Posted in Book review, True Story, Inspirational

An Unfinished Odyssey – Book Review

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With a lot of pride and joy, I start writing today.  I start writing about a project I was involved in.  I can’t take any credit for the way this book has turned out.  But I will surely take pride in claiming to know the Editor and publisher of this great book.  So I am going to claim pride by proxy.

Rohan may not know this, but after a very long lapse the reason for me to pick up the pen or in my case the keyboard to write was, him asking me to write about my journey through cancer and other medical dramas.  At the time he made this request, my desire and habit for writing was dormant.  That piece of writing was the reason for the birth of my blog.  So I owe a lot to Rohan for igniting that passion again in me.

Rohan is a great writer himself and was a regular cricket columnist for the “Island” newspaper.  He is a well read man with wicked sense humour.  But along with those good qualities he also possessed a very stubborn and ‘never give up’ ‘pain in the rear’ type quality. Which can be pretty annoying, especially if you aren’t too convinced you want to do what he is asking you to do.  However, you finally give in, as you can see he is not going to back down until he gets what he wants.

“An unfinished Odyssey” is the grand production from the above guy. Rohan and my hubby worked for a company called the Ceylon Shipping Corporation.  Amazing establishment in those days.  Rohan was the Chief Engineer and my hubby a Captain. Rohan tirelessly went after many who have sailed on these ships to write their life and stories and made it into this magnificent book.

Rohan asked me to contribute to this book as the only female/supernumerary and I duly obeyed.  It was great to see my name on such a great book.  I wrote a book review and sent it to the Editor of the Sri Lankan “Island” paper.  I was rather chuffed today to find out that it has actually made it into the paper.

The Book Review

An Unfinished Odyssey’ – an Anthology a collection of tales and musings from those who have served for CSC (Ceylon Shipping Corporation), compiled, designed and edited by RohanWijeyaratna.

In the era of eBooks, this book stands as a testament and shows the irreplaceable value of a good hard cover book; a book that you can judge merely by its cover alone.  The journey begins from the minute you set eyes on this creation. It is evident the Editor, Designer and ‘Owner’ of this book Rohan, had looked into every minute detail which has gone into making it near perfect.  From the posh silky paper to the font style, everything about the book looks simply exquisite.  If you are a reader you will be affected by a serious case of “can’t put it down”.  If you are not a reader, it is a piece of artwork to adorn your bookshelf in the sitting room, to make you look learned.

Like all great ideas the origins of making this book evolved around Rohan’s inspiration lapped up by a bunch of old sea dogs who had by then consumed a skinful or two (a sailor’s skinful or two – the amount that leaves most land-dwellers incapacitated). Rohan was perhaps the only one in his senses to understand the enormity of the exercise, which is why we heard from him so often – pleading, cajoling, threatening and insulting in various stages prior to final deliverance. What he has put together are a collection of tales which are near unbelievable. They stand as a true testament to his unrelenting perseverance.

Many of us are inspired into writing our own life stories.  We often say to each other that we should make these stories into a book.  But very seldom do such wishes turn into reality. I doubt if anyone else would have initiated such a mammoth task; very certain no one could have persevered and produced it with such class as Rohan has.

However, reading about the editor I come to realise that RohanWijeyaratna is no novice when it comes to the literary world, and it is abundantly evident with the outcome of this book. He has been a regular Cricket columnist for “The Island” newspaper for about 7 years in addition to his professional work.  He was also responsible for the birth of the Newsletter, and he also produced and  published as the ‘Journal of the I.Mar.E – Sri Lanka branch (Institute of Marine Engineers)’.  Without such journalistic experience and expertise and the inherent art in him, this project might not have been so successful.

The very first page, poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow sets the scene perfect.

“Ah! What pleasant vision haunt me, as I gaze upon the Sea….”

The first verse finishes with “all my dreams come back to me.”

The last verse finishes with “and the singing of the sailors and the answers from the shore!”

And yes you can’t put it down after that start.

