A little girl laughed


Few years ago we were admitted to the university to follow-up the course in architecture. Thereafter travelling became a day-today activity. Once we were to photograph some door locks. As we have decided earlier I met my companion in the sacred city of Kandy. It was dawn.

It rained the previous night and still grey clouds were gathering in the high-sky. The stagnated water on the un-even surface could be seen on the tarred road way. The whole town; people moving by, lightly driven vehicles, white washed ancient colonial buildings, frequently walking priest dressed in yellow, electrical lines above - reflected by the water added a colorful mood to this sacred city.

After a 45 min. travel by bus, found that we were at our first destination. The bus stopped at a junction and geared away.

Frost was so thick and there was no took took or any sound of vehicle passing by to be seen even at a far distance. So we were to walk into the wilderness.

As we went into the woods along a dark pathway, all of a sudden we entered into an open landscape; to a valley, completely taken over by the green rice fields. Thick frost filled the valley here as well, while light drops of rain took place adding more serenity to the spirit of the place. Screeching parrots flew over the paddy fields, Pambayas here and there, red, blue and white bags hung on to a stick to keep the birds away from the paddy – on the whole, showed the way the life is celebrated in a special way.

The whole valley was surrounded by a range of mountains. None of them is too high but they showed the hardness within a soft climate and landscape. Its moods were never threatening; smothered into the landscape. Several houses were built with white washed walls – closer to the foot of those mountains; Smaller in size, and proportions matched into the landscape of colour and dignity.

As we went into the valley along the narrowed down path-way, a lady came along with a girl and a man, who seemed to be her husband. As she came closer to us we were greeted with her occasional smile; rather sad and forced. She was from the village, dressed in a dull brick red coloured sari which was rapped over her head as well, to get covered from the frost and drizzle. Barefooted – rather hard and large in size. Her gentle walk is not at all gentle. She was carrying a pot, holding and pressing it on to her hip. Everywhere the life is hard. Even in the places that god has created, it’s like they never had eyes for these people.

The man walking behind shouted. Not clear. Maybe abuse or cautionary advice and the little girl laughed.

Still the clouds are holding the valley as we walked back into the hills.

D Attanayake

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