Posted in India, Sri Lanka, True Story, Inspirational

Destination Goa (Part 1)

Goa_Beach_Map.jpeg

I have taken a long absence from writing with the excuse of my fractured finger.  Typing is still a bit of a challenge, but as each day passes, I feel the need to clang the keyboard. Writing is a time where I delve into my inner thoughts. It’s a time when I visualise the past and envisage the future.  It allows me to listen to reason and rationalise the events, behaviours of people, It is a modem for me to question the society.

My dear Keyboard I have missed you.  I felt this even more last night, when I was watching the movie “Finding Forester”.  I am no “Forester”, not even “Jamal Wallace”. But one line rang true to me.  I write for myself too.  No denying that, it gives me a sense of happiness/pride or just satisfaction when someone else acknowledges my writing and understands my message.  But at the time of writing, I very rarely give much thought to the reader.  I do want to tell my story, at times I do want to change the societies perceptions, so obviously I do think about an audience.  But most often it doesn’t occur to me until I have finished writing.  When Sean Connery says “start typing, then thoughts can come later” yes first I start typing and words and thoughts just follow.  It’s like talking I think, we don’t usually rehearse what we are going to say do we?

Well so much for writing about Goa, I’ve written more about writing.

I fell in love with Goa and vowed that I would write about it when I returned.  But a few tragic events in the family and life in general got in the way for the long silence.  I am not really a travel blogger, this is probably the first time I am going to write about a travel destination.  So bare with me if it doesn’t give you everything you want to hear about the place.

My intentions were not only to talk about Goa but also about my perceptions of India and how wrong was I in some of my preconceived ideas of the place and it’s people.

Not sure when Jan and I became friends.  We are kind of related, but everyone’s related in Sri Lanka.  I remember snippets of our childhood.  It was my grandfather’s funeral or after the funeral some ritual day.  All our rituals ends with a feast at the end of the day.  Both of us were sitting outside on a wall or ledge or something like that and eating a “Vadai”  (my son describes it as a savoury doughnut).  A crow swoops and pecks my head and snatches the “Vadai”.  We both screamed and then cried.  Our lives have always been that way since then.  We’ve screamed at cockroaches and then cried for one another for lives so called challenges or mishaps.  But, between the screaming and crying we didn’t forget to laugh together either.  And I guess that’s what friendships all about.

We never realised that our lives were going to be more intertwined by our marriages later on in our lives.  We didn’t attend the same school, We didn’t even live in the same city.  We usually met at weddings and other family gatherings.  Occasionally letters were written. We kept in touch and I knew she a girl who was kind hearted and I could rely upon. In my books she was a friend. Later in our lives, through a series of coincidences and maybe the thing called fate,  I married her brother and she married my first cousin who was like a brother to me, (his dad and my dad were twins and we both had no siblings of our own, so we grew up regarding each other as brother and sister).  We didn’t set out to marry each other’s brother.  But that’s what happened. This did bring upon our bond even closer.

Fate did have some twisted notions as well.  Fate took my cousin/brother away rather hurriedly, just like he did with my father and her mother.  Mr. Fate was planning similar things for my youngest son and me, but we had other plans and so we turned him down or have postponed the invite. Through all this our friendship grew stronger.  We became pretty strong women too.

We turned 50 last year.  Destination Goa was all due to that.  Jan and I don’t just live in different cities now, we live in different hemispheres.  She hails from Canada and I from Australia.

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We decided we need to celebrate the fact that we’ve made it to 50. We wanted to go somewhere for a holiday, just the two of us, no kids, husbands or pets to worry about. Just the two us, sipping Champagne and being pampered was the key to this holiday. Our families were all up for it too.  Especially hubby wanted me to have a good time.

Planning was pretty tricky as Jan had limited leave and had a school reunion that was happening in Kerala (South India).  She wanted to have a holiday with me, then Kerala and wanted to see her dad in Sri Lanka at the end.  We didn’t know where to go.  We hashed around many ideas, a cruise around Burma and Cambodia, Dubai and Maldives all investigated. But, couldn’t really fit it in with latter part of her schedule being fixed.

She kept saying why don’t you come to India.  I was very reluctant as my previous trip to India wasn’t a pleasant one.  I have been to India a couple of times but mainly to the south.  Or that is the part that I remember.  When I was just a baby my dad had gone to New Delhi to do his Masters and I had lived there for 2 years, speaking Hindi very fluently.  At present I can only say “Acha”.  We had pretty much toured the whole of India at this time, including Kashmir.  But I don’t remember any of it.

