India and her air, the guileless smiles, the innocence, the squalor, the unreserved generosity, everything bewitched Alfred Keeler so totally that he began to feel he had been there before. He effortlessly made the language, Hindi, his own and even though he was treated with diffidence because of where he came from, he found joy in completely identifying with his fellow Indian Air Force colleagues and cadets.
In the summer of 1953, Alfred got news of his mother’s passing. He went back just once, to settle his affairs in England and was back in a month. In due course, he applied and received Indian citizenship. His best efforts at locating his father or finding out what happened to him, however, were fruitless. He never saw his father. That winter he met Anna Fernandes, sister of one of his cadets, at the Christmas Eve ball in the officers’ mess. They married soon after and in April 1955, their first child, a boy, was born.
They named him Trevor…..