A shocking but important lesson I have learnt today on Respect and Good Vibrations Spreading for the New Year Eve

I had the idea of writing that blog post, just after I have received an unexpected phone call this evening at my in-laws’ place, and it made me so furious that a fight even happened between me and my husband, but finally ending with an understanding from my husband.

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Like every 2nd of January, at my in-laws’ place in Mauritius, my father-in-law organizes a big lunch reuniting all his brothers, sisters-in-law, my mother-in-law, his sons, daughters-in-law, nephews, nieces and grandchildren within the commemoration of the New Year. As we had the opportunity to come to Mauritius to celebrate the New Year with them for one week, we had a wonderful dinner organized in a very good atmosphere, even though the children, ie my nephew and my son, were messing around here and there as kids 🙂 After dinner though, the phone rang and I picked up the phone, thinking that it was my husband’s brother who was calling to inform that he arrived safely at home, since he always calls when he reaches home safely. Instead of him, it was a female voice which seemed to be familiar to me but for which I wasn’t sure myself, and I came to know that it was my cousin’s wife’s voice, an insane and hypocrite woman I really dislike, since she gossiped a lot against me and my husband with a lot of people in the family and is reputed to be a troublemaker and a disrespectful person. She thought first it was my mother-in-law who picked up the phone, but then she came to know that it was me, whom she mentioned as “D….’s wife!” It made me extremely angry when she called me as “D…’s wife” (NB: D is the initial letter of my husband’s first name), since we know each other since I was 7 years old and since she knows very well that we are sisters-in-law and that her husband and I are cousins. She suddenly treated me as a stranger instead of a family member, and this partly thanks to the gossips my mother made against my in-laws and even against myself when some serious conflicts between my parents and my in-laws arose exactly 11 years ago, in year 2007 on a 2nd January evening during the annual New Year dinner! I didn’t hesitate to talk to her very brutally in presence of my husband and of my mother-in-law and put that asshole back at her place, since I didn’t appreciate the fact she was treating me as a stranger, as she knows me very well since I was a child, and this was something I interpreted totally as a pure lack of respect towards a family member, even though I am younger than her. My husband and my mother-in-law, instead of supporting me, reproached me for my brutality against her since it’s the New Year, instead of understanding the way she disrespected me and treated me as a total stranger. But after a tough explanation, at least my husband understood the situation though it was very hard to understand it first for him.

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First of all, even though I wrote the blog post previously about Fireworks, Thankfulness and Forgiveness, and even though I wished a Happy New Year and decided to forgive all my frienemies and enemies, it doesn’t mean that I accepted what those people did to me… and that sister-in-law is unfortunately among all those adversaries that I have in life, belonging to the last category I mentioned on those who act as spies for my adversaries in disguise of a fake and hypocrite friendship, only to fish information from me and then repeating everything to my adversaries to allow them destroying me a little more. Then I started thinking about what has just happened and I started asking me some fundamental questions: Why do also hypocrites wish us Happy New Year? Why do they think of us and wish us the best whereas behind our back they keep on criticizing, blaspheming and gossiping against us constantly? Why should I wish her a hypocrite Happy New Year in return of her hypocrite wishes, whereas she doesn’t even deserve those wishes from me after all the pain she caused to me?

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The Wikipedia gives two definitions of the words respect and which are totally true. The first one as “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.” and the second one as “due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others.” Further to my own experiences that I have had, I HATE the second definition, which is something that I see in a very extreme way in my own patriarchal family, which is of Hindu religion, and in which the youngsters must always respect their elders, even though the elders never respect them and mistreat them. For me, this is not respect, this is pure abiding and I never understood and was always against it since I was a child. See my narcissistic parents for example. Why should I respect them despite all the pain they caused to me due to the emotional and verbal abuse I have been experimenting as a golden child or as a scapegoat alternatively and depending of their mood swings? And unfortunately this is the kind of respect that all the youngsters of my patriarchal family were taught to practice towards my parents, especially since my father belonged to the second generation if we consider my grandparents’ generation as the first one. According to what I heard, it seemed that all the elders disrespected their children but the children were forced to abide, especially the girls in the family. For me I am categorical: if a child respects his grandparents and elders, that same child also deserves the same respect from his elders equally.

