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Sometimes people form opinions about you that leave you wondering just how they came by it. It really is amazing.

On the first day of the Mauritian tour (Will we never hear the end of it, ask readers at Shail’s Nest), we went on a speedboat for ride of approximately forty minutes to see the Grand River South Eastwater (GRSE) waterfall and then some more on to Ile aux Cerfs. There were for four of us oldies, the rest were young honeymooning couples, total ten in all. The boatman did all sorts of stunts on the water, swerving one way, then the other, one side rose high, then the other, he went around in circles raising water spouts soaking us all in the bargain. In short, he gave us the works. The youngsters were thrilled and could be heard hooting in appreciation and joy.

Sitting there on the boat with the others amidst all the excitement, I reflected on the fact that none of us had on a life jacket. There was one boatman to the ten passengers. Of the others I knew not, but I myself did not knew no swimming. What happens if one of us falls overboard, I asked my sister-in-law with curiosity. But that’s as far as the extent of thought I gave to the matter went, choosing instead to enjoy the moment.

This brought to mind another holiday (which holiday’s last chapter is unbelievably so, yet to be written) in Sri Lanka.  After 5-6 days of sightseeing, we had finally reached Bentota. Preferring to spend the last day on the beach taking photographs, I declined to accompany my friends on a boat-ride the next morning to a nearby island on which stood an old lighthouse. There was another reason why I did not want to go. It had come to my knowledge that the lighthouse was out-of-bounds for visitors, and anyone found climbing it would be fined.

Frankly, I am not ashamed to say I am a law-abiding person. I prefer to keep on the right side of the law, whether it be in my own country and ESPECIALLY when visiting another. Call me staid, boring or whatever, but I prefer it that way.  But somehow or other an impression was formed that I was scared of the ride on the speedboat in the open sea, that I would not have been able to do it etc.  I remember doubting my own self when I heard the opinions expressed. Probably, I had said in agreement not wanting to contest the matter.

Yet, there I had been at Mauritius, seated in a speedboat minus life-jacket, with the boatman making his boat do acrobatics on the sea worse than a trapeze artist in a circus tent, holding on for life, but curiously enough unperturbed by it all. I couldn’t help but wonder once again just where the opinion about me had come from.

©Shail Mohan 2017

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