The Taj Coromandel is on high alert. Policemen are milling everywhere. There is a police van near the entrance, men with rifles on certain floors of the hotel, and two commanders have taken over a table in the lobby. Everyone is casually under observation. My initial reaction was that a senior government official or movie star was staying at the hotel. As I looked around at breakfast, I realized that many of the tables were filled with young, virile, strapping young men. In local terms, this was royalty! The Aussie cricket team had arrived for an upcoming series of Tests.
This morning I noted the clientele with nothing more than a passing note. Even as I passed the pool later in the day, I did not think much of the crowded buffed out guys in the pool. An insight hit me later, half way through my intense sauna session. It occurred when two members of the team wandered into the sauna to enjoy the heat.
“Do you mind if we put water on the rocks?”
“Are you looking for the room to feel hotter?”
“May I suggest that we spray the walls?”
As I explained that cold water is often best served in a sauna evaporating on already warmed walls, raising the humidity level and intensity at the same time, our conversation dropped into the normal banter of guys meeting on the street that haven’t seen each other for awhile. As we finished the session I realized that I had met two fellow travelers that felt safe, comfortable, and at ease. It was as if that Taj had combined everything David was speaking about when he wrote; “You hide them safely away from the opposition. As you slam the door on those oily, mocking faces, you silence the poisonous gossip.” (Psalm 31.20)
I find myself looking for the protective barriers that are in place, keeping me safe. I need to remember to say thank-you! Having the freedom to reflect, write, and have a conversation is a gift I rarely take the time to appreciate.