The last drink of J&B stare at me from the green and yellow bottle, waiting to be sipped by my lucky lips. By the way, I used to like that song when I was a little baby. And interestingly, this last phrase happens to be the beginning of the song. This happened without design, like this trip to the Isle.
A lot has happened after that Sunday evening at the Odel. Let me try and give you a brief update on the last 5 days. It began with a road journey into the sea of greenery. We headed to the south of the island on the Galle Rd. with my polite and friendly colleagues to get the flavor of the rural provinces of the area. Amongst many other things, the two most striking aspects were their high standard of living and the enlightened behavior of women. Most of the houses had fine curtains and women, smilingly willing to talk to the strangers. Indian rural scenario, largely is very different. The high point of the day was a very scrumptious and authentic Sri Lankan meal cooked by a qualified pianist (and a music teacher). She stays in the so-called rural Sri Lanka and happens to be the wife of one of my colleagues. The evening snack for our 'gang of eight' was delicious Hoppers and Sri Lankan chutney at a roadside joint.
The next two days were full of work at Colombo…always beginning with a great breakfast at the hotel. Interestingly, the hotel hasn’t been able to provide me with the Golden Orange Pekoe yet. Considering that this is the land famous for its tea, it’s a lapse from Taj Samudra’s end. They've promised it and I shall tell you when I get to have a sip of it.
Yesterday took us to the hill-town of Kandy. Having stayed in the town for some eight years or so, Thiyagi (the colleague who sets the dance floors on fire), was our perfect guide. People continued to be polite and the hill-station air was cool on our skins. The cargo-shorts of ODEL debarred me from entering the holy temple of Dalada Maligawa, famous for Buddha’s tooth and the unfortunate ’98 bombing. A quick shopping of the traditional Sri Lankan sarong with Thiyagi’s help, saw me getting inside the temple. The place was peaceful and full of history. The long day ended with a warm meal at the lovingly built house of Thiyagi along with Buster, Spotty and Eddie and several nameless fishes. It included String Hoppers and Prawns, carefully prepared by her quiet and gentle mother.
Today was a long working day in Colombo. Tomorrow, its going to be the north-western province of Anuradhapura with the famous Nuwaara Eliya and Sigiriya Fort.
Bohmo Stuti for reading me, my Ambalayas! ('Many thanks' for reading me my 'mango friends'...which means, my 'sweetest friends')
And that's the photograph of the temple.It used to be the Sri Lankan Kings palace, once.