Oh! how good it was to be back home…..yes, back in Sri Lanka. Although we had only been away for 6 months it seems like so long ago. D & I were so excited and stressed out (as usual) when we finally knew that we were travelling back home. We have this thing that we always make a rule not to over purchase gifts for family, friends, relations, neighbors, cab drivers, pets and who ever we could think we will bump into during our short, exhausting and expensive stay (Hmmmm…… actually, what is the right term one should use (my gosh! I sound like Ranjith Fernando) when you travel to Sri Lanka or where ever one comes from (oh, I must be catching something from too much cricket commentary) to stay in your own home for a short period before you travel back to your place of employment in a foreign country. Is it called a vacation or Holiday ? Isn’t vacation something you take and go away from home? Holiday…..that seems like poya day, or curfew day (not had any lately), polling (or if you prefer poliem as in paan poliem) day, etc.etc…..I am now more confused @#%^$^% pls. Throw a rope I am in the ditch of confusion). But like all beautiful Lankan’s we LOVE RULES and break them at the first sight of a shop, sale or just for the love of everybody, this is not because we cannot keep rules, but its because we feel what’s the use of going from here to there empty handed, we must have something to show that we came from over there or else the custom officers at the only landing strip for foreign birds will be frowning that we have nothing to show for being over the seas and might strip us bare to check ……and they may not find anything! Now that, we cannot allow at any cost, it would be too shameful to them and we might finally even appear on the not so live at 8. So we go to town as soon as we know that we are going to be in the belly of a big bird that will carry us home. D & I are happy to shop till we drop, ya, that’s right we stop just before we are to drop, in the final few days before we head to the pearl, tear, mango, pear, Rambutan (yes, very soon it will be like one or the other from the way things are going on, due to sea erosion, tsunami, global warming, economic warming etc.etc ) or what ever comes to mind of an Island. We pack for days and still at the moment we should be at the airport, we still keep packing, because I forgot to put my sock’s in the pile that went in to the 1st bag that was packed 2 days ago (how could I put my socks in to a bag when I had them on till last night), and yes my laptop is in my briefcase but the charger (yes, the laptop needs new batteries) is still somewhere and I cannot find it……or no, actually it has already been packed by my beloved D (I would have been lost to the wind if I did not find her many moons ago….do not ask me how many moons, that would be insulting). The denim has to be taken (D is getting really mad by now), I live in them when on the island, so please put them in the bag even if it is overweight. Finally, we are ready to go 1 hour late and old faithful Maburuk who will take us to the airport is ready to move.
We arrive at the airport and all is great the overweight is not too bad and the counter guy only passes a remark “Really are you taking all of this back? No idea to return?” I smile and he is humbled by my little boy face, thank God for the lovely features that I have been gifted with…… (Wow, I hear people getting choked, was that somebody falling off a chair….come on give me some credit?) we get through and are seating in the lounge waiting for that Sri Lankan Bird to take us home. I never knew the real meaning of “UL”, and we learned the HARD WAY…..yes, it was late as usual, by 2 hours. The funny thing was that nobody at the airport was either bothered to inform the passengers that “UL” is late, most probably as it is usually late. After an extended delay by a further hour we finally move off mother earth and venture into the unknown, wow, like some adventure……advanture my big toe, although we have being travelling for a while its been along time since we last travelled with the local bird. The last time we travelled she was a red & white peacock and now she is a …..???? in tri colour.
We were so surprised to see what she had to offer under her skin, actually nothing special…. She smelt like “pee” and looked like a child that had not taken a bath for a couple of years. The onboard kitchen was reminding me of the old “Kalu Kussiya” (soot kitchen) that we had in one of the old type houses we used to live a long while back. We had to keep reminding ourselves that this was our national carrier. The legs that served us was not as curvy as they were when the bird was under the red & white logo but the services was not bad, standard, nothing special either. The food, now that’s another story. Can somebody, please let me know why this lankan bird serves Indian food with no Sri Lankan option? It was like visiting your Mum expecting a total Sri Lankan meal and being served something strange that came from the next door neighbor. (sorry, to anyone who is offended, but this is the actual fact of the birds that are sent to the desert to transport our beloved foreign exchange earners, who the government loves to highlight when ever they think or remember the poor souls who are working in extreme conditions to send back US$ for our fatso’s who make a noise for nothing in the big house on the oya to live comfortably ). Its really a shame that at least the onboard meal is not Sri Lankan. Somebody needs to realize that this is the Sri Lankan national carrier and not the South Asian or SAARC national carrier. We felt it has lost its identity somewhere in-between the national factor and the foreign management factor who might only be viewing the profit factor (may be too many factors to consider).
The flight was uneventful until the final approach to land which we always enjoy. There is nothing to compare seeing Sri Lanka from above, its really breath taking, the low hanging clouds, the early morning mist playing between the green carpet of paddy fields and coconut estates, the refreshing landscape makes you just wanting to touch down as soon as possible.
After touch down its another story……….