Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Sikh Friend

An envelope turned up in the post and I immediately reacted to the ominous timing. Why do I get mail from him now? I thought. It looked like his handwriting, but could it be his widow writing? I'll explain.

Six years ago when I had to spend a month in hospital, I had a bed neighbour whom I got to know quite well. He was an elderly gentleman waiting for some procedure which would take place sooner if he stayed in hospital rather than going home to wait there. It was a bit like standing in the queue in a supermarket, then remembering an item you've forgotten to put in your trolley. Would you go and get it, risking having to start all over again? So this old chap was in the priority queue so to speak, being pretty bored just waiting.

He and his family had been chased out of Uganda by Idi Amin together with thousands of others, moved to the UK and set up a business there. His family who came to visit always had a chat with me (and Mrs S if she was there), and they often brought him home-made food which looked very appetizing. Once I had got my appetite back I found the hospital food rather uninspiring, to say the least. So guess what, I was offered some of their tasty food to compliment the hospital Halal alternative, which I found more interesting than the standard food there. So there we were, a Swedish Englishman and an African-Indian Sikh sometimes having a Muslim meal or an Indian home-cooked dish. Sadly I could not offer any Swedish meatballs in return, but Mrs S offered my friend not only Tesco's yummiest fruit yogurts sometimes, but she also regularly took care of his lottery ticket at the newsagent's.

Since that hospital friendship we have always sent each other Christmas cards, despite the fact that I am not a believer and my friend is not of the Christian faith. He will be in his eighties by now, so I feared the worst when we had this letter, which turned out to be a card, our first Christmas card this year. My old friend Devi certainly knows how to meet a deadline, early! (Sorry, no pun intended!)

Christmas Card


CanadianSwiss said...

LOL! Love the card... and the story behind it. :)

swenglishexpat said...

CS - Thanks!

GutsyWriter said...

That beats the record. I can't believe you received a Christmas card in October! Soon it will be in July.

swenglishexpat said...

Well, he is an old fellow and I suppose he wanted to start early so as to finish them all before Christmas, and I happened to be first on his list!