However, wherever, nonetheless, I accept that definition of respect is when I retrieve myself in some specific circumstances. For example, I will express my respect if there is a funeral in a family or among some people who are in pain, even though I don’t really love them. This is exactly what I am actually feeling for my sister-in-law, since her father fell seriously ill due to some cardiac complications and had to do surgery in emergency to recover. I will express my respect if I see a funerary procession, in a cemetery or a marriage being celebrated by avoiding to make some noise. I will express some respect for other religions even though their beliefs are different from mine. I will express some respect in case there is a prayer being held in any religious buildings such as a temple, a church, a mosque, etc by not making noise. I will respect the regulations when it comes on specific places such as supreme court or hospitals. I will respect the decision of keeping a minute of silence for people who died even though I don’t know them personally. I will respect the hard work made by anyone who took so much time to concretise it, such as the buildings of the architects or the novels written by an author, or the ascension of newly graduated people doing their first steps into the professional world. I will also respect God and all Its creations, and for example avoid some behaviors when I go to the prayer room. I have respect for Mother Nature and for cleanliness, which makes that I always care for having a good life hygiene in respect of the environment around me and of my own health. There are so many examples again to mention but they are some examples of behavior I adapt as any good citizen would do, either in Mauritius or overseas.

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However, I really enjoy the first definition of respect, and this is that kind of respect that I feel for some celebrities and also for several of my loved ones among my family, my in-laws, my friends, my social networks and society in general. I would like to illustrate that definition of respect, not with an example, but rather with a counter-example. It’s been one year since I am good friends with a young public figure, Krishna Athal. The way we came to know each other and we became good friends is very particular, since it’s thanks to one of his college friends, who is also another local Mauritian celebrity like him, that I heard about Krishna for the very first time, but not with the best critics unfortunately. The local celebrity who criticized Krishna so harshly shamelessly showed his true colors to Krishna one day, while they met in a restaurant one day during lunch time. Krishna was talking on his mobile phone, whereas the local celebrity was by hazard entering the restaurant. The celebrity saw Krishna and didn’t care if he was on the phone. He toughly patted Krishna on his shoulder with his hand from behind, and this was something Krishna said he really hated, and I give him right on that since if this happened to me in public, I wouldn’t have hesitated to reprimand the person even though it’s somebody who is close to me. What made me laughing was that the local celebrity asked Krishna “Ki position mo frere?” (How are you, my brother in Mauritian Creole). As Krishna already knew the truth through me on all the bad things that the celebrity gossiped with me against him, he didn’t answer and kept on talking on the phone and told me that when it happened, he thought of me and he smiled 🙂 I really admire Krishna’s calm temperament in front of the thunderstorm, and I wish I could imitate him because I was really boiling by the way the celebrity did against Krishna, especially when he mentioned Krishna as a “brother” in the face, but talked rubbish against him and his personality behind his back. For me also this is a huge lack of respect, and purely hypocrisy. If you are not in good terms with someone you consider as an enemy, why should you then be hypocrite with that person? Better let that person go and move your own way without offending anyone, nah?

For the New Year also, as the whole family reunites together with my in-laws, there are a lot of hypocrites who sit at the same table and enjoy that family moment with us. But since I am a daughter-in-law in a Hindu family, even though I don’t have anything to do with them, I unfortunately have no other opportunities than to socialize with them like with the rest of the society during those family meetings and to please them if they wish to organize plans for us during our holidays. But frankly if I had an opportunity to avoid all that, I would have done it since a very long time. But there is another reason which retains me from doing that, and that reason is that I have a son who is growing up and being raised into that family too though we live away from them all geographically, and that my in-laws, as well as his patriarchal grandparents, my husband and I as his parents, are the only references that he has in life to be able to evaluate… and of course without forgetting also his teachers who are also his other references, but which thank God, are very sincere and professional people whom I really estimate and am thankful to for the great help they are giving into my son’s education. Sometimes, you need to express some respect by at the same time practicing hypocrisy due to some specific circumstances, such as your own interests, to protect yourself or because you need to teach some specific values to your children so that they grow up together with those good principles.

As we are talking about hypocrisy, unfortunately I noticed through experience that, in a lot of circumstances, hypocrisy and respect matched with each other and it’s a very sad fact that still exists. A quote in French attracted my attention:

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It’s translated as such: It’s better to honor the spontaneous respect and without bias, and to dishonor the hypocrite and deliberated respect, if the first one focuses on totality and the second one on a minority. Unfortunately I haven’t found anything specific where hypocrisy and respect match together, but within the Mauritian culture, unfortunately they both match together in several ethnicity. There is however an interesting article I have fished where the author demonstrates some tricks to avoid becoming an untrustworthy hypocrite with that extract which is meaningful and seems to explain that hypocrisy and respect can match together in some circumstances:

Every day you’re presented with problems and challenges to overcome, and each decision you make about how to handle them plays a significant role in how the people you rely on to trust you see you. To be seen as a hypocrite is to lose respect and trust from the people you depend on.

