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Kidnapped in The Maldives Islands

Image: Traditonal Maldivian attire

They say, the first experience is the best (or worst) experience. 

Well I made my plans to visit Maldives, right from the day I met the girl of my dreams and knew she was from Maldives. She was the girl who featured in the earlier two stories: 

A Bachelor's First Love and

  The Language of Love

Yes, she spoke Dhivehi and she was a foreign graduate in my college.

 “Varrah loabi vey,” 

that is what I had managed to learn, one sentence that I could tell her. It meant “I love you.” Maybe somewhere near her home, when I would meet her, she would know why I was there.
There is a direct flight from Delhi to Male with Go Air Airlines, every Wednesday. Go Air launched its first flight to this country from New Delhi on 17th October 2018. And I chanced to be a passenger in its first flight. The flight took off at 12:45 pm. It took around 4 hours 10 minutes, and I reached Maldives at 4:20 pm (Maldives local time). The islands are beautiful. I watched for the first time the coastline from a plane. It was a marvellous sight, words fail me how to describe it. I bet you should see it once to understand the feel. Unlike my crowded city Delhi, it feels good to find space here.
I had planned my trip well. I had been addicted to internet and so had dissuaded myself to use a local SIM card. Or instead of seeing the beautiful country I would be scrolling down or up, the stupid Facebook posts. I had downloaded an offline Google Map of the area I was going to visit. I live by the aphorism – Let the gods keep our mobile safe in our hands and let there be free internet everywhere. The second one – Let the gods keep our mobile battery fully charged!
I was surprised the people spoke English here. It has been wonderful so far, travelling alone. I arrived at the Valena International airport. It is a small airport, reminded me of the one at Bagdogra, India. 

There is an airport express ferry that takes individuals from the airport to Male for 10 MVR. I recommend people to use ferries instead of cabs if travelling light. Cabs are 10 times costly.
The immigration visa was very quick. But I can say that Maldives is developing very fast. The people here are brown like bronze, and what I love about Maldives is the people’s behaviour. The women wore head scarves. They are cooperative, and will help you with directions, even if you don’t ask and you feel the need. The local language spoken here, Dhivehi resembles Tamil and Bengali.
The air smells salty. I never knew what the salty smell was, until I came here. And the capital city which I always had pronounced as Male (male/female one), turned out to be Maaley. Maldives is Muslim country, wine and pork are banned here. It is forbidden for women to roam in bikinis on beaches, which later on, I came to know was not true. Only some places are restricted, and I found empty scotch bottles on the beach. Maldives is beautiful to say again. And I have come here for its beauty and my love. I am a soul- seeker.
I looked for my booked hotel which was in Hulhumale in the Google Maps. I had saved the map of Maldives offline but never used it. Here, for the first time I was testing an offline map. It was time consuming, and I wasn’t getting it at first. I asked several people for directions. There was no direct ferry from the airport to Hulhumale, but there was a ferry every 20 minutes from Male to Huhumale (It costs 5.5 MVR). So, I had to travel from the airport to Male first, and then from there to Hulhumale. There was an alternate route to take the bus, which I did. The bus from the airport to Hulhumale was every half an hour, and not a minute late. And it cost only 20 MVR.  After I got off the bus stop, I hunted for my hotel. It is always better to test your equipment before you go into the field. It cost me an hour wandering when I finally came to my hotel. And yes, I did learn how to use offline Google maps. You can say, I have become heavily dependent on Google. And google is more than anything when people needs to travel.
I think, the people here love to go their beds early. It gets dark around 6:30 pm and after that the roads are silent and dark. But not frightening. You will enjoy roaming even in the dark. In the morning, the sun is up early and you will find some people jogging on the roads. Here at Hulhumale, I found Orientals. Maybe from China, Japan, or Korea- can’t distinguish with their Mongoloid feature.

Maldives can be the country that would be a favourite tourist destination for Indians.

