An exam called life
It was an early morning. I was starring into the darkness trying to stop the never ending stream of thoughts flying in my head like elusive annoying flies. Suddenly something just ripped me out of drowning in that deep river of thoughts. “Come on people, hurry up, we’ll be late, the plane won’t wait.” It was my mother and I was thankful for ripping me out of drowning in that deep river of thoughts. I was too exhausted from travelling but also too excited to stay just sitting there on the bed.
I remember the hot and oozy taste of air as we get out of the plane in Colombo. “Finally,” I thought. More than twenty-four hours spent on the plane and train and bus just to get so far away from home hat I could forget everything I needed to. Just to turn off. But it was worth those seven hours spent on the train, worth the six hours long flight from Vienna to Doha, worth the five hours spent on the most uncomfortable chairs I have ever found on the Doha airport, worth the next seven hours long flight from Doha to Colombo and worth the four hours spent on the bus travelling to Bentota village. I was tired, prepared to die, hardly keeping my eyes opened to be able to at least walk. But I can remember the first feelings and impressions I had. Just the stream of my thoughts drifting from one side to another in my head like a small boat on a wild river, the fresh voice of a tour guide sounding like an echo in the large empty room and me trying to stay awake, fighting with myself, with my own body to stay capable of sensibleness.
Although I was close to collapse I can remember the small children without shoes running on dusty sidewalks and starring at the soldiers with huge guns standing everywhere, dirty dogs and cows between them, elephants crossing the road, the by-road markets selling the fruits of shapes and colors I have never seen before, small tuc-tucs riding all over the roads, fancy colored wooden buses full of old and young men travelling to their jobs, Buddha temples. And the extreme poorness. I felt for those people, I wanted to make them happy, I thought that they have a horrible life. With that attitude I have left that world and entered the luxury gate of the hotel. As I was swimming in the warm Indic ocean I forgot all the feelings, I forgot how does the world outside look like. I was happy that I can lie on a comfortable deck chair, drinking the fresh pineapple juice and eating coconut that just fell down off the palm tree next to me. I was satisfied, something in my mind was smiling and then I reminded myself of that real world outside. I was ashamed when I realized what I have and they do not and that I am just lying there, doing nothing when those people outside are working hard to have food and at least a little roof above their heads.
In the afternoon we went on a boat trip. It was amazing, it was just like one of those breath taking scenes in the documentary. Crocodiles swimming around, sneaking in the fleet water, giant bats flying in the rich crowns of the trees, mango trees growing everywhere and the feeling of something that even cannot be described. The most amazing about that all was our tour guide-Santo Pereyra. The simple aboriginal man who has changed everything.
It was Santo who made me realize the real value of the life. He was an amazing human with great personality and golden heart. He was something that I will remember till the end of my life. He was poor, he did not have money to build a nice house near the coast. Instead of that he lived in a tipsy house in the deep jungle with the whole big family. But the things he had done for us were one of the most amazing badges of friendship and respect we could ever get. He was poor but he was happy. He knew he is poor but he was happy. He was poor but he wanted to give us everything he could and that was making him happy. His personality reminded me of the real life, of the values that we should have in this rough world. He convinced me about the truth that we can be happy without money although before I thought it was just a absurd cliché. It was not.
But it was not just Santo; it was the spirit of the island, the spirit of Buddhism, an amazing faith that people created to be happy. Not a religion, not some person that you would believe in and hope that that person will help you in your life, that he will make you happy. It is not like a Jesus Christ and Christianity. Buddha is the teacher and Buddhism is not a religion, it is just some kind of faith. And people know it, they know that Buddha cannot make them happy; they know he can just show them the way to be happy. This is what they believe in, this is the way of live they choose to walk on and this is making them happy.
I have spent 10 days on Sri Lanka but it was the most impressive time of my life. Something non-recurring, something that has changed the way I see the life, something that has taught me to put my family, friends and feeling first. Something that stepped into my life, captured my heart and seized my mind.
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