When I first heard about the terrorist attacks in Mumbai I confess that I did not pay much attention to what was happening there.  I am ashamed to say that is because I didn’t think I personally knew anyone there and India is a country that exists in a fantasy for me.  I know that it is there, but I have never been.  I like Indian food, I have met some wicked smart people from India here in the Pacific Northwest, and some day I would like to see the Taj Mahal and it would be a dream to see a tiger in the wild.  We should care about what happens to people we don’t know in countries far away but it is not as easy as that, even for a fairly well traveled wanderingblonde.  Awakenings can be rude and awful and so mine has been.  I learned that I did indeed know someone in Mumbai and suddenly this tragedy a world away was as real to me as my tears.

Andreas Liveras was man who, while slight of stature nonetheless stood head and shoulders above most men.  I do not ever remember seeing him without a smile on his face, and though he was the consumnate salesman and promoter his smiles were genuine.  No one enjoyed life as much as he.  As a young man he emigrated from Cyprus to England and became a humble delivery truck driver for a small bakery.  In short order he managed to own that bakery and turn it into an industrial operation employing hundreds.  After selling that concern he concentrated his attentions on building a fleet of large luxury yachts that he chartered to the world’s most demanding celebrities and heads of state.  Andreas Liveras was a multimillionaire whose feet were firmly on the ground.  I don’t know how many multimillionaires you’ve met but I’ve known my fair share and in general they are not down to earth, happy go lucky types.  He could order a bottle of the finest champagne in the most unpretentious way. His eyes sparkled and he often wore an expression on his face that said, “I’ve got a secret,” and made one want to know what that secret was.

I for one will never forget how kind he was to me when we first met nearly fifteen years ago.  I was hardly worthy of his personal attention, a newcomer to the broker aspect of the yachting industry, but Andreas went out of his way to treat me as if I was his most important client.  When I learned how Andreas had died, after hours spent locked in a room at the grand hotel he chanced to visit that night for a taste of their fabled curry, my first thought was that I wouldn’t be surprised if he had died protecting someone else.  I could see him doing that.  I will miss him.  Fair winds and following seas Andreas.  As for the murdering savages responsible for this massacre I believe there is a special place in hell for them.  At least I hope so.