Tara Nanayakkara

Good-bye Sri Lanka — For Now

For as long as my children can recall Sri Lanka was an abstract place on a map, a sparkling , tear-drop shaped pearl, surrounded by the shimmering waves of the Indian Ocean. It was a far away place where parents and generations of ancestors came before them. Sri Lanka lived in our pantry in the vast array of spices and curry blends spilling off the shelves. In fact when my daughter inhaled the scent of curry powder she would tell me that the aroma reminded her of “home.”

That’s actually quite interesting since she was born and raised in Canada. In fact until this summer, neither of my children had left North America. To me it seemed that my daughter’s soul was responding to something deeply entrenched in her DNA. A sense of familiarity to a time and place experienced vicariously through the subjective lens of parents, grandparents and an assortment of relatives.

I knew their longing to visit their parent's homeland would have to be addressed at some point. I told myself that we planned this trip especially for them. I believed this to be true. However after ten wonderful days in a country that treated us with benevolence and kindness, a country that literally gave me vision when I was but three years of age is a place I needed to revisit. Yes it took thirty-one years to return but return we did. The dynamics have changed. I am no longer the newlywed in a marriage that was supposed to survive but didn’t, but a woman happily remarried, the second time around with two adult children who are just as sad as I am to bid good-bye to this island nation that gave me life. Then again, as far as we are concerned, it is only Good-bye Sri Lanka— for now. We will be back to visit again and at that time, we hope to embark on a tropical safari, the one experience we didn’t have. It’s not easy trying to cram twenty days of activity into just ten. dænaṭa śrī laṁkāvaṭa samuganna