Posted in True Story, Inspirational

When memories fail us…

dont forget

It has been a few months since my aunty’s 90th.  A subject that keeps popping up lately but talking to a friend of mine today, who’s mum has now been diagnosed with Dementia the hardships she going through emotionally and physically made me ponder about this subject again.  Years ago my son was involved in a play called the “Also a Mirror” by Sean Riley was based on residents from a Nursing Home primarily suffering from Dementia.  When you come to know these residents, the recipients of this debilitating decease, you understand that each one of them have their own story. Each one of them a special character.  Time to time that individual spunk pops out, refusing to give into the haze of confusion.  But for the family and loved ones who have seen them as larger than life and now to see them belittled by such a blow is a hard pill to swallow.

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My aunt had seven kids and she managed the whole show.  My uncle was mostly at sea, he was in the merchant marine, a Chief Engineer.  While he was away, she single handedly managed the house, the kids and the  million guests who arrived daily from all parts of the country for short stays.  She was a tough woman with a soft heart.  Thanks to the power of nagging and care all her seven kids are now successful individuals.  Who have now followed in the footsteps of my Grand Father and have gone forth and multiplied.  I maybe corrected with my numbers, but I believe my aunt now has Twenty something Great Grand kids and counting.

My dad was the youngest of eight kids and the first to depart.  My aunt loved him very much and missed him very much.  This grand woman turned 90 in December and my cousin and his wife held a big party.  Almost the entire clan was here from all nooks of the world.

I was out of ideas for a gift for a woman who had everything and didn’t need anything.  Finally, I decided to write something for her.  Sharing it today for my friend and anyone else who have to go through this with one of their favourites.

 

Memories

Mami – Baby Mami (mami is aunty) – that’s what I have always called you.  I am your brother Rasam’s daughter Uma.

 

You look into my eyes and wonder who I am. It pains you not to remember.

 

You want to remember me but memories fail you. Don’t feel bad mami.  You have lived a life – a whole life – filled with many faces and many hearts.  So, it’s not easy to remember them all.

 

Memories have a habit of giving up on us time to time.  When I was fifteen, I didn’t remember what I did when I was two.  But you reminded me that my dad called me “Nari and nangal” (made pet names by my dad), you reminded me the drama he caused trying to name me. You reminded me that he loved me very much.  And, you reminded me that you loved your brother and missed your brother just the way I did.

 

Even though you have retold the stories of my two year old days many a times, it is still buried memories for me.  But I loved hearing those stories and for that I thank you.

 

Now that you are ninety, it’s my turn to jog your memories. I understand those memories aren’t going to rush back.  It’s okay, for each of us, it is a tale that we enjoyed telling the other.  We just needed each other to share and reminisce, that story. It’s not important that the other remembers that story or not.

 

So let me introduce myself –

I am your youngest brother – one of the twins – Rasam’s daughter – only daughter.  My mum is Pathini.  My dad passed away at the age of 53.  He left a massive hole in all our hearts.  You loved him very much and missed him very much.  The only thing you could do was to love me and that you did.  You did the same for my mum too.  Thank you mami, for being there for us at our time of need.

 

You gave birth to seven beautiful children, and they loved us and supported us too.  You brought them up well mami.  You can be, one proud mother.

 

Now, I am married and have two boys.  I married Customs Nada’s son Ganesh.  He too has many memories of you and your family.  Once again it’s another face that you may not remember but nonetheless another heart that you have touched.

 

So mami it’s not necessary for you to remember us all.

Just remember that you have loved many.

 

And you are loved by all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Daily post

The Word Patina..what evokes?

Working from home can sometimes be a bit challenging.  It demands discipline at a time procrastination wants to raise it’s ugly head.  My fingers seem to wander off opening all other tabs – Facebook, email and abc news.  I like to stop there as delving into them is usually a very short stop.  Sometimes I would open up WordPress as well. And the worst one is Korean Dramas.  I don’t like the last two tabs as I know it’s not going to be a short stop.  Today is one of those days.  Work seems to be  wandering faraway, but it’s okay the deadlines aren’t here yet too.  As my son and I sometimes joke  “if it’s not the due date then it’s not the do date”.

I normally write at night, after I have done my days dues.  It’s my guilty pleasure, my small treat.  Not today, I have decided to take a day off, maybe not the whole day but at least a few hours off to do some reading and writing.

Work is important as it pays the bills.  But leisure is important because it gives a worthwhile reason to work.  That’s my excuse for today anyway.

