Posted in Daily post, True Story, Inspirational

Just a mere Coincidence !?!…(part 2)

coincedence

“I remember my cousin telling me clearly, we’ll call you on the 19th and we can talk more.  How was I to know that he wasn’t going to keep that promise…”(Cont.. from part, I suggest that you read part 1 before you proceed.)

I am back at work after all the New Year celebrations.  It was the 7th of January, our office was relocating premises.  I was busy coding all the computers and its wires and extensions.  I was under the desk when the phone rang.  I just let it ring, as I wanted to get this done.  Sherrie who was at the reception popped in at the door and said “Uma why aren’t picking up the phone? it’s your mum on the line” Mum never rings me at work.  Immediately my thought goes to Arj my four year old, he was not the healthiest of kids.  I grabbed the the phone, mum started to slowly speak.  She said “Uma it’s not good news…” and she paused.  My mind starts racing and my hearts joins in too.  Mum continues “In Canada..Rama…”, I thought it was my uncle, she finishes the sentence.  My dear cousin had met with an accident and they believe he had passed away.

My racing heart came to a complete stop.  So did my mind.  It went blank.  Other than that one voice that just kept interjecting “No way, Not true”.  Brian my boss realised that something was wrong.  So did the others.  They made a cup of coffee and sat and talked me, they wanted to me to calm down before I started driving.

I start driving, I start planning my thoughts, I will go home and give a call to my sister in law to confirm the news.  This news came from other people not directly from the family.  They were still at the hospital as per the sources.  I was convinced he has somehow pulled through.  There was no way he could be gone.  No Way.  No Fricking way.  He is only forty years old, his wife/my buddy is only thrity five.  He has two small kids.  No Way, No He Can’t Go.  I just spoke to him to seven days ago.  No Way, Not True”. My mind kept chanting those words.

I am in one of the back streets.  I hear a big thud, I look through the rear view mirror.  A big Gum Tree branch just falls millimeters behind my car.  One millisecond earlier I would have been under that gum tree.  Same, same slightly different.  Force of the twins now attacking the kids?? Just a mere coincidence??  Maybe.

Between my cousin and me, I am the noisy one.  He was the calm, passive and quiet one.  He broke all those rules when he went.  He sent shook waves through the entire nation, the family and extended family. No one could fathom what had just happened.  But apparently that is life.

It just took one momentary lapse of concentration for that woman to drive through a red light and take out my cousin who was taking a left turn, to cause such carnage and misery. Some of us felt angry, some of us felt some kind of empathy but overwhelmingly all of us felt lost. I felt robbed.  I didn’t have a sibling of my own and even the one that I treated as my own brother was now taken.  I had to shun my emotions to soldier on Jan’s (my sister-in-law).  I hope God wasn’t listening to me then, if he was he was he would have rather shocked at the language I was using at him.  My personal observation here is that he screwed up well and truly on this case.

Time passed, his wife (my sister in law and friend) had accepted the sentence that ‘The Life’ gave her and of the sentence the court gave the other woman, the best way she can.  His kids grew with the remnants of the memories of their dad, and his parents struggled on, watching their grand kids to get a glimpse of their late son.  We blamed FATE for their destiny and moved on.

I had turned Forty the previous year in June.  So I was forty and six months on the 7th of January 2006.  I was on my way to my mum’s house with some essentials, bread, milk etc.  She was returning from Sydney that night and I wanted to put these things in her house before her arrival.  I was at the intersection waiting to turn right ( For those from the Americas, this would be like taking a Left turn for you), the lights change to green.  After a quick flick of the head to the right I start to move.  I hear someone’s horn, not sure which direction it came from. But there was a car coming at a speed from the right.  It all took just a split second.  I saw the other car driver right front of me.  I was sure I was gone that day, that very minute.  I felt jolt at the front, but the car drove off and I was still alive.

I was frozen for a few seconds.  I am not sure how I managed to brake in time, how/why the car behind me didn’t hit me.  I pulled into a side road to inspect the damage to the front of the car.  My number plate was screwed up.  That’s it nothing else.  Not another scratch.  But can you imagine how close the other car was if it had touched my number plate.

