Its a slightly long story, about why Jamaican Passion is the best flavor for Breezers. It involves Jamaica, Goa and of course, a pretty girl. Read on.
I’m not an excitable guy, normally. But on this particular day, as I motorbiked along the Arabian Sea with the sun shining down, and the fresh breeze, I couldn’t help but smile, and even hum a little. It was a beautiful day in Goa and my destination awaited me. I was going to meet her again, after so many years. Carla Willis.
I thought back again to how it had all started….
I was 25. I’d gone on a vacation to the spectacular Ocho Rios, a small town on the north coast of Jamaica. I’d taken off, telling no one other than a few family members and friends. I just wanted to be alone for a while, far away from familiarity and monotony. Though I had a nice job at a good company, I wasn’t really happy with what I was doing.
I spent my days taking long walks and fishing, with just the squawking seagulls and roaring waves for company. It was nice, peaceful even. No four walls to shut me in, no mobile phone, no constant checking of the watch for time, no boss hounding me to finish that client assignment before that deadline (otherwise the world would just implode right?). Just the open sea, the sky above and my thoughts.
I liked looking at the people relaxing in the water. The Jamaican people seemed to embody and express the vibrant energy of the place in their play, dance and even the tasty food.
One day, everything changed.
I was at napping at my favourite spot as usual, behind a bunch of rocks, just close enough to the water that the waves would lull me to sleep. It was a little far from the more populated area of the beach, where I couldn’t easily be seen; I like my privacy. Being a new comer though, I had no idea about the changing tides. As I slept, blissfully unaware, the waves grew larger and larger. My book (Shantaram, in case you were wondering), was soaked and ready to sail away. My fishing gear was about to follow, gradually giving way to the insistent tugs of the seductive sea.
Luckily someone saw me.
Actually, with the sun behind her, I didn’t quite see her, but quickly woke up to the fact that I was drenched and my few belongings were quickly being swept out to sea. We ran around for the next 10 min, gathering all the stuff.
Thankfully, we managed to get most of the things. I was sitting cross-legged in a dry spot, looking over all my things, when Carla came and plonked the wet Shantaram in my lap. Seeing my rueful expression, she couldn’t help but laugh.
And that’s when I really noticed her. She had a beautiful deep laugh, and her nose scrunched up in a really cute way when she smiled. The wind blew her long black hair, partially covering her eyes, which were also laughing at me.
” Fra wha pawt yuh deh? A weh ya baan?”.
By now, I’d spent enough haggling with Jamaicans in the market to understand that she was asking where I was from. I told her I was from India, and we got talking. She’d seen me, walking around alone, and had often wondered about my story (and hoping that I would be smart enough to avoid being robbed). I found it easy to talk to her, and soon found myself sharing everything.
We went to the Fisherman’s market, and continued talking over spicy curry goat rice, rich plantain (a sweet dish made from banana) and lovely gizzadas (a heavenly Jamaican dessert).
And we cemented our friendship over 2 bottles of ice cold Jamaican Passion Breezers.
Over the next few days, we explored Ocho Rios together. We went to the famous Blue Hole, Dunn’s River Falls and the famous Reggae Beach.
We went diving together in the deep blue waters. Being underwater in that silence was like being in another world. It felt like there were just 3 people in the world, Carla, me and the dive instructor. I really wished the dive instructor hadn’t come along.
Thanks to Carla, I discovered a Jamaica I would have never found on my own. I fell in love with the relaxed pace of life, the uncomplicated serenity of it all. I got to know her much better too; she’d had a rough childhood, and had lost her brother recently. However, she’d put it all the grief behind, and was working hard to save money for herself and her sister, for further education and a better future. Her optimism and zest for life was infectious and my problems seemed insignificant by comparison.
I told Carla about my dream about being a writer, and she encouraged me to work hard on it.
Everyday, after we said goodbye, she’d smile and say, “See you inna di lights”. (See you tomorrow).
We went dancing and Carla even taught me Jamaican slang, which was fun. I learned how to say:
1. Wa’ppun mi key? (What’s up man?)
2. Mi lub yu kyaan done. (My love for you can’t end.)
3. Wa mek yu sweet so? (Why are you so sweet?)
4. Mi naa jesta. ( I’m not kidding.)
Of course I learnt a lot more slang words, but they’re not for kids.
It gave me a rush to speak like the local Jamaicans, and we turned many heads when we went to places together.
We ended every day with 2 bottles of Jamaican Passion Breezers, it became our special ritual. I came to associate that cold, sweet, exotic taste with a day well spent.
All too soon, it was time for me to leave. Carla came to drop me at the airport. We stood, looking at each other, wondering when we’d meet again. I hugged her, and thanked her for all the unforgettable memories. She kissed me and left, her warmth lingering on my cheeks.
Ocho Rios would never be the same.
And today, again, we were meeting after 7 years. We’d kept in touch over email and Facebook. She’d informed me that she was coming to Goa, and whether I was free to meet her. Of course I was. I wondered how much she’d changed. Pictures are fine, but I wondered whether her nose still scrunched when she smiled.
We’d agreed to meet at the Saturday Night Bazaar near Baga beach. I parked my bike, and made way to the entrance. The evening air vibrated with thumping music and sounds of the Bazaar. The bright lights shone over the water of the adjoining river, which lent a delicious coolness to the surroundings.
A pair of bright white lamps shone over the small bridge to where Carla was waiting. A lovely woman sat on one of the wooden chairs, looking out over the river.
Was that her?
She turned, the table lamp light cast a soft yellow glow, revealing 2 bottles of Jamaican Passion on the table.
I knew it was going to be a wonderful evening.
This fictional story has been written as part of an entry to the Catch the Flavour contest held by www.breezerindia.com (Click to play the Breezer game). I’ve never been to Jamaica, though it sounds lovely and I would love to go there and make friends with an actual Carla.
For best story reading experience, start again after clicking on this lovely Bob Marley song “Stir It Up”.
If you liked the story, grab your closest friend/family person/lover and a pair of Jamaican Breezers . Dancing is optional (though it may be irresistible).
Here are the resources used in writing this post:
- Tripadvisor – Activities in Ocho Rios
- Ocho Rios Wiki
- Jamaican Slang Glossary (Check it out for all the fun slangs to use with your friends, even adult ones!)
- All pictures used were my own, or downloaded from Pixabay (site for downloading free HD quality photos) or from Google Advanced Search to ensure that no copyrights were infringed.