I visited my close friend, who runs a small business in India, after a long time; more than a year. It was a great evening sharing war stories of the past year. There were days when he used to tell actual war stories. He is a retired colonel from the Indian army. His office is part of a penthouse located at the top of a tower, bang in the middle of Chennai. Absolutely true, yet so far from the truth. About half the floor is open space where he grows a few potted plants. Someone installed these two horses many years ago. I remember seeing them brimming in earthy red, the unmistakable color of fresh terra-cotta. You can find these horses in varying sizes everywhere in South India. It is one of the most popular artefact that would welcome guests in many South Indian homes.

Seeing this pair after a year was like meeting long-lost friends. They have grown old. Taken a few hits. One has managed to weather everything in its stride with style. The other one is not so lucky. A hip and a knee need replacement and the ears are missing. Beyond repair. Reminds me of many of my friends’ parents. I remember some of them playing influential roles in my early life. Sometimes it takes real absence to understand loss.

I hope these horses can endure a few more years of the tropical Indian weather. So long.

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