The Balas at Bala

Last names come in a variety of different flavors. Family names, father’s name, husband’s family name, husband’s name, the name of your hometown, occupation. Our brand of surnames belongs to the Father’s-name-variety and given that the father’s name is all of 15 syllables, we can be excused for cutting it short to the first four letters every now and then. For convenience and sanity.

In other news, if ever one is looking for some aspect of  the English countryside to compare and contrast with South India, I think an area of stiff competition could be in the names. The Welsh names were some of the most tongue-twisting I have ever come across. And this is from a person who has visited Hawaii( LLanfo, LLyn Tegid, Afon Trywryn, Gwydyr, Llangolen and so on. School is written as’ Ysgol’ pronounced Yisgool. Can anyone see how similar that sounds to the famous South Indian  pronunciation of Is-cool? (Is School cool? Or is Is-cool cool? Or school is cool?)

For Is-cool to be understood as School and then to be -reinterpreted as Ysgol must be hard work. Now please imagine the plight of Indian Americans trying to understand the Tom-Tom’s British accent while pronouncing Welsh names. It is no wonder that we went-the-round-about-in-Ysgol what?! ((  Before we could understand the Tom-Tom and interpret what it is saying, the round about had already spun us out in a totally different direction.

However, there are benefits to this and one of them is the fact that we stayed in a place called ‘Bala’ (The first four letters in the alphabet soup that produces my father’s name) Bala is home to the largest lake in Wales and is a bustling town of about 100 residents (one of whom is having their home remodeled, and that is the talk of the residents) The husband and brother had found a marvelous cottage in the middle of nowhere i.e. about 5 miles from Bala. I kid of course, but Bala was beautiful (

The Bala Lake:
The Bala Lake:

The directions to the cottage were something like this:

  • Satellite navigation will end at one point in the road.
  • Keep going.
  • You will notice a road sign saying the road ends and there are no more through roads.
  • Keep going.

What they should have said:

  • The roads are narrow. If another car approaches, God help you.
  • You will see three ponds, three ducks, a farm full of sheep and 15 rabbits.
  • Keep going.
  • After this you will see two gates. Send the author of future blogs about the trip to heave and ho as hard as she can to open them, while the rest of the party sits in the car and cackles at her plight.
  • Keep going.

After all of this, I have got to tell you was the most marvelous experience of all time! For the first time in many years, we found ourselves without hearing any man-made sounds for a few days. All you could hear for miles around was the soothing sound of lambs and sheep baa-ing, the song of birds and the sound of a rushing stream of water.  I suppose people find this when they go camping to some place in the woods or something, but smack in the middle of this bucolic heaven was a cottage with all modern amenities. If ever there was bliss, it was the gratitude of knowing a warm, comfortable lodging awaited you the moment the stars shone down.

Thank you Bala for everything (My father first and then the town).

The Balas at Bala
The Balas at Bala

Coming up next: What the sheep taught us at Bala.

2 thoughts on “The Balas at Bala”

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