One bright morning, when the sea waves were like a massive slide of water. The cruise reached its destination. “The island of love, joy, peace and longevity is here,” cruise staff announced.
I came out of my room to see the magnificent sun throwing its rays on the clean waters. The waters that had golden, silver, purple and orange fish peeping out on its shore. “Its like a dance,” I noticed the fish and thought. While the tall trees standing straight in rows as if they were waiting for us since ages. They were hundreds of years old and their branches were strong and spread everywhere. One can hear squawks of wild animals from a side and feel the touch of mist around us. Soon after a minute, I heard a drum call from afar. “Dum dumm dumm dumm.”
It was like announcement for the natives- a call to alert them of our arrival or something . I saw them coming out of their little huts gradually. Their women had green skirts and men, in white. They were all holding flower wreaths in their hands and trays of colorful petals and spray bottles in their hands.
“Who are they?” I asked Ryan who was busy packing his luggage. “Natives” He answered casually. “Wohoo..I know they are natives. I mean why are they moving towards the cruise?” I asked putting my fingers in my lips. “Ha..ha” He smiled saying, “Let me show you.” “Show me what?” I asked further. “Come with me.” He handed over our luggage to the cruise member and rushed towards the exit. “Sometimes, you seem like a little boy,” I said. “Sometimes, you also seem like a baby girl,” he answered.
We came out of the cruise crossing and leaving behind many passengers of the ship. The tan-colored natives were rushing like a racer races for life. They had warmth, glitter and excitement on their faces. “Why are they running towards us?” I whispered cracking my fingers. “Because…they are welcoming you”
“Welcome to the Nardi Islandy,” they almost shouted altogether. One of their oldest man came forward to kiss Ryan’s hands. He bowed his head and the rest did the same in front of my beloved. Ryan also replied them in the same way. Then the oldest women among them came forward and presented me her wreath. I looked in Ryan’s eyes. He nodded as if he were saying accept it.
The old women put her pearly wreath on my head and bowed in the same way as the old man did before. “Welcoma” she said in her thick accent. “WelcomA” I also tried speaking the same way. All women from the crowd shouted after me and put their wreaths in front of me. “WHaT?” I looked at Ryan in confusion. “This shows love. Let them present you their gifts.” He whispered.
When the women were done. Another group of men came forward with trays of flower petals and a spray bottle. They sprayed us something and sprinkled petals on us. “You are free to enter.”
We spent 5 beautiful days in Ryan’s traditional palace at Nardi. He was not a “modern-day businessman” or I his “coworker or employee” over there. His position resembled to that of a prince rather; and mine- no less than a princess. He owned the place and the natives loved him for his generosity and care. “He is not their boss- he is their family!” one of Ryan’s assistant told me.
The green grass and the crystal blue sea were enough to pull me towards them. “I do n’t wanna go back,” a murmured in Ryan’s ears one fine morning. “Me too…” (to be continued…)