@Katunayake, Western Province, Sri Lanka.
Officially, Katunayake was the place where were I first set foot on Sri Lankan soil, as it is where Bandaranaike International Airport or the Colombo Airport is situated. Even as I couldn’t really consider it apart from Negombo or even Colombo during my visit, its significance is of a higher plane. The provider of the primary international air gateway to the beautiful island shall not go unattended in my blog, especially at a time when I could recollect the need to thank the island which proved to be an experience which brought the change and set my mood back to something readable. Wordsworth felt poetry was “the spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions recollected in tranquility”; and I would feel the same in its absence in verses, but I would rather not question its existence as Ceylon, for it was that inspiring poetry of my Dark Ages; which set the pace for a number of journeys which came later, the most significant one being that long walk through England and Scotland; with the rime of this traveller who belonged neither to modernity nor to the legends of the ancient world. The same thing would be recollected in Lake District in the same year, but just to be forgotten and to be remembered now. For that, thank you Katunayake, for being the land which welcomed me to that world.
From here, this story takes that not-so-wrong turn. Before that, this journey is to be explained on the basis of one major thing. To support the same, this is what I found on google after searching for news on that particular day, the day I could have died, but still remained quite far away from its messenger. “On 26 July 2010, Kingfisher Airlines Flight IT 2482, detected smoke. Leakage from packets of boric acid powder & liquid detergent, packed together, resulted in the chemical reactions causing heavy smoke. It was found that there was a security lapse among the cargo security staff. There were 36 passengers on board”. Going further deep, I would say that this might have been a sign of the Grim Reaper who was absent throughout my visit later though. I could feel the delay on that day and the world outside was looking a little foggy from the inside of the flight, but this was not a thing I expected even with all those Gothic stuff in the mind – may be only supernatural could have evoked that feeling, for death was so natural; Louis de Pointe du Lac wished for it in “Interview With the Vampire”, and he got more than what he wished for – that was supernatural. In my case, there was nothing of both type; neither natural or supernatural was happening in my life, and it could not be more dead – there was no life at all. What was there for Sir Death to take? That would be a serious question if asked to Death in a quiz.
What would have Death gained by taking me then? My failures and my confusion were there for him to take; but what would he do with it? He surely can’t eat them; neither can he claim them as his own – if he was Johny Blaze and could do a worthlessness stare instead of a penance stare, he would have been the world’s most depressed supernatural agent. He might have known that and he should have surely known that I never really cared at time and I wasn’t really afraid of his power of the undesired dimension. That would have been what caused a change of mind in him; for he might have looking for souls which had something in them, a power which might be equivalent to the nuclear energy in this world – mine was just too dull; depressing enough to take the hope out of the most optimistic Dark Knight of Gotham City. I had felt in life more like a crocodile in Jurassic Park or a dinosaur in the Lake Placid, not really supposed to be at both places, and I do wonder what Death would have felt with such a feeling. Then how would Death make the living dead? What would happen to a world with no death? May be they would turn directly into the undead and Resident Evil series would never end. Then all the zombies will turn into pale Twilight vampires and go to school for Plus Two, or graduate multiple times for Vampirology or Vampire Studies (future possible courses). In India, they would choose Mawsynram or Cherrapunji as home with a holiday trip to Kerala during monsoon. If it is still not enough, there would be the Himalayas and the other mountain ranges.
But as I would hate such a thing to happen, I would hope for the end of such a craze which perverts the Vampire Legend, and I would never say “Welcome to India, nice to meet you”, and on this, one got to be on Death’s side. So there has been enough talk about Death, and less about life, and moving towards positive side of hope, belief and faith, there is the fact that this thing was not found out when the flight was in the air, might be more of a sign of the fact that the opposites are already at work. Thus reaching Sri Lanka itself was by God’s grace; it was not just any journey, it was spiritual; it had only the best of intentions and thus it had to go right. From the moment I saw the Lord Buddha statue in the airport, I wondered if this sojourn would have anything other than spirituality in the list. In case someone is wondering if this was a Final Destination moment, I would have to disagree as I am still alive after two years with the only loss being that of hair. If asked about the other people in the flight, I don’t know – I knew the name of most of the travellers, and nothing more; how they might have seen it is also another thing I might never know, they were all elder people of good spirits, that I know; all of them between the age of fifty and eighty from what my eyes told me, and this list surely doesn’t include the airplane staff.
My thanks to Sri Lanka is not just on these thoughts on air; that was just the sign for the beginning. I have to say that I never felt away from home in Sri Lanka. It was another nation about which I was aware of, and it was surely not a carbon copy. But there was so much of Kerala throughout. There were many moments when I felt not away from home and instead I felt at home, and I felt good. I felt the three thousand years of Sri Lankan history, not as documented, but as part of my own land’s history. I felt I was part of that spirituality; I visited not only churches and Hindu temples, but also the Buddhist temples, and could find the time to talk to a few Buddhist monks. That was also a first time for me, even as I could have found the opportunity to do the same with a visit to Dharamsala, Bodh Gaya or Kushalnagar, all three of these places I knew about and wished to go, but never really did. This might come back to me if I make a visit to these places or to Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand and Nepal all of which I have listed in my future destinations, but about which I can only have an unclear picture. For now, Ceylon has given me what was needed, even if a hundred people might have suggested to me that I never knew what I wanted. If they wonder so, that is a strange thing indeed.
I was officially introduced to Buddhism at Ceylon, and it is an experience which I would go through once again, and this one thing I assure myself. To add to it, I was there in that nation which is the world’s third or fourth largest producer of tea and the second largest exporter of the same. There was tea and there was spirituality, and how they are related, is more of a thing of the soul. I have had a refreshing experience with both there, and even if I would find no specific incident suitable to explain it, the whole thing was complete with these two. Ceylon’s combination of both had made an everlasting mixture, which created another world, strengthened by the tea’s fountain of youth and supported by the spirituality which powered the mind. The pure Ceylon tea bought from Sri Lanka enriched the life for almost an year, and the feeling of being abroad and being at home – that time of having both spiritual and physical unity; I felt it; I felt it in the food, I felt it in the climate, I felt it in the world which was far away, but still too close to the heart. For the first time, I was more than the hopeless me; that sparked a beginning, with the desire not to be back in India that quick, but with the need to start living according to the soul. For that, thank you Ceylon; for those days were few, but they were surely worth it. As I left Katunayake, I remembered that I am not Arnold Schwarzenegger, but still, there was something I know and I still know the same, that I will be back – and then, I will be back again multiple times.
Diving out —>
Sri Lanka was my first ever overseas trip 🙂 December 26th 2004 , i was holidaying in Kandy when Tsunami happened ! Can never forget that day in my life…i was there for a week…loved the place, people and food! Would love to go back someday 🙂 Like u said, it resembles Kerala a lot 🙂 So green and beautiful !
Sri Lanka was the third nation I visited – even though it was much later, I find it difficult to remember a lot of details; but I did take many photos and it helps 🙂
I was holidaying at Hyderabad when tsunami happened; got me worried too.
Hahaha worry not ! Dhushtane pana pole valarthum 😉 nothing wil happen to u or me..LOL..just kiddin!
Yes, just that ivide valarunnilla enne ullu 😛 😀