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 True Story, Inspirational

New Year … Hope, Dreams, Promises and Resolutions

Happy New Year NASA Theme

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy 2017 everyone.

Posted in Sri Lanka, True Story, Inspirational, Word prompt

Graceful as Hippo in a Tutu

hippo-in-tutu

Not that I am clumsy, but certain outfits make me feel like I am walking on stilts.  It’s not the shoes,  but it is the clothing that makes me and my family nervous.

Although now living in Australia, I originally hail from the little island of Sri Lanka.  Our traditional garb is a saree.  We don’t wear it everyday, but required to wear it for most traditional events, such as weddings and engagement parties etc.

The first time a girl wears a saree is on her coming of age ceremony. However, she then goes on to wear other half hearted versions of the saree.  I guess, I should explain what a saree is first.

saree

This amazing outfit, has no zips or buttons, just held together with a few pins and a lot of hope.  Have you seen the advertisements for couch covers?  On the ad you see a well made couch, with pleats and bows.  And you think amazing, this will give my dead couch the face lift.  And you order the couch cover in.  And voila you open the online order delivery package, and what do you find, well in fact, just a really great long piece of material. The pleats and bows are up to you or you could just throw it over the couch or throw the couch itself. Some are talented and after the initial disappointment of seeing a long piece of material they can make something of it. However not everyone is that talented or successful.  Well it is the same with a saree.  It is just a piece of material that is 6 yards long.

You wear a blouse that is really tight.  Really tight, sleeves the body, and all over.  It’s like wearing a swim suit made out of cotton.  By the time you get in to the blouse you are out of breath.  This is the Indian version of the Victorian era Bodice.

Then comes the underskirt. This skirt does not have an elastic, noo… it has a rope/cord. Which once again is used to tie it really tight. Now that your boobs are squished and a cord that has stopped circulation around your waist line, you now start draping the six yard material by tucking one end of it into the skirt.  The more advanced you are, you use less pins to form the shape above.  It is harder than you think or it looks.  Although for most of my country folk it comes rather naturally.  Then again for most, gardening comes very naturally while I manage to kill even a cactus.

I have to admit the saree does make most look very graceful and elegant.

Front on, in this picture you can’t see any body.  But, don’t be fooled.  There is a massive gap between the blouse and where the skirt starts.  So from side on there is a great view of the woman’s midriff.  So to assume that this is a graceful and conservative garb is not entirely correct.  However, the elders of the society will not accept you rocking up in a pair of pants and a top that covers the midriff.

Coming back to when do we start to wear the saree.  Traditionally the first day would be on your coming of age ceremony.  But then after that you are not required to wear it until you are in your late teens.  As I said there are half hearted saree like garb that are acceptable by the society.

half-saree

Which is pretty much an elaborate skirt and a shawl that pretends to be half a saree.  But at this age you are not rebelling.  Because this is a new experience.  And this is just dressing up to be half an adult.  Remember helping dad to wash the car.  Yep, the novelty wears off.  But to begin with you are very excited, then by the time you are old enough to actually help, you are no where to be seen.  Well not for everyone.  Many love wearing the saree.  I am still waiting for that day.

Sarees are one size fits all.  And I think that is one of the problems for me.  I am even short for an average Sri Lankan or Indian.  And so a lot has to be tucked into my skirt.  And you have to also walk very lady like.  When growing up, when my mum couldn’t find me, all she had to do was look up a tree.  And she would find me quite comfortably perched on a branch, reading a book and munching on the fruits.

I wouldn’t call myself a complete tomboy.  I like getting a pedicure, buy shoes and handbags.  But, find pants in winter and shorts in summer as a very practical garb. High heels is not that practical but they do make me look a bit taller.  So when I wear a high heel with a saree the outcome can be very interesting.  My mum is the only one who can successfully drape me.  When I say successfully, I mean with minimum scene.  I walk in like a wound up robotic doll and take a seat and hope to never get up again.  Unless I am walking, I look very graceful.  What annoys me most now is some our international relatives have taken to wearing the saree for our functions.  And seem to be walking around, as if they have been wearing it all their life.

Mum and I went to Japan last year.  “When in Rome”….  Decided we should try wearing the Kimono.

kimono-uma

I was really excited.  There are places where you can hire these outfits and they drape it for you and you can hang on to them for the rest of the day.  You can walk around that little city area.  So you get the whole experience.  Same deal.  Traditional outfits for women were designed to restrict their breathing.  Or, it was like breast check, this was more like rib check.  By the time I came down those steep stairs and out the door, I had realised that these type of garbs looks nice on other women or on a manikin rather than on me.  Once again my mum walked around as if she has been wearing this all her life.

I think this hippo has learnt it’s lesson and quite happy with her pants.

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