Met a Libya veteran who has been here since the eighties. Originally from Rajasthan, he joined the University, then set up his own company, got his sons educated in Japan.
“How many years have you been here” he asked me.
“This is my sixth year in Tripoli” I told him.
“I have never seen you around,” he told me.
“You probably never required an X-ray or a MRI” I answered, tongue in cheek.
Though he is a kind man, I have met many persons who come when they require and then give a clichéd remark… ‘Doctor..If there is anything you need, anytime..just call me..’ and then go away. I never call them.
One of my friends who did try to call some so-called “VIPs” told me that they never reciprocated. Good that I never tried these channels.
Shape through working life
How does the working life shape one’s directions? Work has been the key to democratization, and opened avenues and contacts which would never have been through the other social contexts where I operated.
As persons who stay alone, we have formed a small but self-sufficient group and enriched life through food, art, literature, music, exercise, work..
A few days later, this veteran personally came to pick me up from my department. It was a cold rainy windy night, but he kept his promise of personally coming to pick me up for dinner in his house. There was no way to escape.
Many years ago, when I first started staying alone, I had resolved to not go to occasions and outings where I would have to accept something-some hospitality or anything from someone, anyone that I could not return in exact measure.
And hence I usually do not go for any dinners or outings which fall in the framework of this ‘cannot-reciprocate-in-equal-measure’ guideline.
Life has been much more peaceful due to this.
And I have been opened to vistas which would never have come my way otherwise.
Going for long walks, having ‘Shorma’ at Shara Mokhtaar..or organizing Food workshops..
Preparing Barbecue in a Libyan Farm
The great Russian writer Anton Chekov who wrote.. ‘that every man had his real, most interesting life under … more and more attached to him..’
No wonder, though I have been here for over five years..some people still ask..
Never seen you around