Appearances.

It was my last night in London. I had flown in from Edinburgh in the morning, finished my work in London and caught up with my brother Barath in the evening. We decided to spend the last evening together having dinner at a Thai restaurant just off Oxford Street. We had a great meal and were returning to our hotel late in the night and were quite sentimental about having to part the next morning. I had my arm around Barath while we were strolling down when we were heckled by a group of young hooligans who told us that we should be ashamed of ourselves for being middle aged homosexuals. They would not accept that we were brothers. I was ready to take issue and go after them with my cane when Barath prevented me by pointing out that I could not afford to get involved in a police case etc. So we ignored them and walked off with cat calls and whistles following us.

I had forgotten all about this incident till recently when something brought the memory up again and that is another story.

I belong to a small group of friends from all over, and we amuse ourselves by group email threads. In one of these threads, one American friend had this to say. “You mean sweet little ole Ramana? Why, he’s just a darling! He says the sweetest things! I think y’all just pick on him! lol, lol, lol!

This was addressed to another friend, an Englishman, who responded “I was brought up to respect my elders….not saying anything about betters….so I never pick on Ramana…. Nor anyone else. And I do not publish libelous pictures of other people. Nor criticise their dress sense , or in some cases lack of it.” The background being my sartorial tastes no doubt!

I responded “And D**** I doubt that you will be able to pick me up anyway!” For those readers who do not know my vital statistics, I am somewhat like a sumo wrestler.

D**** responded, in typical English style, “Wouldn’t try…. might be misconstrued…. Lifting might be a different matter , however.”

Now you know why the memory of that night on Oxford Street came rushing back!

My trend of thought doesn’t stop there however. I have a friend Chandru, who has had two open heart surgeries, is a diabetic and has half a dozen other complications, among which is an inability to walk unaided. But walk for exercise he must, and either I or another friend Abbas take him for a walk every evening in our local park. My niece-in-law-to-be, Hannah recently spent some time with us in Pune and found this scene very touching and took a photograph of me taking Chandru for a walk.

I sent this photograph to Chandru’s daughter Neelam who promptly commented that it was “Two Heroes walking off into the sunset!” I had also sent it to another mutual friend to show the progress that Chandru has made and he commented – “I didn’t know you guys swung that way!”

We live in interesting times don’t we?

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