Guest author: Ritu Bhathal – New old friends

I talk.

A lot.

I’m pretty sure those of you that follow my blog probably can vouch for my incessant ramblings too!

At least you can decide what you want to read and what to skip.

Not so for those that I meet.

And my poor Hubby Dearest and children when they accompany me anywhere!

Working as a teacher means I am exposed to many folk from the community, and a trip to the supermarket, or town is seldom without an encounter with a student or their family, which always means a (short honest!) catch up.

As a rather sociable member of the Sikh community, the one to accompany my mother in law to all manner of functions, not to mention a past member administrator for the local Bhangra group, I know lots of faces too, so there is invariably someone who I end up meeting and exchanging pleasantries with too!

But my manner doesn’t just reach to those I know. I always have a smile for those I pass and catch eyes with. I have had fantastic conversations with relative strangers too, in the middle of the street invariably with a child pulling at my sleeve, telling me to hurry up!

But you can meet some wonderful people this way… how else are random friendships built?

Take my friend John.

John is a wonderfully young gentleman in his mid seventies. Just older than my Pops.

How on earth have I found myself with a mate in his seventies??!!

Because of Asda, and my smile, that’s how!

A few months back I was on my usual shopping trip to Asda on a Saturday morning. The time was always the same, as I would drop the kids to various clubs before embarking on a peaceful, if speedy, grocery shop, with no one asking for magazines, sweets, or other bribes!

You know how it is, as you surf the aisles, it is inevitable that there will be those folk you see at each aisle going in the opposite direction but travelling the same way. This happened on several aisles with an older gentleman. I’m sure you can picture me beaming at him as I glided past with my ever filling trolley, and he smiled back and nodded an acknowledgement to me.

After around the fourth encounter, he stopped me.

And thanked me.

“It is so nice to see someone with a sense of humour around here, smiling back every time we have bumped into each other!”

And so, our conversation started. That day I found out about his sons, and what they were doing in life, he asked what I did, and we discovered that he was actually at the school I teach at, as a post war pupil in the late 40’s! After nattering for ten minutes we went on our way, bumping into each other again around the store.

I was glad I had no company that day. I wouldn’t have met such a lovely person otherwise!

The next week, browsing the aisles, guess who I met again? That dear man with the smiles! We made a point to stop and have a quick (read ten minute) chat again, and went on our way.

On my next shopping trip, guess who was there? My Asda shop mate! This time he had something for me. We had talked about my son starting the local secondary school and he had located a picture of the original school from the 16oo’s! He wanted me to share it with my son, so we exchanged emails, and then he said he was on Facebook, so could message it to me. “John, the name is John ****.”

From then, John has been my Facebook friend, following my blog as well, and commenting or messaging regularly!

The kid’s Saturday clubs changed in December so my shopping time altered too, but I always looked out for him, and he did me too.

A couple of months passed and I hadn’t seen him, but heard from him over the internet. One day we had missed each other, or rather I hadn’t seen him yet he saw me, tried to call me but I was in a hurry and hadn’t heard.

He heard of my accident via Facebook and sent me a lovely message of concern too.

Then last week, after what felt like an age, we met at the tills!

It was like meeting an old friend!

I am not ashamed to say I went over and gave him a huge bear hug! We had a quick catch up and he mentioned that he had seen my photo showing a portrait that a friend had painted of me. He was not convinced that it was as lifelike and flattering as it could be so he asked his wife, who is a expert cross stitcher, to create a likeness of me as a surprise!

Unsurprisingly though, his wife declined. What with ill health, and the fact that her husband was asking her to do something very time consuming for a complete stranger, I didn’t blame her, but seriously, how sweet that he even thought to want to do that!

The queue was building up so we bade a fond farewell to each other.

That evening he messaged an apology to me. In all the excitement of seeing me he had forgotten to enquire after my health post accident. So sweet!

And that is the story of how I met my new old friend John!

Find and follow Ritu

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Ritu BhathalAbout the author

Ritu Bhathal was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970’s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but with Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her.
From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is mostly credited to her mother.
The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her own writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally gave her the encouragement to continue writing.
As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn on inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes.
A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing!
Ritu also writes a blog, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which recently was awarded second place in the Best Overall Blog Category at the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards.
Ritu is happily married, and living in Kent, with her Hubby Dearest, and two children, not forgetting the furbaby Sonu Singh.
She is currently working on some short stories, and a novel, to be published in the near future.


Read Wedded Stress online

Poetic RITUalsPoetic RITUals by [Bhathal, Ritu]

Delve into a book of verse exploring different topics and different genres, all with a RITUal twist.
A collection of poetry drawing on the experiences of the writer, ranging from matters of the heart, love for the family, situations in life and some verses written with a humorous twist.

Available via Amazon UK, and worldwide.

“It is really great to open a book and be surprised in every good way by the contents. I read through the poems at one sitting, delighted with each one to the next. They reminded me in some ways of Pam Ayres work; witty, funny, poignant, some slightly tongue-in-cheek.” Wendy Unsworth

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About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
This entry was posted in Art, Books, Friendship, Guest post and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to Guest author: Ritu Bhathal – New old friends

  1. Ritu says:

    Thanks for having me Sue xxx


  2. Sangbad says:

    It’s always a pleasure to read your post Ritu Ma’am…and thanks to Sue for sharing such wonderful post

    Liked by 2 people

  3. adeleulnais says:

    What a lovely story and it is so true. You never know who you might meet on a day to day basis. I laughed when you said a small child tugging your sleeve and telling you to hurry up, my daughter still does that when I meet people I know.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. That was a lovely story, Sis. I am not surpeissed that you make friends so easily with your sunny nature 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Poet Ritu Bhathal is guest of Sue Vincent today and tells the lovely story of how she met her friend John… head over and discover the whole story yourself..

    Liked by 3 people

  6. TanGental says:

    if every supermarket had a Ritu cruising the aisles there would be more happiness and probably more crowded stores. I think society needs a cloning machine NOW… I’m rather envious of John…

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Jennie says:

    Wonderful, WONDERFUL to read your interview, Ritu. Sue, this is terrific.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Check out this guest post on Sue Vincent’s blog from another one of my favorite bloggers, author Ritu Bhathal.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. You have got to be one of the nicest people in the world, Ritu. Such a great story and so lovely of you to befriend and make time for an elderly person.

    Liked by 2 people

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