Sri Lanka

It’s been a little over a month since I got back from Home. Home with a capital H. I think that will always be Sri Lanka. But I have a home here, a warm nest of love and comfort that’s mine own. I love it. Anyway, it’s only proper I write this post on Sri Lankan Independence Day.

Sri Lanka was a whirlwind. 10 days of rushed adventures, and quick meetings. But it was also very very very rejuvenating. There are some moments I will never forget. That are etched in my memory likes scenes in a favourite movie, or passages from a favourite book. Here are some.

Day 1. December 20th.

I’m sitting on a tall stool. It’s hot, and I can feel tiny rivulets of sweat running down the curve of my spine. Thankfully, the ceiling fan is whirring close by, moving the hot heavy air, and occasionally creating a breeze. Condensation on the glass of my ice-cold beer creates circles on the bar. I listen to Eshi. We’re talking about her, about him, about us. How are we? I think we’re ok. I think we’re gonna be ok. It hurts, but it’ll be ok.


We talked and talked to our hearts content. Its amazing how close we are and how much time we’ve spent together since college. It’s also amazing how platonic we are. Best friends. We pick each other up, and lean on each other, and ramble nonsense at each other. God, how I love this kid.


When I stepped into the room, at first I thought he wasn’t there. But then I saw him, sitting in a corner. He had carefully laid his blazer on the chair beside him, and sat , eyes closed, leaning his head against the wall. He stood up when he saw me. There was a loud bang as I dropped what was in my hands, and walked into his outstretched ones. We fit. There was nothing awkward about the hug. Nothing uncomfortable about the hello. My heart calmed to its usual rhythm. But after we let go- it went back to its irregular booms.



Aminah was smiling. Thousand Years was playing. Dihan was on his knees, placing the ring on her finger. I was crying. Then I was walking, almost running, out of the ballroom, up the stairs on to the dark corridor. Is he coming? Will he come? Then there he was. I couldn’t stop; I was sobbing. We start walking to the room; I need to change my shoes. It felt like hours, but it must have been minutes. Sobs racked my body as I held on to him urging, wishing, cursing the world to end, so I may die in his arms. So I could stop feeling guilty for loving him, so I could stop the pain of letting him go. But I knew it was goodbye.


Flashes of whiskey in a coffee cup, making out with my girl friend, ballroom dancing with the bride’s brother. Skipping and laughing in the dark corridors of the Queens hotel. Laughing. Comforting Eshi. Holding him, letting him cry.  The night ended at 6am. But what a full, fun night it was. A night of breaking the rules, and pretending the next day will not arrive.

Day 2.  December 21st. End of the World.

My childhood best friend.

We meet once every 3-4 years. Talk about life. She will be engaged soon. I’m hungover. But happy. Memories of the night before are beautiful.


It’s evening. I’m showered and ready for the reunions to begin. Impatient to see my friends.


I’m surrounded by my closest friends. Some I hadn’t seen in years. Other’s just months. We’re drinking and laughing and remembering. So much remembering.

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Cousins, friends, old crushes, girlfriends, guy friends. memories, laughter. Nonstop happiness. He is there with me. Sharing the night, like we’ve done for years and years. Nothing has changed. It’s like the past few months aren’t even real; except, they are on his face. There is a sadness in his eyes even as he smiles. I remember that look, it’s the look I vowed to get rid of. Now it’s back- because of me. It breaks me, but I say something silly, something outrageous, a touch, a lean, and for a moment I can believe that he is happy.


It’s early. 3am.
We broke a door down to get to the roof.
If I could hear I would hear the ocean. I could see I would see Colombo stretched out before me. If I could feel I would feel the cool night air. But there is nothing. Only me and him. We’re talking. It’s nice.  But the time is passing, the moment slipping like the song….

