Posts Tagged ‘ Foreign ’

trip to kovil

5th November 2011.
“So, you are a Hindu?” my supervisor had asked. “I am a Hindu-Buddhist”, I had replied. “But you go to a Kovil, don’t you?”I was bewildered. “Kovil? No, I go to a temple”. “We call it Kovil there, the Hindu temple, where Tamils go?” he had added with a smile. This conversation was almost a month ago, during our first meeting in Thailand. He had said that there were many Kovil, less than Buddhist temples of course, but quite many. The nearest one was in Welawatta and it was the most famous one in Colombo. “But I don’t want you to go alone,” he had added,”It’s not safe for girls to go around alone, especially the foreign girls”.
This was the cautionary statement that he added in our every conversation about Sri Lanka. He is scared; concerned for me. I wondered if he is worried so much because I act too immature for my age or just because of the fact that I am a foreign girl. I am after all his responsibility in Sri Lanka. Humph!
Anyways, I had a long weekend and there was no one to take me around Colombo. I had wasted my previous weekend too due to the similar reason. So, I decided to go alone at least to the Kovil, despite my supervisor’s concerns. My supervisor is a nice guy; a wonderful guardian and a good-hearted fellow. I didn’t want to lie to him, so instead I talked to my co-supervisor, convinced her (in a way) and then went around. I had searched for the place in Google map, learnt the routes by heart and written all the place names in my book (the names are pretty hard, I must say). My flat-mate had suggested that I take an AC bus. But I wouldn’t exactly be feeling Colombo, with the AC around me now, would I? She still warned me that I should not go alone, but I didn’t listen. In fact everyone whom I told of my plan had said “Oh! So you are going? Alone? Do you know the way? Don’t talk to anyone. Take an AC bus and come back soon.” So many warnings, as if I was on to find another America! So, I got out of the flat at 3:30 pm, with all the warnings and cautions, and waited for the bus. But no bus came. So, I walked to Katubedda junction and got on the bus to Colombo. It wasn’t an AC bus and though it was hot, I kind of enjoyed it. Luckily, the bus conductor could reply in English as well. So, I get off at Wellawatta but the conductor said that the Kovil was still a stop away. The Kovil was actually in Welawatta- Bambalapitiya border. So, I got on the bus again, people were nice. They smiled at me and asked me if I was a tourist. Some of them even drew maps for me voluntarily to show me the directions. I got off the bus, at the correct stop this time, and across the road I could see the Kovil, Sri Manika Binayakaga Kovil. Continue reading

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Homesick During Tihar!!:/

26th October 2011
It was Tihar today, my favorite festival. And I happen to be posted in Sri Lanka, from Nepal, in a Fredkorpset Norway Exchange Program! As much as I am beginning to love my new home, Sri Lanka with all its serenity and contrasts; with its warm beaches, its coyness; its spices and coconuts; the long names; twisty dialects; the artistic script , which I am yet to learn and the tyrannical heat; being away from one’s family is always hard. Especially for a girl like me who has never been away from home, it is painfully difficult. I was in Bangkok during Dasain as well, for the 19th Fk exchange preparatory course, but there were many others like me, my country people; who were also away from their homes; and it’s amazing how nationalities and commonness can bring people together. Though I missed home then, there were many of us missing our homes, so we celebrated Dasain together along with others and it ended quite well.
It’s not that people here don’t have Tihar. Actually today was a holiday for Diwali here. The Tamil community celebrates Diwali here. So, almost everyone knows what it is about. People were wishing me Happy Diwali and asking me about it. But since this is my fourth day in a new country, all alone, I decided not to try and celebrate Tihar here. I did try to find a temple here, but I couldn’t go by myself and others, who could accompany me to the temple; either didn’t know where it was or were too busy to take me there. Disheartened, I just tried to carry on as I would on any other Saturday. “Ra.one” – an SRK movie released today. Senali Akki suggested we go watch a movie and since it’s an SRK movie, I thought it would be a good distraction, if I again felt homesick. Just in case! So we went to watch it; first day, first show. It was a good movie, we had lots of fun. After that we went to have pizza and choco-sundae and then went shopping. So, the morning ended just like any other holiday.
Later, she had to attend a funeral. So, I stayed back and then did my laundry; did some for her too. And guess what? While doing laundry, my mind would automatically race back to Nepal, to my home. I would wonder, “my mom must be preparing Laxmi Bhog now”; “my daddy must be fixing the electric lights now”. I would force myself back to reality, try to focus on the laundry but then again my mind would wander around and I would think- “Dad must be tired now after shopping so much” or else, “I would be doing this now” and then again “I hope Babu is helping them, how can my mother do it alone without me??” And PANG!!! It struck there, right in the left chest and the pain, the agony; is so hard and so sharp that tears well down my eyes. The so called “Homesickness”! Not for the first time; but strong and increasingly painful every time. Continue reading