Later when I was a mini teenager.  I do remember some of the temples and their imposing architecture.  But I also remember getting sick.  But the one after that was when I vowed never again.  Especially the Chennai airport.  To make things worse, my cousin had a bad experience just weeks before with the Indian Visa.  They were deported back to Australia for their own mistake and then allowed back in the next day.  Yes “huh?@?” is what comes to mind.

Eventually I gave in as all other destinations would mean that Jan would spend more time at different airport on transit than with me.  So we decided we will pick another city in India, so at least for her it will be just another internal flight to Kerala.  Now the task of picking a city in India.  Now, for all the amazing things about Jan, she could be a real pain in the rear when it comes to making a decision.  She is like a fly at a Buffet.  We or more like her started at Darjeeling – she wanted to feel the Himalayas.  I felt like “Asterix” banging his own head.   Anyway slowly I managed to settle her with Goa.

My hubby who was encouraging me on this holiday was now a bit reluctant.  He was not too keen on me going on my own to India.  To be honest I was very nervous too, after all the horror stories you hear about foreigners coming to harms way in countries like India and my cousin being deported back didn’t help my anxiety.

That’s all my finger can take it for today.  Cont….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in True Story, Inspirational

Gratitude

gratitude

Haven’t done much writing lately due to a fractured finger.  Feel really lonely without my keyboard.  But today I have something to celebrate.  I really want to post something today. The best I could do is cheat.  I can’t type too much.  So therefore going to post some of the letters I wrote a couple of years ago.

Today marks 8 years of being cancer free.  But the whole battle started a couple of years before that.  I have so many to thank for my blessings.  The following is a letter I wrote 2 years ago to my personal trainer.

Hi Damien

Today marks 6 yrs and 2 days cancer free for me.  I am not sure if you remember the first time we met at Goodlife/ Zest.  Well, I do.  I was bruised and battered after my first surgery.  I was physically and mentally drained.  The thought the possibility of my life ending at 42 was very real.  It was not my life that I was worried about, it was my kids having to lead a life without a mother, how it would affect them was what really upset me.  I realised I had to get out of that head space if I wanted a chance to fight this.  Making that first step to come and join the gym was my idea, but being handed to you was my fate.  Each time you made me better I would go on to have another surgery and comeback weaker than when I started.  After my last surgery, I could not even walk in shops with my kids.  They had to stop and wait for me.  I am glad I tracked you down again. Now I am a city to bay runner.

I saw my doctor today.  All the tests are indicating that there is no sign of the cancer. But, the doctor was actually very amazed at my recovery, my fitness level and overall how everything has turned out for me.  I am a rare case in their books (I mean on a medical level).  He kept shaking his head, and said “with each surgery we took organ after organ and it proves if you are willing you can live without them”.

Damien, the doctors did all they can medically to keep me alive, but it’s you who has given me a life that’s worth living.  Without the core exercises and other strengthening exercises, I will not be able to lead a normal life.  Even though I am probably the weakest in the class, I know personally my fitness has risen leaps and bounds.  Honestly I didn’t think I could do certain excercises.  You challenging me, forces me to try these new exercises.  And many a times I am surprised that I can do them.

Damien, you are the best personal trainer and truly a gorgeous human being. I am truly blessed.  Thank you so much for making me fitter and feel the way I feel.  Feelings are similar 2 years on.

 

Not every one received a letter.  Some just got a hug.

Thank you Ganesh – sorry you had to shoulder so much stress.  Promise not to do it again.

Thank you to my two beautiful boys – again sorry darlings, you had to endure various people picking you up from school.  Sorry for not telling you at the beginning.

Thank you to my mum – Sorry for not telling you at the beginning.  I didn’t think you could deal with it.  Promise not to do it again.  (I will kind of promise not to break another bone too, at least I will try)

Thank you to my cuz Ranji and Ragu- next to my hubby the other supporting rocks. Thanks goes to your beautiful kids and my aunt as well.  Thanks Nimal for being my reassuring doc.

Thank you to my Doctors – special thanks to Dr. Kolias, Dr. Martin Tan, and Dr. Stewart Lynch.

Thank you to all the million nurses who were by my side.

Thank you Dad for watching over me.

