It helps to have family and friends in far-flung places that you’ve never visited before. And so it was back in the last century – mid 1990’s to be precise – that my wife and I found ourselves, passports in hand, entering Australia via Sydney’s international airport for the very first time. We were delighted to meet up there with cousins from my mother’s side and the following week with close friends of mine in Adelaide.
I personally was so impressed with the country and its friendly people that, on my own, I made another trip to satisfy my curiosity in experiencing more aspects of that vast country. Also, the fact that my best friend from schooldays in New Delhi who was later on a business executive in Calcutta, working at the same British firm as I was, drew me to South Australia.
Roy Kumar Sen had preceded me in emigrating abroad – he with Philomena and their family to Down Under. and I with Lolita and our family to the United States: Roy stuck to his engineering profession by signing up with a large industrial mining company in its export division; I swung away from my commercial background in India’s coal industry, and in pursuit of my lifelong interest in classical music was hired as the Assistant Manager of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) in Upstate New York.
During my first three years with RPO, and as part of my job, I took the orchestra on concert tours up and down the Eastern seaboard. During one such ‘run-out’ and in the midst of an actual concert, I was summoned to take a phone call backstage: A familiar British-accented voice said cheerily: “Roy, he-a-h!” He was visiting the Americas on a sales trip, and my Rochester office had given him my itinerary, so that he could get in touch with me before he returned home. That’s Roy for you. He kept ‘in touch’ one way or another throughout the times we were so geographically apart. His highly legible cursive-scripted airmail letters arrived regularly with news of his rapidly growing family of the younger generation to the point that I lost count.
A date the Sens and Mayadases remembered later on with affection was when by way of careful coordination between Rochester and Adelaide we flew -East and West respectively – for a blissful few days to a tucked-away countryside resort north of Bombay and chewed the fat about this and that until the cows came home – literally!
Three-Scores-and-Ten Birthday Bash
Yup, 2003! That was my banner year, my 70th Year Birthday Bash!! My youngest daughter, Priya, and son-in-law, David Sable, went all out to convert their duplex on Riverside into a virtual fairyland to celebrate the big day with a long list of invitees, some of whom I’d not seen for ages. Of note was Roy, who had flown in especially from Adelaide for the occasion. It’s no surprise, then, that the following photos feature us at various stages of the party, beginning with Roy’s surprise appearance – Priya had kept it a secret! – and ending with his toasting me:
Unfortunately, our paths didn’t cross again face-to-face, and I was mortified to learn from Philomena that Roy had died on a vacation abroad with her while he was taking his routine morning swim in a hotel pool in November 2009. Apparently, he had suffered from a heart attack.
Goodbye, Dear Friend!
You number over 75,000 in over two-and-a-half years ago back in early 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.
My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.
Copyright © 2017 Azim Lewis Mayadas