If you want to avoid hypocrisy in your own life, and maintain the trust you’ve worked so hard to build, then you’re in luck because much research tells us that there are at least nine different things you can do keep hypocrisy at bay as you navigate the often turbulent waters of life.

Let’s take the example of a teacher and the students, especially a teacher hated by a lot of students and who represents the main subject the students will have to learn for the final exam. I remember that when I was studying in Lycee, I had a stressful Accounts teacher, a French expatriate. Everyone hated him because he was always permanently stressed and bad-tempered. Despite all he was really passionate about his job and his subject and he was an excellent teacher. Despite the students’ hatred for him, that teacher deserved their respect through their discipline and hard work, and I may say that it’s thanks to that teacher that they could graduate.

On whatever I wrote above, there is one quote which confirms the kind of respect on which I totally disagree, especially when it comes on the gap between older and younger generations:

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It’s exactly the kind of respect that Aretha Franklin requests in the lyrics of her 1967 superhit “Respect” where she mentions about the story of a man who is financially pampered by his rich wife, but who asks of being loved and respected in return. And that is why I conclude my concept about respect through the quote below:

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La Digue, Seychelles: An Experience to Remember

Beach of Anse Source d’Argent, La Digue Island, Seychelles

Some of you who travelled to Seychelles have indeed had the chance to watch on board of aircraft a small video showing us the Seychelles beauty, thanks to its most beautiful beaches, its green environment and life under the sea. But that video, if you remember well, is also a message for tourists to contribute to the preservation of environment in the island because of its fragile ecosystem. La Digue is an example perfectly showing how Seychelles love their country and really care about it. What is especially particular with the inhabitants of La Digue is their simple but clean way of living there.

The new boat in which we embarked from Praslin to La Digue

The tour guide wasn’t sure about it, but maybe the crosses on the rocks near La Digue Harbour

Is a homage to all the people who perished in shipwrecks near La Digue Island

Effectively, before we arrived on the island, we did a few researches about La Digue on Internet. We were astonished that the island only had 2000 inhabitants and that their lifestyle was more traditional than the lifestyle held on the Mahe Island. We also noticed that the main locomotion mode there was bicycles, and that the island had very few vehicles, apart some taxis, touristic cars and jeeps used as family vehicles. Otherwise most people bicycle or walk in general.

View of Sheikh Khalifa from Abu Dhabi’s palace on the Hill

PUC Eoliennes in Victoria, Mahe

A few beautiful sea views on our trip from Mahe Island to Praslin Island

When we arrived on the island, one of the strong points we noticed was the absence of pollution. The roads were clean, and even the few vehicles there didn’t produce any toxic smoke. We didn’t even notice some filling stations where we were bicycling. Also, less noise, less pollution… And more calm spirits within people!

On our way to the beach of Anse Source d’Argent. There were some wild tortoises living on those rocks freely.

We very often talk about the men’s effects on ecosystem, but we tend to forget to ask ourselves: what about the effects of the ecosystem over human nature? We obtained the reply through some inhabitants we questioned, among them a fruit seller, a teenage girl, the boss of the Ports Authority Office who welcomed us at our arrival and did the necessary to make us having a double bicycle (because I don’t know how to bicycle!!!!): All of them were calm, all of them were very nice, always smiling and relaxed. Here is what we have seen through the inhabitants of La Digue.

Let’s start with the guy who welcomed us at the Ports Authority Office, and who prepared for us some tuna sandwiches at our request when we arrived, because we were hungry. Though he was on duty, he found some time to have a good talk with us and behaved like a real gentleman with us. He was making sure, with a lot of patience, that we can have a double bicycle which would allow us visiting the island freely, and his patience brought its fruits.

A local habitation on La Digue Island

A bit further on our road, there was that sweet teenage girl named Emilie, who was snapped together with me, further to approval from her mother when I asked for her permission to snap her house and to make photos with her daughter. Their house was a traditional type of Creole habitation, far from the modern houses built with bricks. We have been snapshot by a nice Gujarati expatriate settled on the island for business purposes and who was as nice as Emilie. This proves again how a safe and sound environment is good for the human being, including the foreign population.

