Maaduru Oya – that's where you go to see wild elephants. That too, is with Kumara Bandara – a forest officer who was fondly known as “vanaya” (man of the jungle) to us. He was an entertainer, a story teller and he knew every inch of the forest reserve. He would take us around the bush for hours, showing us the birds and the bees, and then finally when we’re about to give up, he’d come up with the goods – saving the best for last. Elephants, in numbers.
Once he took us to a place where we saw probably the largest herd in Sri Lanka: I stopped counting them at 140.
Anyway, we just heard that he has passed away about a week back. He was not even 50; he was healthy; he was a man who walked miles a day. And then, one day at work, he has a heart attack – and drops dead. Gone, just like that. The man decides that we have seen enough elephants...
Kumara, you were a good man. This note is just to say that we appreciate all you have done for us, and that we shall never let go of you from our hearts.
May your soul rest in peace.