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Both cousin and I meeting with a similar accident on the 7th Jan and we were both at the exact age seems a little bit more than a coincidence to me.  Then again I don’t know if I am reading too much into it, to feel the connection between him and me.

I survived he didn’t, my uncle survived my dad didn’t.  Same, Same but different seems to be the theme in our lives.  It all has to be a mere coincidence.

The Universe is a one big question mark.  Do we have all the answers?  I guess in the scientific world most things can be rationalized as a mere coincidence and in the world of Mystic and spirituality it is Fate or a Miracle.  

 

Daily Prompt: Coincidence

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/coincidence/

 

 

Posted in Daily post

Just a mere Coincidence !?!…(part one)

coincedence

Fate, Coincidence, Miracle….

Questions, confusion, faith….

Opening the Pandora’s box..

I ponder where I sit with those words.  I straddle between Agnosticism and Spirituality.  I say spirituality and not religious, because my practice of religion is slightly different to the norm.  I do make the occasional visit to the Hindu temple.  I would kneel down at the chapel and same at Buddhist temples. It is just a place where it is peaceful and quiet to gather my thoughts, my fears, my appreciations, my hopes.

I do believe in the possibility of a God or a higher being.  But do I believe in total submission? I find it hard to believe that “God” would be so vain that he needs your prayers/praise.  I would think he is above all that.  If I was God, I would rather my disciples live peacefully than create wars on my behalf.  Hence the reason for me to give up on religion but embrace the creations of God, fight to preserve the good and pray for the ultimate miracle “chocolate to lose weight”.  Maybe I should start a religion.  My slogan would be “For the love of chocolate”.  Gone off track again.  In my last birth I must have been a Gold fish.  Promise some serious epiphany in the next paragraph.  So please read on.

I believe in doing good simply because it is the right thing to do.  And what feels right to me, not because it was written in some book.  I do sit on the cross roads of gray at times.  Educate yourself and thy neighbor. If it is a subject that you don’t know much about (eg Islam, LGBTQ and what ever else that you have not grown up with), Educate before you swallow in assumptions and rumors.

So do I believe in Fate?  Whether it be a great outcome or it be a disastrous one, I/we tend to lean on the word “Fate”.  It is fate that two people met and fell in love.  It is also fate that their love didn’t last forever.  I think in the latter we would say “it wasn’t meant to be”.  Someone meets with an accident and dies, well that was fate.  He survives that’s a miracle.

Questions, confusion… well then is blind faith the answer, but then again not everything can be answered by Science either.  So what is the answer.  Most times chocolate seems to do the trick.

The following are a trail of incidents that happened between my dad and his twin brother, not just the two of them, but by all of us in their circle.

My dad and my uncle aren’t Identical Twins.  In fact they are polar opposites in their looks and behavior.   All their lives they had things happening to them which are similar but opposite as well.  Yes I note the oxymoron, but read on…

My dad – Tall, Studious, funny, passive, pretty ordinary in Sports

My uncle – short, Studies – questionable, funny – more questionable, passive – definitely not, amazing in sports

My dad – One Daughter

My uncle – One Son

So here starts the explanation for the oxymoron similar but opposite.  One kid each but one had a girl and the other a boy.

Now both these kids (ie the daughter is thy self) without prior thinking or planning ended up marrying into the same family.  Please concentrate Sri Lankan Family Tree being explained, My husbands sister(my sister in law who happens to be my bestie) married my first cousin.  Again we didn’t plan it that way.  We were all living in different parts of the world at that time.

Now these two men, my cousin and my now husband share the same first name.  They both worked on ships. Here comes same but opposite.  My hubby joined as a Deck Cadet and ended up as the ships Captain. My cousin joined the engine room and ended up as Ships Chief Engineer.  Coincidence?? I shrug my shoulders.

My sister in law and myself both studied Science subjects but ultimately ended up in banks. She was in retail banking, I was in Corporate Banking, foreign exchange and financial markets.  Same same but slightly different.  I got out of it after sometime but remained in accounts based jobs.  Coincidence?? I purse my lips.

