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Our Life in Mauritius: #Blogiversary #MondayMusings #GuestPost

OUR LIFE IN MAURITIUS: BY ESHA MOOKERJEE-DUTTA

​The Move

It all began when we were contemplating a move to Mauritius almost two decades ago. J had just accepted a job offer in the turquoise island, and each time I’d mention the name Mauritius, our friends and family would stare with their big round eyes and exclaim, “Really? Oh wow! You’re going to live in paradise!” So, though I knew they were right in some ways, a part of me would nudge me to question if we were doing the right thing at the time.

After all, I was just beginning to settle in professionally as a trainer and rather keen to complete my management education that had been on my mind. Though the prospect of moving to a beautiful island seemed very attractive, I was worried this was going to affect my future professional life. Doubts assailed and I drowned in misery over the coming weeks, as I tried to straddle the personal and the professional realms, whilst weighing my options. At the end of those six weeks, I gave in, to the insistence of the adman’s words that if this didn’t work for us both, we’d return. On this premise, we launched ourselves on a new adventure. The promise of a life we yearned for. The promise of happiness.

​The Arrival

And, thus, in the fall of the late 90’s, on a wet and windy afternoon, we arrived at the Sir Seewoosagar Ramgoolam International Airport in Mauritius right in the middle of a raging anticyclone, that was tearing through the island at the time. As we made our way towards the city of Moka, my mind deliberated upon all sorts of things. I wondered what life would be like and if it would make us happy. The depressing weather played havoc with my thoughts. But, thankfully, the rains didn’t last long. The sky cleared up and so did my mood.

As we drove through the bustling streets and entered a country road, with old colonial mansions on one side, I was bowled over by the luxurious green that gave the place a picture postcard look. As the car swerved down the road, we entered a portly 18th-century mansion where J’s new office was located. No sooner had we stepped in, we were greeted by a bunch of smiling people. Warm, genial and friendly. It was a lovely feeling in a new country, when you land up amidst strangers for the very first time. I instinctively knew we’d love this new place.

That afternoon marked the beginning of our discovery of the people, places and life, in the beautiful paradise island— a journey that was to leave a lasting impact on our minds for years to come.

During our stay in the Mauritius, we discovered many interesting things. Its’ multi-racial people, its’ rich mix of culture, its’ wonderfully varied palette of food, its’ marvellous white-sand beaches, its’ grand architectural structures, its’ sights and sounds as we drove along the length and breath of the island. We learned to appreciate the laid-back pace of life, the easy-going friendly people, their warmth and joviality, as we began to get attuned to a new way of living—Working through the week and relaxing over the weekend. 

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​The Learning

Over the months that followed, I learned to set up home. In the weekdays, I’d take the bus to Port Louis to attend French classes at Alliance Francaise, or check out local markets in and around Rose Hill and Quatre Bornes. At home, I was slowly transitioning from a novice cook to a confident one, juggling chores, trying my hand at freelance copywriting projects and spending time reading at the British Library, that was just a stone’s throw from where we lived. The weekends were spent with friends chilling out by the beach with a favourite book or going on long drives and discovering the lesser known places around the island. Life was predictable but happy and two years passed by, as if in a dream.  

But, one fine day, I realised somewhere deep within, there was an inexplicable sense of disillusionment. Something was amiss. It was around this time that I started keeping a journal to record my thoughts. That helped me connect to my inner self. I could sense that I was beginning to exhaust my reserves of patience, playing the perfect wife, exploring a new culture, learning a new language and, of course, no longer looking forward to the weekend by the beach. A revelation happened one day. I was slowly beginning to ‘discover’ the writer in me. Then, came the question—What next? Something nudged me to look beyond. As the spouse of a Work Permit holder, I did not have any opportunity to take up paid employment, or update myself professionally and grow. We’ve had our fair share of good times. Perhaps, time had come for us to decide on our next course of action.

Now, when I look back, I can say that Mauritius was in our destiny. But, it all happened in a quick succession of events, that we barely realised, how we were caught up in an unstoppable chain of events, one that would eventually take us down the road to unlearn and adapt, evolve and grow, stretching our minds, far and wide. Life in the paradise island gave us many beautiful moments in life to cherish. But, life is more than a sum-total of happy times. In many ways, J and I yearned for new learning, for growth and for travel. 

Moving On

After some deliberation, we decided to move again. This time, the shores of England beckoned us. But, although the move got us out of Mauritius, we could never get Mauritius out of our hearts. We left one island for another one, but with beautiful memories to treasure.