I peek at the word prompts on wordpress and ponder which word, which subject takes my fancy.

Patina –  Evokes the memories of my Old English master.  He wasn’t our school teacher but an external Tutor the nuns recruited for the boarders.  He was tall and huge.  I particularly remember the tiny glasses that sat on the edge of his nose.

My passion and advancement for the English language was molded by mainly Four individuals.  My dad – he introduced me to many classics, Rudyard Kipling’s “Just So Stories” was one of them.  Needless to say that’s what I read as bedtime stories to my kids.  My dad introduced me to another old relative, not sure how he was related to us, that was Mr Ganeshan.  He was amazing at picking an unusual word and describing it with gusto.  So he was my second mentor.  The third was this Old English Master.  He was an imposing figure and we were meek and humble in front of him.  Many hated his vocabulary lessons.  But the nerd in me welcomed his lessons.  Patina was his word.  Before I ponder away into memories and let you wonder who the forth mentor was.  Well it’s my hubby.  Until I met him I read many books, but mainly romance.  I didn’t mind detective stories and yes Sherlock Holmes was on the list.  Hubby introduced me to a whole different world.  Never in a million years would I have read books such as “Hunt for red October”  or the Borne series.  Not my cup of tea would have been my answer.  But he encouraged me and said just read the first chapter and give up if you still don’t like it.  Mentors come in all shapes and sizes.

PATINA – bellows out our master – a pause and the word repeated again.  Dictionaries aren’t allowed to be open until we’ve been told so.  I had no idea what it meant.  No one did, I was eagerly waiting for his explanation while some had already moved on to daydream.  He points us to the St Joseph’s Bronze Statue that dominates the room.  “The green stuff on the bottom, that’s Patina”.  Huh! what an anti climax.  That’s just mere oxidation.  He went onto explain how and when you would use that word in normal conversation.

I was young then, I didn’t think further than that about that word since then.  But seeing it on the list here, it did evoke old memories and new musings.

Memories of my dad – movies, songs, books, studies, humanity, my dad had a hand in all of that. Even him introducing Mr. Ganeshan was all part of his grand plan.  It appears that there is a film of Patina still lingering over the silhouette of my body, the untimely death of my dad, life lessons learnt after his passing, no amount of polishing seems to remove the stubborn patina.

I wonder if we are meant to cherish the Patina, rather than remove it, as if it’s a foreign body. Why not celebrate the multitude of colours as a symbol of  life, age, history, memories and lessons learnt.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in True Story, Inspirational

It was an year ago…

one year ago

It was an year ago…

The words ring in my ears.  It was my father in law’s one year death anniversary a couple of days ago.  Jan (my sister in law and bestie) calls me after her temple visit for her father.  Fighting her emotions she utters the words “It was just an year ago that we went on that trip and then all hell broke lose”

It was just an year ago, that Jan and I decided to celebrate the fact that we have made it to Fifty.  Life served each of us a fair proportion of trials and tribulations. But thankful we are still here and still in tact.

Jan living in Canada and me in Australia, our friendship is held together tightly with ‘skype’ and “whatsapp’.  We decided we needed a good R&R and decided a holiday together somewhere.

So it was an year ago that she and I frolicked the streets of Goa.  We would yap till the early hours of the morning.  Partly because each of us was fighting jet lag from different time zones.  So when I was sleepy Jan wouldn’t let me sleep and vise versa.  We giggled, we laughed and we even cried.

I remember a similar scenario when we were nineteen.  We hadn’t gone on any holiday, I had just moved to Colombo with my mum for studies and Jan was about to migrate to Canada, my dad had fallen ill and was hospitalised.  Jan stayed the nights with me for support.  Jan and I shared a room.  This was about the same time I was falling for her brother as well.  Well, let me rephrase that, he was falling for me.  She was going out with my cousin too.  So we had many things to giggle and laugh about.  Then came my fathers demise.  And now we had things to cry about.

Each year we accumulate memories of all kinds.  Some happy, some not so. But they are memories nonetheless.

I like to think that an year ago was all about 50th birthday parties and reunions. But unfortunately, last year did come crashing down at the end.  Jan lost her dad (my father in law) just after our Goan trip.  He was a larger than life character and his death came unexpectedly.  Yes, we can console ourselves to say he did not suffer and he went peacefully.  However, I always wonder if I had done everything I can to let him know that we loved him very much – in spite of all the arguments and disagreements, to let him know that I admired him more than he will ever know.

