Hello, Éire.

The village lays within silence. The sheep graze. It rains. The house looks exactly the same, just the garden silently grew back into wilderness. A pile of letters on the floor. A few cobwebs here and there. The grocer’s wife knocks against the window. “Read On”, she says: you are so skinny!” Did they not feed you properly in India?” Then I disappear in a massive embrace. The hugs of the grocer’s wife are mad of steel. When I am able to breathe again, she tells me that two men died ( lung cancer and heart attack), one neighbor is about to sell his house ( gambling ), the rooster of the neighbor at the right- hand end of the village died under suspicious circumstances and two people enquired if the house where I am living in is for sale. The grocer’s wife reassures me that she chased them away! I am in no doubt of that. “Indecent, city people”, she squeaks and shakes her head. “But I am from the city as well, grocer’s wife”, say I but the grocer’s wife shakes her head again; “you are one of us, Read On.” I am afraid, I really blushed. ( The grocer’s wife knows perfectly which buttons she has to press.) She is really, really good at it. But the best news, she kept till the end: My daughter, she says now all proud mother, got acquainted with the electrician.The electrician comes from the neighboring village, is of good, even respectable family stock ( at least three generations of electricians), if not a direct line back to Thomas Edison. “That’s excellent news grocer’s wife say I and she beams of joy and glory. Before she leaves, she winks at me:” Now the vet is all yours.” (As if it would be that easy.) Of course she doesn’t leave without putting two of her massive and famous scones on the table. Before I manage to open the suitcase, the priest stops by: “just sayin’ hello, Read On, good to have you back, looking a bit skinny, don’t you?” Sorry for the ivy, gardener will take care of it next week, alright?” I nod. “No worries about the ivy.” ( The cemetery and my garden share a wall and loads of ivy.) During the next two hours, more neighbors stop by “just to say Hi and they all agree: “so skinny, Read on, didn’t they feed you well in India?” Then I finally manage to sit down on the old armchair and look out of the window. The sun glows through the birch trees and covers the old oak tree in a gentle orange. On the kitchen table, in the middle of the news paper, where she is absolutely forbidden to sit, Queen Cat lies, and purrs. She does not look as she intends to leave soon. Among the letters I find a postcard from the vet: I stole all your strawberries and will be back at the beginning of October, it reads. Well then I think, hello back again, Éire.

2 thoughts on “Hello, Éire.

  1. So delightful to read about your homecoming and all those happy to have you safely back among them. I, too am glad you are back in your house that looks exactly the same, but I need to tell you what an impression your posts on India made on me. You introduced me to a country and culture I had only a vague understanding of, and the little bit I knew was mainly based on American movies. So I read and reread your posts and studied your photographs and gained a new and more complex understanding and appreciation of India. Thank you.

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