And, so, it has remained, till this day. Even after two decades, I still feel I’ve left behind a part of myself on that beautiful island, and I long to revisit our favourite haunts, and relive the past one more time! The flat where we had set our first home still comes to me in my dreams, as does the balcony from where I would watch the setting sun. I sometimes wonder what happened to the family next door or the Japanese couple who lived on the floor above us. Memories of my beautiful Elm tree leaves my eyes a little moist. And, somewhere, in my minds’ eye, I can see a determined young woman looking out of the window, yearning to live out her dreams. What happened to her? Did she live her dream? Did she find herself? And what about happiness?

Someday, I hope to find the answers!

 

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The Author: Esha

A Bangalore-based Management Consultant/Trainer by profession who loves to travel, Esha is also a dreamer, skywatcher and curator of memories. She loves nature, and you can often find her taking random captures on the go, when she’s not cooking up a storm in the kitchen. She also writes. She blogs at Blogs by Esha. She also holds a link part called Wordless Wednesday.

 

 

This guest post has been written as part of my First Blogiversay celebrations that started on 1st December, 2017. The posts will be on my three favourite genres; Fiction, Musings and Travel.

Check Varad’s  Friday Fiction Matter of Tooth. Today we have Esha’s Monday Musing. I  wrap up my blogiversary celebrations with a Wanderlust Wednesday post  (6th December -on the day of my Blog’s Anniversary) written by an avid travel blogger. Watch out for this space in the days to come.

 

15 thoughts on “Our Life in Mauritius: #Blogiversary #MondayMusings #GuestPost

  1. Modern Gypsy says:

    Setting up life in an unknown country is no easy task! And having to give up your professional goals is also a big ask. Life takes us where we are meant to go, though. I’m sure Mauritius also played a role in you becoming the person you are today! 🙂

    • Esha says:

      Absolutely, Shinjini, life in Mauritius did contribute to who I became in later life, and in a big way! Life choices aren’t easy and often we have to choose between things that we love in equal measure! Obviously, somethings got to go!

  2. Rajlakshmi says:

    Setting up a life in an unknown country is never without apprehensions… I loved how you took things in your stride and enjoyed the place, even though I know it’s a tough decision to make when the professional career takes a hit.
    I hope I get to visit this gorgeous place. Loved reading your account Esha.

    • Esha says:

      Thank you Rajlakshmi. It was tough as you can well imagine but I was happy to do it as it was something we had both decided upon. Nonetheless, it did affect my career in the long run. Life is a package deal and we have to make these choices sooner or later and preferably settle for something we do not regret later.

  3. Balaka Basu says:

    Initially when I read the post I carelessly didn’t recognize that this was Natasha’s blog. I tried to delete the previous post but somehow am not able to do that. Sorry for ranting i Bengali as I was bit overwhelmed. This post made me soooo nostalgic…Let me add to this post..”the maid who used to come in a car and sit with you and have coffee..the big mansion next door with a remote controlled gate..and you hardly saw anyone in that mansion…the different colors of gas cylinders…the beautiful veranda that you had..the multicolored rock…I almost lived in that country through your description..Brought back so many memories….thanks Natasha for inviting Esha, I cannot express in words how much I loved this post.

    • Esha says:

      Thanks for the appreciation. I had to exercise caution and stop myself from going overboard with memories, Balaka! 😀 And, thanks to Natasha for giving me this opportunity to share those treasured memories on her amazing blog!

  4. Balaka Basu says:

    OH My God…Mituldi..ami post ta porar agei comment kore dilam..tomar r Jay dar sei sab kato purono pics..amar kacheo ache kichu..tomar mone ache..Tumi sei jakhon Mauritius theke ele..ami gelam dekha korte…r seisab kato chabi, kato galpo..saradin ki mojai katlo..tarpor bikele amra New Market gelam…Phew!! Now let me read the post and comment again

  5. Amrita says:

    I can understand what you must have gone through your mind.I love how you write from your heart.Its almost like a memory capture and my eyes went moist imagining your soul search.

    • Esha says:

      Thank you so much for the appreciation, Amrita. You’re right…it was a soul search and a search for a meaning in life that we all go through some time or the other.

  6. Anamika Agnihotri says:

    It always feels nice to read Esha’s words (and also hear her). The line ‘Life is more than the sub-total of happy times’ is so true. It is truer for women leaving their dreams behind or put them on hold in order to follow their husbands. The new pastures may be inviting with lots to explore outside and at the same time implores one to look within and search for oneself. Perfect wife, perfect cook, perfect host, perfect guest – the realms to achieve perfection are too many but can they be satiating in the long run?
    Thank you, Natasha, for hosting Esha and bringing to your readers a pie from her musings.
    And, congratulations to you for the first anniversary of your blog.

    • Esha says:

      Thank you, Anamika. I thought perhaps this one was meant for Natasha. so refrained from commenting. Just wanted to thank you for your kind words of appreciation. Meant much to me.

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