I would recommend the Maldivian Government to accept Indian Currency. It will boost your tourism department. I can say, with travel being easy and hassle free, more Indians will come. And India being your nearest neighbour along with Sri Lanka, it will be better if you develop cordial relations with India. There are thousands who can come, and all it needs is a positive word of mouth. And for that, make it a bit friendlier for the Indians by accepting Indian currency. I saw some travellers who hadn’t dollars with them. I wonder, how they managed. It is good to have a credit card. But, for the while we also need some cash in hands for our own safety.
So far the events have been good. Have learnt a lot. Friday is a holiday in Maldives. Ferries do not run on Fridays. So, beware of booking any Island resort that are on two different islands on Thursday and Friday, unless you want to travel by speed boats. The cost of booking a speed boat seat is 10 times more than getting a ferry. I got stranded on Maafushi. It was Friday, and my hotel was booked in Guraidhoo. 
There is a lad working here – Salim. He is a Bangladeshi. It was good on my part, that I knew Bengali. It helped me a lot. There are lot of Bangladeshis’ working here as hotel errand boys, while the owner resides somewhere. The poor fellow was brought here two and half years back. He is around 18. His mother had died, and his father remarried. His step-mother, I believe didn’t much like him. So, the poor lad is working here, far away from his motherland. Buddy, he must miss his home.
I wanted to take a speed boat, but Salim requested me to stay. Actually, I loved the Bangladeshi food that I got to eat with him. My next destination was Guraidhoo. And Salim asked me to call the owner of the hotel, and say I would arrive tomorrow. He requested me a lot, and finally I decided to give in to his request. He said he would manage with the inn owner, not to charge me for the night’s stay. Well, I gave in to greed and convenience. Or else, I would have had to hunt to for speed boats next day. But getting assured, I only slept throughout the morning.
In the evening, I roamed the beaches and swam in the ocean. It was good being alone and enjoying alone. Maafushi is beautiful, a place to laze and sleep. I had come here to forget the worries of the world. Life is very good, and life will take the best turn for me. That was what I thought. There was a heart shaped figure made on the sands on the beach. I wrote the name of my love on it. It was lovely. I could see many couples. And I saw women in bikinis. It wasn’t odd, not even when a Japanese couple were getting intimate, as it grew dark.
After that I returned to my inn. The inn owner was there. We talked about Maldives and India and the culture. And then he asked about my overnight stay. I told him, about my hotel in Guraidhoo but couldn’t go because of the Ferry problem. He was a courteous gentleman, but good in doing business. The next day, I did pay for the overnight stay, and ironically the price was around 6 dollars more than it would have cost me if I had taken a speed boat. Well, that was some good lesson learnt, and I had to quit my plans to visit Guraidhoo or I would miss my hotels that I had already pre-booked.
I had never tried snorkelling, and wanted to see the beauty of the underwater world. The island around Male is one of the best in the world for snorkelling. The world below the surface water has its own charms. And that was one of the best experiences I would love to get.
Now, I searched on the google, the nearest snorkelling centre near me. I got some 3 – 4 answers, and decided to see one. My sim didn’t work, and I used the WiFi of the hotel to connect to the internet. I had downloaded google offline map. So, it was easy for me to navigate myself. I went to the centre, and after a lot of seeking on the google map, I came to the conclusion that the Englishwoman working on the computer with lots of smelly cats was the one who managed the centre.
I talked to her. She told me, that the cruise had already left at two p.m. I had arrived an hour late. She gave me her card and told me to mail her. I left. Now, I didn’t have internet, so I went back to my hotel. There I searched again, and got another centre address. It was around 20 minutes walking distance from my hotel. So, I downloaded the path, and set off using the offline google map.
I met a guy, who was having his lunch. He was ready to go. It was a trade of 45 dollars, to go for the snorkelling. He asked me, how many I was. I told him, I was travelling alone.
I asked him his name. He told me it was Mario. Then he added, “I won’t tell you my real name, but people here know me by this name.”
I gave him 5 dollars advance, and said, I would come with my swimsuit and water goggles. He said, they had the equipment. I told him, I needed power goggles. My lens power was -6. I was highly myopic, and wouldn’t be able to see much at a distance. He said, he had a power lens mask.
Well, everything was managed. They brought a van for me. I felt like a king. Going alone on an adventure to see the depths of the ocean. I was driven to the Hulhumale ferry terminal. Then they called a boat, which arrived after sometime. It was a beautiful boat, whose image I am providing in the video below.

They told me they will take me to an island where it is best to do snorkelling. I took the boat. And, we set off. There was only me, my instructor who would guide me during the snorkelling process, and the boatman along with a young lad who would help him. When we had gone our way into the sea, the boat used diesel as fuel, and it was causing me sea sickness. Mario asked me to change into swimsuit. He gave me swimming trunks, and showed me the toilet in the deck where I could change. I went in, and closed the door behind me. The toilet had a commode, was about 6 feet height, with 3 feet wide and 2 feet across. I opened my pants, and shirt, and changed my dress.
Now I tried opening the door. To my horror, I couldn’t open it. What the fuck! I tried to keep calm, but my brain panicked. Already the movement of the ship, and the fuel smell was making me sick. I couldn’t think straight. Creepy thoughts crept into my mind. I banged the gate with my fist, but I think nobody could hear it with the sound of the engine running.
I felt like a trapped rat. There was a slit like window, and I shouted hello, at the top of my voice. Again no one responded. I shouted and banged, and it was one of the worst moments in my life, which seriously affected me. I suffered from the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which I will explain later. But at that point I understood one thing –
I had told everyone in my college, I was going to my home, and had given a leave application. At my home, I had called and said, I was going to Nepal and so wouldn’t be available to call for a week. And I hadn’t told anyone (not even my closest friend) of my journey to the Maldives. Here I was all alone on my own, stranded in a foreign land. My mobile with a sim, that didn’t work was useless. And this guy with me, had given me a dubious name. I was all alone stuck in the toilet of a ship, and there were no passengers. So, no one on the planet knew where I was, and I could be taken anywhere without anyone’s knowledge. It would take weeks before anyone would realize I was missing.
In a flash, I realised I was kidnapped and most probably, they would take me to some remote island and remove my kidneys…
(to be continued).

 Green stone: Hulhumale Beach

 Island Resort: Maafushi

Foreigner Woman in traditional attire: Hulhumale beach

 Heart Made: Maafushi Beach

 Perfect beach view: Maafushi

 After a candle night dinner by the beach: Hulhumale

 The beautiful island of Maafushi

 The Golden hands holding the pearl: Maafushi

 Close to Villingili Ferry Terminal: Male

 Fish Scale Beach: Male

 Perfect houses of gnomes: Hulhumale

 Rasfannu: Male

 Rasfannu: Male

 Silent roads: Hulhumale

 Beach: Hulhumale

Early morning: Beach Hulhumale

 Mother with her child: Hulhumale beach

 Close to Hulhumale Ferry Terminal

Airport Ferry Terminal: Close to Valena International airport.

Kidnapped in The Maldives Islands Reviewed by Polymath on 9:45 pm Rating: 5


  1. i love your poems

  2. And I love you.

  3. Following the sand and gravel road, we returned to Queen's Highway (a fairly small, two lane blacktop road which runs almost the entire north-south length of the island) and headed north.


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