One day and much to my surprise, my mausa (maternal uncle) showed up and yes, right here in Bombay! He came in from Fiji with an associate of his and was just wanting to visit … hmmm. I couldn’t help but to wonder if my brother had something to do with this.
We spent just about every day together. We weren’t perfectly alone as this associate (tagalong rather) was always with him. Jittu would go off and do other things with his family while mausa and I did whatever it was we did, going around here and there, eating this and that and basically sightseeing.
This associate of his I felt very strongly about. Though it wasn’t my place to voice my opinion of this person I was not at all pleased with his attendance. I felt sure he was along for a free ride; not once ever did he offer to pay for anything.
There was just a certain air about him. But I never asked my mausa about him because who knows, maybe it was some sort of payback or … well that’s why I won’t assume. I still didn’t like it.
One day mausa came to my hostel to pick me up as was the usual and we went for lunch. Afterwards we enjoyed a nice drive, not looking to see anything in particular. He then told me he did not like Bombay. He was ready to head towards home going first through Singapore and then Australia.
He said I should go with him as his guest. I was very happy for that gracious invitation of course but I did not wish to return to Fiji. I’m supposed to be on my way to London. I gratefully thanked him for his most generous offer and reminded him that I must make my way to England.
He did understand and just before he left, he pocketed me some money and yes I will admit it was a big help to be sure. Then he was gone.
Imagine this: neither myself nor Jittu were locals for one and the population of Bombay, never mind the rest of the Indian subcontinent was already astronomical. Looking for work, the percentage of competition for any one position was completely overwhelming, Why do you think Jittu and I sold movie tickets?
After my mausa’s departure, Jittu and I returned to doing whatever it was that we were doing … hanging out in Bombay and ultimately closing our season of friendship. We went on for a few more weeks. Jittu gave me his contact information for back home in Africa.
I had no way of knowing how much longer the Suez Canal would be closed and when would I really be able to afford a flight to London. These flights’ price tag remained well, sky-high as this was really the only way to England at that time. I had to make a move though and I knew I must leave India and my bond with Jittu behind.
With the Suez Canal not reopening until March of 1957, which of course I didn’t know at the time, I would’ve been in India for a few months more and most likely homeless and hungry, not knowing how much longer I could continue selling movie tickets. I had to make a move.