 

https://www.facebook.com/fitnessfrontline/

https://uma197.wordpress.com/2016/05/30/27/

https://uma197.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/the-dreaded-c-word-cont/

https://uma197.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/the-dreaded-c-word-cont-3rd-lot/

https://uma197.wordpress.com/2016/06/01/the-dreaded-c-word-cont-part-4/

https://uma197.wordpress.com/2016/06/01/the-dreaded-c-word-cont-part-5/

https://uma197.wordpress.com/2016/06/03/the-dreaded-c-word-cont-part-6/

https://uma197.wordpress.com/2016/06/04/the-dreaded-c-word-part-7/

https://uma197.wordpress.com/2016/06/06/the-dreaded-c-word-part-8/

 

 

Posted in love, marriage, Sri Lanka, True Story, Inspirational

The Story of the “Dandelion Guy”

dance
Taken on my maiden voyage “MV Lanka Sri Mathi” 

To My Darling (but sometimes a pain in the neck) Husband

I want to tell you a story of a “Young man with a Dandelion”.

Thirty years ago on this date, a young man (slightly dashing I might add), took a garland and then a jewellery named “Thali” and said to this rather naïve and pretty thing, “well I am your husband from this day forward”

But the story begins way before that.  This said young man had apparently vowed that he was never going to get married (well that’s the story he is spinning currently, so I have to go with that)

It all changed when he tagged along with his sister to the Sri Lankan Tea fields.  His sister had a friend who lived in the picturesque hill country of Sri Lanka.  Couple of days of the fresh air and cups of tea somehow started to have an effect on this young man.

At the same time his sister’s friend had her own convictions.  This girl avoided all advances or even a suggestion by the opposite sex.  She sneered at girls who went gaga over boys.  In her mind that was all a waste of time.

She had a clear plan for her life, she was not going to even contemplate boys until she was 23 or 24 of years of age (there was a method in her madness, thought it might be a distraction until she finished university).  And when she was ready her suitor would be someone who was about the same age or not more than a 5 yr gap, No smokers, and only moderate drinkers were going to be even in the running.  Well she had no idea that she was going to throw away all these rules just for a dandelion.

The three of them (the guy, his sister and her friend) took a pretty innocent walk down the tea fields. There must have been a change in the wind direction.  Nothing else explains the rest of the events.  The guy suddenly plucks a dandelion by the way side and offers it to this girl.  Their eyes lock.  She thinks far out it’s just a dandelion.  They were laughing and talking about stupid things until then.  There was no build up for this.  There was no Andre’ Reiu or angels playing the harp.  Just a dandelion and maybe that special look but something changed in her.  Not sure what led the guy to pluck the dandelion.  But according to him, she was different than others; she had somehow gnawed into his brain.

Many things happened after that, some sad and some mundane. But after two years, so 30 yrs ago their journey together began.

 

This dashing charming but slightly arrogant young man thought that he was marrying a beautiful young girl, who would dance to all his whims, do all his chores, and he thought he was set for the rest of his blissful life. Boy was he in for a shock. Little did he realise that this girl, who wore a nice naive smile, who looked pensive and obedient was in fact, (when prodded) was rather bull headed and was exactly like him.

In spite of the clashing horns, there was still a lot of love that kept the unity twined together. Also the Dandelion guy learnt that he was mostly wrong and even when he doubted the verdict, it was still better for his safety and well being to apologise to his wife and listen to her.  So obviously they lived happily ever after. (Time to time he forgets but he soon learns his mistakes)

 

 

The girl does have a few messages for the Dandelion guy.

Thank you for the Dandelion.

Thank you for the German erasers you stole from the ship

Thank you for being there for me when my dad died

Thank you for marrying me

Thank you for caring for my mum as your own

Thank you for all the encouragement and being honestly proud of me when I was studying, you even cooked pizza for me when I got back late from College.  And you hate cooking.

Thank you for giving me two beautiful kids

Thank you for always thinking about us before you

Thank you for accepting my friends as yours.  Especially accepting Lalith means a heck of a lot for me.

Thank you for being there for all the highs and lows of the Westpac life.  You gave me the confidence to excel and the courage to stand up.

Thank you for being the rock during my health scare.

Thank you for never doubting me and always believing in me.  (Well have the same courage that I will stop at the traffic light, trust me, I am not colour blind)

 

Now she has some requests/ or demands

Never forget that we are a team.  Lean on me when you need to.  I am/ and will be always there, right beside you.  All I ask in return is for you not to mix up the spoons, curry spoon in the curry and not in the rice.

Don’t forget taking care of you is kind of taking care of us.  So please, take care of yourself and give me the opportunity to grow old together.

And please know that your gal still loves you.

