In 1994, I met someone who was to become - and who remains - one of my closest friends. We had embarked the previous year, but at different colleges, on a demanding and challenging journey of learning - studying homeopathy - and, at the end of the first year, she joined our college. We discovered that we lived near each other, she at the time in Kensington, I in Notting Hill, and, given the enormity of what we had to understand and learn, we decided to get together twice a week for study sessions. We did this for three years . . .
We were very disciplined but rewarded ourselves at the end of each session with the telling of stories: our stories, the stories of our lives. And, despite having grown up in very different circumstances, in different parts of the world, we soon discovered degrees of synchronicity and resonance in those stories and in the way that we had responded to our life experiences. Those study sessions became the crucible in which our friendship was formed. In the ensuing years, we have become ever closer; we have travelled together - journeys of deep significance for each of us - and we have continued to tell our stories, which are now inter-woven.
Hers is extraordinary and it made a great impact on me when I first heard it. But, although I am familiar with that story, to see it written down, as it now is - or as it is beginning to be - the impact is, if anything, even greater. For my friend has now started a blog and is recounting her story, many decades after it began, although the word 'blog' seems hardly to do it justice because it is that rare combination: perfectly crafted words and images. Visual poetry, on a screen.
So, this post is a tribute to my brave, bright, deep-thinking, deep-feeling, and stalwart friend; the photograph is of a place of spiritual and emotional pilgrimage for both of us: the Paradesi Synagogue in Kochi.