A meeting with ‘old friends’

Meeting old friends is always pleasant. And they do not always have to be flesh-and blood…. I do allude to my friends on the printed word, particularly those who have been such a solace in the Смутное время (Smutnoye Vremya, for all my dear uni-lingual friends).

Here I would single out the enigmatic but deeply troubled Aurelio Zen (who however was doing fine the last time I met him), Inspector Salvo Montalbano and his men, and Omar Yussef Sirhan, the irascible Khamis ZeydanSami Jaffari (and his beautiful bride)…. and then how could I forget Lord Vetinari, Arch-Chancellor Ridcully who I recently met again a couple of days back (though I must complain that the other regulars like Vimes, De Worde and Angua only appear in brief cameos and Captain Carrot or my favourite, Otto, do not appear at all…quite deplorable) .

But let me start at the beginning. This Wednesday was again nothing to speak about. At home since morning, I went out in the afternoon for a brief spell of work (including some long-pending work I had been meaning to do for quite some time and managed to complete…. the results were on expected lines but I must not digress).

The upshot was when I came back, I fell asleep (I had just intended to take a brief nap before getting ready to go to meet my friends in the old part of the city and collect a book I had been forced to keep back at the Maktaba the last time due to a shortage of funds. Tragically, afterwards, I found the situation was not that bad, but then the Maktaba was shut and the book’s publishers who I hurried to did not have it then… well next time, I had thought).  Returning to the present, I discovered it was already 1700 hours when I woke up and though I hastened to get ready, it was a good half-an-hour before I could get leave). Then there was a delay in getting a bus and by the time one ambled, the possibility I would reach in time was getting dicey.

However, I tried. It was perilously close to 1900 hrs (when Maktaba shuts) when I reached the end of my ride… and then further disaster. Instead of letting us down at the stop, the bus moved on the traffic lights, which chose that very moment, to turn green and on we went – taking me far from my destination and I cursing the driver and all the staff, their extended families and looking forward to the point…. but I must not be overly vindictive. Thankfully (if I can use this word to describethat bitter moment), it stopped at a light or something and I could get down and with a spate of more curses. With no idea where I was and resigned to the fact that there was no possibility of reaching in time (unless time froze and began to run backward), I took the obvious way, as I had learnt from my skills in orientation and route recognition and set on. An uncomfortable ten minutes or so, I reached recognised settings, had something cold to drink, and moved to my destination.

As known, it was shut and then I went to the publisher’s establishment…. THEY STILL HADN’T GOT IT. However, recognising my trip had been an absolute waste (partly due to my own fault), I decided to make my way to the city centre, enroute to home.

Reaching there, I went towards my English book supplier (quite diffidently, I must mention, as I had picked up two from him, including the sequel I had been searching for for quite some time and another which seemed interesting, the previously day only). I was distractedly searching through some and had half-hearedly found one, which I again kept for afterwards and looked through another pile and had almost decided when I saw IT and suddenly grew much excited.

To be continued…..

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