Your moving tribute to Krishna brought back a flood of memories, some of which I thought I’d share with you. I first met the Ribouds not in Paris but at La Carelle in the summer of 1964. One morning Henri Langlois picked me up from my hotel to show me the caves where he had hidden Cinematheque’s most precious treasures during the Nazi occupation. Truffaut had loaned his car and driver (the young Guy. Who did all kinds of chores for Henri). It was around tea time that we ended up at La Carelle. On the way, Henri had told me about Jean and Krishna and that we would be staying the night with them. I am a bit shy when meeting new people and it takes me a while to get used to them. Not with Krishna and Jean; they had that marvelous quality to make one feel at home instantly. Their natural grace and warmth told me that I had been ‘accepted’.
After dinner Krishna took me aside and said, “Garga, you being a film historian, must know something about Indian actors and actresses?. Before I could answer, she pulled out a photograph from somewhere and showed it to me. I told her I knew the lady. ‘Any scandals? I said ‘not that I know of’. ‘My brother is in love with her and wants to marry her', she confided. Next morning, Jean took me out for a walk through the woods which opened out on to the lake, where Krishna had kept several exotic birds from India.
Back in Paris I had developed an eye infection. It was well-nigh impossible to find a doctor in July. When Jean came to know of it, he arranged for one through his office. This was the beginning of a long friendship. And when in Paris I would spend a great deal of time at the Riboud residence.
On another occasion around 65-66, I had come to Paris at the invitation of Pierre Scheffler (ORTF). I rang up Krishna who asked me over to dinner. It was a joyous evening with excellent food and wine. After dinner I decided to walk back to my hotel not far from Ave. du Bretieul. It was well past midnight when I woke up in a sweat, my heart beating furiously. It was an unearthly hour to wake up anyone.
Finally I rang up Anil de Silva (who was at the dinner) who in turn informed Krishna. Less than an hour, a friend of the Riboud’s whom I had met earlier arrived with a doctor. Their mere presence calmed my nerves. A day later, Jean’s physician examined me. Timely help had averted a possible heart attack. Krishna insisted that I move in with them for a few days before returning back to Bombay.
I could go on and on. Krishna’s passing away has snapped another link with Paris which started with Sadoul, Henri, Lotte, Mary, Anil and Fulchignoni. All that is left are memories of shared moments of warmth and happiness.
Hope we will meet soon either in Goa, Delhi or Paris next year.
All the very best