Author Archive for MDG

Love and Heartbreak: Lijo John and Noreen

What you are about to read is a love story between Lijo John and Noreen. Their initial meeting is described in Noreen's own words. The personal letters that follow are real letters exchanged between the two after Lijo went on to break Noreen's heart by marrying an Indian woman to please his family. Because of full anonymity, (names have been changed), Noreen felt comfortable sharing such intimate details with readers. For her it was a helpful way to heal. Still, it is a tough decision to share your personal love life with the world. Because of this I ask you to please be respectable in your comments. I appreciate Noreen being so open and honest with her experiences. Perhaps it will help others on whatever path they may be on in love.

The Beginning: 

I met Lijo John (Lj) back in 2008, Christmas Eve. I met him in  an airport in Hong Kong while both us were on delayed flights, Lijo on his way back to India, Noreen (myself) on my way back to Manila, Philippines. I was reading a book by Shashi Tharoor (ex Kerala Minister), Bookless in Baghdad, when Lijo approached me to talk about the book..(and later on to ask me for a cup of hongkong noodles at the cafeteria). He talked about himself, where he is from, (Trivandrum, India), and where he worked: Shell Qatar as one of the pipeline engineers. I was working on my family's farm estate back then and returning to university. We were amazed on how we feel about the same things, laughed at the same horrible jokes and common interests. I think I fell in love with him in an instant, the moment I saw him behind the glass panel looking over at me. I pretended to read the book, yet I kept on glancing over whether he was indeed checking me out. He came near me, glanced over my book on my lap and he said "I have searched for that Bookless in Baghdad all over the bookstores and fancy finding it here in Hongkong, owned by a girl who's not even Indian." I have to laugh over that horrible pick-up line;  hearing that.  We exchanged email addresses, phone numbers, and a piece of our lives during that four hour delay, right there at the airport lounge. Though we were anxious about our flights, when it was time to board our respective planes, we both wished  we could stay a little longer. Our meeting in Hongkong in 2008, albeit brief, changed the course of our lives later.

Hong Kong International Airport

We tried to keep in touch after that. The first thing I did when I reached Manila was to check my email and send an email to Lijo. And there it was, an email from him. We broke time zones, expensive phone credits, jam in traffic on Skype, and Yahoo. We tried everything just to keep in touch while promising to meet each other again, if our time and visas permit.

Fast forward 2010, a month after my father passed away. Sadness brought me back to Hongkong, Lijo John was en route from his flight from Qatar. We met again in Wan Chai District, Hongkong. Though we were always on cam, it was surreal spotting him from all the crowd that gathered at the arrival wing of the huge airport. But then - I saw him - my Lijo John, white shirt, blue jeans, scanning the very Asian crowd looking for me. I waved, he smiled.  I thought it only happens in the movies, we both ran towards each other amidst the crowded airport and embraced. We both couldn't believe that we met again,  at the same airport, one year later. It was what you call the only memory you can recall.

We toured the city, strolled theme parks to another, we had coffee at Starbucks right at the Victoria Peak. We ate dimsum, noodless, and all sorts of Hongkong food, we tried Hongkong Thai cuisine and burnt our tongue as the Thai chef spiced up the already hot Tom Yum soup,  we had body massage at the street corner spa full of Chinese masseuse, we got lost finding our way back to airport,we ran from port to port trying to catch the next ferry boat, we hung on to the spectacular view of the Symphony of Lights, we also fell in love so much that we forgot important stuff about our lives: who we are, where we are and what we are here for. For me, it was the start of my life. For Lijo, it was the end of a life he never knew will ever happen to him. For the first time, meeting me was his only happiness.

