In Retrospect...

So I am stepping in to my fifth year of blogging in a few days. Not a milestone, but just a moment to make a pause, take a look, and admire the journey so far.

Sometimes it helps to find a moment to appreciate the simple things in life.

I am blessed to be here. It feels like a friendship-circle, except, I haven’t met any of my fellow bloggers in real life. They sound like a bunch of really nice people, I’m sure they are. And yes, that includes you too.

Sabby wrote a pensive post on leaving the island and I commented saying that she would find some comfort right here, in the Lankanosphere. I know that, because I do. Without realising, everyone of you who write from home, or about home, keep us so close to home. A random picture, a little story, stuff on tuk-tuks or rice and curry, or even a post on a silly dog, keeps my memories of home alive. And for that, I thank you.

Life overseas wasn’t like that before kottu was born. Nineties were lonely here.

Having lived only three of the last twenty years in paradise, I know I have missed out a lot. I’ve missed out on the kind of stuff that Sach cleverly puts in to words in one of his recent posts.

I miss Sri Lanka. I miss the chaos, I miss the madness.

Most of all, I miss the “islander attitude” towards life and its wonderful people.

Sometimes we get caught in the rat-race, keep climbing the corporate ladder trying to beat our own shadow. We forget the simple joys in life: like drinking a kurumba by the roadside.

At 23, I held 24% shares of one of the most successful SMB’s in the island. I was lucky. But I walked out of that business empty handed, after signing a set of documents handing over everything for free.

I was relieved. I was happy that I had nothing to lose.

That afternoon, the mug of beer at the Echelon Pub tasted the best. With that beer, I landed my next job.

Ten years later, I was the head of creative in an international agency in Dubai. We ran regional brands for the Middle East and North Africa region.

When I was contemplating of leaving, my CEO offered me a blank piece of paper with his signature to list-down whatever I wished for, if I were to stay with them till my retirement. He was ready to offer me anything, even if I wanted a house in the south of France.

I gently pushed back the Mont Blanc and the paper to the other side of the big mahogany table. As he lit his next fine cigar, I told him that I wanted only three things in my life the day I would turn 55. A roof above my head, food on the table, and my grand-kids running around the house. I also told him that the first two wouldn’t be a problem, and the third would be just a matter of time.

A couple of months after that conversation, fate had me left with two kids – and no woman by my side. Life ahead of me was very clear at that moment: there’s absolutely nothing else that I would cherish more than my two kids. They were just three and five, but their entire life was in my hands.

So I walked out of the corporate world, moved back to Sri Lanka, and raised my kids as a single dad in Colombo. The change drove me crazy. It irritated me to know that I couldn’t do my grocery shopping at 1 O’clock in the morning.

But, that was the best period of my life. Life in Sri Lanka was magical, and beautiful.

Unfortunately, I had to leave the island again. C’est la vie.

Today, I work to live, not live to work. I’m happy. I have a wonderful woman by my side, and I’m in love.

I help people. Because I will never forget how horrible it is to feel helpless.

I travel. And I have realised that discovering the cultural wheel is far better than climbing the corporate ladder.

Come to think of it, the three years I spent in Sri Lanka has made me realise how wonderful, and magical, every little thing in life is. Hearing a bird chirp, or walking in the rain, sipping a beer while watching the Buba sunset, waking up to a good cup of tea in the hill country... or a simple rice and curry meal. Yes, you lot take all those for granted, but there are some of us who miss all those everyday joys in life.

You have absolutely no idea what you are missing, until you leave home that we call Sri Lanka.


  1. Great post serendib n congratulations for the fifth year and here is to more posts...

    love this "You have absolutely no idea what you are missing, until you leave home that we call Sri Lanka"

  2. Brilliant, Wijitha!

    Only bad thing is you made me more homesick. Bastard! LOL.

    By the way, I'm genuinely happy to see that you can claim that you're happy. Because recently one day I sat back and thought; how many people you know can truly claim you're happy - and I realized that not many. Far too many people worry about mundane things even, missing the simple pleasures of life. Simple joys. I'm glad that I can call myself a happy chap, just like you.

    Here's to many more, bro!

  3. And yeah, like you one of the things in my must-do list is to travel the world. So far I've been to only a handful of places, but I sure do hope to travel the world someday. As much as I can.

  4. Lokubandara you hate from Haputale11:47 am, February 17, 2010

    You are sad, Wijitha. You never see the reality of life, do you?
    Oh..BTW, Happy 5th anniversary. You shouldn't give up on your hysterical blogging, Putha !

  5. Thank you W, you've inspired me to try and write something related to this post.

  6. i moved back to la la lanka in 2006 from Zurich and have loved most of it. most of my friends and family thought i was mad leaving a city often voted as one of the best to live in the world for the then war-breaking out Colombo. it's just so hard to explain how it's the small things that make LK such an amazing place. just seeing someone smile waiting for a bus or the constant rat-a-tat of a guy making kottu and even the us horns ...

  7. Touching post, congratulations on your 5th.

  8. Congratulations on the bloggerversary Wij! :D Loved the post, especially the last few sentences... :)

  9. See you @ BuBa around 8 ?

    The arrack is on me.

    : )

  10. @Santhoshi: Thank you. We don’t miss it, until we miss it - right?

    @Sach: LOL. You started it mate, not me!
    Yep, I can say I am genuinely happy these days. And yes you must travel the world – you’ll be poor, with rich stories to tell. ;)

    @Lokubandara: Thank you for the advice, uncle. We’ll talk about the reality of life while sipping some kolakenda by the shores of Diyawanna Oya some day – what do you say?

    @RD: You are welcome. Looking forward to see what comes out of this rant. ;)

    @maf: LOL @ La la Lanka.
    Yes, I agree. It’s madness, but very charming. It’s chaos, but very human. People who never leave the country have no idea how wonderful Sri Lanka is...

    @Dee: Tx.

    @Jack Point: Thank you.

    @Chavie: Thanks Chavie, yep, its all bout the the last few sentences really.. ;)

  11. Boycy, Dude, I’m going to hold you to that. See you soon. ;)

  12. That was a lovely post...

    and congrats on your 5th yr of blogging..:)

  13. @Angel: Thank you. ;)
    @T: Thank you too.
    @LD: Well, you have been there all along – thank YOU!

  14. And many congratulations on the 5 years too SI.

  15. Lovely post :-) Congrats on the anniversary, and I hope that your blog (and blogging) will continue to keep you close to home! :-)

  16. @RD, thank you.
    @PseudoRandom: Thank you, and I hope so too. ;)

  17. Congrats on five years of blogging Serendib Isle. I am glad you've found happiness all-round. I think what binds most of the lankansphere bloggers together is the love for this mad yet wonderful place.

  18. wow..i just read your post..i just started posting and your posts are amazing...i miss home toooo...:)