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mardi 27 mars 2018

MEETING A REMARKABLE INDIAN AT MY FAVOURITE HOTEL IN FORT COCHIN :BRISTOW LIGHTHOUSE HOTEL



MEETING A REMARKABLE INDIAN AT MY FAVOURITE HOTEL IN FORT COCHIN, NAMED AFTER THE ILLUSTRIOUS SIR ROBERT BRISTOW

Forty-eight hours after leaving my sisters house in Miami, with stops at airports in Philadelphia, Doha and Colombo, I stepped up to a very warm welcome by Ragesh the general manager of Bristow Lighthouse hotel. It was the home of Sir Robert Bristow who virtually re-built the port of Cochin and created the island of Willingdon.

VG a businessman from Bombay had fallen in love with the place and had leased the property from the Fort of Cochin and turned it into a Boutique Hotel of charm. The only hotel facing the Arabian Sea in Fort Cochin, with the ambiance of sea breeze and the jasmines, it is truly a lovely place to stay and attracts a sedate crowd of Europeans and Australians. A nice kitchen under the direction of Chef Rehman Vipin provides the best taste of Kerala cuisine, not the kind of “Indian “ food that you may encounter in London, New York or Melbourne.
Things happen for a reason, you are not smart enough to understand why, my Meskwakia Indian teacher had cautioned me years earlier.
I met a wonderful person tonight while having dinner at Bristow Lighthouse Boutique Hotel.
As I got into the Uber at Cochin International Airport I was still wondering, what I am doing here? Why am I here? My good friends will be very busy preparing for the Holy Week of Easter which they celebrate in al earnestness and thus will not have time for me The last Jew of Cochin will be scrounging around cleaning his house and synagogue and lament that no shank bone or lamb would be available.
What am I doing here?
Now I know why, as the Meskwakia would explain, you came to meet VG.

I headed straight to Bristow, determined to read and rest and relax the next four days ahead of me before I fly off to Paris and then on to Miami after a short stay.
The GM offered me an attractive room facing the ocean as well as an attractive half board.
At dinner I was informed that VG the owner was staying with his family on his annual visit to his beloved hotel/property. The GM was kind enough to introduce me to him.
I felt a very strong sense of spirituality, a connection with the universe when he came over to say hello. We briefly chatted and immediately dived deep into the philosophy of life, spiritual world. He left saying, I want to talk to you before I leave on Wednesday.

I looked forward to that and I went about my day of relaxing and having an Ayurveda massage and settling down to dinner at around 8 pm.
He and his wife entered the dining room, the family and other members of the entourage seemed to have stayed behind and we fell into a deep conversation.
(MM and I visited Cochin twice 2006 and 2007)
I found it delightful to recapitulate the story of reunion with MM as well as our visit to the Blind Astrologer of Chennai.
That story turned the conversation around, and our talk became very intimate, telling each other details of our lives.
It is as if I was given a chance to express certain things about my life, the absence of my birth mother and birth father from my life, my Jewish upbringing, my initial struggles in dedicating myself to humanitarian medicine and fluorescence I felt as Anthropology entered my life and my continuing connections with the American Indians. He expressed a desire to visit the Amazon River, when he goes to visit Machu Pichu.
You are wearing a dream catcher, he mentioned.

Yes, it is from the Amazon. Something within me, a spirit from the land of the Indians I am sure, prompted me, please have it, as I will be in the Amazon in May and I can easily replace it. He was aghast and reluctantly accepted. Please put it around my neck, he said in a kind tone. I asked him, please allow me to say a prayer for you, in the American Indian fashion and I began, thinking about my Omaha brother Mauricio!


Oh Great Spirit, take pity on me, this humble person, on whom you shower so much attention, please listen to me. I am with a wonderful man here who is connected to you as I am and I want you accept my prayers for him. I wish you grant him and his wife and his two sons long happy lives and bless them with the desires of their heart. You have listened to my prayers when I prayed for my sister in Miami and in Cuba, please take pity upon me and wish my friend and family well.
Emotions surged within as I was saying this, tears very nearly fell out of my eyes, I knew I had met a wonderful human being and his wife and I have become emotionally, culturally and spiritually richer by this contact.
The conversation returned to its pleasantness.
He asked me for my date of birth and my place of birth, which he could easily find in the hotel register and he began:
To my amazement, his first question was about a period in my life I was feeling lonely and professionally not productive and my humanitarian efforts floundering
He outlined as follows:
1980-1997 Fluorescence of yourself and your dreams
1997-2004   Lonely, isolated
2004-2024   productive active life
Another sixteen years of reflection and long life.

I found myself opening myself up to him and began telling things I had told no one else in Cochin, for example the reason to request a meeting with the blind astrologer of Tamoul Nadoo.
Stage I Indeed was the fluorescence of my professional life as a Social Science Oriented Humanitarian Medical Doctor. This period coincided with the magical life with TH in Jamaica and NPF in Havana.
Stage II saw the loss of both Jamaica and TH  and betrayal of NPF. I was mostly in Baracoa, isolated from what was happening in La Habana. The relationships with American Indians were not growing
Stage III the current stage
Reunion with MM was magical. Made wonderful friends such as MC in KL, and my circle in Cochin.  Attachment to Cuba deepened and Omaha tribe adopted me into their family.
Your life and travels are fascinating, you will continue to do this for more years and you will have a long life.
You are leading a full life, he continued in a kind tone, which I took to be a compliment coming from this successful businessman and with a heart oriented to culture, art and beauty.
I invited him to visit the Amazon. He wants to learn more about the methods of the successes of the Cuban Health Care system.
I will be in touch, he said as he rose to say good-bye.
I knew we would be
It was a beautiful sensation of having met a person with an innocence to his heart, curiosity to his intellect, blessed with a beautiful wife and family, who indirectly provided me an ambiance to relax at this lovely place by the Arabian sea.
I felt grateful for my life, my sisters in Miami, Havana and my brothers in Miami, Portland and my mother in Havana
Grateful for Australia which moulded my personality
Grateful for being accepted by American Indians and my family there especially Wehnona, Ashleen and Mauricio
Grateful for Cuba and its generosity of spirit and solidarity  with my desires to serve and acceptance to its social and professional milieu.

There are two other precious gifts for which I am grateful with almost every breath
The gift of October 24, 2009 and I am Jew loyal to my people and Eretz Israel