Unedited excerpt of my memoir – ©2019 Sylvaine Francine
The car comes to a stop in a paved courtyard. Through the window I see a house— the bungalow, as Jagatjit has referred to it. The bungalow stands a few feet away, a large house, light peach color, in an upper middle-class neighborhood. Westerners would turn their noses up at this house. It looks run down, not fancy enough. The constant humidity of the climate takes a toll on all buildings. But I believe this is going to be a great place with a roof over our heads, showers and toilets. I see the bus line running across the street. What else could we ask for? We are set until Alexis arrives and hopefully Anil will call soon. I have heard so much about him from Yvette.
We stumble out of the car. I stretch my legs a bit, go on my tippy toes, and then arch backward, hands on my hips. The sweetness of the flowers reaches me. What a nice way to wake up.
The carved wooden double door opens, and a woman appears. A joyful smile reveals a set
of small white teeth which contrasts with the honey color of her delicate skin. Dark colored eyes shine with excitement. Her arms open wide. A warm welcome after thirty hours of traveling. She embraces us, like we have always known each other.
“Namaste. I am Mokala. Jagatjit’s wife. You must be so tired, what a long trip.” She holds my chin with her finger tips. “Such short hair, but it fits you well. Which one are you?” I point to Yvette.
“This is Yvette. I’m Sylvaine.”
She smiles, obviously happy to have us as guests. She wears her hair long with two barrettes to keep it off her face. For a second, she turns back, half way toward the house and with one arm, calls for help with our luggage. Praveen has unloaded everything. Jagatjit says a few words to Mokala in a language I don’t know.
“Come, please come in. Jagatjit won’t stay. He leaves for work now. I’ll show you to your room. You’ll like it here. We live in a quiet neighborhood. Don’t worry about anything. Take a shower first, you’ll feel refreshed, then breakfast. Everything’s ready.”
In thirty seconds, she has said everything any traveler would like to hear. What pretty eyes, I think, friendly and happy. A soft emerald color Punjabi suit, tight at her waist shows her fine silhouette.
We enter and leave our shoes next to her sandals, in the foyer and follow her further into the house. Finally, she opens a door.
Photo: Pawankawan from Morguefile.com