The book gives you a snippet of the history of Sri Lankan Shipping which starts in the late 1960’s and then the tales from individual sailors starting around early 1970’s.  Writers from the early era have taken justifiably written with pride in describing their first love – the m.v. ‘Lanka Rani’, which was the first ship they sailed on.  The stories arelisted as per the progression from the Cargo Ships with oak interiorsfit for a Queen to the modern Container ships stripped of its oak finishes, brass fittings,the lace and trimmings.

Just like how Rohan explains, “much like good wine, the stories kept getting better with age and embellishment”.  It is evident from these stories that this period in their lives was not just in pursuit of a career for these young men (now not so young).  As a woman who sailed and didn’t have to work for the privilege I can confirm this part of their career and life was, and will always bequite unforgettable for them.

Like life, these young men met with their fair share of triumphs and trials on each of these voyages. Death of their colleagues(at sea), fire, and very bad injuries were all part of the journey. Movie scenes of “man overboard” was part of their life.There are stories of “Ghosts” on board as well to add to the mystic.  One writer explains how “when they ran short of liquor the ghosts were up to mischief”.  Everything was solved with a good drink, laughter and mateship.

The book illustrates much good humour and witticisms throughout, even in the presence of hardship.  It gives you a great appreciation of the “foreign” item you buy off the shelf-be it the most expensive bottle of Grange Shiraz or just some condiments. They’ve all had their fair share of taleswrapped around them as they reached their final recipients’ hands, and those who brought them to us had a way ofnarrating their tales with passion, pride and style, as amply seen throughoutthe pages of this maritime classic -“An unfinished odyssey”.

I can assure you, it is a great read; worth every penny spent in buying it.

By Uma Ganesan – who sailed in the capacity of Supernumerary.


 

I humbly urge as many of you to make a purchase.  I don’t make a red cent from the sales nor does Rohan.  He is a visionary.  He is planning to sponsor as many cadets from poor backgrounds.  I think the best form of charity is not just to give some one the money but in fact to pave the way for them to make that money.

For book purchases http://unfinishedodyssey.lk/

My review on the island paper

http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=185229

 

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Posted in True Story, Inspirational

Happy Australia Day

Australia-Day

Happy Australia Day to all my fellow Aussie mates.  Hope you are toasting somewhere by the beach or the pool with a stubby in one hand and a sausage sanga (Sausage Sandwich) on the other watching over your mates playing backyard or beach cricket.

For most Australians (Australia Day) simply represents a public holiday which gives them an excuse to fire up the Barbie (BBQ), sausages, beers a game of cricket, pavlova and pretty much talk “shit”as Aussies would refer it.  Most Australians at most times are pretty chilled people.  This has been noted by most tourists who come to this country.  We are a nation of genuinely nice people.  We may not have the polish to cover up and talk politely and be politically correct but even the guy who sounds racist is usually a pretty nice guy.

A friend of mine who came over from North America was amazed how random people just opened up to her in the bus or the plane and were super helpful.  I recollect a time when I went to Canada with then my two very young children, I went via Hawai.  My youngest was a runner/escape artist.  So I had  to hang on to him on one hand other with all the luggage.  Had three passports and all other documents to hold as well.  Unlike in Australia there were too many check points.  And each time I think that’s the last of it and put the passports back in the handbag and then come across another check point.  Ughh! They had no sympathy for a mother with two young kids, instead they would get irritated that I didn’t have the papers ready. Same treatment when coming back, I was on this constant stress mode when I arrived at the Sydney Airport.  Waiting for my bags to arrive and keep the young one on check, a middle aged man standing next to me said to me “love just stand here and point me to your luggage and I will get it for you” and he just did that, packed all my luggage carefully on the trolley and put my boys in it too.  I got to the counter and as there was no queue in front of me I didn’t get a chance to get the documents out.  I was again on panic mode trying to get them out.  The lady at the counter “love take your time, it’s ok” and she started to chat to my kids.  I thought “I’m home”.

