709   20/03/2016

This is Maldives!

Coming to Soneva Fushi in Maldives is like coming home. The map of the island is imprinted in the soles of my feet. Friends and familiar faces greet me at the jetty. The tiredness of the journey somehow melts into the soft white sand. The salty air blends in with the chirping birds – and I know I am here! Walking through my villa I feel I have transcended time. The crispy blue sky has never looked so tasty. I sit on the sand outside my villa listening to the waves for what seems like an eternity. And yet I cant get enough……..

The next day passes in a daze – rushed breakfast, Feng Shui project meetings, grabbing quick lunch with friends and trying to cool over salted caramel ice cream!

I dip my tired feet into the ocean when I am finally done and try to relax for a bit; but mind is filled with chatter – I am thinking about my better half, my cats, watching Jerry Seinfeld live, writing a book, missing my mom, eating stuffed paneer paratha……..sigh……sometimes even I can get lonely J

It’s an Asian Buffet night by the beach today. The open-air restaurant is filled with many unknown and some familiar faces. People are dressed in their finest beach wear – lovely colourful kaftans, beaded necklaces, crumpled soft linen shirts with straw hats and bare feet! The dark rough wooden tables are lined with orange and green cushions and set with tall wine glasses and chunky cutlery. Different types of Asian cuisines are set up on both sides of the restaurants. Smell of coconut curry blends in with the aroma of prawn tempura. I see people digging into the delicious food over glasses of red wine and coconut water. There, under the open sky by the ocean – I finally see people letting their guard down. There are no more talks of hedge funds or investments. No more worries about buying real estate or looking like a model. All I hear is laughter through the clicking of the cutlery.

I try to be invisible, wanting to sit by myself away from the crowd and read Lauren Oliver’s Delirium over dinner. A friend finds me through the crowd and insists I sit at her table. Feeling a bit odd I proceed to the table, not wanting to intrude on someone’s privacy. Her table has interesting mix of people – a Cantonese hedge fund manager, an elderly Chinese couple from Shanghai, a Thai gentleman who is the architect for the new feng shui project, and American – Italian couple who are sky dive instructors and then of course ME! As we all make small talk and get to know each other, I start relaxing over my chilled watermelon juice.

Soon people start to leave, I decide to stay for a while savoring the taste of the delicious night sky. And now there are four of us – the Thai architect, The Chinese wife, Cantonese hedge fund manager and myself. It seems like an odd group but hey…who cares!

We start talking about general things from Louis Vuitton handbags to Buddhism, from feng shui to investments, from building a home to which book to read. We just keep talking; sharing, laughing, living and savoring the moment over sugar coated marshmallows. When we finally look up, the sky is covered in hundreds of tiny sparks and the half moon looks like a white chocolate cookie that’s been bitten on the side by my nephew.

I don’t think the four of us will ever forget this night. Each one with their life story, their journey, their thought – and yet we connected over cheesecake and ice cream. This is the slice of life that you only share under starry skies, listening to the secrets of the ocean while digging your feet in the white sand!

This is Maldives!     



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