Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Lasting Impression.

We don’t often get late night calls so I was a little concerned as I picked up the phone. A man’s voice answered my tentative “Hello.”

I remembered an ex- naval relative used to bellow:

“Identify yourself!” But I was always taught to give away no information except possibly the number until you know who you are speaking to.

His voice was cultured, mellifluous and vaguely familiar and suddenly I remembered a very tall slender man with a penchant for dotty sun hats and a unique Christian name. We first met R and his wife at Dubai airport en route for Delhi. They were a charming couple – older than us, and they helped to make our time in Rajasthan even more interesting. On our return we kept in touch and when they were visiting nearby we met them for lunch. Then I heard they had gone to live up north to be near their children. The last Christmas card had a new address of a retirement home.

R told me that his beloved wife became ill and when he could no longer look after her they both moved into a retirement home. They settled in quite happily and then after six months his wife had a stroke and died. R decided to stay on. Of course he misses his wife of over 60 years. He had just received my Christmas card and felt like a chat. He said he was very old and couldn’t remember things and I told him we had the same problems.

“I know we met in India but I can’t remember what you look like.” In fact we had exchanged photos but with all his changing circumstances over the last few years I wouldn’t expect him to hang on to photos of stray holiday acquaintances. All I could think of to jog his memory was that I was fair and not very tall. (5’3and a half after shrinkage.)

I certainly have good reason to remember R as he saved me from a very nasty accident. Visiting one of the temples quite early one morning I – with enormous optimism - went to step up from the rocky ground onto a platform in order to look through a window; I managed to get my foot on the platform then lost my balance and toppled backwards. I just had time to visualise a fractured skull with blood everywhere when I felt a steel- like brace at my back which halted the fall. R who was standing a little way away saw what was happening and with an incredibly fast reflex action had leapt to catch me. Others then gathered round and helped him gently steer me back onto terra rocky firma.

Where was MTL you may ask? He was on the other side of the temple and saw it all happen. From then on R was our knight in shining armour.

I told all this to R and he seemed pleased and somewhat comforted by the time we said good night and he knows he can always phone when he feels like a chat.

Below are a few random photos from our trip.


Rog said...

Lovely story Pat.

Scarlet Blue said...

Always good to have a gentleman close at hand.

Pat said...

Rog: :)

Scarlet: they are not as scarce as we are led to believe - happily.

LL Cool Joe said...

How cool that you've kept in contact and that you were on the end of the phone to chat. I bet that really did cheer him up.

It's good to have friends. :) Lovely story.

Eryl said...

What a lovely friend you are, you helped a lonely, confused man remember himself.

And why doesn't it surprise me that the woman who stands on wobbly chairs to overreach for things in high places nearly hospitalised herself with over optimistic platform stepping?!

R. Sherman said...

What a wonderful holiday surprise. I'm glad you got a chance to remember old times together.


Pat said...

Joey: I hope it did cheer him up. People say there is no happy ending because one of you has to go first but I don't believe that is the end of the story.

Eryl: message received and understood and I really do try to be sensible these days. We won't talk about the ivy growing through the roof of the back porch which even now is nestling round the mirror over the fireplace.

Randall: yes even a short time in a country like India makes for lifelong memories.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

How lovely to hear from your "knight"....Thank God he caught you Pat...We might not be reading this very sweet story, right now! LOVE all the pictures of your time there....! And I love this wonderful rememberance...!

john.g. said...


Pat said...

Naomi: yes it was my lucky day.

John: thank you:)

savannah said...

what a great story, sugar! you are an lovely and amazing woman. xoxoxoxox

Pat said...

Savannah: look who's talking.xoxoxoxox

mapstew said...

My dear Pat, if the world had more like you......... :¬)


Z said...

That is lovely, and I'm sure you cheered him a lot. And it brought back memories of beautiful Rajasthan. My sister and I are tentatively talking of another visit to India in 2013.

Pat said...

Map: :)

Z: how exciting. Which part are you planning on? I always wish we had finished off with a relaxing week in Kerala.

Mike and Ann said...

Hi Pat. Got friends in Kerala. Never been there (although it sounds lovely) but they have a son in England, and grandchildren, so grandfather spent a couple of months here one summer a few years ago. He's an old charmer, and we've not lost touch.

Guyana-Gyal said...

This is a lovely story for my rainy Saturday afternoon!

It's so important to keep in touch with people, isn't it?

Pat said...

Mike and Ann: how wonderful. Kerala would have been the relaxing end to a wonderful but exhausting holiday. It's a long trip but if you get the chance I should take it.

GG: it certainly is and has prompted me to make a few phone calls.
I've just been talking to a boy (he's older than me)that I knew at Grammar school.