The choppy waters tossed us around like raw vegetables in a salad bowl.
I desperately clutched my stomach, wishing the rising nausea away. I added to the already abundant salt water as I wept my dreams of becoming a pirate away. I had the attitude for it, just not the stomach
I blushed in embarrassment as my mother stared at the peeling sunburnt faces of the once attractive foreigners sitting in front of us.
I Glared at my watch as it lied to me. There was no way only 25 mins had passed. It felt more like 25 years. Time fibbed to me a lot these days. I mean if you were to believe all the lies it was spewing, you would be convinced that I was 25 years old already……oh wait!
If you notice very carefully, I subtly brought the topic to the real point of my story…..it’s very cleverly hidden….you must look very carefully.
Fine, il get to the point. I woke up today as a miserable 25 year old woman. While most folks would think 25 was just the beginning of their life, I’m ready for it to be done. I’ve finished an entire life in 25 years. I’ve studied, had a job (EY), retired from my job (EY),had a midlife(quarter life) crisis, had a kid (don’t panic!! I’m talking about my dog Leo) and I’m now spending my twilight years grumpily yelling at children for making too much noise. Alas, I’m expected to do all this once again, this time for “real”.
Sailing back to the main story, the boat finally docked at a hauntingly beautiful island. My face lit up when it finally dawned on me where we were. Don’t judge me for being slow. My brain was literally fried by then. My sister and mother had arranged a surprise trip for me to Elephanta caves, given my obsession with architecture and my daily shame of not exploring my own city enough. On disembarking, we rode a toy train to the heart of the island. I nearly toppled out several times trying to pet the absolutely adorable stray dogs running alongside us. I think dogs can sense their kind in me..maybe I smell like one….it would explain a lot.
The next 40 mins were spent with me being surrounded by dogs of all colours and sizes (see mom, I’m finally popular.) A goat got in on the action and decided to show the dogs how to grab all the attention. It literally stood its entire length, maintaining eye contact and mesmerising me with its melodious Baaaaa, all the while hypnotising me into feeding it everything I had. I had to be manually dragged away after most people that had arrived with us finished their tour and started their journey back. As I walked on, taking 20 mins for a 10 min walk, I petted every head I found(some human heads may have got in there too). I was approached by a beautiful but anorexic cow. She had been watching me pet the dogs and goats and was overwhelmed with jealousy. I stroked her beautiful face and finally made my way inside. And then the torture started. 120 steps stared down at me. I knew this was my family’s sneaky way of making me exercise! I thought of riding the cow up the stairs, but having got her fill of pats, she ran for her life. We dragged our feet up the the mountain, stopping for a break
when we came across a lonely patch of
Of course as Indian men often do, 3 bulky, barely clad men scared us out of there with their rapey stares. We resumed our climb with more gusto than before. Now we had one more motivation. Hordes of monkeys stared at us and our bags with greed and lust, proving that men really did evolve from apes. They tried to attack us with their puckered, clawed hands, but as Indian women usually do, we outsmarted them.
When we finally reached the caves, we were awestruck by the beautiful, albeit badly maintained carvings. The majestic statue of Lord Shiva stared down at us, making my forced exercise worth it. We oohed and aahed away, enjoying the echoing of our raspy voices in the cool damp cave. We continued our tour, struggling to protect ourselves from Indian men and Indian monkeys.
With a heavy heart I left the beautiful caves and precious starving dogs and braced myself for a pukey ride home. To all who say the journey is better than the destination, travel to Elephanta! I dare you!!!!
And that is the uncensored, unabridged story of how I discovered that just 30 mins away from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai, exists an oasis of calm.