My Aunty and my mum were both heading for a Hysterectomy.  My aunt’s surgery was scheduled for September and my mum’s was in November. It was school holidays so mum decided to make a trip to her home town so she could be of assistance to my Aunty.  The day of surgery dawns, my dad, mum and my uncle all accompany my aunty to the Hospital.  Once my Aunty was wheeled back from the surgery mum and dad decided to head back home.  It was rather late in the evening.  On their return journey my mum broke her leg while getting off the bus.  She had to be taken back to the hospital and had to undergo emergency surgery for her leg and was on the next bed to my Aunty.  So the wives of the twins were attacked by the”Twin Force” too.  Coincidence?  Yes okay, I am happy to put that down to coincidence.  Read on.. spooky stuff on its way.

Life wasn’t meant to be happy all the time.  I am not sure if its not meant to be but it never is.  My dad said good bye to us at the age of Fifty Three. My uncle was living miles away in a farm felt a pang in his chest on the night of my dad’s passing and the next morning he was delivered with this shattering message.  The funeral rites are usually done by the son.  My cousin was out at sea at that time, my uncle was then asked to do the rites. The priest chanted the mantras and was instructing uncle how to do the various rituals.  I have never seen my uncle so subdued.  Tears just poured down his cheeks as he was performing the last rites for his twin brother.  I thought it was almost cruel to have asked him to do the rites. He later told me that it was really hard but also felt it was fitting and was his privilege.

A few months later.  My uncle was about to catch a bus to another village.  Just before he boarded the bus, he had an informal chat to this shop keeper/friend/acquaintance. I am just picturing the scene, uncle with a cup of tea or coffee, having a chat with this other bloke, knowing my uncle, he was probably complaining about some one or something.  Finishes his cuppa and says “anyway I am off” and gets on the bus.  A few hours later the shop keeper hears that the bus that just left had met with a horror accident.  So this man  rushes out in his car looking for the bus. These are remote areas.  So I am guessing they just had the one ambulance, which had already left with injured survivors.  They had left the deceased on the road to come back for later.  The shop keeper found my uncle on the road left for dead.  His nose and ears ripped off, with multiple fractures but somehow this man felt that he was still alive.  So he rushed my uncle to the hospital with all the bits of pieces that were beside him.  He was patched up and came out good as gold.  So he had a near death experience but he survived.

We had our kids and settled in Australia and them in Canada.  I was very close to my cousin.  Both without any siblings of our own considered each other to be brother and sister.  When we were young, my cousin would spend most of his school holidays at our place, he could accompany my dad to the lab and study with dad. At younger days he would teach me Caram (a board game played in most parts of the sub continent).  We did sometimes fight especially when I get caught cheating in card games. It progressed from Caram to tutoring me Physics as I neared year 12.  It is really bizarre how we both happened to marry into the same family.  Fate, coincidence… what ever it was, it made us very close.

I think it was year 2000 or 2001, I think it was just after the Sydney Olympics, the four of them came over to Sydney for a holiday.  We celebrated my cousin’s 40th at our house.  Jan (my sister in law) and I were being are normal selves.  We raided all the shops and made our husbands shiver.  Life was beautiful.  This was in May.  Clocks strikes 12.00 on the 31st Dec and we receive a call from the two of them.  Excited as ever wishing us Happy New Year.  We didn’t talk for long as both of us wanted to ring other people as well.  It’s our wedding anniversary on the 19th of Jan.  I remember my cousin telling me clearly, we call you on the 19th and we can talk more.  How was I to know that he wasn’t going to keep that promise.

I am going to leave it at that for the moment.  Promise to continue soon.  Keep pondering Fate or coincidence.

 

To be cont…

Daily Prompts : Coincidence, Educate, Disastrous

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/coincidence/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/educate/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/disastrous/

Posted in Daily post

Bud and Two leaves

tea

I was pleasantly surprised with the Daily word prompt – TEA.