Symphony of Lights in Hong Kong

Below are Lijo John and Noreen's personal letters after Lijo married an Indian woman to please his family:

dear noreen,
this might be the last mail i am writing to you.i know this has been very difficult for almost gave up ur life for me. i feel responsible for all that has happened.
wanted to tell you that all the feelings i had for you was true and sincere.i am never that kinda person playing with somebody else life.i never am and never will be. all what has happened i feel solely responsible and it weighs me down every day.never had any intention of hurting you in anyway watsoever.
it all began with a mail somewhere in july from my dad and subsequent conversations i had with him..he made it very clear i had to choose between them and you. i was convinced that i might not find them alive if i did choose you ( i know from experince how real it can be - they almost died wen lijis case happened) i had thought that i would be able to convince them regarding you. i had arguements , fights everyday with my folks for this matter.things came to a point where i had to decide.
i know i dindt have the balls to fight all out for you. the only thing that held me back was my sis liji...and the sufferings my folks were through . it happed before my own eyes and i couldnt put them through it again and i wanted them alive just for a few more years..they have suffered for us kids a lot wen they were still young..and i coudnt repay them with this the second time around... i tried to convince them but i coudnt ..and i am extremely sorry for that. i know what i have put you through...i tried to warn u before hand...told u so many times that this could happen..but we couldnt just let go..remember we even tried so many times to breaak up but in vain...i even tried to back out of the hk trip back in february..but then u convinced me to come and i did keep my word was the best time of my life i had with you..never forget that..
i wanted you to know that i am not a bad person...your side might potray me as a demon..but then i dont blame them..i deserve it for all i have done to you..i cant ask you to forgive me..coz i deserve you hate ..anger..
you were undoubtedly the love of my life....but the circumstances around me were too dufficult of me to handle and i gave own happiness meant nothingto me ...i gave up everything to keep my happy..i hope u understand me..
all i pray for now is your well being and returning to same old noreen used to be..i know i hurt you a lot..but time will heal all wounds..maybe the hatred you have for me might decrease a little..all i wanted the happiness of the people who have loved me all their life..but i couldnt return it for you..i am sorry for all that i have done..i dont know what else to say than sorry...
i dont deserve your forgiveness..but i will pray to god to help you and your family throung all this...
hope you will find someone in the near future who would love you even more  will take care of you in every way...
just one last thing..lpease dont try to hurt yourself in anyway..i am not worth your life..u are a very talented person ..god has given you so many gifts and this is not the way to use have a mother to take care of ...she needs please dont do anything stupind..i beg you..
it might be real dufficult for you to move on..but then please do try...will pray for u and your well being..forgive me if you ever can...if in another lifetime..i wish things are different..
Dear Lijo,

i will cease to be your friend. this is the best way. i know i don't have to tell you that as you know it. thank you for calling at least. i admit that I went crazy, been looking everywhere for you, everywhere I know.

