Breaking Bread with Kaviraj's Family

Tripoto
5th Jul 2016
Photo of Breaking Bread with Kaviraj's Family 1/1 by Anuj Tikku

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 honoured. 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 anyone who comes from India.” I accepted gladly “I will come and look forward to their company.”

Photo of Mauritius by Anuj Tikku

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 that I did in Bollywood on my phone. “My son loves to play the piano. We have bought an electronic piano for him to play.” Kaviraj, the proud dad told me!

Photo of Breaking Bread with Kaviraj's Family by Anuj Tikku
Photo of Breaking Bread with Kaviraj's Family by Anuj Tikku

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 plantations. Lots of Indians were brought here from Pune, Bihar and Tamil Nadu by the British to work as slaves” Kaviraj'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 chilli paste. The liquor tasted a bit like soju, the Korean alcohol, that I had tasted last year in my visit to Seoul. “So Anuj, you travel so much, which is your favourite 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. Wherever I am at that point is always the best country for me”. Everyone broke into laughter “Yes it is true, my friends often ask me why I don’t settle down in one of the countries I 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 and called it a day.

Photo of Breaking Bread with Kaviraj's Family by Anuj Tikku

Dinner with Kaviraj and his family

Photo of Breaking Bread with Kaviraj's Family by Anuj Tikku

Next morning it was sightseeing as usual as we drove down to the town of Pamplemousses to see the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens. Then I saw the tomb of Ramgoolam, one of the freedom fighters of the country who then became its 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 that I did, in fact, have the meaning of life. It is probably to travel to expand one’s mind on the journeys while the ducks and 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!

Photo of Pamplemousses District, Mauritius by Anuj Tikku

Walk about the garden

Photo of Pamplemousses District, Mauritius by Anuj Tikku
Photo of Pamplemousses District, Mauritius by Anuj Tikku
Photo of Pamplemousses District, Mauritius by Anuj Tikku
Photo of Pamplemousses District, Mauritius by Anuj Tikku
Photo of Pamplemousses District, Mauritius by Anuj Tikku
Photo of Pamplemousses District, Mauritius by Anuj Tikku

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 prawns. Another day in this exotic island we know as Mauritius, another day in that journey of life!

Photo of Breaking Bread with Kaviraj's Family by Anuj Tikku

Originally posted on TikkusTravelthon.in

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