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  • Arthur Max

Sharing the Wadiya

We are now in our 25th year at the Wadiya. Hard to believe, looking back at those early images of barren grounds and now seeing the verdant, vibrant place we have created. Each year it has evolved, improved, aged with grace.

It’s made me reflect on what it is we love about this place. What allows us to happily spend weeks at a time away from our “real” lives? No, it’s not like being on holiday. Not for us. This is totally different.

It begins as soon as we leave the airport and climb into the waiting van. We immediately strip off our shoes and socks. We will be barefoot until the moment the van takes us back to the airport weeks hence. Behind us, usually, we have left cold, wintry Europe. Now we warm our bones in the sultry climate of the tropics.

The gates swing open as we pull into the courtyard. The staff are greeting us with broad heartfelt smiles. These are not employees. They’re our boys. We’re home.

What do we love about being here? The dawn sunlight spreading from the treetops to the whitecaps of the sea; the colors of the ocean changing as the sun rises and peaks; the magic of sunset that splashes paint over the sky, the water and even the sandy beach. Clouds become a streaky red, reflected in the water; then the ocean darkens into a deep blue as night descends. Some colors, like the first rays of sun on a snowy Himalayan peak, have no names. They are too unique for words.

I love eating papaya freshly cut from our own trees, drinking the sweet juice of a king coconut one of the boys has just hacked from our palms. Every so often, I love seeing the coconut plucker shimmy up the tallest trees and harvest enough nuts to supply the kitchen for months.

I love the vast array of curries. A half dozen are served each night with different varieties of rice, the dishes rarely repeating themselves over the course of our stay.

I miss my dog terribly. And we cannot escape the dreadful things happening elsewhere, particularly the Israel-Hamas war. But it’s good to be away and able to catch up on books that have been on my nightstand too long.

Above all, we love sharing the Wadiya.

First, with family. Over the years Ranjan and the boys have gotten to know our children, grandchildren, siblings and not a few cousins.

Even more satisfying in a way, we love sharing with our guests, people who come as strangers and often leave as friends.

Nick and Abby arrive with their three children late in the afternoon. Before their bags are out of the van the kids are in the pool, in their underwear.

“Hey, come here. Look at the ocean,” Nick shouts from the boundary fence. And that’s it. They race across the sand, splash into the waves and stay until the sun has long dipped below the horizon.

Nothing makes me happier than seeing others enjoy the beauty we are blessed with every day. Especially watching children, whether they’re building sand castles, playing cricket on the beach or water polo in the pool.

And when everyone is gone the air is suddenly still. It’s just the two of us again. We sink into the serenity of being at home alone.

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