Thursday, April 15, 2010

A place to call home for the new year…

“Welcome home” along with a big hug was the greeting I got when I stepped into the quaint little house in Gampola on the 12th of April. I could not help but let the warmth wash over me and luxuriate in it like one does when you step into a hot shower after a tiring day.

Like all human beings I yearn for what I do not have.

And in this case it is an extended family of my own. A place I could go to, away from my house. Grandparents for my kids. Someone to admire my achievements and take pride in it. Specially during times of fellowship such as New year or Christmas you can feel the gap in your soul even though you know you are just being a slave to sentiment.

Sure I have tons of close relatives and friends who are a close substitute but nevertheless they are substitutes.

But from a year back we have made it a point to join a friend of ours and her husband to see in the Aluth Avurudha in her parents’ house in Gampola. They are retired teachers highly respected in the community living under the shadow of the ambaluwawa complex in a quaint little house surrounded by greenery. Aunty loves to feed people. And I love to be fed. So for the two nights we were their not only was I showered with love but also all of my traditional favourites. Wild Boar! pol sambol! kiri kos! Polos curry! I am in seventh heaven. And all this cooked over the traditional hearth instead of the gas cooker which is only used for boiling water for tea.
And they have had to really go out of their way to lay hands on the wild boar. Because Gampola is part of the Nawalapitiya electorate where the elections are being held once more on the 20th of April all the politicians are buying up the wild boar so that their supporters can have a bite. And "uncle" had to use all his influence and pull a lot of strings to get 2 kilos of it into his hand. But boy wasn't it delicious.

But what is really beautiful is that when the new year dawns and the first meal is cooked each of us are fed a piece of kiribath by hand by aunty and when it is time for “ganu denu” uncle gives us each a couple of crisp hundred rupee notes in the traditional Bulath Kole.
This time he had to give money to 8 people and sometimes I am concerned how they can afford to treat us as well and be so generous when living on just a government pension. But that’s the way they are. Living a happy contented life and radiating love and kindness to everyone around them. I am so grateful that they have taken my family under their wing and made us an integral part of theirs and given us a place to come home to in the New Year.

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