Monday, August 19, 2013

Breach Candy revisited

A short story:

They spent a relaxing Saturday wandering through a few art galleries, including a photography show at a nice restaurant where they had lunch.  There were three of them that day - the couple and their good friend the art teacher. After the last gallery, the art teacher invited the two of them to have a drink with her at her club, Breach Candy.  They gratefully accepted and asked the driver to head through the thick traffic in that direction. On the way, the man mentioned that he had something to say about Breach Candy - a story from when he was here as a child.
They entered the club, where the art teacher signed the two in as guests, and then they stepped into the inside pool area.
"Yes, this is the place - very much as I remembered"
She took a picture of him standing by the pool, then they walked through to the outdoor pool and around to the restaurant area.

Old guy by the pool -55 years later

They took a seat on the balcony with a view of the Indian Ocean in front of them and the large outdoor pool to their right. After ordering drinks and appetizers they relaxed and continued their conversation. The man began to tell his story about Breach Candy..

"We used to travel through Bombay on the way to and from boarding school in Kodaikanal. The trip took 3 days and we would spend the night here in Bombay. There was always a group of us - all the missionary kids from the Arabian Missions in Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman. If we were lucky, Air India would put us up at the Taj Mahal hotel. Can you imagine a large group of rambunctious American kids running around the quiet restaurants and lounges?
Anyway, when I was four or five - four I think, though it's possible I was five or six now that I think about it - my mom travelled with us.  We had some time in the morning before our flight to Madras and we got on the Air India bus and come over here to Breach Candy to swim before heading to the airport. I think there must have been about 16 or 17 of us kids of all ages from my youngest brother Steve who was a baby to high school juniors and seniors.
It became time to go to the airport and my mom told all of us to get out and get changed and hustle out to the bus. I stayed in the pool a little longer because there was something I just had to do. After playing some more, I got out and headed to the little changing rooms to get dressed. When I found no others around, I panicked, started crying and took of out of the club and ran down the street looking for everybody.
In the meantime, all the others had gotten dressed and climbed on the bus. The bus started off for the airport and my mom started counting noses. She counted several times before she realized that not only was she short one person, but that person was her little Timmy. She too panicked, stopped the bus and ran back to the club where they told her that a little boy had run down the street. As she went people pointed her along where the boy had gone. 'Little boy? White hair? went that way !'
She found me after a shopkeeper had stopped me and given me some candy and kept me in his shop until someone came along."
The man stopped talking for a few seconds. "So that's the story. What do you think?"
"Wow, you're lucky you were found."
"Actually, I wasn't - they swapped me for another little boy. The real me is still wandering around old Bombay somewhere begging." He laughed at his own joke, thinking it quite clever.
They finished their drinks while watching the rain shower come in over the ocean and descend on the club. After it was over they walked back out to the street and called their driver to head home.

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