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.
Sounds like a great time.
It was great, Liz!
Second what Rajlakshmi said… sounds almost magical, as memories go.
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Thanks Roshan! Memories are the food for the soul and the heart!!
Setting up a new home is such an exciting experience. Enjoyed the trip down the memory lane with you! And yes, I surprised myself too when I cooked three meals and managed all chores all by myself after marriage. 🙂
You said it, Shilpa! Having been there yourself, you’ll know how precious these memories are! Glad you joined with me in revisiting those good ol’days 🙂
What a lovely experience ….
I love Quatre Bornes and I bet you were staying at Sodnac for this where many Indians stay…my boss was staying there and a good friend from Nainital as well. I think that I may know people in your circle.
I attended yoga classes at ICIC and loved the Indian Food Mela held by the Indian Women Association where I would gorge everything. Covered loads of events in my time as a journo. Dunno whether you were there when there was an English newspaper, The Independent. I was working there till it shut shop.
Ah, small world, Vishal! Amazing, you talk of Sodnac…yes, our friends lived there as you rightly mention. Lot of Indians we knew were there too. Won’t be surprised if we have common connections from there as well!!! I’m getting so nostalgic hearing about Mauritius…Oh, you worked as a journalist with The Independent? I know lot of changes have happened since our time there…Would love to revisit all our fav haunts once more…fingers crossed, lets see! 🙂
It’s such a small world. Sodnac is home to so many Indians. Yeah, started as a sub-ed moved to being a reporter and in charge of the reporting desk. The Independent was my first love where I started into journalism. It’s an emotional connect. Not much changes but little bit…quite slacking, though as a country.
So glad to have known you even if virtually and getting to know more of you and Ile Maurice! I don’t know how you find India after leaving that beautiful island country of yours. I hope work-wise you’re better off here and can find what you’re looking for in terms of writing opportunities coz you write so well. Best of luck with that. We do miss Mauritius a lot though…but agree, things are a little laid back!But that’s better than the mad chaos that prevails here, anyday!!! (I am always biased in favour of Mauritius :))
I have been island hopping for a while for our family vacation for the past few months. Your article really interests me. Thnaks for sharing.
Glad to see you visit my blog, Soul Talk! You travel sounds very interesting to me. Happy to share more, here….