Our Lady

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‘Vailankani?’

It was a tip from Mr. Ramamurti, the manager of the budget hotel where I was staying in Pondicherry on the south-east coast of India.

I stayed there for almost a week, not because I found Pondicherry so interesting, but rather because when I arrived there I was very sick. I’d come down with a bad case of dysentery and limped into Pondicherry with no other aim than to find some place where I could rest a while and recover.

And recover I did thanks in no small part to Mr Ramamurti who brought well cooked meals and bottles of soda water to my room – and just as important, offered me his sympathy, which at the time I so desperately needed.

I should also mention that at the same time I began a course of powerful antibiotics.

 

Yes, he was a good man Mr. Ramamurti. The other tourists in the hotel called him ‘Mr. R’ and I got into the habit too.

I have fond memories of Mr. R.

He was terrible liar.

Of all the lies he told me surely none was greater than what he told me about Vailankanni.

And look, to be fair, I needed the lie……

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