Heaven on Earth

Paradise central...

Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take you,
To Bermuda, Bahama come on pretty mama…

Hard to believe but the Beach Boys really did stumble upon heaven on earth. They tried to tell everyone. It is right there in their song.

Apr 5, 12.00 AM: Welcome to hell!
Cramped, stuffy and claustrophobic.

13 hours flight puctuated with a 9 hours standby giving way to another 7 hours of slow and painful torture. Staying still is my weakness. I almost ran out of the plane when it touched down. Of course it didn’t end there. Immigration kept me in for 2 hours. My vacation cover story didn’t fly. It was getting out of hand. The shouting was scary. The threat of being deported was real. I couldn’t take it anymore. No place could be worth this pain. No place I know off.

Apr 6, 6.40 PM: Welcome to Bermuda!
The only place where the pain is worthwhile.

The island which was part of the infamous song. Talked about being overhyped. I was skeptical about this place. The hype around it is unbelivable. Like most people I have been dissapointed by hype. Stopped believing in it. Phuket and Bali compares. Therefore, I arrived a skeptic. After all, if you seen one beach, you seen them all…. Or so I thought.

Apr 6, 9.00 PM: Welcome to Coco Reef!
I have not seen it all. Not by a long shot.

Driving along the road, the ocean never leaves your sight even when you are deep inland. You can smell it. The intoxicating mix of laughter, holding hands and stunning sunsets was heavy in the air. Everywhere you look, people just broke into smiles. I thought Malaysians were friendly. Bermudians are something else. This was not about being friendly. They were genuinely happy. The morning after I found out why.

Apr 7, 7.00 AM: Welcome to heaven!
Waking up to a garden of white sand and an ocean which displays emotion in glorious shades of blue, the words to describe it all slip by me. For the first time in years, I found my language not powerful enough to capture the moment. It came out all jumbled. I stopped trying. Instead, I just lay back and let it all slide. This was no hype.

The Beach Boys used Bermuda to rock the world. There was a reason to it. They sang about heaven on earth. They sang about Bermuda.

The Angel of Kolkata

When you pray for an angel...

We often pray for angels but when they are among us, we just can’t seem to see them. Mother Teresa was an angel. Yes, she was a mortal. She was tiny. She had no divine powers like the Gods of old. However, she had incredible spirit. Kind, giving and caring. She set right so many lives that it is a wonder why we still look skywards for angels.

Arriving at her former house, I imagine a mansion worthy of her reputation. I expected big! But true to her nature, her abode was a simple affair. Material wealth had no place in this temple. Walking into her residence, you are enveloped by this blanket of peace. What was odd was the feeling of selflessness that comes with that peace. By nature, I am as selfish as the next rat in our never ending race. Fortune, fame and reputation are parts of a life where respect is accorded to the type of suit you tailor. But in the mother’s house, the pillars that held my selfish life together crumbled. I was initially alarmed as I felt adrift. Lost in contemplation. But instead of breaking apart, I felt immense support. It was strange and unnerving. Looking around, I realized that I was not the only one. Other visitors seem to feel it too. Many cried. Some fidgeted. A few huddled in hushed whispers. Most were just quiet… Soaking it all up. Figuring it out. I came away dissatisfied and disturbed.

It took me a while to unravel it. I recognize what it was now. What I felt was charity. It was the influence from a nobler cause than mine. A selfless love emanating from a powerful will to help people. It left me confused with difficult questions to answer about my own life.

Looking back now, I know what happened. I had a brush with an angel. I just refused to see her.