Horseback riding adventurer
There is a horseback riding adventurer in my genes. He lived, by some accounts, during the time of the First World War or thereabouts. He had a majestic beard, wore rimless glasses and had the spirit of a lion tamer. He lived and loved the land where he made his fortune…Burma. Yes, Burma because that’s what it used to be called in his days. He was the stuff that fireside stories are made of. He was a connoisseur and exporter of precious gems. Legend has it that he could look a gemstone in the eye and tell its pedigree. His love of gemstones had taken him to the wilds of Mogok where he settled down to live a life of trading these liquid orbs of lights in the international market.
By day he was a lawyer. He became one because he intended to be a landowner and needed to be able to study relevant documents without any interpretation that would take away the basic integrity of the words. He was that kind of a man. Whatever he took up he embraced tightly and completely. No half measures for him.
Since he had moved away from a life of urban pleasures to embrace the joys of the rough and tumble of the boonies he needed a family that would suit that life and so it came to pass that he took on another wife. With whom he had children. Generations later, I found this straightforwardness oddly appealing. A wife for the city and a wife for the country, one for each lifestyle. New age political correctness and feminism would’ve come down heavily on him if he had done this in the 21st century. But in the 19th century, things were more fluid and judgements, less overbearing.
Of his three sons from his urban life, one went on to become my grandfather. He was a gentle, unobtrusive soul who gave his sons unquestioned love. It was difficult to relate him in any way to the lusty, bearded man who was his father.
Some time after the First World War had broken out the adventurer sent the best gems in his collection to the Paris gem auctions. The story goes that the ship was blown to bits during gun fire and the shock of the news killed him. The abrupt way his life ended was almost as startling as his beginnings. Till date I’ve not found a trace of him in my genes. Perhaps that incredible appetite for life died with him.