Sita Visits Lanka Again
It wasn’t easy convincing Ra-aam, my husband to plan a vacation in Lanka. I had to work on him for years, showing him pictures of sunny beaches, women in bikinis, serene hills, stunning landscapes, the many monasteries dotting the country. A part of me understood why he wasn’t so keen. His last visit was not under pleasant circumstances. The poor guy had to walk all the way to Lanka, get a bridge built by an army of monkeys to cross the sea and engage in a fierce battle with the king who had kidnapped his wife.
Strangely I don’t have any ill-feelings towards that chap, Ravana. The guy understood the concept of consent even when it wasn’t fashionable The man had strange tastes though. Wore too much gold, just like Bappi Lahiri.
If it weren’t for that dork Lakshman, he wouldn’t even have to abduct me to teach the brothers a lesson. Couldn’t he have just said ‘let’s just be friends, girl’ to Surpanakha instead of chopping off her nose!
As if it wasn’t bad enough that he had insisted on following us to the jungles like a devoted puppy when we were exiled! I was so looking forward to some us-time with my man. His Barjatiya sized family would never leave us alone in the palace and insist on playing antakshari every effing day. Ugh! Also the palace food was making me fat. So when I decided to accompany my man after he was banished on the insistence of his step-mom, I had already formulated a diet plan that would get me my size zero figure back.
But no! Thanks to my BIL and his humongous appetite, I had to prepare 4 course meals that took ages to prepare on wood fire. While the boys would go off gallivanting in the wilds, I was confined to the hut and the boring chores.
In a way my unplanned visit to Lanka was a nice break from the monotony. The ride in the flying object wasn’t too bad even though I regretted dropping off all my jewellery as a GPS tracker for the husband. After years of being married to him, I had very little faith that he could find anything, leave alone his missing wife, on his own.
Since my last visit was mostly confined to this fancy resort ‘Ashok Vatika’ I hadn’t seen much of Lanka. Also, it was way back in 7292 before some chap called Christ.
I am no longer the same woman and Lanka has become much fancier.
Pity, Hanuman burnt Ravan’s Lankapura down. But then he was always monkeying around.
So it was with mixed feelings that we walked across the arrival terminal of the Colombo airport. My face hidden behind oversized sunglasses, I was praying no one would recognize me, given my fame. Though I look way different than my pictures in tacky calendars and posters, that has my hair plastered with oil and hands folded with devotion towards god-knows-who!
Thanks to my punishing workouts and Keto diet, I look rather good in my black tights that I have paired with an off-shouldered top from Zara. Also there is no Lakshman tailing us.
Our first stop was going to be Galle Fort, a UNESCO world heritage site, along the southwest coast of Lanka . I had prepared an itinerary after going through top things to do lists (in various denominations of 10) on TripAdvisor and other forums. These lists do a remarkable job of listing the mundane as top attractions, because hey, if we got conned into traveling 60 miles to see a ‘forest reserve with a thriving biosphere’ and spotted just one stray deer and barren fields, we will make sure you do too!
As we cruised towards Galle, I couldn’t help but notice that almost all the men look like Ravan. The good looking ones were all tourists.
I almost screamed ‘bhagwan Ram ke liye mujhe chhod do’ when we met our cab driver!
The expressway that connects Colombo to Galle is world-class. Even as we meandered through towns to reach the expressway, I was admiring how clean and smooth the roads were, with no hawkers thrusting their wares on your face, beggars knocking at your window, insisting you part with your money to receive their blessings. Why, even the mandatory tea stalls, pakora stalls, 15 dhabas named Mamu kaa dhaba, all claiming to be no. 1, were conspicuous by their absence!
Galle fort is pretty as a picture with cobbled streets, heritage buildings with white facades, many great and not so great eateries, souvenir shops, boutique hotels that you can cover on foot in just one hour, and then look at each other and ask, now what! So you admire the tiny four-wheeled chariots painted in vivid colours. They call them tuk-tuk these days. Click pictures of vintage cars parked in alleys. Trawl through many more lists on the internet to fill your day with useless pursuits and have passionate discussions about where to have your next meal.
|This pic was clicked by SIta|
Also, Galle has more firangs than locals.
God, Ravan would have loved this place. That guy always had a thing for fair skinned maidens.
My Ra-aam is a changed man now. He keeps a safe distance from dhobis and their feedbacks and would rather be a good husband than the ideal monarch. I have long forgiven Ra for making me go through purity tests like I was some piece of gold! Also, it was kind of cute, that he never changed his relationship status to married-but-ready-to-mingle even when we were living separately.
We are the archetypical modern couple now. We share chores, party separately and profess our love for each other on Facebook.
Our next stop was going to be Ravan’s kingdom now known as Nuwara Eliya, located in the tea country hills of central Sri Lanka. It got its new name thanks to Hanu who burnt the city with his inflamed tale. They had no fire engines those days. So it burned for days and the natives living in plains started calling it the City of Light – Nuwara Eliya.
As I reclined on the car seat, bracing myself for the long drive to the hills, the image of Ravan, his glistening dark skin, muscled visage, his handlebar moustache kept swimming before my eyes. He did smell kind of nice, unlike my man who always smelt of mustard oil. Was it sandalwood or musk, hmm?
The butterflies in my stomach were chorusing in unison. NUWARA ELIYA, HERE WE COME!