Vivek Bhasin ( Class of 1970)
Back after a leave of absence on past recollective mode
….the treasure hunt to find my lost cufflink* (The Mitre)
Being a wanderer, a Ziginare all my life, it’s been rather difficult for me to peg my tent into a concrete block of cement and stay fixed in one place. Now I have to wait patiently for the change in weather and do not have the liberty to take wings and ‘ like a Bat outta Hell’ when the sweat trickles down my back.
Having packed my stuff from Weybridge I flew back to Sweden reuniting with the family. It felt rather easy to just leave the old country after 13 years though I knew the need to come back would always be poking me in the ribs. Dropping off my rental car at T:5 and nonchalantly entering departures. For mereflecting on the past sees a rapid fire of stills that click past my eyes as they come in waves rising to crests then dipping down to troughs and making a swooshing sound as they fly over my head. I the gypsy had made England my temporary home where I kept some of my belongings but most of the time I changed memories that I could hold in my hands placing them in Gurgaon, sometimes in Mashobra, sometimes in the ‘Old Swimming Pool’ where I park myself in Karlstad, and sometimes bringing them right back to Weybridge.
Being a loner I kept busy within myself. Even if I walked into Borroughs Market at London Bridge on a heaving Saturday, I had the ability to shut the noise and in complete silence watch the world walk by. The crowds that came by were weekenders wanting to taste fresh produce be it iceberg lettuce or a mince tart, country cheese from Devon or Dover sole with a glass of Pinot Griogio from the Tuscan region. They were enjoying the weekend. The directions to Borroughs Market are very simple from my point of view. The SW 0624 from Weybrige via Clapham Junction brings me in to London Waterloo at 0702. I step on to platform 3 and make a run for the exit gate my radar homing in to the Jubilee Line (it’s the grey one). Taking the escalator and continuing to walk down at a rapid pace I head for the platform with its final destination Stratford; you jump off at London Bridge.
Just as the SW train is rolling in….damp sweet sophisticated and trendy London beckons to me, demon of the blues, my blood is lined with Rock’s heaviest genre and my heart thuds to the sounds of Entwhistle, Page, Myles Kennedy, Slash , Foo Fighters and The Answer…this never ending little place off Shaftsbury Ave where I used to slime in and purr over vinyl and music that sweetened my soul with flashes of the peaceful and silent walk of Mashobra! a sudden flash right there ( a micro jolt), then nowhere and then back here…whilst that dude in dreadlocks and heavy black leather with heavy chains stared at me as I picked stuff that only a few knew…just him and I. All in complete silence except the smoke of Cuban Cigars. We knew each’s space. He controlled the shots, I paid for the stuff and rolled outtowards the Mean Fiddler..Henry Rollins.
On that particular Saturday I felt in the mood to shed my gypsy attire and dress more like a dandy with all the accessories of a gentleman. The London Met Office called for partly cloudy skies, a southwesterly wind at 5 miles an hour and a very comfortable 24C. And that called for me to dress in an off- white pair of cotton trousers, a striped maroon , white and green double cuffs shirt and a gabardine slim fit coat that bespoke outfitter Sanjay had formed around my wide shouldered physique even if my gut was a state-in-gaunt. And my Italian sued and leather boots from Livorno.
Jumping off at London Bridge. Looking a bit out-of-place within the motley crowds I nonetheless squeezed past to a stall that grabbed my attention. My attention of them. Yes it really wasn’t the fare of cheeses , radishes and celery looking so fresh, and rolls of Yorkshire ham, English Mustard, Strawberries and Cream, but this young couple tending to their stall dressed in fandangled colours, beads, nose rings, sky blue velvet, bottle green silk and orange satin, leather boots, tassles , long hats with pheasant feathers and the lot that attracted me to them. Their little daughter with beautiful long hair all plaited, with green eyes, a long soft yellow summer dress and boots with her teddy bear clutched under her arm, the other outstretched with a plate of sampling cheese and olives…. . The sounds of Jesus Jones ‘Right here Right Now, is where I want to be’ completed that total ambience. A flash on the ocean hit my optic nerve and then it was gone.
”Would you like to try some Sir, its free” said the little lady and I reckoned she would have barely been five and a shade more. She looked straight up at me as I looked down at this lovely little child and flushes of home sickness invaded me. Maintaining a straight face I reached towards the plate and spiked a piece of Cheddar..’Thank you so much’ before tasting the same. Masticating the piece ever so slowly I turned towards the couple who were now staring at me quite intently and smiling. The must have been in their 20’s late-ish I suppose and with the crowds mulling around with a cacophony of sounds I had to pitch up to get them heard… ”You the Captain who picked us up on our drifting boat in the Sea of Marmara, right?”
I stop right there, my memory had stopped playing tricks, and for once focused…
Did it matter then, now does it matter? all questions asked do not need answers
for days that were, seemed clear and vivid to give an answer now is to fool one self.
I smiled and reaching out, touched that Lady’s hand looking at her fingers…soft gentle and the soil of the earth in them, knowing just then that I had to enjoy that moment, savour every second, every little note of a song, the melancholic gush put aside. Concentrate on just being there amongst the melee, be part of the wave and absorb the enduring notes of that lover’s ballad, the closeness of this divine couple and their little one offering another…’Would you like to try some Sir, its free’.
It was time to move on.
And walk a path less travelled…
On the South Bank, London England.
The Summer of 2014
Note: *The cufflink with ‘The Mitre’ of BCS was finally discovered deep down in the right pocket of my trench coat, six months hence.
(I was going to miss the genius of those bands that rocked my soul and kept me aligned in Virgo…)