House By The Sea
Have you ever walked through the streets that run along the railway tracks at Dehiwela? The stretch that begins from the junction and goes on till Mt Lavinia, have you ever talked to those people and witnessed what their lives are like? I can’t say that I’ve spent enough time there to say too much about it, but what I can say is I envy them. They have all the reason to worry – where their next meal is coming from, if they’ll even make a catch that day – and yet you see none of it on their faces. And their faces are so young.
The women in these parts are so full of life. They’re strong in their hearts, and their words strike harder than any of the men around there. I’ve had to fortune of witnessing a few disputes taking place, with women pummeling their men to shame with their words. I felt like closing my ears to some of it, just because they meant those words in ways most wouldn’t dare. You see it in their eyes – candid, sincere. Their eyes reflect and look so full of life. Just joyous some times.
I spent my morning by the sea today, in a little house that had been spared by the tsunami. The man who lives there used to own a pretty large home before the waves came. He has three daughters, one that’s only two months old. One of them reminded me of Agnes from Despicable Me. He says he wants four. We ration our jane for the hours that will pass, one at 10AM, one at 11AM, and one at 12 just before we eat. And then go about our morning, spending some time on the shore. Susa smashed clams open with a rock to use as bait on a fishing line. He didn’t catch anything though.
We bought a tin of jack mackerel for lunch.
But that morning didn’t feel like a waste at all, to be around those people, to just listen to them speak about the little things, the day to day things that sound so mundane when any other person says it. These people know how to live, and they seem more than happy to be living that way. Never have I heard anyone ever praise Colombo other than the people who live by the sea. You can’t call those slums – they might be poor in terms of money, but they are rich in their hearts. Moreso than most Colombians.
I feel inspired.