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By Moni Basu:
On that afternoon, I didn’t know what to expect inside Room No. 34. I’d seen Ron several days before, at Piedmont Hospital. I hadn’t even fully stepped into his room when he looked up from his bed. “Ah, Moni Basu and Kevin Duffy!” He recognized us instantly and we had a delightful two-hour conversation about things past and present.
At one moment, after Alex showed up and we began talking aboutIndia, the talk veered to Varanasi, an ancient, holy city on the banks of the Ganges River. Many Hindus hope to have their last rites performed there; their ashes scattered in the murky waters; their souls dancing free.
The place where you spend your formative years can draw you back with the pull of a magnet to metal. Or it can repel, the desire to divorce yourself from prickly memories trumping all else.
I have a difficult relationship with Tallahassee, the small north Florida city where my family landed in the mid-1970s. A place that was largely black and white then and had little room for shades of brown. “Is your mama black or your daddy black?” was the first question I heard at Amos P. Godby High School.
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