(I've changed the name from "Rants" given that I can't really rant about many things that frustrate me here, at least not without getting into some sort of trouble. As such, you'll have to wait for the book.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Gift from the Other Side

One thing I don't pay much attention to with this blog is continuity. Maybe that's the case with most blogs. It's sort of whatever is on my mind at the time I sit down to draft it. The thoughts may have something to do with previous postings; they may not.

This time I do have something that relates to a previous posting. While in the US over the holidays, on the day we were to leave my parent's house, I was making one last check of the box that contains the mail I received over the past six months. Unfortunately my parents are subjected to my US mailings due to the fact that I have no other American residence. I had gone through most of it but there was still a book in an Amazon box that'd I'd seen earlier and didn't recognize. It was addressed to me but I the title didn't ring a bell. I have at times ordered books for Priya and had them sent to my parent's house. She will occasionally mention that she would really like to get such and such book and I'll jot down the title and order it, usually within that day for fear of forgetting that the conversation ever happened. Then it sits at my parent's house until the next time we arrive. When I get to the US and I see the book I remember that she wanted it at some point but I often  don't remember much more than that. Nonetheless when she recognizes it, it can give the impression that I'm thoughtful.

But for the life of me I couldn't remember ordering this book at all. At the risk of ruining a surprise (and giving away my lack of thoughtfulness), I asked Priya. She did recognize the title but I was a bit relieved (and puzzled) that she couldn't remember why. I was off the hook.

The mystery didn't last long as Priya pulled out the paper that accompanies Amazon orders. Beneath the title, The Shantaram: A Novel, was a note. It said:

"Because sometimes flying as fast as we can is reason enough. Hope our paths cross again. Thanks again. Hendri."

Priya and I looked at each other for a couple of seconds a bit stunned by what we'd read. As my brain went through its paces to put it together it became clear that Hendri must have ordered this from Bujumbura three days before he died. The last trip postings for the kayak team were from when they were staying with us and it was the last place they'd had internet access before heading into the Congo.

It made me sad all over again. As I'd mentioned in that earlier blog, Hendri had said he was going to send something. Silly me for thinking he hadn't had the chance to live up to his word. He had.

It's tragic that we won't have the chance to meet up in Uganda as we'd planned. He left an impression on me the short time that I knew him. He was even able to impress me after his death.

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