Biographical Insights Into My Friend Kosti


by Larry Darrell

As many of my colleagues know I have spent numerous years traveling the
world. Throughout my worldly studies I have met many interesting individuals.
Probably none more complex and valuable in my initial search than my Polish
companion named Kosti.

Although I do not know a great deal about his past and little or nothing of
his recent accommodations, Kosti will always be credited with a prominent place
in the development of my mental faculties.

I met Kosti while working at a coal mine located in the northern French town
of Lens. Kosti aided me in my search for knowledge and self-existence. For this
I will always be in debt to him. He also furthered my social skills and
enlightenment of worldly affairs.

Within this page you will find descriptions of Kosti, who, from real life, ended up
in the novel The Razor's Edge (Maugham, p.99-118) by W. Somerset Maugham.
To find out everything I've learned about this great individual and friend just
continue reading. To learn all about what happened to me and my life after the
novel ended click Larry Darrell just above the credits below.

Compared to the average man, Kosti was a large fellow. His superior size and
strength intimidated myself and most likely anyone else he met. "He was a big
fellow, two or three inches taller than me, and heavily built. He had a pale
fleshy face with a broad short nose and a big mouth. His eyes were blue and
because he hadn't been able to wash the coal dust off his eyebrows and
eyelashes he looked as if he were made up" (Maugham, p.102).
His superior size led to an added advantage among other the other
men. "Naturally [the other Poles] resented it, but they couldn't do anything
about it; he was as strong as an ox, and if it had ever come to a scrap, knives
or no knives, he'd have been a match for half a dozen of them together"
(Maugham, p.105). With Kosti by my side I was secure in every way. His size
only added to the fatherly comfort he gave me. He was great to travel with
and always entertaining.

On the surface Kosti seemed to be your average miner. He was rough and
tumble, a drinker and a card-shark. He was, however, quite the avid reader. He
claimed to be ignorant to literature. He told me once "now I don't read anything but
newspapers and detective stories" (Maugham, p.102) which was patently untrue as
as he seemed knowledgeable in all areas of life but his own.

Although he would not say, his life was degraded because he actually came from the
European upper class and had been thrust into a commonerís job, which he did
not like. "There was nothing for [him] but the Foreign Legion or a coal mine.
[He] chose the lesser of two evils" (Maugham, p.104).

His life was result of cheating at card games and abusing his privileges. "He'd
been kicked out of the Officers' Club at Warsaw and cashiered out of the Polish
army because he'd been caught cheating at cards" (Maugham, p.106). Perhaps it
was deserved but it destroyed his life.

Kosti had more than one side to him and this made him an excellent
individual to analyze. His second more appealing side was displayed
once he was under the influence of a little beer. His other side is what "made him so
interesting to me. I couldn't reconcile the two. Though he boasted he never
read anything but the paper and detective stories he was a cultivated man"
(Maugham, p.107).

Kosti taught me a great deal about life. His second, more
thoughtful side, was the one I paid the most serious attention to. "He was a
good talker, caustic, harsh, cynical, but it was exhilarating to listen to him"
(Maugham, p.107.)

Despite the fact that he gave this common man appearance he had a lot of
faith in God. "He was a devout Catholic and had a crucifix hanging over his
bed, and went to Mass every Sunday regularly" (Maugham, p.107).

This cultivated side to Kosti served to enhance both my interests and education.
At the time he was in essence a developed version of myself. He was the
teacher while I was the student. He had already achieved a level near what I
was seeking to achieve. Had I not met him, my journey would not have developed
into the form it did. From him I gained knowledge and a perspective that has
served my purpose to this day. From those early days of my journey until the
moment I met my Father Ensheim, Kosti was the most knowledgeable person I
had every met!

Without the influence of Kosti during my travels I would not have developed
as quickly as I did toward my current state. Although it was Father Ensheim
that advised me to go to India and eventually meet my Holy Man, it was Kosti
that set the stage in my search for self-Realization. I owe my early understanding
of life and my journey to him. His insight or almost innate premonition into the
the timing of my quest figured substantially toward my meeting of the mysterious
Holy Man in the Temple at Madura that sent me to meet the Maharshi, and
eventual Awakening to the Absolute.





I would like to thank the following individuals for their undying support in my journey:

W.Somerset Maugham

Father Ensheim

Shri Ganesha

Swami Ramdas

My Wartime Buddy Patsy

Additional inspiration and research for this page provided through:

The Wanderling

Ms. Kate Greenway

Sheena Weinbeck

Currie Gardner

Abbas Damji

Juergen Manski

Lisa Woodcock


(please click)

Kate Greenway graduated cum laude with an Honours Fine Arts Degree in Theatre
Production from York University and has a B.Ed. from the University of Western
Ontario. Since 1992 Ms Greenway has been Head of Drama at Holy Trinity School
where she has directed and produced over twenty-five major productions.