There are many things that human beings desire in life, it can range from the extremely modest to the excruciatingly ostentatious but we can all agree that we would all want the back drop to our life story to be pristine and ethereal. It's more or less the case for me, as I happen to live on a beautiful tropical island and I'm glad to say it's unlike anything you will ever experience.
I was born in Mauritius and oftentimes I wonder, what is like to live in a city with sky high buildings? What is it like to live in a bustling environment where night time is just as rambunctious as day time? But these thought processes often culminate into a meaningful epiphany; that I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
I live having the blue sky and the glittery ocean as the background to my rather boring life, because let's face it, some people have interesting lives with bleak and depressing backgrounds. Mine is the obverse but it's still pretty cool eh.
Many people don't realize that as soon as the slave trade had ended, the British had to find a way to still rake in huge profits off the backs of poor uneducated people. That's where my ancestors come into play. They were lured by the British to come to this island they'd never heard of, to work for basically pennies and instead of living like normal families, they were given a hut on the plantations so their 'masters' wouldn't have to face any difficulties regarding transportation or accommodation. It's very rare to see articles about the Indentured servitude as it was called, or about its repercussions, which is much like the same social situation that persists in the US. People like to say that we’re not responsible for the actions of our ancestors, but really, when the descendants of those who had enslaved us still own most of the land and capital, how can it still be said that there's an equal and fair ground? But I digress.
Because Mauritius has an ethnically diverse population which consists of around 60% of Indian descent, 28% Creole descent (from African nations, Madagascar etc), 3% of Chinese descent and 2% of French descent, it can be ascertained that growing up, as an Indo-Mauritian (of Indian descent), racism wasn't much of an issue for me. What does irk me though is the blatant classism that's present in our society, like in most societies. When you're poor and disenfranchised, even the idyllic back drop isn't enough to make living life easy. And although education is free here from primary to tertiary (tuition is free), the education system is mishandled and disproportionately caters to a tiny minority of elite students whilst those who fall behind are forced to work right after secondary school.
Aside from the luxurious hotels and the shopping malls, life is pretty third world like, and I don't mean it in a derogatory way, I'm just saying the truth. Where tourists aren't expected to go, there's the most rudimentary effort by the government to keep the infrastructure afloat.
One thing that has marked me lately is a porn scandal that broke out. A teenaged couple was caught on camera having sex and it was plastered all over social media with myriads of people sharing and commenting on the video. I was horrified. For a society that claims to be oh so puritanical at the roots, there sure does to be a heightened interest in others' sex lives, but in this case, they were dehumanizing a teenaged girl…for having sex. The sexism is pretty blatant in our society; women in Mauritius are still expected to embrace the traditional gender roles: to be mothers, to cook for their husbands even though they work as much as them, to do all the chores and never complain about doing so even though they have challenging jobs themselves. But the most revolting thing of all is that, there's never been a movement that would truly liberalize society for women. Women are allowed to do most of the things men are allowed to but there's this connotation, this undertone that men are just better and that's a very recurrent undertone considering the laws that are in place in this country.
Reproductive rights are non-existent, women have no rights whatsoever when it comes to regulating their own bodies. Abortion is a crime that can get you jail time and even in most extreme cases where the mother's life is at risk, it's not permitted. I have personally never experienced a women's rights movement emerge in this country, mainly because of the timorous attitudes towards protest and civil disobedience but I hope that in my lifetime such changes will take place. But for that to happen, there should be a conscious willingness to detach ourselves from an outdated culture that still places the onus of purity, chastity and honour singularly on women.
To be honest, there's nothing better than facing the sky while floating on the baby blue water; it clears your mind, it reinvigorates you, it makes you cogitate about things you probably never would even think about. But the juxtaposition between the pristine aesthetics and the bleak politics is bathetic to that effect. Lastly, it's not fair for me to describe my humble abode as a 'Paradise' so I apply the word very sarcastically indeed.
Cover Image From Google
Here is a photo of my country taken by me