14 August 2012

Tell me; is the grass here any better than the grass anywhere?

Tell me; is the grass here any better than the grass anywhere?
I am sitting in my little patch of garden in the stix. Years ago I probably would sit my butt on the paved part, but now I am using the padded stool from the living room. Jasper sits a few feet away from me, despite an hour-long walk with the kid; he looks up to the sky longingly. His way of hinting to me that he would love a little romp in the field behind the house. Walking with me has the added bonus of being let off the lead. That way he ensures no strange scent is left unexplored while frolicking beside me but to run to all parts of the field when he gets an exciting scent. The sun-blazing overhead all day has gone down earlier than usual, early darkness, signs of autumn looming, worse the winter cometh.
Constant sunshine is a rarity in Britain, today more of an exception. Bathed in the morning and again at night. Tiredness takes over as I take the last drag on my cig and butt it on the grass beside me. British homes are built for the cold weather – air tight. Provision never made for fans as you most times can count days like this on your ten fingers for a whole year. Air-tightness is welcome in the winter, keeping the cold air out, but when the sun blazes overhead all day, the homes virtually heat up like a boiler room. The temptation to buy a fan is always there, but every time I want to, checking the weather I find the next day to be mild. So one of the tasks you never really complete in Britain.
There is relief now. I leave the cool night outside and go back in. The slight breeze that ruffles the curtains through the back door is still welcome.  It’s been a long day, frustrating to say the least. Seeing the Srilankan Smiles frequent flyer email early morning I am determined to avail myself of this offer, and a quick week in the Paradise Isle to celebrate my Brit friend’s birthday, the Brit friend who has lived in Sri Lanka for over two decades. The younger brother I never had.
The smiles offer was £200, 210, 0r 250 depending on the day you wanted to travel plus 10,000 miles deducted for the privilege. Add the tax and it became £512. For one week, even to me, the one who misses his Paradise Isle so much, it is too much. So after much agonising heaven is on hold.
But from morning after my call to the Srilankan offices in London, I have not been very good company. Running around in the heat didn’t help either. Neither did the suffering, sweating, stinking mass of humans packed into trains that run underground without adequate cool air pumped into the carriages from aging trains. Again keeping the cold out in winter but not working at all when it gets warm like today.
Now after my second shower, in my now faded ODEL sarong (present - I buy my sarongs from Barefoot, Paradise Road and House of Fashion) and loose t-shirt, life looks better, but only a wee bit. My stomachs full, bowels empty and all the cares of the world are flushed away.
But for that niggling longing somewhere deep inside of me, for the Paradise Isle and to be there for a great mates birthday. I know I will do the right thing and not go and I will feel better in a couple of days, but right now it does hurt. Not going I mean. The Olympics, London 2012 and all the fantastic action from the pool and the stadium all but a glorious memory. British unprecedented gold and third place on medal table added excitement.
Now all gone.
Like my Paradise Island, nothing but a bittersweet memory.
My ankle not completely healed prevents me from pounding the pavement with Jasper. His rapid weight-gain over the past eight weeks a good indicator of the lack of exercise, for both of us. So the relief of a good jog no more, nor the endorphins that accompany it I sit despondent.
I just yearn to be in Kandy again. I wish I have never either seen or experienced the world. I wish my parents thought living in Kandy was good enough. That I was just a Kandy boy coming home after work in a bank. Getting off the Wattapuluwa bus in front of our house with my empty lunch container. The lights to welcome me would be switched on in the house; nightfall comes fast and quickly in Kandy. My dinner would be on the table, timed to perfection with my coming home. Quick wash and food, coffee, quiet chat with parents and to bed, repeat the next day. Relaxing weekends playing cricket, or taking my fathers old Lancer Station Wagon into town with my friends for a KFC and an ice-cold beer at Bake House. If it’s bright enough and there’s no rain Sundays would be at the Queens hotel swimming pool. Sunday evenings long jogs on the mountainous roads to ogle at all the beautiful Kandy girls who come out to stand by the wall in their garden. They’re dropped and picked up from school by car, some boarded in Colombo schools, but all home for the weekend, no permission to venture beyond the garden, so furtive excitement of a quick smile, the gutsier amongst us would and might slowly palm off a love letter.
If I stayed in that quiet hamlet of Wattapuluwa I probably would have married one too. Not once but twice missed. When I came back from the USA my parents had moved back from Colombo to Wattapuluwa. But I didn’t but to visit.

I wish, therefore I yearn
I repent, therefore I cry
I live, therefore I hurt
I am nothing
Tell me; is the grass here any better than the grass anywhere?
I wish I knew what I know now, then
But living there, not here
You know?
I keep wishing
For my mother, to let her know what I know now
That’s it’s not really ok, you know…
I wish I could stop blaming myself, for I am one who made the mistakes, I can’t say I didn’t know better, but I didn’t know what was best.

"What I could not see did not take me long to get over — what I did see was quite enough. There was no servant rule, and the only ring which encircled me was the blue of the horizon, drawn around these rural solitudes by their presiding goddess. Within this I was free to move about as I chose." Rabindranath Tagore

No comments: