Known originally by the name ‘La Ville des Fleurs’ (The City of Flowers), Quatre Bornes is a town in Mauritius, located in the Plaines Wilhems District, that lies sandwiched between the towns of Beau-Bassin Rose-Hill and Vacoas-Phoenix. Its’ present name is derived from French, meaning “four boundaries”, referring to the boundary stones that marked the limits of four large sugar estates once situated there. Sugarcane is still produced in the surrounding areas as an important crop. Today, Quatre Bornes is a fast-growing, mainly middle-class residential and commercial centre linked to the capital city of Port Louis, that has emerged as an important hub of urban life in this island nation.
It is here that our journey began when we first landed in Mauritius, one Wednesday afternoon, in the middle of an anti-cyclone and torrential downpour, many years ago. After a brief meeting with a few senior folks at Jay’s new office in Moka at the foot of the Mountain Ory, we headed straight for a Chinese meal at King Dragon in Quatre Bornes! That was our first ever encounter with a town that was later to become the hub for most of our networking and social activities during the course of our stay in the island.
Before moving to Mauritius, we lived with Jay’s parents for a while, so, it was actually in Mauritius that we set up our home for the first time. How wonderfully exciting the whole task of doing up the place was, of buying household stuff together and my first experience of cooking three proper meals in a day(phew!!!). I had never shown the remotest inclination towards cooking or any other household chores or activities ever before, so I was also in serious disbelief seeing myself cook, wash and clean with a new-found zeal and finding in a whole new avatar! Legally not allowed to work, I was busy learning the ropes of effectively running the house and decided to join language classes at the Alliance Francaise in Port Louis and Oil Painting classes at Quatre Bornes to meet up with like-minded people and relieve myself of the monotony that comes with living in a new country. A decision that earned me some lasting friendships
Those days, Jay’s cousin who lived in Quatre Bornes used to invite us home every Friday evening for a little get-together. Besides, we also had a wonderful friend called Benita who lived a few steps away from her place. Quatre Bornes also reminds me of the Sunday Market, (more of a flea market) that we all loved going to! At the Indian Women’s Cultural Association (IWCA Office) I also briefly attended Yoga classes! Our favourite haunt for a Mexican meal was also in Quatre Bornes. So, you see how handy it was for us, living right next door in Rose Hill and hopping over to Quatre Bornes!
Today, memories come flooding by, as I recall those years. What wonderful times we all had then! The contrast of colours, cultures and tastes had made our stay in the island all the more charming. Those two years in Mauritius, were well and truly the best years of our lives. So much has changed in our lives since then. And, yet, some things never change because the human mind has a way of capturing the essence of the moments to flash it again years later in a very different context, to merit the question -‘…did all that really happen?’.
Today, my heart fills up with gratitude for the good times we shared, the friendships we built and the lasting memories that are left behind.