My glorious childhood was among’st this backdrop.  Sri Lanka’s upcountry was mainly adorned by Tea estates.  But this was no ordinary Tea Estate.  This was my little utopia.

My dad worked as a Scientist at the Tea Research Institute (TRI) in Sri Lanka.  Tea being the major export of the country, this research facility also was one of the largest organisations of the country.  It was also important to establish the research centre where the Tea actually grew rather than in a major city.

Very large laboratories of all disciplines such as Bio Chemistry, Entomology, Pathology etc were established with the latest equipment’s.  All the staff were given Housing. Rather beautiful and luxuries houses were built for the staff.  They were maintained by TRI as well.  The lawns were mowed, regularly painted and furniture’s were upgraded. Most of these things were primarily established by the British.  So you did get a feel of the British presence in the decor and style of the Bungalows.

We had our own transport.  Buses for the staff and their family to go to school, shopping etc.  A large fleet of cars with drivers for staff and family.  Our own little hospital and medical facility, Post Office,  Telecom and even a  Water dam and purification plant. Our own club house, sporting venues the list goes on.

We were all removed from our core extended families.  This became our extended family.  It’s not a cliche’ when I say, we lived together in harmony without any racial or other disputes.

The labs were my playground.  This was the era before Occupational Health and Safety or Work Cover mandates.  But we didn’t have any accidents, this was also an era where people used something called common sense.  We didn’t need a sign that said “Slippery when wet”.  Anyway, coming back to my playground or playgrounds, I had no siblings and no playstation or any other electronic device.  Not even internet, so I had to learn to amuse my self and I lived mostly outdoors.

The soil here was really great.  Everyone had a great garden filled with flowers, fruit treas and vegetables.  Constantly we would exchange our produce.  I spent most of my time up a fruit tree.  When I got bored with that I would walk to the lab. On the way I would frolic through the Tea fields, run up and down the extensive stairs that went from the Tea Factory to the Lab.  Every one knew me.  I was like the common village dog, that was fed by every butcher.

I mainly played in the Bio Chemistry Department as that’s where my dad worked.  But I knew the entire geography of all other labs as well and had at least one friend in each department.  Yeah I know they were grown ups and I was a kid, but they were still my friends and showed me “cool” stuff.  I knew to operate the centrifuge and I played with Magnets.  I knew about Poly Phenol’s long before I went to high school.  When I think about it now, it wasn’t really playing, my dad was teaching me Science and I was doing science experiments.

One bud and two leaves – all that is plucked to produce tea.  Silver tip is the only one uses just the buds and hence the high cost.  I would accompany my dad on many of the guided tours he would take our visitors and I knew all this information long before I started school.

dad stamp

The above is my dad on an old Sri Lankan Postal Stamp. He is injecting radio active isotopes into tea leaves to study the pattern of the nutrients movement.  Nutrients from the root did not evenly go all over the plant.  The mother leaf (the bigger leaf on the bottom) fed the one on top and so forth.  When you removed the big leaf right underneath baby leaf, the leaves further down acted as a surrogate and fed the bud.

That was one amazing child hood, it all came to an end when I lost my dad at 19. Such is life, still grateful that I had this childhood and to all the uncle’s and aunties of TRI who were there for us then and even now.  Children of TRI hold a special bond.  All of us grown up and adults now.  But most of us are still in contact even from different parts of the world.

Disclaimer:  It’s a long time since I left TRI, some information shared here may not be completely accurate.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/tea/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/soil/

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=two+leaves+and+a+bud+book&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjV17SrzLDVAhXEF5QKHS14DU0Q1QIIdSgB

 

https://www.google.com.au/search?biw=1280&bih=894&q=tea+plantations+sri+lanka+nuwara+eliya&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjHvd7KzrDVAhWLe7wKHX6UATAQ1QIIuwEoAQ

 

 

Posted in Goa, Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan Politics, travel, True Story, Inspirational

Destination Goa (Part 8)