A stop for a fresh homemade juice at a fruit seller’s place

There was the fruit seller, who produced some fresh local fruit juice with fresh fruits that he mixed, while we were having a break before continuing our ride to the beach of Grande Anse. The reply given by Emilie and the fruit seller was the same, when we asked them whether they preferred Mahe or La Digue. Of course, it was La Digue, thanks to its calm and the security there, which differs from the rush of Mahe and the insecurity there caused by drugs, which unfortunately remains a problem against which the Seychelles keep on fighting regularly.

A glimpse on how La Digue people love environment: local artisanal products, riding all around

the island by bicycle so very few automobiles, a glimpse of the road and the beautiful clean beaches,

And the final picture showing me from afar, climbing to a Virgin Mary Grotto encrusted within some volcanic rocks

We also met a lady whom we asked the road to Anse Source d’Argent, one of the most beautiful beaches of the world… But unfortunately, that lady was mute, and it left us surprised! But what touched us was that, despite her muteness, the lady was always smiling and living a normal life courageously. A proof that in La Digue, people love each other in a safe and sound climate and environment.

We also acknowledged a lady, before we left Mahe, who was living next to a natural park where a bird spec called Veuve was living. The bird was named so, because of its black feathers, reminding about the widows of the previous years in Seychelles who used to wear black. For her part, she gave us a brand new version about La Digue: She preferred Mahe, because of the expensive life on La Digue. But she doesn’t seem to realise that the products sold on La Digue are certainly more expensive than on Mahe, because they come by boat and as their price also includes the sea freight. While translating that article in English (as previously I wrote it in French), I remembered a Nepali expatriate who owned the restaurant where we ate our pizza. They were at all only 3 staffs, IE him and two pizzaiolo from respectively Seychelles and India or Nepal. There was no tension between them and they were like a real family and good friends, and what was amazing was that it was one of the best restaurants recommended on Trip Advisor! The pizzeria was located in Gregoire’s at la Digue, and obtained a Certificate of Excellence on Trip Advisor, as per the link I retraced about it:http://TripAdvisor/Restaurant_Review-g477968-d22643…

When we however asked the Nepali boss about La Digue, he also replied that it was too quiet and that it lacked activities contrary to Mahe. A proof that La Digue doesn’t suit to busy people who love being in activity and this is what my husband confirmed while I asked him about living on La Digue. He also maintained that it wasn’t the best place for raising a child, again due to lack of activities, but it was the best way to relax or for living in after retirement.

Humans and Mother Nature: An important and vital connectivity

Some of my Mauritian compatriots shared their views with us after they assisted to a seminary about Eco tourism, which was held in University of Mauritius: “There was a talk and presentation by Mr. Vikash Tatayah, conservation director at MWF. He explained to us that Eco tourism is becoming more and more important in the world and that it’s in the government’s plan. Mauritius is very resourceful. He took one interesting example: He said if you see a pod of dolphins by chance, it’s a good thing. But if you take your boat, diving instruments, many people, this is not Eco tourism. The dolphins get scared and this disturbs their communication. And the reviews about Mauritius is great, be it a 3 4 or 5 star hotel, we offer great service. And people love Mauritius because of its homely environment. Children should be taught about the importance of nature and animals. He noted that children who visit zoos tend to become more curious about animals. And ask more questions. Later on, these children become wildlife conservationists. There are programs to protect the endemic plants and animals such as the kestrel“. There is a part of truth in what Mr. Tatayah said, and the pictures of La Digue perfectly illustrate it, with the population preferring bicycle or walking rather than vehicles. And what is interesting is that the tourists, for most of them, bring a strong contribution, preferring bicycling and footing rather than the comfortable vehicles at disposal of tourists, but which are very expensive!

A compatriot of mine was very often seen pictured with his home pets (rabbits, puppies, kittens, aqua tortoise), and even with some Savannah animals (giraffe, rhinoceros, elephants) and camels during some of his trips to Africa, whereas I have a picture of my young son befriending a small chick belonging to his uncle. Those two pictures show that there is no age to love animals. The compatriot is now a young adult man, and his love for animals is a proof that even when we grow up adults, if since childhood we have been properly trained to love and respect animals, it won’t be difficult for us adults to love them more.

