Sunday, 18 September 2011

Lanka Love - 2

I buckled myself as the giant flying machine started searing the dull runway. it's one of my favorite parts of traveling by air. The surge fills me as the airplane's wheels scorch the ground and then in one swift, effortless moment, the resistance ends. I study the density of pinpoints below till the clouds engulf everything; including my mind which travels faster than the aircraft and reaches Sri Lanka before anyone else on board.

"Arre, it's another Chennai." - one of the most common refrains collected by me as i'd poked around about this new land i was about to visit. Not the one who is easily be bogged down, i maintained my rose tinted glasses. When my eyes took in the first morning light snuggling up the lonely sands of Bentota, i removed those glasses. For the place had put them too, to shame.

Bentota is a small, touristy town located right on the coast (trust me, you couldn't get closer) in the South-west part of Ravan's Land. I was housed in Taj Vivanta - a resort which i suspect would be submerged in  a few years from now, given it's extreme proximity to waters of the Indian ocean. 20 steps is all it took from my room to found yourself touching these waters. The staff exuded a natural sweetness, something i affirmed is an inherent feature of the people there, after interacting with non-hotel persons too. Their bodies spoke a humble, gentle language and simplicity in demeanor is a virtue they have chiseled to near perfection. Bare, curious eyes with a mixture of silent confidence yet practiced shyness followed us wherever we went. A slight glance at anyone invoked a warm smile - friendly, offering assistance, yet maintaining the distance that stood - a far cry from the pestering amiability that is commonly endured by tourists in our own country. And this as a place, relies majorly on Tourism for its livelihood.
The architecture was a wet, muted brightness designed to accommodate the local climate's moods. The ladies were mostly clad in a floral blouse coupled with a medium to long length skirt while the men were distributed between trousers & shirts or loose shirts & lungis. The business of life started early in the morn - earlier than most of us get up these days. Start early, close early and then spend the evening in a lullaby-like idleness till it melted into a starry night. Not that the rest of the day was sabotaged by haste or a race against time. Bentota ticks to a different clock.

After spending close to 4 days there, i'm convinced that an invisible dome protects this area from the cruel vagaries of the modern world. Consequently, it has its share of primitiveness but that's a forgettable loss for the joy of life that it enjoys. Bentota gave me two gifts, which i shall treasure for many years to come. One, it bestowed the second morning when i strolled along the rolling waves while the sun's fingers tickled and then entwined with them to produce a glimmering bluish liquid which seemed to understand me without any spoken words. The second, was a case of serendipity. I had to see the doctor to my wound redressed. He was engaged in something else and told me to wait for 15minutes. Feeling too lethargic to walk back to my room, i decided to take a stroll outside around the pool area. And quite suddenly, my eyes moved to the ocean and my feet took me to a discreet corner. My soul bathed in the bliss of beauty of the moment. Wave after wave of silvery shimmer crashed white into the dark, aged rock while the Moon, tiptoeing between the clouds shone creamily in the darkness around. Beyond the moon's halo and in the gaps between the clouds, i could spy the stars dancing in their own game. Life had found me, yet again. Thank you, Bentota. :]