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As they say it’s been a long time between drinks.  But in my case there has been many drinks but not much writing.  What are the excuses that I can pin it on … broken finger, work and possibly a lack of interest or if I am to be totally honest and say addiction to Asian Teledramas. I know how stupid it sounds but I think it was an escapism. Started with watching Japanese dramas with subtitles with the excuse of learning the language, then I ran out of Jap dramas so I merged to Taiwanese so I started to learn a bit Mandarin.  I have now progressed to Korean.  Finding Korean hard to learn.  Its a bit like French and German, similar grammar patterns but German has a stronger accent making it hard to pronounce than Japanese.  The two subjects I started to write about has brought about the writers block.  What I am finding out is that travelling is great but writing about it is not so much.

The other piece that I am currently writing is about my friend whom I lost in the civil war in Sri Lanka.  In all my other writings/stories I hardly had to think about the audience.  But, somehow in this one I am aware of the audience.  Not necessarily because I am scared to upset the Sri Lankan readers, I think the issues that I am touching upon are necessary for reconciliation, it’s an actual snapshot of real life in a war torn country, along with other social issues, in my opinion an unbiased recount of evils of both sides.  I am not by any means condoning Terrorism but, I do visit the possible reasons for the birth of one.  In this regard feel it’s an important topic for the current climate in the world.  Prevention is always better than a cure.  My reason for writing this story is probably as most times to heal my heart of losing my dear friend Lalith.  I have probably a lot of anger inside me regarding this.  But the irony is I come from the clan that killed him.  I haven’t settled on a title either.  I have changed it so many times “Friendship and war”, “Friend from the other side”, “Friendship across enemy lines” the last one I have come up with is “Ammba Yalluwa” which translates to something like childhood friend/soul mate.  I think I might settle with that.

I am usually not worried about offending someone when I write, but in this story I am and that is really having an effect on my writing.  Discussing this with my son, he started to say, you can’t really worry about offending people, it’s your thoughts, it’s your reasoning, it’s your point of view.  I get that but this subject is a hard one.  This is not a subject where I tell a Christian what I think of his Anti Gay sentiments.  The wounds go deeper than that in this.  As a Tamil who lived amongst the Sinhalese and understood them way better than my own kith and kin from Jaffna (north of Sri Lanka) my so called unbiased views may not sit well with those who were tortured by the Sri Lankan Army. My views on why Terrorism grew in Sri Lanka will not be accepted by the Sinhalese either.  My sister-in-laws friend and mum who had to witness her two brothers and her dad being burnt alive will never accept my theories and explanations about the Sinhalese.  Lalith’s family never thought that all tamils were terrorists and they all had to die.  However, wrong that theory is, I will have to accept that anger.  Arj (my son) said something that really hit the nail.  “Emotions aren’t rational, there is no way you could explain to kid in Syria that the Americans are nice people”  All that kid has, heard, seen and experienced is the opposite.  It is such a charged subject, I want to do justice to this story, but I am so torn as well.

I started to write about Goa and I have written two paragraphs of my other project.  So, lets start about Goa.  Today’s topic is Goan food, music and culture.

Maybe the reason I fell in love with Goa is due to the similarities of Goa and Sri Lanka. They were both Portuguese Colonies and hence the similarities I guess.  But it’s just uncanny how similar Goa is to Sri Lanka and how different it is to the rest of India.

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The above is stuffed okra.  That was one of my favourite dishes (that I took a photo of before digging into it first).  I don’t think Sri Lanka has a stuffed okra dish, but similar to stuffed banana chillies.   Similar dishes are pan rolls (in sri lanka we call them Chinese rolls not sure why because I don’t think the Chinese are aware of that roll), muscat (Goan’s call it Bibinka) and Thothal

muscat muscat thothal thothal

The best thing about it is that they view these as possible breakfast items and it is on the hotel breakfast buffet.  Yes, of course I thought I was in heaven.