I am a migrant from Sri Lanka, I arrived here twenty eight years ago and became an Australian Citizen 26 years ago exactly today.  Hubby and I were expecting our first child and the Citizenship ceremony took place in Hornsby, NSW.  It was really an awesome day.  It felt like the beginning of many great things to come by.  And it sure did.  A conscious effort was made to make us feel welcomed and a new chapter was opened in our lives.  Even so, I think within me for a long time I felt like a guest.  I was happy where I was staying but didn’t feel it was my place.  When ever I mentioned “back home” it meant Sri Lanka.  I think the first time I referred to Australia as my home was on this return journey from Canada.

Hear me out completely before you cast that stone “ungrateful”. I wasn’t ungrateful, far from it.  As each year notched I became more relaxed in my new environment and I could feel a shift in my mannerisms and way of thinking.  I was becoming used to the Aussie Larrikin and was starting like him/her.  I am still a mixed bag in terms of my identity.  When I am asked “where are you from” at times I would say “from Sri Lanka” but there are times I have caught my self saying, we are originally from Sydney, then we moved to Adelaide…”  I have no shame or issue of my ethnicity.  Do I ooze with so much pride that I refuse to call myself Australian? On the contrary, I feel so much pride in saying I am an Australian.

So much so, I am comfortable calling out on the mistakes, errors and simply things we should rectify.  I am no more a guest, I am now a family member.  I will support, I will stand up for, I will protect but I will also call you out when you are wrong.

The great debate at present – should we change the date of  Australia Day? 

For the first Australians the Aborigines this seems to be very important, as this day represents something very dark in their history.  It wasn’t the day that English really landed in Australia however throughout history, on the 26th of January the English set up or did horrible things to Aborigines. There was even once a Beach umbrella type thing set up called the ‘Aboriginal Embassy’ as to represent ‘Aliens on our land’  They kept reminding them with their actions that they stole this land from them and now they are foreigners in their own country.

The aborigines lost their land, their identity, their language, their families and eventually their self worth.

I do not believe in punishing or blaming the current generation for the mistakes of the old.  We all need to move on.  But for the victim it is easier said than done.

I know many fair minded White Australians despise the way some Aborigines behave.  Using the past issues as excuses for their drinking, gambling and unemployment.  As a fellow tax payer I can understand their frustrations.  The only way forward is education, empathy and mutual respect.  All these actions has to be two way.  We need to educate ourselves about them and them about us and same goes for empathy and mutual respect.  It goes well past not calling each other “white fellas” and “Black fellas”

For me 26th of January is an important day as that was the day I became an Australian legally.  However, happy to move the celebrations to another day so everyone in this country can celebrate it.

I even have a day for that.  February 13th.  It was the day we said “sorry” to the aborigines.  It was day that moved the first Australians and descendants of the first fleet Australians. “Sorry” is a simple word but a damn powerful word.

After the big riots in 1983 in Sri Lanka when the whole country went on a rampage of killing innocent Tamils no one said “sorry” not even close.  The country’s then President J.R Jaywardene went on T.V for his first press conference and explained that the “Sinhela people reacted to the 13 Army soldiers being killed by the militants in the north” not one word to say that this was in fact something wrong. pointless, mindless act.  Not one single word, the whole speech almost condoning the actions of the masses.  Months later my friend Lalith sent me a letter, it was not a long letter, it simply said “I’m sorry, I am ashamed” he went on to ask if I was okay, etc.  But none of that mattered.  The only words that keep ringing in my ears were “I am sorry”.  He was just a young teenager at that time.  But he was sincere, he was courageous, He was respectful.

If we are serious about reconciliation we need to start with respect.  Even if you do not care about reconciliation and simply want them to get off their back sides and do a days work and get off the dole, this is the only way – RESPECT.

The day we said sorry to them was a great starting point.  Let’s start there.  Let’s remind ourselves each year, what we did on the 13th Feb 2008.  Let it be a day that we are all proud of.

Time for another piece of Pav.

