A tale of a long-distance love story. She lived in a faraway remote town hundreds of miles away from the city of Colombo, and I was born in London. When the flower buds opened into beautiful blooms within her garden, they reached my olfactory glands automatically!
Cool breezes swept across her garden in Sri Lanka and traveled thousands of miles, across the seas to bring me ‘love letters’ from her my long-distance love.
Neither had she seen me nor had I seen her, the only bond between us was that I had heard about her from my infant days, quite often, from my parents.
Many professionals, doctors, lawyers, intellectuals, scholars, poets, renowned authors, journalists, and internationally reputed broadcasters all fell in love with her. Artists captured beautiful portraits on her charismatic beauty, and the cameramen were eager to catch her splendor through their lenses. Poets wrote passionate poems about her, and songwriters composed romantic lyrics, those singers echoed in a most heart rendering manner describing her mesmerizing beauty.
When I heard about all these, I too became more and more attracted to her day after day. The metamorphosis of the sand grain turned it into a whole world. A drop of water turned into a mighty ocean. An infant child who once grew up to be an adult and the innocent heart converted into something complex!
Her message to me not so long ago indicated her bond with me:
“My dear…….! Although you and I live a long distance, thousands of miles apart, your heart and mine beat always together”!
I responded to her sweet massage in return:
“My dearest….! I am willing to travel up to the seventh heaven in search and reach you”.
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The tropical birds while migrating to other parts of the world from Sri Lanka brought me information about her. When the moon shone on her, it shone on me as well, land when the sun went down for her, so did it for me too.
In the end, I worked out a complex itinerary for a long-awaited journey to visit her. You (the reader), might think that I wanted to embark upon that long and arduous journey single-handed, No! In fact, I decided to go with a group of others, who in their own minds had fallen in love with her too!
The leader of the group happened to be one of my best friends, whom I assumed knew where she lived exactly. He was the one, in fact, who made me aware of her in detail, encouraged and organised this long trip to have a meeting with her.
Days turned into weeks, weeks changed into months and finally, we ended up inside a Sri Lankan Airline aircraft. I didn’t come into contact with any of the Government Cabinet Ministers, Prime Minister, or even the President of the Country inside the plane. After a strenuous (11 long hours direct flight), we landed at the Bandaranaike International airport, in Colombo, yet a few hundred miles still short of where she was, my friend advised. But even that seems much longer now than the last twenty-five years of my life!
The feeling inside the aircraft was like a wedding, without the bride. Lights were dimmed inside the plane, and I could hear thunder and lightning outside in God’s land! We finally landed at the Bandaranaike International Airport in the thick of night. Without paying much heed to the time factor, or the pitched darkness outside the airport building, I suggested to my friend that we start our journey to find her.
Only the bright stars in the sky over us were visible, the main road, the streets were completely empty. Every now and then I expected to see at least one, or two people, but I could see only fireflies in the dark. As I said before, I was not alone on this journey, there was another who accompanied me, my best friend. Although he was very familiar with places like London, Paris, Berlin, New York, Toronto, Sydney, Melbourne, and Chicago, this was the first time he had visited Sri Lanka for a long time.
We started driving in pitch darkness. After travelling two hundred or so miles, we expected to see at least someone on the road! At times, we did come across an odd person or two from whom we made enquiries about her. Our Sinhala appeared to be Greek to them. Then their Sinhala was even worse than Greek to us!
In that dark night, we aimlessly walked on the main road, after getting down from the car, it was like we were going in search of the horizon! Once, at last, we came across a young man and explained to him, in our ‘broken’ Sinhala, that we had come from London. A smile dawned on him. From his facial expressions, we gathered that he knew exactly where we were heading for. After few minutes of driving with the stranger inside our car, the young man’s volunteering to help us in the middle of the night amazed me, which I could not have found in England or anywhere in the world for that matter.
The young stranger called her name aloud, screamed and shouted in order to wake her up. She seemed to be fast asleep. There were only memories of old castles, ruins of various buildings around us. The young man yelled in joy, calling her having known that we had come all the way from London! Yet, I was wondering whether it would be proper for him to disturb the whole neighbourhood in such a manner especially during unsocial hours. But still, 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 her long-distance love was there on her doorstep, to tell her that I had come all the way from London, after all these years to appreciate her beauty. At last, like one magnet attracts to another, our voices attracted each other. 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 an unsophisticated, rural and healthy-looking damsel. 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 not that I have fallen in love with you, and have finally found you after all these years but 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 Anuradhapura, 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 finally decided to get married to you and spend the rest of my life with you in your lap and happiness.
Edited and Administered by Rowena Fernando – firstname.lastname@example.org