Meet Chandravati from Sai Vishram Beach Resort- the water baby, the talk of the town! My first interaction with Chandravati happened at Sai Vishram Beach Resort, Byndoor. She was driving the Jet Ski that took us to the sea on our banana boat ride. After a small bump in the beginning, it was a thrilling ride. It was a riot when she flipped us gently in the shallow end of the sea. I shared the banana boat ride with fellow blogger Prashanth and his family.
I decided to go on the Jet Ski next. She was the driver again. It was such fun to have a female driver with me while we zipped to the sea. Let me correct myself, while she drove the Jet Ski at what felt like jet speed and not we, I was a mere pillion rider, completely at her mercy! She would confidently attach the ‘kill switch’ to her wrist and zoom through in the water. She is the true water baby, supremely confident, always in control.
She must have done at least 5 rides before she had a moment of calm. That is when I tried to talk to her. I was intrigued about her unconventional choice of career, I was curious to discover her story of rebellion, for I was sure it would involve some rebellion. It was then I realized she spoke only the local language, Kannada which unfortunately I do not speak! Her fellow water sports instructors and life guards pointed out her home to me, which was a short walk away from the resort!
With help from Prashanth and the Adarsha, the manager of the resort, I pieced together her story! Prashanth also told me that Chandravati is a local girl who lives a short distance away on the same beach where the resort is. She belongs to a family of fishermen. She could study only till class 10th as she had to work when she lost her father early on in life. Her family consisted of her uncle, aunt, two male cousins and her mother all living together. However, another calamity stuck when her uncle too passed away. Her cousins went to the sea for fishing. She too helped them. Her mother would sell the fish locally. The aunt takes care of the home as she is the oldest.
Adarsha told me that he was impressed when he saw her swimming in the sea without any life jacket. I was told by many people that Chandravati is a strong swimmer. Sai Vishram then offered to sponsor her licensing as a water sports instructor if she was willing to complete it and work with them.
And there she was driving the Jet Ski at a speed that scared me completely! When I saw her I could not have imagined that she was simply a girl next door. She is as local as it could be! I told her to pick up another language! The motive was selfish, I wanted to talk to her! Her rebellion, for I am sure it still involved some of it was of such a different type from what I imagined!
I can only guess how many stereotypes she broke when she became a trained instructor! It is such a comfort to have a lady instructor on that ride to the sea, an affinity to another woman! I was told that most of the life guards and other people working at the resort are locals too. I cannot tell you how impressed I am with Sai Visharm Beach Resort for this, particularly for giving Chandravati a chance.
Adarsha said he told her to tell her future husband that she would continue working after marriage but he said only time will tell. He added that the village people were not at all happy by her unconventional career choice. I said, “But then I am sure there is a little girl somewhere in the village who looks up to Chandravati and will step in and demand that she be trained too.” It was truly heartwarming to find Chandravati at the resort, going about her business of driving the Jet Ski, being a life guard and giving a hand in tugging that boat back to the shore, going about business as usual!
In the evenings she can be seen asking guests to have another coffee. Chandravati along with other life guards double as hosts at tea time! I am truly impressed my Sai Vishram Bech Resort for making locals the focus of their recruitment strategy.
PS. I was invited by Sai Vishram Group on this trip.
I usually have a very normal stay (and thank God for that) whenever I travel. This year in March I was in Goa and I was staying at what I am sure was not your typical Goa budget hotel. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against budget hotels in Goa or for that matter budget hotels anywhere in the world! I am actually quite a big fan of budget hotels. It is just that this one time I was staying in a bigger hotel with two swimming pools and a very beautiful garden. They also had a lot of birds at the premises.
For the story I am going to tell, the name of the hotel is not so important and I am going to leave it out. I was staying alone and I had a big room all to my self. The room was clean and for most of the part I had no complaints at all. I was anyway not eating at the property; after all if you are in Goa and particularly in North Goa you have a lot of beach shacks to choose from.
I had jolly good time clicking pictures at the beach too. And I did a lot of touristy things like para-sailing and such water sports stuff.
After an early dinner I crashed and I had a good night’s sleep. I was up in the morning much before I heard that knock on my door. I was very surprised as I was part of a large group where people usually called each-other on the cell phone rather than go knocking on the doors. I also saw no reason for house keeping to visit me so early in the morning, after all I was checking out later the same day.
I anyway went and opened the door to see a complete stranger, who clearly was a foreigner to India. I thought he was high on something as well but I can never be sure! He said something which I did not understand. I only raised my voice slightly and told him he was knocking at the wrong room! He immediately retreated apologizing to me. Later through some conversations I realized it was common for some people to come back to their hotels in Goa at 8.00 am and in a state that made it difficult for them to locate their rooms! But then it was no fault of Goa Hotels if their guests decide to spend the night out and the days inside the hotel! I wonder if they explicitly take this factor into account particularly in North Goa!
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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