quite why. Maybe just to put a human face on what can be a tough grinding place if you're too poor or down on your luck to admire the surroundings. Don't be afraid to ask if someone's OK every now and again. In fact do it today. Then this blog will have achieved something worthwhile.

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