The curries are so different to the normal Indian Cuisine.  A curry with the Rechad spice mix a must try.  Fish is big in Goa.  Not sure, if the laws have changed in the recent months but at the time we were there, Goa is one of the places in India where you can buy beef and alcohol in Restaurants rather freely.  Most places in India have a ban on beef due to the cow being a revered animal as most of them claim to be Hindu’s.  Not sure which part of Hinduism says its okay to eat all other meats but not beef, per my understanding of the religion all meats were out as it was considered to be killing another animal.  I guess that’s another argument/beef (sorry for the dad pun, couldn’t help myself) for another day.

Clothing/culture:  Goa is still kind of part of South India.  The South India that I know is very conservative.  Goa not so much or not at all.  It’s a party town.  Again very similar to Sri Lanka, Negambo in particular.  Night life is very alive, and not just filled with tourists, this is mainly by the locals.  Ladies in pretty sexy clothes, having a drink or two or more. Nothing atrocious, but no conservative woman in a saree with flowers in her hair sitting quietly in a corner.

Music: At these live music places its all English music, the one place we were at was all 80’s gems.  But their local music is very similar to the Sri Lankan Baila.  Again I think we can thank the Portuguese for that.

Ok the above is just a clip from the youtube to give you an idea of the Goan music, next I will post one from the Sri Lankan Baila to show you the similarities

 

Memories are a bit vague now, but I think the two places that we tried out was Tito’s and Kohi bar.  Personal preference is Tito’s but I guess for the young ones Kohi Bar may be more attractive.

Just like in Sri Lanka Goa produces a lot of Spices as well Cashews.  Cashew snacks are very similar to Sri Lanka as well.  They go one better and have produced an alcohol drink with it as well called “Feni”, Looks clear like Vodka, as a shot it feels pretty potent, but great in a cocktail.

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I like to end it here for today.  Adeus (good bye in Konkani – Goan language)

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Goa, India, True Story, Inspirational

Destination Goa (part 7)

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I left my last blog with a “but…”

Sorry for the cliff hanger. Ok lets get ready with the mission impossible theme music for the build up. Sorry for the disappointment,  no major buts (or butts), realised that to keep a travel blog interesting is harder than I thought. Also I was writing my blog at night after a long day, so I decided to stop right there after the but.

Jan and I were really tired, hungry at the same time excited.  We were torn between admiring the view from our balcony or adorning the bed.  Not sure of the order, but I think there was a shower, coffee for Jan and tea for me and then a bit of a nap. More like an attempt at a nap, we were both over tired and over excited to actually fall asleep.  Both of us fighting jet lag from different hemispheres didn’t help either. The whole day one of was sleepy and the other wasn’t, the one who wasn’t kept the other one up.

What I loved about these rooms were that each one was a seperate unit.  Its not a hotel where it’s just a big square building with a corridor in the middle with rooms on either side.

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The gardens werew well kept.  The pool looked clean.  Slowly the fear of being in India was disappearing.  The major plus with Acron was that the breakfast was extended till 1.00 pm.  I think for those on holidays with teenagers who are usually an off shoot of the sloth family, this would be a definite plus.

Jan and I slowly descended down the stairs to have some brunch.  There is something to be said about eastern hospitality. But at acron it was more than just eastern hospitality.

I like to add something I wrote on”trip advisor”.  For this jogs my memory of individual names and events.  Please note I am not paid for this segment/endorsement.  I am writing purely for the benefit of the readers who may be enticed to make a visit to Goa.

