Today I’ll probably take a moment to tell you all about Sam! An important part of my life, I never met him, nor heard him speak. I never walked with him, nor heard him laugh. How then, did I know Sam? How then, did he touch my life as gently as we touch a flower?
A few years back when I had just started writing professionally (well that just sounds like a better way to call my freelancing gig), I wrote a short story!
(It was a rather stupid piece, now that I think about it… Maybe someday I will share it with all of you).
I wanted to know how I had done and I sent it to a few friends of mine. The next thing I know, a friend replies to me saying his friend would like to pay me a good sum for my story. I was amazed… I thought I’d actually written something brilliant. I asked him about this friend.
They met at a church in London and Samuel Purton was much older (I imagined him to be at least 75, from the way he was described to me). He loved what I had written and wanted to encourage me. Though he couldn’t afford to pay me a lot, he offered what he could so I would keep writing. I was touched!
Over the course of the next few months, Sam and I exchanged several emails. I learnt that he was a veteran from the armed forces and that he loved music. He briefly taught children how to play the piano but discontinued when he had a health scare and then never got back to it somehow. He taught me about religion, about death, about wars and about illness. He talked about his beautiful family, his loving grand children, his view of spirituality and a lot more. I told him all about India and my family and places I’d traveled to. I told him about the beautiful cities and the less frequented but more beautiful villages. I told him about my exams and my hobbies. I taught him what little I know of the Hindu mythology. I obviously refused to take the money he offered but asked in return that he would start piano lessons again.
We exchanged no photographs of one another, though we wrote to each other regularly! I think it never occurred to me to ask. I always imagined him with slightly long hair, hair that would brush his shoulder as he walked. I imagined him wearing a black coat to keep his aged bones warm in the cold London winters. I imagined his voice as one of those deep soothing voices. Whenever I read his emails, I had the vision of us sitting with an ice cream on some bench by the busy road and talking for hours. And I had come to love this man and looked forward to our ‘conversations’. There was no smart phone that would beep to indicate he had sent me an email. There was only a desktop…but nothing felt more rewarding than that wait!
And one fine day he stopped sending me emails. I had known that this would happen some day soon, as he wasn’t keeping well. I waited…for three weeks… For him to write me something! But he didn’t… And I knew what must have happened.
Miles away from his home where his family mourned the loss, a little girl wept…the Sam I miss may not have been the Sam people knew. But such was his magic, that he made sure he would be remembered forever!!!