Traveling Raconteur

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An evening in Liverpool @Imagine Cafe with Julia and Denis

So we came back to Denis’ house – washed the Crosby sand off our feet and were ready to set an agenda for the evening. While writing to Denis from India, I had told him that I’d be happy to make Indian tea for him. I think he was looking forward to it for Denis remembered the tea and asked me if I had got my leaves. I did! I had taken Taj Mahal tea and cardamom from India to make tea for my couchsurfing hosts and any other people whose homes I may find myself in.

It was great making tea in Liverpool for everything was different! Denis only had goat milk in his fridge, I never made or had chai with goat milk – buffalo milk usually or cows is fine too but never goats though while in McLeodganj I had tea made of yak milk. Also Denis didn’t have sugar, only jaggery, but at the end it did turn out very Indian – maybe because the cardamoms were still Indian 🙂 My mum wouldn’t be surprised to know that just with making tea I created a mess in Denis’ kitchen.

Julia seemed happy to have her chai – she was missing Hyderabad, chai was the best gift I could give her in addition to the Osmania biscuits I took for her from Karachi Bakery. With our chai ready on a cold evening in Liverpool, Denis, Julia and I relaxed in Denis’ living room. It was then that I had a chance to look at the posters and other interesting things Denis had in his hall and the house.

Posters of such great variety, collected over many, many years. Denis had spent 16 years in his beloved Spain which I believe he misses everyday. As we sat there in the great room with the heater on, I was constantly drawn to a poster of a lady in a beach costume under an umbrella. A two minute dialogue I had with Denis that afternoon on Matthew Street came to my mind – ‘there’s no Imagine Cafe? Maybe you should start one.’

Me: Denis! This house of yours is so amazing! This should be Imagine Cafe, turn it into a cafe – lovers of the song will come looking for it. If I took several tubes and a bus to find Elia Street and go to Charles Lamb Pub, I am sure lovers of the song ‘Imagine’ will find your cafe and love it too. This is Imagine Cafe, right here!

Denis and Julia looked at me silently – Denis I believe was amazed, Julia had a subtle smile, the one she always has before a big, bright smile comes up.

I instantly thought of creating a Facebook page for Imagine Cafe and the immediate next thought was – pictures! “Julia and I are your models, take several pictures of us, we will put them on Facebook.”

I love Denis for how he listens to ideas and then tries to see them, wants to try them but tells himself that this may not work lest it doesn’t. When it doesn’t, I guess he takes solace in the fact that he knew ‘it wouldn’t.’

I felt lucky that I had a chance to ask Denis what his dreams are – I wasn’t surprised, he wanted to be in Spain, I could see his love for Spain but there was a problem, he can’t be in Spain too soon. He has a house, his ancestral property to take care of. The house we were now sitting in. Julia was tired and retired to bed but Denis and I kept chatting.

I wouldn’t give up believing Denis is meant for much, much more and I wouldn’t rest until he believes it too. Denis is an amazing artist, I love his art without the bias of him being a friend for I loved it even when I was only a stranger. His dream, which Denis doesn’t really like talking about is that he be a successful artist and make a fine living out of his art.

That’s the most doable dream I have heard for Denis is talented and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be a successful artist with proper marketing.

I offered to be Denis’ personal secretary for free. I will send him to-do lists, assignments that will give him a push, will create his Facebook page etc. And the most immediate task I thought of that night at 2 am is that Juli and I sell Denis’ art on the street the next day. I spoke for Julia for I know she would never say no to such a great idea. I went to bed happy and excited about being an art sales girl the next day. But before saying good night to Denis, I smoked in Denis’ garden in the middle of the night – the sky a beautiful blue, the streets very wide, clean and the wind bone-chilling, the night silent. Outside Denis Murphy’s house is peace.

I felt ill the next morning when I woke up but was still super excited about the sales. Denis made the most wonderful breakfast I had in all of England, just as promised in one of his first emails to me.

We couldn’t do it – we couldn’t do what I thought will be the coolest thing to do on this trip for every busker or salesman on the streets in Liverpool needs a license to perform or sell. Denis didn’t have one.

Denis kept writing down all the tasks I was suggesting he does. I added ‘find out how much it costs to get the license’ and ‘raise funds to get the license’ to that list. Very soon I will push Denis into getting a license, I feel confident about this.

Soon it was time for us to leave – Me to Carlisle and Julia to London to take her flight back to Vienna.

In Liverpool we were a group of three friends, not a pair of two. The wonderful Denis Murphy had become our friend, a close, trusted friend, one of us.

Denis came to see us off at the train station. It was still one hour to our trains but Denis left Julia and me to spend some time together before we parted.

The most touching moment on this holiday for me was what Denis said before saying goodbye with a hug. “It was my birthday yesterday, I had a nice time – thank you both.”

In just a day Liverpool gave us a wonderful friend and the toughest goodbye.

I believe the Imagine Cafe will soon come into existence and will be a special place in Liverpool. When that happens, I will be super proud to be among the first people to visit the place.




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This entry was posted on November 20, 2012 by in Travels and tagged , , .

Fighting An Additction

Not One MoreSeptember 12th, 2014
Addiction is a curse one allows upon one's self until it ceases to seek permission. I do not like the idea of a mind controlled by substance. If I can refrain for 30 days, I'd be very impressed with myself.

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