Does it sting?

Does it sting,
she asked me,
scared at the sight of
an injection for blood sample

Does it sting,
she asked me,
frustrated
for scoring 99 instead of 100
in Math.

Does it sting,
she asked me,
frantically looking
for her favorite book
in the pile of waste paper.

Does it sting,
she asked me,
head in my lap,
thinking about her best friend
who sits with her new classmates
from Arts for lunch now.

Does it sting,
she asked me,
settling in for B.Com which
her parents chose for her
and she couldn’t say no to
because she didn’t know
what else to do

Does it sting,
she asked me,
before telling her father
that she wants to drop out
because she loves letters
more than numbers
even when she is good at both

Does it sting,
she asked me,
upset on landing a job
that pays peanuts
compared to her
engineer friends

Does it sting,
she asked me,
before chopping off
her waist length hair
because it was boring

Does it sting,
she asked me,
skin flushed
after she said yes
to the cute guy at work
for coffee

Does it sting,
she asked me,
before running
off to Greece
a night before her wedding
because she did not want it.

And each time,
I told her yes
It stings
When the needle pierces your arm
When the 100 seems out of sight
When that book is missing
When your best friend is lost
When you say yes to something
because you don’t know better
When you quit on something
because you can’t do it anymore
When you settle for something
because it is your only choice
When you fall in love,
and get heartbroken
or don’t fall in love
and stay on the fence before running away from all of it

Because happiness needs courage
and courage stings
Because courage is not absence of fright,
it is acting in spite of it
Because it is okay to wear your heart on your sleeve
and it is okay to feel scared
Because everything you want
is on the other side of fear.

Image Courtesy: 3rd Perspective

viaΒ Sting

When I went to Mauritius! – I

Let me put it this way, I am not really a traveler. While growing up, my parents made it a point to take us to a vacation every 1-2 years. Kashmir, Darjeeling, Sikkim, Rajasthan, Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore, Ooty, Kanyakumari, Trivandrum- we pretty much covered the major bases of the country. Perhaps that’s why I haven’t really been enthusiastic about taking any trips around Bangalore. That, and of course the lack of company. Although I know quite a few solo travelers, I had always thought that it was the kind of dare-devilry I can’t really be bothered to attempt, mainly because there are a gazillion details you would have to take into account before planning a solo trip.

I got my passport in 2015 for a possible work travel. The travel didn’t happen, and the passport remained buried in some dark corner in a dusty folder, to be furnished as address proof as and when needed. I had heard my widely traveled cousin talk a lot about how a foreign travel changes your perspective, so when my college friend called me in April this year and asked me if I would want to be a part of an all girls trip to Mauritius, of course I said yes! Eventually there were 5 of us who decided to come for the trip, and we went ahead and booked a customized package with Meandering Travels, a travel agency based out of Thane, for the period of 26th June to 30th June.

Once we did partial payments for the trip, we got busy with our regular lives. Work, sleep, dance, eat, repeat – that remained my life for what seemed like the longest time, till it was 15th June and I realised that it was just 10 days before I went on my first international trip! And then began the packing of bags – discussions about things to carry, things to do, and foreign exchange. It was the first international trip for all of us, and our Whatsapp group consisted of long chats and talks where 5 of us, who hadn’t even met each other (we all had just one reference point – our common friend who planned the trip along with her flatmate), discussed the minutest details of the trip! The possibility of an extremely interesting trip left us excited and queasy. Days before the trip I sort of developed cold feet. I kept wondering if it was a wise decision – 5 girls travelling together, and that too abroad with no way of coming back except the day when we had our return flights booked! Before I knew, I reached Mumbai International Airport at 3 am in the morning – with anxious parents in tow, who felt they absolutely had to drop me in the dead of night πŸ˜€

6.45 am was when our flight was supposed to depart. After all the formalities, we roamed around and had our breakfast. We checked out the crowd traveling with us, and hopes of cute guys sitting beside us were dashed when we realised that there was an entire troupe of migrant workers coming in from Dhaka and Colombo in the same flight as ours πŸ˜› But Mauritius is anyway a honeymoon destination, is how we consoled ourselves, and we went on to take our window seats in the flight.

The flight to Mauritius from Mumbai was a partnership between Air Mauritius and Air India. And as suspected, the crew from Mumbai was that of Air India. To be honest, they were kind of impolite, even refusing extra water when asked for! On hindsight though, the lack of drinking water was a tell-tale sign of the water issues we were going to have throughout the trip, but at that time we were just excited to be in the flight!

As we approached Mauritius, I realized why people love going there. The sight from the plane rendered me speechless – I had never seen so much green and blue in one frame!

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Tiny Mauritius!
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The color gradient!

 

We landed at this really tiny airport, did our visa formalities, collected our bags and proceeded to get currency exchanged at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International

The currency rate for INR to MUR at the airport is largely fixed at 1 MUR = 40 Indian paise. Whereas a Mastercard/Visa payment results in 1 MUR ~ 1.85 INR. Clearly carrying the card there is a better option, and most of the outlets accept cards. We of course didn’t know this, and it did worry us to not have as much cash as we had calculated, but it was too petty a thing to worry about, in the light of the gorgeous 1 hour journey we had from the airport to our hotel at Casuarina Resort and Spa in Grand Baie πŸ™‚

After our check-in formalities at the resort, we quickly changed into our cute beachy outfits post lunch (which were two extremely sad pizzas that did nothing for my immense appetite πŸ˜› )and went on to the resort’s beach across the road to view the sunset. The thing about Mauritius is that it is so scenic, so beautiful and so sparsely populated, that one really doesn’t have to do a lot of effort to get good pictures πŸ™‚

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The view of the beach across the road from our resort!
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Sunset at the beach πŸ™‚

After sunset, we arrived at our hotel for some yummy dinner. And thank God for that, because at that point of time I was not just hungry, but hangry πŸ˜› Vegetarian food is freely available at Mauritius, and the spread by our resort was delightful with rajma, channa, paneer, et al. I on the other hand of course had my eyes only for the non veg – nothing could have stopped me from trying the fish fillet or shrimps!

Post dinner we sat in the lobby in hopes of “catching some wi-fi”. That’s the only thing about that resort, I really wish they would have provided internet access within our rooms too, instead us pacing in the super cold lobby hoping for decent reception. After catching up with family and friends, and telling them all about our day, we retired early to bed – dreaming about the gorgeous, adventure filled Ile Aux Cerfs that waited for us on the other side of daybreak πŸ™‚

Picture Credits: Thanks a lot Prachi for capturing all these beautiful sights πŸ™‚