The Search For A Gentleman

Rainy season wasn’t too rainy in Bali this year. The transition into dry we’re experiencing right now is usually hot, humid, and suffocating, without even a whisper of breeze. But for some blessed reason, the fresh, easterly winds that always begin in June are here now, a month-and-a-half early. The air is clean. Cumulus-cotton-ball clouds float in a sky so brilliantly azure you’d swear Picasso in his heavenly art studio smeared it with leftover Blue Period oils.

Life pulsates in bursts of color and I can’t help but feel hopeful.

Several factors contributed to that positive outlook today. I’ve been trying to track down A Gentleman in Moscow. For months it was making the rounds at every (small) get-together I attended. But I didn’t grab it because I was certain I’d already read it. Then my daughter got hold of the book and waxed eloquent about the plot, the characters. She went on and on and I suddenly realized, whoops! I HAD NOT read it.

Now it’s nowhere to be found.

Today I targeted the Smile Shop. Ketut drove the bike and his daughter came too, crouched in the space in front of him so he could see over her head. That would never fly in the States, but here, families of five somehow manage to ride together on one motorbike.

Nengah’s eight. I told her to find three things she wanted hoping that would give me sufficient time to scour the shelves for ‘my book’ before she got bored and grumpy. Ketut’s been with me many times and has learned the fine art of digging through the detritus for the diamonds. When I stole a peek he was guiding Nengah though girls’ clothing bins, holding up one item after another for her approval.

He was too efficient. She’d already scored three cute shirts and I was still pawing through dusty tomes.

“Find one more thing, Nengah. And Ketut, don’t you need jeans? Maybe look for jeans!” When I’m on a mission I’m a shameless manipulator.

With feverish intensity I fingered every used book they had, even glanced through the ones written in German thinking my prize could be hidden anywhere. No luck. But tucked on the shelf labeled Science, I found The Calcutta Chromasome by Amitav Ghosh, one of my all-time favorite authors. If you haven’t read The Ibis Trilogy, start there. He’s an exceptional story-teller.

The timing was perfect. Nengah added a pink headband sprouting shiny golden hearts to her stash, Ketut had a pair of barely-worn jeans looped over his arm, and I didn’t find A Gentleman, but I did find my dear old friend Mr. Ghosh.

I’m glad in a way that A Gentleman in Moscow wasn’t there. Sounds silly, but I haven’t spent hours in the Ubud library for months. That gives me a great excuse to peruse their massive Used Books For Sale section and abandon myself to the search again another day.

Back at home, seven juicy carrots waited to be turned into carrot hummus. I’ve grown addicted and panic sets in when the supply runs low. I propped the doors open at either end of the galley kitchen and hummed contentedly as those cooling easterly breezes traveled westerly unhindered. When the carrots, garlic, lime juice, coconut oil, salt and chilis were pureed silky-smooth, I tasted. You’ve watched the restaurant scene in the movie When Harry Met Sally? Uh-huh. It was that good.

Great weather, a successful treasure hunt, perfect carrot hummus…not even the rampaging troop of monkeys that barreled over the roof jostling tiles as I sat down to write, could mess with my peace of mind. And I just checked the weather app – ninety percent chance of rain tomorrow. What luck! A perfect day for reading.

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anonymous
    Apr 17, 2021 @ 22:20:03

    I love treasure hunts! I’ll put that trilogy on my library list…thx, Sharon

    Liked by 1 person


  2. gail
    Apr 18, 2021 @ 05:04:20

    Sounds like a perfect day in Ubud! Strangely enough, A Gentleman in Moscow is on my bedside table at the moment – only just started but so very well written.
    Enjoy your reading & the carrot hummus.
    best wishes, Gail

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Diane Struble
    Apr 18, 2021 @ 15:14:59

    Good story, Sherry, and I am sure you will find your gentleman.

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Gail
    Apr 28, 2021 @ 10:50:19

    Your last posting was very uplifiting. Ketut is indeed a great friend – could you please tell us sometime more about him & his family (if that is possible) would love to know more.

    Liked by 1 person


    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Apr 28, 2021 @ 20:35:37

      He is a great friend, a patient father of two daughters, a devoted husband, a loving brother and son, and an exceptional human from all perspectives. He’s the 8th of 9 chidren. His sense of humor is unquenchable and his ingenuity finds simple solutions to problems that tie me in knots. He’s a devout Hindu and makes certain my home is protected by his prayers and offerings. I could go on and on singing his praises, Gail. I’ve known Ketut for over nine years and he is one of the most kind, thoughtful, rock-solid individuals I’ve ever met.



  5. Gail
    Apr 29, 2021 @ 11:55:42

    Thank you Sherry- How wonderful to have been blessed with such a great friend and he does sound truly exceptional.



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