With Qatar Airways flight swooping down the Sri Lanka land, my nose was stuck on the window that I wish I could open. Slide Show of loads of pictures in my mind about the Lanka and Lankans ticked on. With all enthusiasm if I could trace out one relative of Lord Ravana anywhere so I could take a autograph , and a photograph to post on Face Book. So off we go to Colombo. You do not need prior visa to fly there. Visa upon arrival was what perhaps even Seetha Matha was offered then. Now that the visa matter cropped up, please do not question me how Lord Hanumaan flew across the ocean with no coastal guards noticing. Whatever, let me tell you, molting off my bhramin avtaar I relished some fish cuisine on board the business class can offer you. If you allowed my better half to poke fun he cant stop repeating how I asked for second helping of Irish Coffee just before landing at Colombo that turned me into a court jester of the day on board.
As we sped past the longish walkway towards exit of Colombo airport I had begun to notice statues of Lord. Buddha all around. The exteriors seemed nothing different than any Indian airport except for a strange language with beautiful melody. Nicely laid trees alongside roads, as we drove away one could bet it was just a replica of the Bangalore Tata Institue roads. I do bet. The constant aroma, err this time it wasn't aroma but faint anesthetic smell of fish was all in the air. I had free knowledge donated by my better half that Sri Lankan ladies were beautiful. As for me, I was not interested in how the men looked but had begun to feel every other face was a "Chaminda Vaas" or a "Jayawardhane or a Tilakaratne. Every half a kilometer distance finds a Buddha statue with promptly lit candle. The smaller roads did have shops, including those of "King Coconuts". The bigger version of Indian ones. The sizes of coconuts to humans sure was bigger (pinching my ears) than in India.
Crows seated on that open balcony of room in the beautiful Hotel Mount Lavinia greeted us. The room provided vantage view of the roaring ocean with waves hitting the building. If you slipped off the balcony you dive into the water straight. Oldest Hotel of the British times, popular for that secret tunnel through ocean waters where Lavinia the pretty maiden sneaked in to meet her lover the British colonel. Romantic ambiance was all around, plus the private beach was a luxury when you are with family. Among those crawling creatures in sand, almost first time in life I spent hours on the shore rolling in the water. Had turned a kid with my daughter. Just after dusk an giant turtle had greeted us on the shore. After few flashy lights of many of our cameras it fled back into the water. Adventures with pythons and elephants were major enthusiasm. Beautiful hill station, Tea Estates, tremendous greenery, were major peace finding stations. A unique place to adore was the "Elephant- POO "product shops that displayed and sold out paper, books and related products that were made out of paper from elephant dung.
Government sure takes care of the thousands of elephants in "orphanages", and also makes tourist spots commercial. The elephants can splash water on you, or gulp down milk from feeding bottles that you can feed them with. All you need to throw is some crispy colourful currency from your wallet. Wait, the elephant orphanages have a clean biased entry fee - lowest to highest ranging in order Lankans, Indians, Arabs, to other whites. The poor beasts will carry you, take you long rides, do up all the shows for few bucks it's owner makes. At times I was reminded of that relative living in remote village in India who asked the grand child "OK- show me where is your nose, ears, eyes, sing a song now, show me how you dance" in front of any new visitor they have. The baby elephants face similar scene though. Most nights I spent lying in the balcony feasting on the roaring ocean waves hitting the building, feeling the melancholy the waves made. I was missing my friend, that crow in the night. But had discovered a new friend for life. Am I the only species of this type or anybody has ever felt like you have met someone whom you have known all your earlier lives too ("janamonka rishtha!") ? Chatting with this friend while on Lanka land formed a new me. Yes, felt this was a person I knew forever but talked now. Next morning even as we checked out neither did the crow return to bid a adieu to us, nor did Ayesha. Yes, Ayesha the beautiful room service lady in her blue sari that was her uniform who had turned friendly with my daughter was off duty. My daughter left back a gift of blue bangles signing her email hoping to receive an email from her as we reached Doha. Returning was a denial by heart and a week's stay ended with collection of sweet memories, small load of shopping mostly the tea powder and sambols.