it was like a nightmare without you. and when I can no longer contain it, i gave up. i was so weak. i got lost.
and i forgot everything important in my life.all the memories of you kept flashing to me every night. and i couldn't take it anymore. and that's why it happened. i am sorry if it reached you. i didn't mean to hurt you with that news, nor i intend anything to come out of it. it was beyond my control.
i sincerely wish you and your wife the best in life. please live happily and love one another. and lijo, if there maybe times when it's tough, please hold on to her with all your might. never ever let go. please promise me never ever to break your wife's heart. words can describe the pain from the hurt of one's love. believe me. sometimes, one doesn't just move on and let go. so never ever break someone else's heart. once is enough. love yourself too...but love your wife the most. she is your family now. i'm sure your wife has never heard about me. and please never mention anything to her. this is your life now, start it with a clean slate. I will walk away from your life as easily as how we've met  2 years ago.
Please whisper in the wind my apologies to your parents and sister Liji, as I was the constant madwoman on the phone.
One day if all is forgotten, I will speak to them and tell them that I never cheated you. Maybe someday, they will understand what love is all about. It is not about sacrifice, it is about giving chances.
I will cease existing for you Lijo. I will stop waiting, I will stop wanting, I will stop dreaming.  Not because I stopped loving you..But because I respect your feelings as much as I enormously respect your wife's.
Good bye Lijo John. Memories do come and go. No regrets. It was a pleasure meeting you.... Over n out
Dear Noreen,
I understand what you told me totally. I am trying really hard not to call you to as my situation has completely changed. I would never forget you .
Just one thing, please try not to call me . Once you call me, I find it very difficult and it upsets me mentally. I have been holding myself back and kept myself in total control and it would be better to have it that way for both of us.
I know you have moved on beyond me..but i can understand that at times you are sad and lonely and you need a shoulder to lean on...and you remember me.. I feel the same way too. There have been times where i just couldn't sleep at night. wishing ... but then I have learnt to keep myself in control.
Its sad things are the way they are..but we cant do anything about it..
Wish you luck and God Bless..
i know it was wrong for me to call you. but i couldn't keep myself from doing so, i have been trying r to hold things back way too long. at the back of my mind i long to see you, to hear from you.
i wish i could turn back time. february was too difficult for me not to remember our times together. i have kept all our pictures together away from my sight. time heals all wounds, they say, is not true. I cannot disagree. i did not heal from it. it only deepened the hurt.
how i miss you cannot imagine how much.
i am never the same. all these times, i wanted to see you and i want you to say goodbye to me, face to face. like how we've met. by that, i could stop waiting. i could stop thinking...i could stop myself from waiting that you will show up one day... waiting for me at the airport...waiting for me at the train...waiting for me somewhere...
i have moved on, whatever moving on means. but i could not forget. i missed myself when i was with you...i was happy at that time. more than happy.
whatever happened to us, lijo? for a time, it was just me and you. you are my world. now, it seems we do not even know each other you were never a part of me.
i love you and i always will. and i am not sorry for that.
I had drafted a mail yesterday about the same words as yours....but didnt send you...i am sorry for all that happened...i loved much...that i have shivers even now thinking of what i missed...i find it difficult to sleep ...but then i know i cant hurt another person as i did hurt you...thats one thought that keeps me in control...and god will never forgive me if i did hurt anyone else like i did...
I am sorry for what i did..i didnt have a choice...but if you will beleive ...i loved you...more than anything,,..even now..just the thought of you...drives me really...
i wanted to see you..but then..i know what can happed if we see each other...This is really is...drives me crazy..hope only the people around me could understand...but they never gave you a chance..and god know how i feel about that..
Can i speak to you atleast..once in a while..if tats ok with you...???
i know someday we will meet...we will..

Book: Henna for the Broken-Hearted

Henna for the Broken Hearted

Follow Sharell Cook as she leaves her privileged life in Melbourne to volunteer in India in search of herself, where she soon falls in love and marries and Indian Man, making India her new home.

Click on photo above or here to read more and purchase her love story.

Visiting Cochin, India

I first visited Cochin, India (also known as Kochi) while working onboard the Seabourn Odyssey cruise ship in April, 2013. Cochin is used to tourists and therefore it's quite easy to hop in a Tuk-Tuk, sit back, and simply allow the driver to take you to all the hot spots without hardly speaking a word. But if you're up for practicing some Hindi, Chalo! (Let's go!) would be a good start.


Wendy and Tuk Tuk

Friendly Tuk-Tuk


One stop along the way is a tour of the Public Laundry.

Public Laundry Dhoby Khana

Cochin Laundry

Another stop are the Chinese Fishing Nets at Fort Cochin.

Chinese Fishing NetsChinese Fishing Nets

Indian Woman selling Jewelry along the harbor.

Indian Woman Selling Jewelry

Children playing in nearby playground. Little boy about to get a spanking, whoops!

Children Playing

Spice Market

Spice Market

Dal Roti for Lunch


Ramesh, Co-Owner of Dal Roti

Ramesh, Co-Owner of Dal Roti

Butter Chicken and Paratha

Chicken Tikka Masala

Gulab Jamun for dessert.

Galub Jamun

Inside Dal-Roti

Inside Dal Roti

A local bus.