A Long Awaited Journey!
She lived in a far away remote town hundreds of miles away from the city of Colombo. I was born in London. But when flower buds opened into beautiful blooms in her garden they reached my olfactory glands.
Cool breezes swept across her garden and travelled thousands of miles across the seas to bring me love letters from her. Neither she had seen me nor had I seen her, but the only bond between us was that we have heard about each other from our infant days, quite often about her from my parents.
Many professionals, doctors, lawyers, intellectuals, scholars, poets, renowned authors, journalists and internationally reputed broadcasters fell in love with her. Artists did beautiful portraits of her and the cameramen were eager to catch her splendour through their lenses. Poets wrote amorous poems about her and songwriters did compose romantic lyrics which the singers echoed in a most heart rendering manner describing her mesmerising beauty. When I heard about it all I became more and more attracted to her day after day.
The metamorphosis of the sand grain turned it into a whole world. The drop of water turned into a mighty ocean. The infant child grew up to be an adult and the innocent heart converted into something complex.
“My dear, although you and I live five thousand miles apart, your heart and mine beat always together”, she sent a message to me for the last time.
“ My dearest, I am willing to travel up to the seventh heaven in search of you”, I sent the message back to her.
The tropical birds when migrated to other parts of the world brought me information about her. When the moon shone on her, it shone on me as well and when the sun went down for her, so did it for me.
I did plan a complex itinerary for a long awaited journey. You (reader) might have thought I went on that journey alone! No, I went with a group of others, naturally who in their own minds had fallen in love with her. The leader was a good friend of mine who knew where she lived. He was the one who told me about her a lot in fact, and encouraged me and organised this long trip to have a meeting with her.
Days turned into weeks, weeks changed into months and finally we were inside a SriLankan aircraft. I did not come into contact with any Government Cabinet Ministers, Prime Minister or even the President inside the plane. After about 10 long hours and a direct flight we were approaching Bandaranaike international airport, yet a few hundred miles still short of where she was. But that seems even much longer than the last twenty-five years! Inside the aircraft it was like a wedding without the bride. Lights were dim inside the plane and I could hear thunder and lightning outside in God’s land.
We finally landed at Bandaranaike International airport in the night. Without paying much heed to the time or darkness I started my journey to find her.
Except for bright stars in the sky the main road and the streets were completely empty. Even now and then I expected to see at least one or two persons, but I could see only fireflies in the dark.
I was not going alone on this journey but there was another one who accompanied me, my best friend. Although he was very familiar with the places like London, Paris, Berlin, New York , Toronto, Sydney, Melbourne and Chicago, this was the first time he had visited this land for some time.
We started driving in pitch darkness. After travelling two hundred miles we expected at least to see someone on the road. At times we came across an odd person or two from whom we made enquiries about her. Our Sinhala appeared Greek to them. Then their Sinhala was even worse than Greek to us!
In that dark night we aimlessly walked after getting down from the car. It was like we were going in search of the horizon! Once we came across a young man and explained to him in our ‘capable’ Sinhala that we came from London. A smile dawned on him. From his facial expressions we gathered that he exactly knew where we were heading for. After five minutes drive with this young man’s help we approached where she lived.
The young man called her name, yelled and shouted in order to wake her up. She seemed to be fast asleep. There were memories of old castles, ruins of various buildings around us. The man yelled in joy calling her having known that we had come all the way from London. I was wondering whether it would be acceptable for him to disturb the whole neighbourhood in such a manner during unsocial hours in that manner. But no door opened, no window unlocked and not a single gate unfastened.
I then called aloud her name with ecstasy to let her know that I was there at her door step and to tell her that I had come all the way from London to see and appreciate her beauty. At last, like one magnet attracts another, our voices attracted each other’s.
The door opened to the one who kept on knocking! A cold breeze constantly blew. When the moon shone, it shone on both of us simultaneously. She cried and shed happy tears and welcomed me.
Who is she? She is the one I had fallen in love with, from the days I was a toddler. She was the one my parents used to tell me about and described her as unsophisticated, rural and healthy looking. Now she has transformed into a sophisticated beautiful lady!
My darling, the amount of trouble my friend and I had to undergo to find you in the night! The other group members are fast asleep in a Colombo hotel trying to get rid of their jet lag. Sure, they will come to see you tomorrow.
The difference between them and me is that I have fallen in love with you and have finally found you after all these years. I am now in your lap. The dream I had from my childhood, having born to Sri Lankan parents in England, from early ages, has now come true.
Dear Anuradhapure, once the capital of Sri Lanka, the hub of hospitable, innocent, unsophisticated and harmless people and where my parents were born and bred. I have now decided to get married to you and spend the rest of my life with you in your lap and happiness.