70. Thank You Ceylon

@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 —>



60. The Night Riders

@Angamaly, Kerala, India.

On that day of darkness which most of the earthlings would call night, I had that lone drive to Angamaly which sparked that memory which was recalled and initiated with a cup of tea a few kilometres from the destination. For something which was powered by tea, there was surely the memory which consisted of the immortal drink of the common man, but the town remained the topic of that night; that time, it was about the destination and not tea, the latter which served only as the path – the motivator. Supported by a number of English songs which served as the gasoline for that moment, those which were to point directly to some random destination in England or Scotland, they actually led to that place, as the compass showed one direction and the memories followed to travel and reach that place which was a lot closer; but memories needed no petroleum products.

That journey was something which happened a few years ago and after reaching Angamaly, the first thing to notice was surely the St. George Basilica with its dome giving a great sight from a distance adding a certain amount of magnificience while entering the town from this side of the National Highway, which is the path coming from the Cochin side, while St. Joseph’s Church would catch the attention faster from the other side, with its own dome is definitely a closer thing to the road. The former and the latter should be that noticeable; new and closer to giving a great sight to the human eye, and may be also to the eyes of the angels of the other world who travel beyond the dimensions; at the same time driving the demons of Hell away, with its own uncrowned champion getting the worst of the creatures made of clay, due to their devotion which could make the power of hellfire submit.

The Basilica might be one of the biggest churches in India, if not the largest the biggest of the newer church structures of this century located at this part of the world. At Angamaly, which has been one of the main centres of Christianity in its early days, stands this church building which is a thing of beauty as well as spirituality. Its architectural beauty could take no second seat as it looked that awesome, even if it lacked the usual old-style characteristic which could have lead the mind to another world, for it would have suited the land better; still what the new structure gave was no thing of less importance in a world of no devotion, belief or faith to guide humanity in the right path. It can be for this world or the other, but it would serve, and as John Milton would say, stand still and serve like a few angels who successfully avoided the temptation of the fallen one who spoiled that wonderful opportunity to serve at the right place rather than to rule at the wrong place.

When looked from the outside, its the dome and the two towers of the front which might gain all the attention, but once inside, the window glasses steal both the heart and the brain. They are so beautiful and when the light passes through them, there is more of that divine feeling added to that already existing beauty and the feeling is more of being out of this world. The windows keep reflecting the light to the floor and the feeling of divinity continues to reach another level. One can look at all sides, upwards, downwards and everywhere there is that great feeling of beauty which exists throughout the structure with its spirituality. It is that domain of prayer which is not just a material thing, but something which would continuously touch the inner soul; raises that faith and belief, calls one’s spirit to that new dimension of never ending hope.

St. Joseph’s Church of Karayamparambu should be something new. It is easily visible from the side of the National Highway and is mostly one huge dome and not that huge a structure as it seem to be. The dome comes at the front area of the church building and it gives the structure a great view, along with those statues of the saints adorning the area just below the dome, supported in beauty by the cherubs on the front gate. Inside the dome, there are the pictures of various saints as well as those of various incidents in the Bible. The altar is also very much something of beauty and the feeling inside continues to be great. There is nothing in there not to be noticed, and being a smaller structure doesn’t take anything out of it. There is also the greenery not too far away from the location of the church, not planning to leave the beauty just to its architecture.

Located so close to the Cochin Airport at Nedumbassery and having its own railway station, along with having one of the best bus stations around, Angamaly is surely fast developing and in that process, it would add more to the memories which are to be awakened by another night ride, next time that ride itself would be a memory which would stay alive for a longer amount of time, not to haunt and not confuse, just to provide enough to keep them steady in the mind, as it would deserve as that town of importance, located that close to those pilgrim centres of supreme importance, Malayattoor and Kalady; for it is that gateway and it can only be extended and get better. The memories also would have the same opportunity, and it is for them to take and use during one of those journeys and fill the mind with them without an opportunity to overflow.

Diving out —>