Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Ceylon Sojourn

I had been AWOL for quite a few days. Because of two reasons – my end-terms and my Ceylon Sojourn.

I can summarize my end-terms in just one word: CRAP.
Enough said.

I cannot and will not summarize my Ceylon trip in one word. For that matter, I don’t think even a 1000 words would suffice.

Ironically the first thing that hit my ears on landing on Sri Lankan soil was Jana Gana Mana! Nope, not our national anthem..but Rahman’s anthem from Aayitha Ezhuthu. If there is anything else that Colombo could have done to form a stronger bond, I cant imagine what it could be!

My brother-in-law, Sriram and sister, Brinda had an expectant look on their faces. I would like to flatter myself by thinking that it was on seeing me, and not the huge amount of goodies I had got them from India. The one hour taxi ride to their house was filled with a lot of nostalgia. I was also made aware of the fact that there were around 10 Tamil FM stations in Ceylon. Yowza!!!

The next 2 days were spent in shopping around Colombo city. Anyone who has shopped with me before would know that it is a highly boring task. Simply because I take around 5 mins to make up my mind and complete the purchase. The remainder of the time was spent on eating. Added to my current craze for Thai food is now Sri Lankan food – especially Kottu.

After the shopping binge came 2 days of traveling around Ceylon. As much as I would have loved to visit Jaffna, security reasons prevented it. We first went to Ratnapur, where a couple of guys in a gem-pit showed us the process of digging semi-precious stones out of the earth. During the whole process, I missed Ameya, who would have rattled out the various hydrocarbon & polymer names.

Then came our next stop at Udawalawa National Park. I would suggest that you go through the entire photo album, as mere words would not be possible to express the sheer beauty of the elephants.

If I thought I had been completely sated with my experiences at Udawalawa, the next day’s 5 hour ride on the road along the beach proved me wrong. Wow! There were a million places to stop and capture the scenery on my camera. But photos would have somehow made the views normal..and they weren’t! So I chose to just sit back and enjoy them. (If you find a slight resemblance to the Dhimant style of blog-writing, it is purely co-incidental. :))

We then went on a 1 hour boat ride to check out the corals, fishes, turtles & other sea forms. The boats are fitted with a special glass bottom so that, instead of bringing the fish & turtles into an aquarium, you get to see them in their natural habitat.

And we rounded off the trip with a heavy vegetarian buffet in Colombo and a Tamil movie. Ahhh..a combo that I would enjoy for a million years.

Though my flights to Colombo were pretty eventless, there was this small incident on the way back. Indian Airlines air-hostesses need to have a retirement age! They either shirk their tasks completely or follow it too assiduously.

I had to get up from my seat and fix the seat belt for an old lady who sat a couple of rows back because there was not a single air-hostesses in the plane.

And when they finally did come and began serving food, one of them tried to coax me into getting drunk. A Kingfisher beer can was thrust into my face thrice and twice I was asked “Are you sure you don’t wanna?”! Nightmares of Kaushik’s exploits in Madras began to unfold in my mind.

So I scrambled from my seat and ran to the toilet to check whether my face had suddenly gotten a get-me-badly-drunk look. All I noticed was a significant increase in darkness of my complexion. Heaving a sigh of relief, I got back to my seat glaring in all directions, and pretended to sleep.
I don’t think I was offered the beer after that.

It was all smooth sailing from then on..
until the classes began on Monday.

Aargh..these subjects!!!!!


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