I think I speak for the entire teenage population on Earth when I say I hate it when my mum drags me places. It’s even worse if she is visiting people she knew ages ago.
A few months ago, she asked me to accompany her to a funeral in her hometown. I honestly didn’t mind going to a funeral, but I did mind that it was going to take an entire day. Before you judge me, let me explain why it’s going to take all day. The funeral would only take an hour, but since it’s my mum’s hometown she will probably know everyone she meets in the street. And in Sri Lanka, if you meet someone you know in the street, it’s rude to not chat for a bit. That is why it was going to take all day.
After a lot of complaining (and I mean a LOT), I agreed to go with her. I was a little bit curious to meet the widower. I had heard my mum and her sister refer to him often, and had deduced that he was a prominent figure in their childhood. All I knew about him was that he owned a small grocery store and that everyone called him ‘Kalu Mahatteya’, which translated as ‘dark gentleman’ (or something close to that). Anyone called by such an odd name was certainly interesting.
I must say I was a little disappointed to find that his skin complexion was not as dark as I had expected. I suppose he would seem quite dark to someone from the other end of the world, but from the different shades of brown that can be seen among Sri Lankans, his was a shade lighter than dark.
I will spare you the details of meeting Kalu Mahatteya, except that his daughter-in-law brought us tea that had way too much sugar in it. The second we stepped onto the street outside his gate, I knew that we are now going to spend the rest of the day talking to people and dreaded it.
I was groaning inside and wishing my mum would just get a tuk-tuk to go to her brother’s house which was close by. Unfortunately, it’s a proven fact that parents always do the exact opposite of what you wish they would do. We started walking to my uncle’s house.
It took nearly two hours! Dear reader, my uncle’s house was less than 500m away.Taking into account the fact that my mum walks slower than most people, it should have only taken us twenty minutes (maximum). But we met people on our way—a lot of people. And she stopped to chat with every single one of them. Two of them even invited us to their homes.
In the first house they gave us homemade sweets called ‘ambaralla dosi’, which was sugar-coated ambaralla. I had never had any so they were all the more eager to let me try it. (This trip was proving to be quite dangerous to my health as this too was very sweet.)
I have always prided myself in the fact that all my aunts are such great cooks. When we finally arrived at my uncle’s house, my aunt had prepared lunch for us. The food was delicious! It’s amazing how food can lift your spirits.
If I had stayed home that day, I could have done a lot of important things like my homework. On second thought, I probably wouldn’t have done my homework. But I made my mum happy by accompanying her. Even though she did not communicate it to me verbally, I have lived with her long enough (basically my entire life) to know she appreciated my presence.
At the end of the day, I regretted nothing. I made my mum happy. I gained some new and interesting memories (and probably diabetes too). More importantly, I have a blog post that means nothing to anyone except myself.