scenes from paradise

The rainy season has hit Mumbai, covering roads with sludge and turning the skies grey, which is ironic since the farms in India are still struggling with drought. However, the rainy weather brings gloomy days and stormy nights, reducing all motivation to study or work.

It got to the point that while I was compiling this post, I could barely stop myself from drooling over the fluffy clouds and blue skies. But hey, welcome to the Maldives.


The city of Male stretches behind me. Male is actually made up of an airport island and a city island, with ferries leaving from one to the other every 15 minutes. Although I’d heard a lot about the city, we didn’t explore it until our last day.


Within 5 minutes of reaching our island, Bandos, and already in love.


The first few days were passed in a haze of lounging on the beach, walking to the beach, or swimming at the beach.


There were these little grey fish everywhere.


And lizards too.


The baby sharks, native to this island,  were definitely my favorite part. While lying in the shallows, a tiny shark would be picked up by the strong currents and whisked towards you. Kinda funny watching the oceans deadliest predator struggling against little waves. Heh.


No words for this picture.





The light blue patches on the ocean mark the areas of shallow sea where the corals lie. It was really interesting how a light patch could become dark suddenly, a sheer drop towards the ocean floor.




This picture made me feel like a National Geographic photographer. The lizard’s obvious disdain shows he disagrees.




The unending ocean under the marbled sky. Now, back to the gloom and rain and unending homework I seem to have.


under the sea

It was my second day in the Maldives and I found myself awkwardly huddled against the ocean, in splash defying task of pulling on flippers while wearing goggles so tight they would leave marks for days. We were going snorkeling- our resort, Bandos had a fully equipped dive center although a minimum age of 16 years was required.

Once I was ready to go, I followed our snorkel instructor Jana using movements that could only be described as the antithesis of graceful in a strange attempt to propel myself forward. When the water was finally deep enough to swim, I put my head under and pushed off, promptly beginning to choke on the saltwater filling my lungs. There was a whole world under that blue canvas, but I remained above, spitting out the water and emptying my snorkel.

A quick reminder that I had just made the rookie mistake of letting water enter the snorkel, and I tried again. The frothy bubbles made by kicking cleared as we swum deeper, through the coral reef. At first, we were greeted by small silvery fish that swum past strange translucent orange bushes; corals. The corals multiplied and the fish grew in size and changed shape the deeper we went. Some swam in schools; a lucky peek behind a coral would reveal a clownfish, or a baby shark being pulled in by the tide.

Suddenly I stopped. The sandy ocean bed below me dropped away, a sheer expanse of jagged cliff that led to the depths of the ocean. The reef stopped here, there were bigger schools of fish that surrounded me and an adult shark that calmly dove into the nearest corals. Everywhere I looked…was a new world. It was almost incomprehensible to picture this treasure trove of wonders hidden under the crystal sea. I drunk in the sights I was seeing as I swam along the reef. Scales of glowing hues and queer intergalactic plants lay along the jagged base rocks, and eels were hiding, camouflaged against the ocean floor. Regrettably, I left the mythical world, tempted by the idea of stretching out by the sand at the shallows.

The next day and the day after that fell hostage to rain. The ocean was too rough to swim in properly, but we were lucky enough to have another single day of marine clarity. The whole family promptly stopped what they were doing and ran to grab snorkels. I wouldn’t miss this ocean for the world-or as my dad put it, “National Geographic on steroids.”


sunshine, sand & showers

On our third day in the Maldives, I decided to start my morning with something different: yoga. The resort we stayed at had a gym complete with aerobics room it was there that I sat on the edge of my mat with a ridiculous smile, the genuine kind that comes from being stranded on an island with waffles and wifi.

Halfway through a downward dog, I suddenly dropped to the floor, astounded at the noise over my head. Could it be? Yes it was. The bright blue sky had faded to grey and it was raining. Heavily. The torrential rain didn’t stop when I left the club- an hour later. It didn’t stop as I ate breakfast. In fact, afternoon had almost come and gone before the rain deigned to slow. That too, the sky was still grey and water dripped down the palm fronds.

A quick walk down to the resort’s dive center revealed that because of the rain, it was going to be unlikely that the ocean would calm down in time to go snorkeling and swimming. So, when life gives you lemons, not only do you make lemonade, but order a glass to sip by the poolside.

However, by evening the rain had commenced again and we took refuge in the shelter of our villa. The evening gave way to night which in turn gave way to rowdy card games and reading books under a thrashing sky.

Next morning the signs of the storm were apparent. There was a faint jasmine scent and the sand was scattered with leaves and coconuts but the sky was once again crystal blue and the ocean had calmed down. Eagerly, we grabbed breakfast and changed into our costumes. No sooner had we grabbed our snorkeling gear than the heavens opened again and sent rain our way. The day was full of unpredictable scattered showers.

While losing a day of vacation was acceptable, when the weather sabotaged more than three days, it called for drastic measures. Determined to make the most of it, we grabbed our snorkeling gear and stalked off to the ocean. Although the rough weather meant it was impossible to go beyond the reef, we swam over the corals and lay on the sand, idly building castles that were taken in by the waves. When the rain hinted at picking up again we stayed at the club, engaging in TT and foosball matches with no rules and a lot of competition.

Luckily, the third day was bright and sunny. To escape the midday heat, I took refuge in the library where I found a tour guide to the Maldives. As we were planning to spend a day in Male I sat down on a beanbag and started to read,

“The Maldives enjoys a tropical climate and has two distinct seasons known as the Iruvai Monsoon (December to April) and the Hulhangu Monsoon-wet season- (May to November) The wet season is a period which the whole of the Maldives experiences torrential rain showers which include thunderstorms.”

It was May 17th.

“Whatever,” I said, and went outside to play on the beach.


bandos island

Travelling always excites me, but nothing quite excites me like a trip to the Maldives. I should mention that this was my first time visiting the Maldives- though definitely not my last. As this was a spontaneous destination, the minute my parents told me of their plans, I had drawn out a list of my favorite resorts ranking each one by accommodation, activities, food but mainly the breathtaking views that every single website had to offer.

I was practically drooling by the time we had booked a seven day stay at Bandos island, chosen exclusively for its glittering house reef and scenic surroundings. We arrived at the island, and although I was thoroughly washed out from a horrendous plane journey, I fell in love with the place.

We had a private villa, complete with jacuzzi that overlooked our very own stretch of white sand. While staying in the Maldives, I would recommend picking a hotel that had a good house reef and also encourages the health of the ecosystem around. The resort picked exceeded my expectations, the rooms were amazing and staff were so friendly- and the sea was just enough to take my breath away (although that might be because I got stuck in the currents).

The next six days were spent in a heavenly limbo, mornings at the club doing yoga before running down to the beach to try snorkeling or just lying on the sand while waves lapped up all around us. Regrettably too much time was possibly spent in the sun, when I went for a shower I discovered I had tan lines in probably the most awkward places ever. That didn’t deter me though, and afternoons and evenings passed in the same way.

Couple of things I noticed while staying at Bandos though was that our room was invaded by massive ants every night ( we didn’t even eat there) and that even paradise can be ruined by tropical showers. But still, at least we were getting the rain in paradise.


I was even more thrilled to discover that the islands of the Maldives are home to unique creatures that swim around an island and that island only. Ours? Baby sharks.