I can't help myself. Every time I'm about to go to the Motherland I get like this. One more weekend and then I'll be winging my way to Lanka.
This time it's going to be different. This time my dish of excitement is mixed with a tablespoon of nerves, a teaspoon of trepidation and a small pinch of fear. Yes, this is the first time I've been away post divorce, with the GIRLS!!!!
There were a couple of weekends and even a week during my marriage when I took them away. But the week was one spent with their maternal grandmother, who was more than happy to look after us almost as if we were family or something, as these grandmothers are prone to do. As Mothers in law go she was a good one and I enjoyed myself too. The weekends were short sojourns and entirely different to this trip, a proper holiday.
The girls both love Sri Lanka and it's something that pleases me immensely. In what many would consider as a fascinating mix and many others would consider as a lethal one, their mother originates from Poland. I, as you may be aware, originate from a small island somewhere near India. An island that's been war torn for far too many years, that would probably be put into administration if it were a company and would be then bought by Tesco and turned into the huge profit maker that it always nearly was but never quite became because of its bad management.
And since the girls were born I've always felt that one of my responsibilities, or desires, was to "give" Sri Lanka to them, to try to do whatever was needed to instill in them that love for the country and that passion for it that so many of us have. Their mother could do whatever she wanted to do with regards to "giving" Poland to them. I accept that it's part of their make up and their heritage but that was up to her. My bit was Sri Lanka.
There have been times when it's seemed hard to do. How can a fellow do that sort of thing with all the negatives that were apparent? Things like the fact I speak no Sinhala, that the girls are such typical Londoners in many ways. They watch Eastenders and they listen to Lily Allen and understand her lyrics without question. Not to mention the indisputable physical distance between Lanka and London that makes it impractical and often prohibitively costly to take them there for short breaks.
Bollocks to the negatives though. I hadn't counted on a couple of things; me and Sri Lanka.
I hadn't counted on the fact that, despite the negatives, Sri Lanka has this uncanny ability to inspire people, to create a passion in them and to make them feel that a million wrongs can be outweighed by one small right, a glimpse of an up country view or one brief inhalation of that Lankan atmosphere. Being Sri Lankan is like working for a totally evil yet totally charismatic master villain, like Boris Johnson, Dr Drake Ramoray or Kolu.
I hadn't counted on the fact that I have this passion thing for Lanka in me, that I could sit at my desk in West London on a cold grey July London morning and write about Sri Lanka and really genuinely and one hundred per cently feel excitement in my stomach as I think of her. That other diasporic Lankans feel the same the world over, that I, who really struggles to think of things that aren't Human as Human, think of Sri Lanka as a "she".
I certainly hadn't counted on the fact that I'd instill some of those feelings in my daughters, or maybe I should give the credit to Sri Lanka for that. Either way, I'm no glory boy or I'd be a singer not a drummer, but I'm pleased that both of the girls feel connected to Sri Lanka. They've been going there regularly since they were six months old, they're familiar with people and places there. Not in the way many locals are but in a way that's more deep and more powerful than an average Sudda.
The holiday is only going to last for a week, the post divorce turmoil on the girls has meant that this is a sensible option right now. The plan is to chill, to have some fun and just relax.
My work may well be cut out. I'm aware that I'll be alone with them and there'll be no adult to help me out with ahem "female" stuff should the need arise. There may be issues with tampons, periods and things that I just won't know how I'll deal with. There may be PMT or just MT for me to cope with. I'm no neanderthal though, in fact I've only been to Holland once, and I know that periods happen once a month and last for about three weeks. I'll be ready.
If you see a good looking chap with a scared look on his face being bullied by two teenage looking girls and we're in one of the regular touristy spots around Colombo then that'll be us. Feel free to say hello and offer to babysit.
One tip though. Try not to look at K directly in the eyes. That's how she captures her victims.
I can't wait.
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