On The Road with Geoff and Jules
Early Adventures on the Hippie Trail 1959-60
Copyright, 2012, Gerry Virtue
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He had sharp, pale blue eyes and a thick bushy beard. Seated at a low table in a corner, he was writing in a large exercise book. Small, slight, with sharp and beady eyes, he was totally engrossed.
I glanced at him from time to time, but he was so intent that he paid no attention to anybody or anything else. He had compelling eyes. Very alert, maybe a little wild, they gave him an edgy, self-confident look. Absorbed as he was, he seemed indifferent to the social niceties. And he mumbled as he wrote. Not loudly, but as though he was in some private conversation with himself. A very contained man.
It was Christmas Eve 1959, and we were in the communal sitting-room of the Salvation Army Hostel in Sudder Street, Calcutta, just a few yards off the main city road, Chowringhee. I was down in the dumps since my South African travelling companion had been booted out of India a day or two earlier for attempting to enter the country on an Apartheid era South African passport. So here I was in this Christian stronghold looking for a taste of Christmas, a festival largely ignored in the Hindu world.