South Asians Are So Ready For The Elizabeth Line To Connect Our Cultural Hotspots

·3-min read
Crossrail (Photo: Crossrail)
Crossrail (Photo: Crossrail)

Crossrail (Photo: Crossrail)

I have a confession to make: I have never been to Southall – the bustling district colloquially dubbed Little Punjab or Little India (you might have seen it in Bend it Like Beckham).

It boasts South Asian clothing, food, entertainment – everything I love in other cultural hotspots around London such as Ilford, Whitechapel or Forest Gate (Green Street).

The trouble was, Southall, or even Ilford and other East London hotspots since I moved to Greenwich, were inaccessible to me.

But the Elizabeth Line is to remedy all that. Because within half an hour, I can now go from Woolwich to Ilford, or from Ilford to Southall.

Where it would take hours to go from one place to the other on the bus, it now takes less than 60 minutes, thanks to the line unveiled this week with much pomp and circumstance.

Though you might need to change for the trains going to your destination, the Elizabeth line route is still smoother than the journeys of yore.

And it means those who previously found these destinations too troublesome to get to can now enjoy communities they were previously not privy to. South Asians can relish between Southall, Ilford, Forest Gate, Whitechapel, Stratford, Romford and more – all of which boast many Asian paraphernalia.

Think of the late night Eid festivities of Ilford Lane now able to be enjoyed by so many more people, or Sikhs being able to access the biggest gurdwara in London – the Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall.

With connections in other non-London cities such as Reading (which inhabits 10,000 South Asians) and connections from Heathrow Airport, these hubs have become accessible for so many more. Southall is even the only Station with signage written in the Punjabi Gurmukhi script (aka Sikh script).

And Twitter users are pointing it out, with many excited about the new opportunities for exploration.

With the next Eid coming up in July, I’ll be making the rounds between each stop, probably with my mum in tow. And I suspect I won’t be alone.

But with the pull of samosas, aloo chaat, and a Bollywood film to boot, I might head there even sooner.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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