The start of my African sojourn (I have plans to go further afield into Madagascar) had been good. I had fun, met new people, made friends for life with some of the nicest people I had ever known and it brought some peace to my often ravaged soul. I was settling in and Kaviraj – that man with the most and my guide of all things Mauritian, invited me for a meal with his family. We had spent over a week together now and I was truly honored.
Though I accept I was paying him – a neat $75 a day – the experience for me had been enriching. ”You have to meet my family!” he insisted “they are very traditional and would love to host you, especially my father, he loves to talk to any one who comes from India.” I accepted gladly “I will come and look forward to their company.”
I dressed up in a traditional Indian attire, a white kurta and a spanking white dhoti and made my way to his homestead. It was a classic ‘joint family’ with his brothers and both his widowed mother in law and mother staying together with his father all under one roof.
His son was amazed when I showed him some of my work i did in Bollywood on my phone . “ My son loves to play in Piano , we have bought an electronic piano for him to play.” Kaviraj, the proud dad told me!
I looked around the house it was a modest place but was very much a home and hearth. ” you see our ancestors are from India , but we were all born here. We came here in the 19th century to work on the sugar plantation’s . Lot’s of indian’s were bought here from Pune , Bihar and Tamil Nadu by the British to work as slaves .” Kavriraj’s old wizened father told me. Kavi offered me some Mauritian white rum with fish freshly baked just for me. I nibbled at it with some green chilly paste . The liquor tasted a bit like Soju, the Korean alcohol I had tasted last year in my visit to Seoul. “ So Anuj you travel so much which is your favorite country .” Kavi’s wife who was a few months pregnant asked. Pat came my reply “ Mauritius of course “ everyone looked pleased with my answer “But I say that in every country that I go, where ever I am at that point, that is always the best country for me” every one broke into a laugh.” Yes it is true my friends often ask me, why don’t you settle down in one of the countries you travel to and I always insist that if I do – how can I then travel to the next country and the vision of the Travelthon will not be fulfilled ! Travelthon is about marathon travel and settling down is not an option” We sat down for dinner and I took my customary pictures of the family as I enjoyed munching fried squid. Dessert was Ras Malai. a traditional Indian dish made out of Milk . Kavi promised to gift me the local Rum as i thanked his family to call it a day.
Next morning it was sight seeing as usual as we drove down to the town of Pamplemouses to see the Sir Seewoosagar Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens.
They I saw the tomb of Ram Gulam one of the freedom fighters of the country who then became it’s rulers .
After walking about the lotus pond trying to figure out the meaning of life, I fed some deer and ducks that swam around in the pond in the garden. I don’t know but I suddenly thought I did in fact have the meaning of life.
It is probably to travel to expand ones mind on the journeys and the ducks and the deers are the bystanders that remind you that you must keep travelling!
That did not make a lot of sense I guess – but what the hell – it was probably my medication talking right there!
On the way back I exchanged some US dollars for the local Mauritian rupees at Rs 34.8 to the US dollar. Lunch was fried Mauritian noodles with chicken liver and prawn’s . Another day in this exotic island we know as Mauritius, another day in that journey of life!