Both are repeats and I was not really going to post them for they are also recent repeats but then I guess the Saree Pact is now as much about our experiences and the day and the wonderful souls who people them as much as the saree and yesterday was such one day!
So I am in Colombo on work and met some of the really wonderful physicians I work with here , a couple of them for the first time . How welcome they made me feel and the visit to the National Cancer Institute in Maharagama , just outside of Colombo has set the tone for the remainder of my stay here.
I hired a taxi for the trip to and back from Maharagama and had the most wonderful young man driving me for the day . One truly learns everything and anything about another country or city only from the people who live and work there. In the hour that took me to my destination , I was updated with the latest in Sri Lankan politics, governance , music and film trends , food fads and cricket news. The views expressed were mature and real ; not sparing anyone when there was critique and including everyone when there was appreciation . The sheer goodness of the Srilankan bowls one over. The charm and the kindness stays with you like a protective layer.
Throughout the ride and back , important and interesting landmarks were pointed out , the more scenic route chosen and gems and nuggets of local value shared.
I now know that Colombo 7 is THE neighbourhood of all the 15 for example , and why so .
Anyway on the way back it was really , really late and we were both ready for Lunch . I told Saman that I wanted to eat local , fresh and fish and though he was momentarily surprised I did not want to eat in a proper restaurant and was hoping he would join me and take me to where he would have had lunch , he was already saying , Ok Madam I know just the place . And it is right here in Maharagama .
Within minutes we were inside this cool , dim interior of a thatched establishment that had benches and tables and a huge array of the most tempting curries laid out .
A plateful of heaped rice and any five of those tantalising dishes was ours for just Rs200/- . Oh I cannot tell you how fast we got our laden plates and how fast the food disappeared .
As we were eating we got talking about each other’s lives and Saman said he had worked in Cyprus for some years and earned some money to build a small house for his parents and I asked him what work did you do and he said he drove a car for an official in the Spanish Embassy and I was like oh! Entonces , I asked him, Usted habla Espanol? And he was like , Si por supuesto , pero usted tambien? Como?
Imagine , an Indian and Sri Lankan meet in Colombo and find out each other know Spanish and break out into a feverish conversation drawing much attention from co lunchers !!!! One of those awesomeness moments in life .
Skip to evening dinner and this wonderful couple who I only know through a common friend and have never met before come to pick me up from 5 am from the airport and then after a long day at work they take me along to a family dinner and treat me like a queen and oh I tell you there is nothing better than the love of a fellow human being for another . Ravi thank you for bringing Adriana Achilles De Witt and Christopher De Witt into my life.
In that one room we were not Indians or Lankans or Hindus or Muslims or Sinhalese …we were people who loved each other and respected each other and broke bread together . Ok we partook of spirits too…of the bottled variety . And posed sportingly for the Saree Pact photo saying ok we’ll make the husband jealous !! And dear Chris parts with his cool hat and grabs it back as soon the photo op is done .Love you he says but love my hat more