Friday, April 03, 2015

San Michel Idyll

My Ideal Tropical Non Agenda…

I have always wanted to spend a day on an island, in the sun, with nothing, absolutely nothing to do, but laze..No deadlines at all…

by Chandrika6

And so it was last month that one simple happiness I have dreamt of for perhaps years now, came true, for me. Perhaps I'm a person of simple dreams but what I had actually wanted was to take a holiday on an island in the sun, a day, a whole day and a day like none other…. Heck, it was about time!

This rat race, I noted with regret, has captured me.

I remember way back when I was a teenager, I had all that time on my hands, wrote stories, painted pictures, thought poetry and sat meditating under trees…. What happened? Why don't I get this time anymore? Where did it go? I find myself so exhausted that I fall asleep on the sofa when I find fifteen minutes to spare, or I'm cleaning out my phone inbox when I'm in a queue and taking calls when I'm in a traffic jam- all in the name of better time management! My house accumulates, thanks to my fairly bearable income, new and improved gadgetry each month, all designed by technological geniuses in Japan and Germany with the sole aim of saving time. These are electronic wonders so advanced in their capability that they would probably have been bartered for multiple numbers of wives, in the previous century if they had been around…but do these wonders give me more spare time?

Time to lay back and think and take things easy? Not by the long shot, unfortunately. Strange.

I wanted a day on an island in the sun, with time hanging on my hands, with nothing at all on the agenda, the cooking done for me, and my family and friends around me. So this is what I planned.

There is an island close to Colombo and a lovely little resort hotel on it, currently in a somewhat dilapidated condition but some how this only adds to its charm…. Spotless luxury and calm would be rather too predictable for me actually so I was thrilled by the scary boat ride across to the island, in a creaking motorboat, trying not to look into the water which was just the right level of murky, as in, mysteriously dark but not actually dirty… I had stumbled upon this island resort a few years back in the course of a official seminar and promised them that I would come back but not had time to honor this promise till today.

Previously downloaded legends were then recounted for the sake of my extremely imaginative and Game Boy inspired ten year old son, who subsequently treated the moat with serious respect since it was supposed to contain dead creatures, water monsters and random drown victims.( This of course generally made up by us to add spice to the whole adventure ). There was also the Story of the Pre Tsunami Pony which was related to us by hotel staff - apparently this happy creature had swum across the moat and escaped hours before the tsunami; *even though as luck would have it neither the resort nor the island had been seriously affected by the Tsunami anyway…

Our Sunday out began quite horribly for me with major misgivings. Two of my party had opted out, a biker girlfriend saying that she had been involved in a minor motorcycle accident (nothing serious but then these are the types I hang out with …)and my cousin Harry saying that he had just rememebred he needed to do all his laundry** before going to Malaysia on a business trip the day after… these were disapointments enough but the weather was, in a word , disgusting. As grey as London and drizzling to boot. The idea of holidaying on an island was definatly beginning to look like a man made disaster and I was getting a throbbing headache wonderring how I could possibly entertain my friends and two grumpy kids who would much rather have spent this sort of a Sunday tucked into bed and watching DVDs. Apart from the fact that I had forgotton to pack Scrabble or Carrom or even a pack of cards, I confess I harbour a serious phobia for bodies of water anyway and there lurked in the back of my mind , the unfounded fear of water based tragedy creeping up on me ..the only thing that kept me going was the thought of the delicious lunch waiting on the island since I knew that although they were almost closed for business and running on a skeleton staff , said skeleton staff had not forgotton their excellent culinary skills…and this was not fancy gourmet food mind you , just a simple Sunday meal of fried rice and chicken curry with oiled potatoes, wambatu moju, papadams and a wonderful fresh salad…hmm, mouth watering to think about even now!

As luck would have it my friends put a life of their own into the dismal morning and by the time we had settled down with drinks and eats in a lovely little water surrounded cabana, would you believe this, slowly but surely the sun began to peep from behind clouds and the true beauty of the country became slowly and surely evident…the only thing more wonderful to me than coconut trees in the sun by the water, is rained on dewy glittery coconut trees in the sun by the water….and here they were.

Our day out turned out splendid. In spite of the various worries and phobias I had (of drowning, moat monsters, and whether my ten year old would pick up the dubious language skills of my cheerfully stoned office cronies) failed thankfully to materialise and the food lived up to our expectations. The dismal grey start to the day only contrasted wonderfully with the subsequent dazzle of gentle sunshine that flooded my holdiay and only served to make me appreciated the weather that much more. My island was looking absolutely lovely ,vibrant colours of green vegetation, rich light blue sky, orange for the coconuts and startling red on the occasional kingfisher , a little like a scene setting for Pirates of the Carribean but thankfully without any visible cannibals…

What did I actually do? Nothing much, which is exactly what I did want to not do. I spent a lot of time giggling with friends I hadnt seen for ages, walked around the island with my children discussing Sri Lanka, ate till I could hardly stand, and then sat drowsing under a tree for an unlimited time, floated in the shallow end of the swimming pool enjoying the sunlight through that brilliant cool water with nothing , abslolutely nothing to do but laze and no deadlines…. Ah, the stuff my humble dreams are made of!


* so let that be a warning to you unbelieving people out there :if your horsey ups and leaves you preferring to relocate inland one sunny Sunday morning, it could be a sign of natural disaster on the way. Or even unnatural disaster depending on how intelligent it is..:

* * and I quote: "Ayyo, I forgot to wash my trousers, no"