Saturday, September 23, 2006

Personal history

My paternal grandfather first saw my grandmother brushing her long black hair on the balcony of her father's house as he rode past on a horse on his way to work as a vetinarian in Gauhati, Assam in India. After several days of passing by her house, he plucked up the courage to knock on the front door and introduce himself to her father -- a stern, strict lawyer.

My mother first met my father when she answered his advert for male or female penfriends in an Indian newspaper. He was a lonely young man, recently arrived in London. She was a medical student in Calcutta. They began exchanging platonic letters, and then photos, and then love letters.

I had known M since college but we rarely saw each other and we mixed in different social circles. After college, we spent several years pursuing our own lives in different places, only occasionally bumping in to one another at parties. One night in 2004, I was stting at the NFT about to watch the Wong Kar-Wai movie Days Of Being Wild when I looked across and saw, seated a couple of rows in front of me, a familiar figure.

The rest, as they say, is our personal history.

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