I am grateful for the memories he gave us/me.  Some funny, some sad and some utterly mad.  It was a great theatre.  He was truly an amazing man.  His achievements surpasses the stains of his childhood. But he is not one to bury his past to parade his success.  He lived a humble and frugal life.  Sometimes too humble and too frugal.  But anything more made him unhappy and we had to let him live his life the way he wanted.  Rest in Peace mama, you have earned it.

I lost two of my favourite aunties.  I call them aunties but neither of them related to me by blood.  I loved them dearly and each one had an irreplaceable impact on my life.  Again the two deaths came from no where.  It was as if God had a quota to get through before Christmas.  Bang, Bang, Bang three in a row within a week.

I recall Aunty Ponmani. I can’t help but break out a smile and a chuckle.  She was a mischievous, cheeky old woman. I hear the word ‘Faminist’ thrown around loosely these days.  This woman was a pioneer. She didn’t waste time putting a label to her actions.  She just went ahead and did them. She was a tough women who took no prisoners.  But for all that tough exterior she was rather mushy on the inside.  I loved her cuddles, I miss her cuddles.  Truly grateful to the man up there for letting me cross paths with this amazing lady.  Rest in Peace Aunty Ponmani Ps.  Can you please allow others over there to rest in peace as well Aunty? I can picture her smiling at me and saying “why should I’ with a twinkle in her eye.

Then came Aunty Mahasen.  I have no idea why she loved me so much, but she did.  She was a triple threat.  Grace, elegance and class all donned into one.  Again a mere chance that made us cross paths, but a path, with rainbows and butterflies.  And many pot plants.  Missing your gorgeous smile aunty, rest in peace.

It didn’t stop there. Arj my youngest learnt a hard lesson in life.  A cruel lesson.  Life is short, especially for his nineteen year old mate Jack.  Arj reluctantly bid good bye to his mate Jack just before Xmas as well.  He was found dead in the shower.  No, not drugs.  Not sure what, coroners baffled too.  It was only an year before that they bid good bye at school and Jack moved to Melbourne and Arj left for Japan. They kept in touch on facebook and promised to catch up that December.  Time and tide waits for none and in this case not even for a nineteen year old with so much promise.  Memories – I am sure Arj would have many, although I wonder if the last one has sealed off the older ones. Easy for me to preach – to say “don’t linger on the sadness, don’t let his passing dictate your memory of your friendship”.  Memories are too raw, too soon I guess.  I don’t know Jack’s mum. All I know is, she is weeping now.

Without memories, without musings we are mere robots.  Each year just like dust we gather more memories.  Some of them turn out to be Gold dust.  We hope all of them to be gold dust, but unfortunately sometimes its just black soot.  We don’t dictate what is dealt next.  But we can at least influence it.  That’s what I think anyway.

 

 

 

 

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

Destination Goa (Part 9)

Goa beach

We moved from Baga Beach to Candolim for the last leg of the Holidays.  Beautiful Hotel, slightly pricier and more up market than Acron.  Can’t really fault any of the facilities. customer service, etc.  Beautiful setting right on the beach, amazing gardens, decor etc, etc.  however, I felt it lacked the personal touch.

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HA..  Yes, had to snap that one.

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Amazing spa, massage treatments. We got ourselves thoroughly spoiled. We didn’t do too much sightseeing after we came to Candolim.  But we did roam the roads during the day and sometimes late evening/ early night.

We came across couple of great restaurants.  Soi was one of our favourites.  For many reasons – good food, great service and so close to our hotel.  When the mercury hits high, along with humidity, you just don’t want to drag that leg of yours too far.

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Loved the sign in front of Tuscany, showed that when you are on holidays just take it easy.  Throw away that schedule.  Gutsy move for a business though. We wanted to check the place just because of the sign. But neither of us were in the mood for Italian food.  Maybe next time.

Months of planning, then finally the day arrives for our flights from opposite hemispheres to take off, then 1.00 am in the middle of Mumbai Airport, two 50 years old’s, hugging and almost shrieking like two teenagers, then the late night chats about our personal lives, we cried for each other, we advised each other, we laughed at each other and tomorrow it comes to an end. We say good bye to Goa and to each other.

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Adios Goa.

I will make another post to cap off everything.  Especially about my trip back via Mumbai, my misconceptions about India etc.  I think I owe them that much.

 

 

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…