 

 

https://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2017/01/18/10-things-you-should-know-about-january-26

Posted in travel

Destination Goa (final)

Goa beach

Four am start.  Jan and I hardly had any sleep.  We were planning on a early night as we thought we need it for our 4 am start.  Didn’t exactly stick to our adult like responsible decision.  One more night of being back to our teenage days.  We weren’t exactly throwing up into the toilet bowl.  Just more chatting and reminiscing our past, the last couple of days and making promises for the future.  Relationships, Kids, loss, survival…. both of us in our own ways have been through a lot.  We are like two weeds that stood stubbornly through the storm and now looking a lot lusher.  We did bend, we did mellow, but we refused to wither.  I guess, neither of had a choice.

I so wish she lived next door and not in the opposite hemisphere. Every time I needed a hug she would have come running to me and every time she needed that hug I would have happily run over to her. But I think my hubby is relieved that there is a reprieve on the credit card and shopping. I treasure these holidays.  It’s truly a blessing that I can meet up with her once in awhile. Even though there are many days and weeks and years in between, thank god to Whatsapp and Skype, it makes it bearable.

Our bags gets rolled out at 4.00am.  We stood at the middle of the airport hugging and hanging on to our tears within our eyelids, interrupting and maybe blocking the other rushing passengers.  One big heave and then we headed back to our mundane travel procedures.

Getting through security took a lot longer than in Australia.  However, it wasn’t chaotic like it was in Chennai a few years ago.  I had about an hour or so before boarding.  For a small city, the airport was pretty good.  Very clean toilets.  Yes, this was in India.

Some Murals that caught my eye

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An hour went quickly with a bit of writing and taking pictures.  Next an uneventful flight to Mumbai.  Plane was clean and service was better than Jet star.

I had a long stop over at Mumbai before my next flight to Singapore.  After my stay at Niranta transit hotel on my way over I had decided I wanted to go back there again and get a room for a few hours.  This would give me a chance to meet that young man who helped me so much last time as well.  Unfortunately they were fully booked.  And that young man was not on duty that day either.  But, the young lady at the counter was still very sweet.  She asked me to stay in their lounge area, instead going back to the main airport area.  She even offered me a bottle of water and the ever useful wifi password. At this stage I had not spent a dime with them.  I was astounded by their empathy which went over and beyond the call of customer service.  I had breakfast with them, and left a small token of thank you in an envelope and left with plenty of time for check in etc.

I thought my bubble on perfect trip was going to unravel when the guy at the counter said my visa has expired.  I knew it hadn’t, I had checked and rechecked, so with a stern and irritated voice I replied “no it isn’t”.  On checking with another officer (lady officer) he realised he needed to have a “mummy look”.

This time around I had more time look around the airport.  Rather a big, classy, clean airport.  Yes, it’s in India and it’s clean.

This was a mural by the side of the travelator.  What a great welcome as you get off the plane.

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More quirky cafe’s and art work.

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As usual I was rushing with something and I think it was my bag zipper made a cut on my finger.  Nothing major, but the darn thing was bleeding.  So I got to the toilet and kept my finger under the tap trying to stop the bleeding.  But no joy.  The cleaning lady saw this and came to my aid, she couldn’t speak English and I couldn’t understand her.

Language didn’t matter, the beauty of humanity expands past language barriers.  

She got me a band aid from the first aid kit.  She didn’t know or didn’t care that she probably should be wearing gloves when dealing with blood.  I thanked her in English and went rummaging in my hand bag to get some money.  She held my hand and shook her head saying words, I think that meant “no, no need” and she left.

Yes, this was India.

How wrong was I to pass judgement, that India was going to be dirty and crawling with cheating, thieving vermin’s.  Am I a racist who was hiding behind past experiences as an excuse? I am not going to say entire India going to be this rosy.  Jury is still out of Chennai for me.  I hear Delhi is no paradise either.  But, lesson learnt is that there is going to be good and bad places every where, there is going to be good and bad people every where.  If you aren’t willing to give that destination a chance, you will never know and never experience and that would be a damn shame.

It’s a red hot yes to Goa and maybe even to rest of India.

 

 

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 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.

australiacanada.jpg

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 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 Sri Lanka, True Story, Inspirational

Man proposes and God Disposes (part 1)

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“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 ….