Sri Lanka – The Resplendent Isle

Sri Lanka - The Resplendent Isle

We decided to go to Sri Lanka for a week to celebrate my birthday. I had debated it for a while as a friend had said not to bother as it is just like South India. Somewhere I read the sage advice that “opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one and they all stink” and bearing this in mind I decided to disregard the aforementioned friend’s comments and investigate for myself.
Boy, am I glad that I did. Sri Lanka means resplendent island in Sanskrit and after 9 days there I have fallen in love with the place. To be fair to my friend it is a bit like Southern India……… but different too. There are parts that remind me of Kerala and Goa whilst other things remind me of Thailand and Singapore. The clothes are different, and the food whilst similar does at the same time have distinct differences. It is quieter, less crowded and less frenetic than its larger more populous neighbor and in fact many Westerners I met who have made Sri Lanka home, commented that it is “India-lite”. I can’t quite put my finger on what the differences are but comparing Sri Lanka with India is like comparing Australia with New Zealand. On the face of it similar countries/cultures but actually on deeper examination quite different.
The lush green scenery and the wonderful food make me want to return again and again, the 9 days that I was there were not nearly long enough and there is still so much for me to see. The good thing is that it is only an hour’s flight from Bangalore making it quicker to get to than Mumbai and double entry visas are easily attainable online.
But overall it is the people who make a place and the smiling and friendly people of this island nation were always welcoming and helpful. Hindu mythology has an epic story called the Ramayana in which the 10 headed demon King Ravana kidnaps Sita from India and takes her back to his kingdom in Lanka. However based on the interactions I had with the gentle people of Serendib, I have to wonder if like most of history, events may have been reinterpreted along the way. As a friend commented in Hindi “Joh jeeta wohi Sikander” which loosely translated, means he who wins is the conqueror and therefore in this context, the victor, Lord Ram who defeats Ravana and takes back Sita, dictated how the story is told. However at the risk of offending any Hindu readers out there (which is not my intention at all) I offer the conjecture that maybe Sita fell in love with this beautiful island and its smiling handsome king and decided to emigrate?

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