“Here I am waiting, I’ll have to leave soon
Why am I, holding on?
We knew this day would come, we knew it all along
How did it, come so fast?
This is our last night but it’s late
And I’m trying not to sleep
Cause I know, when I wake, I will have to slip away

And when the daylight comes I’ll have to go
But tonight I’m gonna hold you so close
Cause in the daylight we’ll be on our own
But tonight I need to hold you so close
Oh-woah, oh-woah, oh-woah
Oh-woah, oh-woah, oh-woah

Here I am staring at your perfection
In my arms, so beautiful
The sky is getting back the stars are burning out
Somebody slow it down 
This is way too hard, cause I know
When the sun comes up, I will leave
This is my last glance that will soon be memory

And when the daylight comes I’ll have to go
But tonight I’m gonna hold you so close
Cause in the daylight we’ll be on our own
But tonight I need to hold you so close
Oh-woah, oh-woah, oh-woah
Oh-woah, oh-woah, oh-woah…………………….”


Day 3. December 22

Dosa breakfast with Ma and Jani, Dilki aunty and Thenuka. Yummmmm.

Day 4 December 23
Ma and Jani gave me a pedi cure, and waxed my legs. We bugged Ravindri- enjoying her prickly mood.
It’s good to be home. To sit on the Verandah- listen to music, read books.

More fun and quiet time with my sisters. They play guitar so well. I’m shocked, and so proud. They are growing so big, and they are both so so so very beautiful. Lunch with Uncle Vasi and his girlfriend. What a hilarious man!

Day 5 December 24

Morawaka. Because of jetlag i wake up at 530, 6am and i’m starving.
I find myself helping Devi (our cook) make delicious breakfasts. Roti and salmon hodi. yummmm.

It’s so hot. We walk up to the bungalow and go for a swim in the pond.
Sri Lankan style with all my clothes on. I sit in the water and cool down.

Christmas dinner tonight. We make Roast chicken, Roast vegetables, stuffing.
I’m not hungry- but it’s good to be a family. I miss Malli. We all do.

Day 6 December 25

Watched TV with the girls all day. Read my book. He is sad, for the first time in 4 years these days are spent apart. I’m sad. But I’m trying to accept that this is the reality now. I take pictures of all the places that remind me of him. Memories. Memories. Memories.

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Carry on.

Kottu for dinner. Can hardly finish it for the spice. Hot hot hot!

Day 7 December 26

Back to Matara. We drive. Spending time with Ma.
Grilled fish for dinner. Delicious.

Day 8 December 27

Drive to Nuwaraeliya. Tradition stays the same. Miss Malli.

We stop on the road to have some appa. (Hoppers- traditional Sri Lankan deliciousness.)

I drive. I get pulled over. I get the first ticket of my life. Over taking on a pedestrian crossing. I should have known better.
Tha takes over.

We stop again. Tea this time. We meet a Chinese lady who’s riding her bike all over Sri Lanka. She smells bad- riding your bike for days in Sri Lanka would do that to you. Tea is delicious. The view is stupendous. I feel the heat, and the green, and the smell of Sri Lanka seeping into my pores. For a minute I’m like Superman absorbing his strength from the sun. My cells are reborn, my wounds are healing,  the cracks are closing. Home and family makes me whole.

Day 9 December 28

Nuwaraeliya means, walks in the morning, walks in the evening. Fog, mist, rain. Nice warm sunlight.
And oh my goodness the food.

Day 10 December 29

Tehani finally came. We went for a walk to buy the things I needed. Got my watch fixed.
Have you seen a cobbler? Well, I got my shoes cobbled. How many people can say that in this day and age?
Bought chili paste, and soya meat. We went to a butcher shop. A real one- with meat hanging from hooks.

We practiced a talent show, and performed for our parents and aunties and uncles. We made strawberry margaritas and I put sugar on the rim of the glass- instead of salt. Silly me!

I’m leaving tomorrow.

Day 11 December 30

We leave Nuwaraeliya in the morning. Ravindri is staying with Tehani for a few days. Jani and Ma come with me. It’s not unlike 10 days before when I landed. We stop to buy me a purse/briefcase for work.
Ma is so proud of me. I’m so sad to leave. I miss my sisters, and I miss my friends. Eshan meets me at the airport to return my shoes. He has but a moment to give me a hug. He gives me an extra-long one tells me it’s from the other one of us. I squeeze him back.


Fade to black.


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