AN AFTERNOON WITH MAX
The next morning, while still nursing a heavy hangover following rounds of Moonshine at Gip’s, I nevertheless painfully head over to Max’s place. He invited me to brunch. I once again discover another facet of the city. Planted along a road that winds through the forest, I discover a sort of manor house with three storeys on a hillside overlooking the valley.
With a weary and disillusioned look, but at the same time obviously happy to have new friends, Max shows me his countless family’s memories, his family tree, and the portrait of his ancestor that looks exactly like him. This reminds me of a Maharaja I met long ago in Udaipur who only lived in one room of his castle that he otherwise rented to tourists. He would spend his days watching TV programs on wildlife, the same wildlife as his father hunted a long time ago.
I listen to his story. It is similar to many others, albeit with some nuances, for instance how he is aware of the options he’s lucky to have. I hear stories about lives that shifted. Stories about people, shackled by their duty, people that sacrifice themselves with a generosity that seems rare.
Over here, the state does not provide meaningful assistance. People are “stuck”in difficult family situations, health challenges, unemployment, or are left to care for a lazy, delinquent, absent or simply more selfish close relative. It’s difficult to quit smoking under these conditions.