Monday, January 01, 2018

The eyes of Naresh

He could tell wonderfully, about Bombay, about the neighborhood where he lived and where his mother had also lived as well as generations before him, about the globalization of Hawaiian music, about his grandfather who had devoted his life to protesting against the injustice that was done to him by the expropriation of his piece of land, but I was intrigued by his eyes. It was as if I were looking into my grandmother's eyes, and into my uncle's, my father's brother's eyes.  
That same day I sent Naresh a photo of my The Hague grandmother, after he had shown me a picture of his mother that morning: a face that seemed familiar to me.

On the last day of our stay in Bombay I looked again in the eyes of my uncle and in that of my grandmother. This time it were the eyes of Mahendra, the friend of the Indian writer's friend who Aafke once had interviewed. We sat on the lawn of the Willingdon Golf Club, it started to twilight a bit. He asked if I was born in March. He thought we had the same constellation, because it was as if he had known me for a long time. 

At the airport, at check-in, Aafke said, "When you look back, at the man with his little daughter on the arm, you see those same eyes with dark circles around them."

I once thought that my The Hague grandmother had Eastern blood.


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