Sri Lanka: Free to be Me


SunsetA never ending sky. The grey-black clouds speak of a dusk, yet to arrive. The sun is still visible. But this is not the arrogant, scorching sun of noon; it is a gentle, mellow light that paints its surroundings in vibrant hues. Sometimes, you may see a boat, dot the horizon. An infinitesimal entity, gliding towards, a seemingly infinite space.

This is the seaside town of Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka. – Sri Lanka is a tiny island nation, nestled in the Indian Ocean. It’s lush, varied landscape, belies its very size. Mountainous terrain and an endless beach, lie within a few hundred kilometers of each other.- Here, at the Mount Lavinia beach, you feel at peace. A peace that was, once, hard to envision, in a country marred by a civil war, spanning over twenty five years.

The golden sand trickles through your toes. You long to build sand castles the way you did when you were small. And here, you can. Because, this is a place where you do not mind what others may think. Here, you are free to be your innermost self. And nostalgia is banished; as you pick up little shells to decorate your castle, and dig deep into the sand to build your own moat. You know that within a few minutes, a few hours or within the span of a day, the inevitable will come to pass, and the waves will carry your castle away to sea; but on this beach, it is only the here and now that matters.

The ash blue ocean beckons, enticingly. Captivated, some wade into the water, where white tipped waves break across their feet. The more intrepid, swim out to sea. Shrieks of glee can be heard at times, as the waves catch people unawares. Some, who have come to the beach fully clothed, are drenched, due to the unpredictability of the ocean. Yet, seemingly no one cares. The worries of the boardroom and the burdensome workloads of everyday life, are left far, far behind. The vastness of the ocean holds a compelling magic that somehow, seems to wash life’s trivialities away.

The tall, coconut fronds swish and rustle to the tune of the inescapable wind. Lightly plaited hair and loosely tied pony tails, cast their hair grips asunder, and fly wildly, unrestrained. Coupled with sea spray, hair tastes salty, here, as it swirls around your face. Free, at last.

palmsA few, wooden fishing boats lie quietly on the sand. They, the children of the night, are idle, now. But in a few hours, fishermen, dressed in loincloths or shorts, will be seated in these boats, with their nets cast out. The livelihood of these fishermen, who live in thatched huts on the beach itself, is almost entirely dependent on the bounties of the ocean. Unfettered with material possessions; they sail the seas, with a simple trust, that is touching to see.

Never has Blake’s words seemed more appropriate than at the Mount Lavinia beach:
“To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.”

About the Author: My name is Layanthi Tennekoon. I qualified as an accountant; but now, I engage in freelance writing, because that’s something I  truly love to do. It also means, that this way, I get to spend more time with my little son, who means the world to me. I like reading, learning new skills and meeting new people, as each in their own way, gives me a fresh perspective on the world.


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