This is why I get angry inside myself each time I hear my surroundings telling me to be careful with my son’s hygiene when he wants to befriend animals… And this since the episode of the snails when he wanted to take care of a snail he retrieved in our house owner’s garden in Seychelles! The fact that my son fell in love with that white little chick is also a proof that, when it comes on animals, children are our best teachers, because through their innocence, children perfectly know how to communicate with animals and better understand them.

As I mentioned too in some comments about that debate, lots of people pay expensive fees to assist to the yearly festival of whales on the island of Ste Marie in Madagascar, using traditional ways of sailing to avoid making the whales running away. Mr. Tatayah was right to blame the use of motor boats, which are a source of danger and disturbance for the dolphins, and which don’t allow them communicating nor understanding between each other properly.

Regarding children who are more curious about knowing about animals, yes it’s true… But even adults are curious too. That compatriot of mine, for example, when he enjoys himself with the Savannah animals while he is on trip to Africa, simply because since childhood he has been correctly trained and encouraged by his elders for cultivating love for animals. Also it proves that there is no miraculous formula, apart comprehension and cooperation of adults towards children.

And imagine the pleasure of playing with dolphins or whales in such occasions? Enigma sang it very well in the 90’s, “Remember the Shaman who said that man was the dream of the dolphin”. Dolphins see in us their dearest dreams and want to become our friends. However in some countries, those same animals are tortured for business! Animals are killed before extraction of their skin and flesh for industrial and commercial reasons, and among them polar animals in North Pole, whales killed in Scandinavia, tortoises or dogs killed for being consumed as food in Asia… Nothing to do with the Savannah animals with which my compatriot was playing in Africa, or the local tortoises conserved on rocks retrieved on the road to Anse Source d’Argent at La Digue.

Another compatriot of mine commented those lines, I quote: “Well, we should in fact lay more emphasis on sustainability as it promotes positive environment ethics, it does not also degrade the resources and therefore benefit the wildlife and environment.” Further to what she said, however, Mr. Tatayah seems to have forgotten a detail: The attitude of the Mauritians and of humans in general over environment. In some regions of the island, we still notice the pitiful attitude of some inhabitants, who despite the increasing number of facilities proposed by the country on recycling, and the numerous campaigns organised in the country for preservation of environment and sanctions taken by government itself. Especially when we notice the drains full of wastes accumulating every day, and which produce dust, infections, bacteria and disease in the neighbourhood regions, and the inhabitants who always keep on giving all wrongs to the Government and to the Ministry of Environment, instead of trying, for each of them, to bring his or her personal contribution into improving the state of the region and organising some cleaning operations in the region. The attitude of the human being is also a source of important contribution into the preservation of a safe and sound environment in the country.

Here in Seychelles, there is the Vallee de Mai in the island of Praslin, known as a natural reserve where it’s agreeable to go for a healthy walk in total contact with Mother Nature, and which sponsors the Aldabra project launched by Minister James Mancham for preservation of the marine tortoise living on that small island from archipelago of Seychelles, which is on its way to disappear due to the increase of waters.

Railway of Konkan, Maharashtra

Green Maharashtra

Narendra Modi also launched a cleaning campaign in India after his nomination, and openly showed himself with a broom in his hand and cleaning the roads. South India followed his campaign successfully and is doing its very best to preserve its environmental cleanliness. But there is still a long way to go in India to have such a spirit about cleanliness… Especially in Mumbai and the pitiful state of the beaches, due to the indifference and passivity of the inhabitants, who unfortunately contributed into making of that beach a public dustbin! Such known towns like Mumbai unfortunately contrast totally with some regions very few known in Maharashtra, where green and cleanliness co-exist such as the beautiful region of Konkan, where one of my sisters of heart comes from, showing us a green, clean and safe environment. Here is an interesting link with lots of details about that beautiful region of Maharashtra to know more about it, and on which I will develop about that beautiful region as soon as possible after I reassemble all my sources all together: http://divcomkonkan.gov.in/asp.net/visitor/history.aspx.

Alison Teal

Finally, another deplorable aspect to take note about: The way people lie about the image of some touristic worldwide regions to attract tourists, whereas those regions present their medal reverse. I once mentioned about the Maldives which have an island where all the wastes coming from other islands of the archipelago are stocked and afterwards abandoned. Some foreign people launched in their way a sensitization campaign regarding that polluted island, at the example of that ex-reality show star Alison Teal like in the pictures shown in the article below: http://www.dirtbagdarling.com/girl-gone-wild-naked-and-afraids-alison-teal/