Memory Trigger 15. A Song And An Irish Troubadour.

My friend Sandeep was listening to this song while having lunch at home in the UK and sent me a WhatsApp message asking me to listen to it too. Little did he know that this will trigger off a great memory of a great friend, alas no more.

I quote his WhatsApp messsage – “I Forget what a van Morrison fan I am sometimes. Hugely underrated, and with a lyrical ability on par with Bob Dylan and a better musician. Has at least 5 truly great albums that have never got the global acclaim they deserve. A true Irish troubadour.”

When I was a bachelor salesman in Madras of the early sixties of the last century, I met a remarkable Irish fellow called TW. This fellow had had all kinds of adventures as a seaman and had jumped ship in Madras and was working as a steward in a restaurant. He enjoyed my company primarily because he could talk to someone in English and for a few months that he stayed in Madras, we were good friends.

After he returned to Ireland he wrote regularly and we kept in touch with each other by mail. He came back to india in 1978 when I was in Bombay. He spent three unforgettable days with us then and he gifted an album to us which had this song in it. It was the first time that my late wife and I were introduced to Irish music and we were completely zapped by the beauty of it. This album stayed with us for many years till we eventually got rid of all LPs when the CDs came into the market. I somehow never went back to Van Morrison and this message from Sandeep not only took me back to the music but also to TW.

TW came from a fairly well to do family of Dublin and had an adventurous life. I met him in Dublin in 1987 and spent a weekend with him at his ancestral home. He was in the final stages of his life with serious cirrhosis of the liver and by December of 1987 he died of drink. He was 46 years old.

Thank you Sandeep for bringing this song back to me and also the memories of a good friend long gone.

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow
Oh the color
Of the day wore on
And our heads
Were filled with poetry
And the morning
A-comin’ on to dawn

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow
And gay perfusion
In god’s green land
And the gypsy’s rode
With their hearts on fire
They say “We love to wander, ”
“Lord we love, ”
“Lord we love to roam”

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow
In a drenching beauty
Rolling back ’til the day
And I saw your eyes
They was shining, sparkling crystal clear
And our souls were clean
And the grass did grow
And our souls were clean
And the grass did grow
And our souls were clean
And the grass did grow

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow

Written by Van Morrison • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Coffee Drinkers Beware.

Just ten days ago, WiseWebWoman posted about her adventure or misadventure under the title “A Dublin Tale.

Her story had a happy ending. As did mine which I am about to write about.

I was on my way to Mumbai yesterday, and had stopped off at a rest station for a cup of coffee. It was a very refreshing stop and I went back to the car to continue on my journey when someone tapped on my window which was up for the air-conditioning. He looked a suspicious type and without opening the window, I gestured to him asking him what he wanted. He waved something in his hand and gestured for me to lower the window. Curiosity got the better of me and I lowered the window to find him extending his hand inside the car with my driving license in it.

Apparently, while paying for the coffee, my license had fallen off from my wallet without my noticing it. The stranger saw it on the ground, looked around for someone looking like the photograph on the license, found me and came to return it to me. I got down from the car, thanked him profusely and offered to reward him for his trouble. He refused the offer and bid me good bye and strolled away.

Moral of the story, looks can be deceptive both ways! Also that one needs to be careful with the contents of one’s wallet. Both have registered well with me.

On catching up with my backlog, another coincidence or may I once again call it synchronicity, came my way with this article in the NYT.

We have Starbucks equivalents in India and Starbucks themselves are planning a big entry into India shortly.

You bet that I will be very careful with my belongings when I do visit Starbucks, or for that matter any restaurant, from now on.