Posted in True Story, Inspirational

New Year … Hope, Dreams, Promises and Resolutions

Happy New Year NASA Theme

Midnight, 31st day of December – it is almost like the anti Cinderella moment.  We await that clock to finally move to straight up ahead.  Somehow what we didn’t achieve in 2016 was now going to be possible in 2017.  We have hope, we have hope that our dreams are going to come true. We can lose weight, we will get that new job, we will make money, we will find love.  It is all possible once that clock moves to 12.00. The unknown future date will somehow bring good luck as at 12.00 midnight.  The glamour lasts that whole day. You wish everyone on facebook, on the streets and on the phone.

But by the time 2nd of January rolls around, the cheer, starts to wane.  It could be just the reality hit “it’s just another day” or it could be withdrawals from all the alcohol since Christmas.  But life does become as mundane as it was on the 29th of December.  Still, I think it is alright to have that one moment when the entire world world goes crazy, for love, happiness, peace, and everything else.  Because it’s the starting point that you pin your hopes on.  Without hope there is no motivation for tomorrow.

Each culture and each family would have their own traditions.  Until we came to Adelaide our tradition was to go to Eric and Rajee’s house.  The same crowd got together each year. Our kids were really young. Eric would always have sparklers for young and all.

We brought this tradition with us when we moved to Adelaide.  My cousin did the Christmas and I did the New years Eve.  We had  a set of family and  friends who became regulars for this event.  I love a full house.  The banter, the laughter, the noise, the chaos it all makes it a happy home.

Last night sure was a strange one.  In my nearly 30 year marriage hubby and I have never been apart on New Years.  He is away in Sri Lanka due to his fathers passing.  My youngest is in Japan.  This is the first year, he has missed his birthday, Christmas and New Year from the family.  Mum had to make a dash to Sydney with the forth funeral for the month. Right now there are more pets in the house than humans.

2016 sure has been an interesting year.  The end has come crashing down with four deaths which had put a massive damper on my mood.  But, it had some great moments as well. My son Hari graduated.  His friend Trent graduated.  A Super proud mum – super proud moments.  Hari after a rough start, finally got his first proper job.  I am an Engineers mum.  This mum’s on top of the world.

Then a bunch of us turned 50 this year.  We organised a school reunion and met some of my school friends after nearly 30 years. That was just an awesome time.  We relived our youth. We rekindled our friendship.  Almost a week of celebrations.

My bestie/sis-in-law and I went to Goa to celebrate to our monumental birthday.  Found a new city to be pampered.  Again we laughed till we cried. We ate, we drank and was silly till early hours. Found our youth in between complains of aching bones.

Then came the grand finale.  Bang, bang, bang.  People just dropping like flies to Mortein. Death is part of life and I have to reconcile that.  Hard as it may be to swallow when it’s unexpected and it is someone you want to see again, we still must move on.  Apparently. So I shall not dwell.  Happy that the final news was that my nephews wife is pregnant.

Spoke to hubby around 3.00 am.  He had just got back to the lonely hotel room after visiting relatives.  It might have been around 10.00 or 11.00 pm over there.  I wish he was here.  I see this message on my phone, “are you still up?”  Yes of course I was wide awake counting sheep.  Spoke about the two boys.  Spoke about the dog. We are grateful for what we have and  hopeful of our future.  Cannot ask for more.

Happy 2017 everyone.

Posted in Sri Lanka, True Story, Inspirational

Man proposes and God Disposes (part 2)

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My father in law (mama) passed away on the 28th November 2016.  We were getting him prepared for a Cataract Operation and leaves us with a heart attack.  Well, he was old, he was slowing down, but he was still managing his own things.  He could shower by himself etc. So obviously this came from no where.  Well, saying that, we only recently came to know of his weak heart.

With all three kids out of Sri Lanka, his well fare and what do we next had been a major worry for us lately.  Just about two years ago just after his 80th he contracted an infection on his leg, then last year he broke his thigh bone and had to undergo an hip replacement surgery.  Since then we saw a slight decline of his health and his morale.  I also think passing of his mate PM was another reason.

So Jana hopped into his room on the 28th morning, full of beans.  He was surprised to see her as she wasn’t meant to be there till the 30th.  India was having a “hartal”, I have been informed it is a kind of strike action where all the shops and businesses are closed.  So Jan changed her plans and got to Sri Lanka by the 27th night.  She gave dad a big hug and said, “ok, dad we have things to do today” ( I don’t know if thats what she said word to word, but I imagine knowing her personality it would have been something along those lines), made him a cup of coffee, and explained the reason for her early visit.  She needed to change some local currency and she had decided to do some shopping for her dad as well, she asked him to be ready to go and see the doctors regarding the eye surgery.  Mama reluctantly said “ok then”.