“No 1 in Goa, Should be No 1 Anywhere”5 of 5 bubbles

I am not surprised that this place is rated number 1 in Goa at present. I am looking for a word higher than Excellent to describe their customer service. There is customer service and then there is Goan Service and then above that would be Acron Service. We were treated like queens from the very beginning and it didn’t end even after we checked out.
We arrived very early from our flight. They were still willing to pick us up that early. After 3 back to back flights we were extremely exhausted. Taking this into account, they got our rooms ready and let us check in straight away. And this was at 8.30 am. They did not charge a penny more for such an early check in. Paul and his comrades see to it that the pampering and special treatments start from then on.
We booked Acron because we couldn’t get all of our stay in another 5 star hotel. So we were going to stay here for the first 3 days and then move to the other. I am glad the other place didn’t have the availability which made us come here. Else we would have missed this gem.
Ashwini and Gautam at front office make anything look possible. They organised us a trip to see a spice plantation, churches and temple. Our driver Avinash was with us the entire day. A very polite and knowledgeable man. Anytime you want to step out of the hotel to see the beach or get a bite, they will organise a free shuttle car. The beach is only a 10 min walk, so you have the choice of walking or they can organise a vehicle.
You’re treated with Breakfast from 7.00am (I am not sure, we never woke up early enough to find out) till 1.00pm. You will be greeted by Rajesh the tall elegant lad, Chinmoy a really sweet natured human being, Sooraj sweet but cheeky as well, I am smiling as I recall. There were many others whose names have escaped my jet lagged memory. Along with all of them looking after you and having a chat you will also get a visit by Mildred. Mildred is like the icing on the cake. You are in this happy place, your room is perfect, your view is amazing and the service is faultless and you think nothing can top this nor does it need any topping. And then they send you Mildred. She is a breath of fresh air, full of energy, anything you need, and she will make it happen even suggest things to do, places to go and she will organise and make it all possible. She fits the job and the job the fits her perfectly. I am not sure the word Customer Service is adequate with the staff here. As it is so genuine it transfers to another level. I have to congratulate the management as well. They have picked the right staff with the right attitude and given them the confidence and latitude. Which we found lacking in the 5 star hotel.
Loved the architecture of the place. Losing the corridors and mass building, it gives the illusion that you are living in your own town house. The pool with a look of overflowing into the river, again gives that illusion that you are one with the river. Pool chairs inside the pool, well that’s a novel idea, but works as well. Free drinks and live music at the pool side from 7.00pm – 8.00pm is again a nice touch.
I could keep on writing. If you are thinking of visiting India, I think Goa is a must and if you are visiting Goa, stay at Acron.

I think in my bnext blog I will talk about the food, culture and everything else.

 

5 of 5 bubbles

 

Posted in Goa, India, travel, True Story, Inspirational

Destination Goa (part 6)

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We were really tired after the million flights and we wanted to get to our hotel asap.  We were concerned if we could find our driver from Acron Waterfront amongst this massive crowd.  Just then we saw the name board  with our names on.  Hard to explain our feelings at that time.  It was a combination of relief and excitement.

We walked to our van.  I don’t think it was parked legally.  But I think that was the norm. Our van started off surrounded by a lot honking.  I put my seat belt on.  My sister in law Jan tried to put hers.  But her side belt was broken.  I joked that was her punishment for making me marry her brother.

Our actual holiday was now starting.  Our driver didn’t speak much English.  But seemed like a nice guy.  He smiled a lot for the million questions we were asking.

We were trying take in all the scenary of Goa.  Looked pretty green.  But we also saw snippets of poverty.  Modern billboards adorned the sides of the freeway.  Battle between modernisation and poverty were rather evident.

Poverty is confronting, especially if you are from the western world.   But, only a few of us want to really get involved.  Most of us our sympathisers from a distance.  Jan and I belonged to the same hypocrisy club.

We were hoping and praying that our hotel was somewhere nice.  Acron was on the other side of Baga bridge or beach or both.  It was a fair distance away from the airport .  The road was becoming more remote.  Our concerns were hightening.

Eventually we entered into Acron.  It looked really beautiful.  We were greated by more smiling faces at their outdoor reception/ office area.  We were immediately offered a drink. I think it was Gauva juice.  We were sceptical about accepting the drink due to all the warnings re water.  We were assured this was clean and safe.  I took a few sips.  It did taste nice but was scared to take in more sips.

We booked the garden view rooms, as they were a few bobs cheaper.  It was still pretty early in the morning, but they announced that they had a Waterview room ready and they were going to give it to us and didn’t charge us anything extra for early check in nor for the upgrade of the room.

We were both so tired this gesture was heaven sent. Good start to our holiday.  But…

Posted in India, Sri Lanka, True Story, Inspirational

Destination Goa (Part 1)

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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….