Tag Archives: People

The Unexpected Visitor

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It is not often that you get to meet a person who is openly willingly to talk to you. It is even much less often that such an encounter happens with a creature other than a human being. However, I was lucky enough to be sought by an unexpected visitor. In this case it was a talking parrot.

Sitting at the balcony outside my room in Maafushi Island early on a Saturday morning, I was thinking of how things were going to get back into the hectic lifestyle when I return to Male’ City that afternoon.

A few moments later, a shrill screech just beside my ear startled me. A turn to my left revealed nothing less than a yellowish parrot perched on a branch of a huge tree, leading to the balcony. What came next was even more surprising!

The bird screeched once more and greeted me with a screechy “Hello”. I was so surprised by the occurrence that I jumped out of the chair, grabbed my hair and almost screamed with joy.

Next thing I knew, I was inside the bed room, jerking the cover off my boyfriend so that he too can meet with the unexpected visitor. At first, the parrot seemed to be shy and awkward not responding our calls. But just a few minutes after we started pretending to ignore him, the parrot’s curiosity got the better of him.

He jumped onto the balcony and began crossing the doorway to our room. Within a few moments, he was sitting comfortably on my boyfriend’s shoulder. And that is where he spent the next two hours, sitting on my boyfriend’s shoulder!

We even had to take him for breakfast and came to know that this unexpected visit from the talking parrot is not something unexpected at all. He is a frequent visitor to the “Island Cottage” guest house, but it is rare for him to have approached an unknown person.

As soon as our breakfast arrived, he jumped onto the table and was digging into an omelet. Next came the jam and the butter. It was so hilarious that this unexpected visitor who met us just a few hours ago, and would only speak a “hello” and a “Vahaka dhahkaba” (meaning talk to me in local Dhivehi Language) would be making the best of our breakfasts without a single thought into it.

After breakfast we came to know that the talking parrot actually has a name and is owned by the family that lives just next to the guest house. Joari, the unexpected visitor and the talking parrot.

Yet, that wonderful, unprecedented encounter had to come to an end as our ferry to Male’ City was scheduled to leave in the afternoon. We left Joari, resting on an undhoali (local name for swing), just outside the “Island Cottage”.

One thing I came to realize from the unexpected visitor is that parrots and birds and animals should not be caged. Just like Joari, they should have the right to move freely and wonder about, making unexpected visitors to strangers, spreading their warmth and harmony to others.

Visiting Maafushi Island

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Kaafu Atoll Maafushi Island in Maldives is 26 kilometers from the Capital Male’ City. It takes a one and a half hour ferry ride to travel to the island with over 20 guest houses and a blooming local economy based on local tourism.

After a long and difficult semester at the university, my boyfriend and I decided to spend a short break exploring the island of Maafushi. We got onto a heavily crowded ferry, buzzing with houseflies on a warm Thursday afternoon.

Within one and half hours, we reached the island, to be welcomed warmly by a staff of the ‘Island Cottage’, the guest house we were staying in. A short walk took us to the guest house which was located just next to the main prison of Maldives, which is also established in Maafushi Island.

With a mixture of local and western style, ‘Island Cottage’ is the perfect name to call the guest house. A thatch roof covered the two storey house along with a wonderfully homey backyard and front yard.

Our room was much better that we had anticipated (even though I expected it to be a little bit more spacey). A huge balcony facing the households of Maafushi Island was perfect to mount our telescope for the mystical hobby of star and moon gazing.

‘Island Cottage’ was very homely with a living area offering plenty of privacy. The food there was great too. Yet, the same cannot be said about the prices in the island. Everything seemed to be very expensive but the pressure free environment is just reward for the costs.

One of the most unique things about Maafushi Island is the “Bikini Beach”. It is an area on the beach which gives complete privacy for guests to wear bikinis and go about having fun on an island which strictly follows the Islamic Sharia. No other inhabited island in the Maldives offers such a privilege for visitors.

All in all, our three day stay in the island was filled with joyous memories. The homeliness of the guest houses, the beach, seas and the quite, natural environment just a few hours from the capital city is not something to be overlooked. My boyfriend and I arrived back in Male’ City with many plans to make numerous visits to the island of Maafushi in the near future.

Indelible Moments from an Islander’s Life: Thinadhoo Genocide

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Thinadhoo Island is the capital of Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll and has its own dialect of Dhivehi and its own unique history. This island was formerly known as Havaru Thinadhoo. ‘Havaru’ refers to the bloodstained attempts by a Sultan in Maldives to capture the island during the 16th century. After years of prosperity and fortune, the ‘havaru’ events of the 16th century recurred in February 1962.

In 4 February 1962 Thinadhoo was completely destroyed on the orders of Prime Minister Ibrahim Nasir to end the separatist movement of the United Suvadive Republic. The islanders were told to go to the shallow reef, where they were forced to stand for hours in water up to their necks. Meanwhile all houses were destroyed, all wells broken and filled with rubble, all trees were cut down and much property was looted while the islanders watched.

The island was then depopulated and its people dispersed. Women and children were raped in front of their families. Between 200 and 300 prisoners were taken back to Malé City, where they were tortured and most killed. Here is the unforgettable life story of one woman who endured the pain and agony during the 1962, Thinadhoo Genocide.

Maldives – An Economy Sustained Through Foreign Contribution

The Maldives economy has seen a great improvement and development during the past 25 years. The country’s different sectors have progressed while infrastructure, education, politics and foreign relations has also seen an improvement. Although many local businessmen, politicians and other individuals are being praised for their part in this progress, the contributions of foreigners to this country cannot be undermined.

The Young Pilots

Seen in Alifushi
Seen in Alifushi

“We are going to become pilots when we grow up.”

“What do you find most fascinating about becoming pilots?”

“Flying over the Bermuda Triangle.”

“How much do you know about Bermuda Triangle?”

“We googled it. We know that planes disappear over the Bermuda Triangle.”

“What do you think happens to those planes?”

“It could be a portal to an alien world. We are going to find out when we grow up.”

Haseen and Iaadh are two kids I met one day on Raa Atoll Alifushi Island. They were sitting on the door step of the island’s petrol shed when I saw them early in the morning, engaged in a very thoughtful conversation. I found out that these two nine year olds, studying in grade 3 of the island school were talking heartily about the Bermuda Triangle, gateways to alien worlds and the latest strange disappearances of flights which they have seen on the news. Unfortunately, I was not able to ask these little guys what they thought of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. But I’m sure their theories would be pretty much related to aliens and the extra-terrestrial world.

Cigarette Addiction? Bullshit!

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“I last smoked in 1972.”

“Don’t you have the urges?”

“That’s bullshit. People should stop making up excuses to keep on doing what they enjoy.”

“So you believe cigarettes are not addictive?”

“Of course they are not! Anyone who says so is a liar.”

“What is your advice to people wishing to quit smoking?”

“I would say stop procrastinating. Do it when the time comes.”

Abduh Rahmaan Mohamed is mostly known as ‘Beybe’ or brother by the people of Alifushi Island. Now over the age of 80, he began working in Cargo ships during his early teens. I first met him in ‘Bite’ Café during a visit to Alifushi Island. I went to the café to have breakfast when Beybe came up to me and asked me why I was smoking. He went on to tell me that he last smoked in 1972 and haven’t had the urges since then. He believes that smoking is not addictive and that people should stop making up excuses to continue doing what they enjoy. Beybe haven’t smoked for the past 42 years and his advice for smokers wishing to quit is to stop procrastinating. Having travelled the world, Beybe now lives a happy life in Alifushi Island, owning and managing the ‘Bite’ Café.