She was on her merry way and suddenly she stopped before she reached the gate.  Went back and said “I didn’t give you a kiss”, gave him that kiss and left.  Mama had managed to shave and then gone to have a shower.  He had an aide who stayed with him during the day. He was making him porridge and heard mama calling out “Rajan, Rajan” he found him collapsing.  Jana returned home when the chaos was unfolding.  They rang for the ambulance and she rang me while waiting for the ambulance.

I was asking her “is he conscious”.  Jana was not answering my questions, I guess we were both trying to talk at the same time. The phone line was rather bad as well.  Anyway she hung up quickly as soon as the ambulance got there.  That was just a 2 second phone call.

I was thunderstruck, sat there for awhile trying to gather my thoughts and words. Now I had the task of calling hubby and his other sister who lived in Sydney.  I did it. Hubby was going to come home so we could ring again ask what’s going on.  His sister said she was going to call another relative who was also a Cardiologist, who knew all the medical history of mama.

I was seated, staring at the phone to ring. 20 minutes later the phone rings, maybe 15, I don’t really know, She was sobbing “appa (dad) is gone”, “What do you mean?!!!” appa is gone“. I had no words to say other than “Ennamma” (kind of like saying why hun”) , we both sobbed. I wish I was there to hug her, hug her tight.  She was there for me.  But I have never been there for her.

I thought what poor luck does this girl have.  First her mum, then she was the only one at home when the 1983 riots broke and her house was set on fire, then her hubby and now her dad.  The other two have always escaped doing the hard things.  But probably I have to look at it in a different light.  She was the lucky one to have had the opportunity to make him that last coffee, to have remembered to give him that kiss.  She wasn’t even going to be there till the 30th, even a twisted fate helped her to be there.

Everything else after that is a haze.  I somehow got the nerve to call hubby and sister. They left the next day to Sri Lanka.

There is no point talking about his passing or the funeral anymore.  He is gone and that’s that.  What ever we wanted to tell him but didn’t was a missed opportunity, What ever we managed to tell him or do for him was a blessing.

There are many life lessons to learn from this man.  Good, bad and the ugly.  But they are all lessons nevertheless.  He sure leaves an amazing legacy.  Proud to have been his daughter in law.  I am not sure if he ever regarded me as his daughter in law.  I was always a little girl who was his daughter’s friend.  Ah no I did become his daughter in law when ever he didn’t see eye to eye with his son.  Not that I didn’t have moments of exasperation thinking “why me” have to deal with these two bull heads.  But he was no ordinary father in law.  He was in fact an extra ordinary man.  He was a bit warped at times.  But aren’t we all.

I will gather my thoughts in the next couple of days and do justice to his memory.

Cont…

Posted in Sri Lanka, True Story, Inspirational

Man proposes and God Disposes (part 1)

tmp14

“Man proposes and God Disposes” this saying was a frequent quip from my father in law.

I open my blog after a nearly a month, it could be even more.  So much has happened  in that time.

My first blog after the Holidays was going to be about my holiday in Goa.  It was going to be about my anxiety, concern about going to India on my own.  And how different it all turned out to be. How I was so wrong to perceive that the entire India was going to be this dirty place and untrustworthy people.  From the time I landed in Mumbai to the time we left Goa, it was nothing but a perfect dream.  We found this amazing pocket of paradise in that vast country.  It was just me and my bestie who also happens to be my sister in law (she joined me from another country) in this place and we were pampered and taken care of like queens. We ate, we drank, we laughed and we cried.  We were 5 not 50.

I will definitely write about that experience, when I feel a little bit chipper, to do justice to the place, the people we met and everything else.

I arrived back in Australia on the 24th of Nov.  Frantically getting things ready for my son who was leaving for Japan for 3 months and fighting jet lag at the same time.  While I was holidaying my son had to endure one of lives hard lessons, losing a mate.  Well it started with his mate Jack and then one after another we went through 3 deaths in a span of two weeks.

After I left for Australia my sister in law went to another place in India to meet up with other friends and then she headed to Sri Lanka to see her dad.  She was there on the 27th night.   It was rather late so she headed straight to the Hotel and got to bed.  She was up rather early the next morning.  She was taking photos of the view, and sending it to us, also some from Goa, some crazy things we got up to, then armed with “whatsapp” on our phones we rang and spoke to her about her days agenda.

My Father in law required a Cataract Operation.  For what ever reason he was not too keen on it.

Cont ….