Artist: Rajan Soni

Rajan Soni has been travelling since birth. His first wide-eyed journey was from Mombasa to Zanzibar in the arms of his mother. He has been itinerant ever since. He has lived, worked, and wandered through more than 60 countries in five continents and has been fortunate to meet three people who recognized him wholly in this time. All three were blind.

The first, a retired Scottish sea merchant, was sitting on an adjoining table in a Chinese Café, drinking ginseng tea. He turned, tapped a shoulder and said: “Sorry sir, I have been eavesdropping on your conversation. I’ve travelled the world but can’t figure out where you are from. What nationality are you?”

The second was a scholarly man with a tapping white stick on a train meandering slowly through the Snake Pass in the Peak District of South Yorkshire. At the end of an hour’s conversation, he said: “Good talking to you sir, but before I get off, can you tell me which country you are from?”

The third was in a workshop in a nondescript conference room, in a forgotten corner of the world. A woman blinking sightlessly pointed diagonally across the circle of chairs and said: “I can’t place that man speaking from over there. At first I thought I heard an African speaking. But then I thought I heard an Indian accent. But I have listened closely to what he’s been saying, and I just don’t know. Sir, can I please feel your hair?”

Rajan Soni is now based in Dar Es Salaam, to be close to his daughters. He lives happily in his skin, with an eclectic mix of contradictions, and likes to read, write and walk by the sea. He works as a consultant in international development.

Author of Looking for Lakshmi

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