Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Travel Diaries - Sri Lanka Day 3

I woke up to hear the sound of Satish's voice below the room and from the way he spoke I knew he was speaking to a fellow Hyderabadi. It could mean only one thing - that his friend Suresh had arrived. The hotel was peaceful after the revelry of last night which had continued till 3 in the morning I was told. I decided to stay back in the shade after a bite of breakfast while the rest of the family headed to the beach and some went to visit Colombo.
Pool side revelry - Malay and Sarah in the middle were the object of my pic 
The next big event was the pool side party. So sometime after 11 I headed down to the lovely pool. A whole lot of people perfectly dressed for the pool side party turned up. From shorts to hats to sarongs to swimsuits it was like something out of an advertisement. Of course one could make out by the slight rush in one place where the bar was. Everyone got themselves their beers, rum and vodkas. I saw Raja, Anu, Pooja and Prarthana arrive. Prarthana doubted - are we over dressed? Anu was not. Raja quickly rolled up his trousers and joined the rest of the poolside gang. We got ourselves cocktails and settled down to catch up. Another couple who made it overnight was Malay and Sarah and we caught up with them as well. The Colombo visitors came back and said they had perhaps got ripped off by the cab guys at twenty dollars a head. I made a mental note not to get ripped off by cab guys. Definitely not at 20 dollars. 19 perhaps. Miskil and Kabir were as gracious as ever and as perfectly dressed as ever in some cool pool side clothes.
The pool - I'd thought I'd get to that place but never did
Anjali got her swimsuit and made off into the pool with Sarah for a round of pool volleyball. She was just about to keep her head over water and I could see a nice tan already developing. Among the other thoughtful and fun things to do were this little studio hut like thing where there was a photographer who had an assortment of wigs and boards that you could try on and act a bit crazy. Everyone put on funny wigs and got photographed and he'd give instant copies back to us. Once again, I was surprised by how long the party continued how dedicated the revelers were. Miskil had warned everyone not to try pushing her into the pool and that sounded like an invitation to her two cousins Malay and Kalpak and they swung her a couple of times before dropping her into the drink. Sometime at 3 pm I decided to head back to rest a bit with the others. Raja joined us while the girls and Anu headed back to the hotel they were staying in close by to change for the wedding. Formal was the code now so there would be another dress change.
The wedding on the beach all set
I had to do a bit of change in dress code too. So sometime at 430 we trooped down - kurtas and stuff. The baraat was holding up traffic on the main road and lots of people were staring at the loud drum beats and dancing as it wound its way slowly. I went out and saw them come in. Typically they make the girl's side wait and they did. We waited and waited and waited and then finally the baraat came. They had to be hurried up a bit because the wedding ceremony on the beach was to coincide with the sunset. Somewhere after they stopped we did our version of flash mob - Raja and I were whirled away around the central dancers and our part was done. We merged into the shadows. Now with the formals everyone looked different.
The wedding in progress
We quickly headed to the beach and the small ceremony began. A poem, a song, a speech by the groom's father and a speech by the bride's mother (Suhita spoke of Miskil's growth and how proud of her she was). A speech by the bride's best friend who read out Kahlil Gibran's take on marriage and it was time for the bride to speak (she had a funny speech) and the groom to say his bit (straight and true). The sun set magnificently on the Negombo beach as some champagne was served and slowly the mood shifted to the evening party again.

What really impressed me was the way Miskil and Kabir held their space, made everyone feel welcome and comfortable, and how they patiently and thoughtfully pulled it off. From personal gifts to hand written notes to a complete hangover kit to detailed instructions of what to do and what not to - they were incredibly organised. They left nothing to chance.
The revelry
Within a few minutes I saw most people had changed clothes and were back to partying on the beach this time with a band and a floor near the pool side. Anjali found herself in the action again. Milind took me around for a walk. We caught up with the others on the beach. The last party continued from the beach to the lawns where there was a fabulous singer who sang My Way as I have heard no one sing. The dancing and revelry continued and I decided at midnight, when the chariot would turn into a pumpkin, to head back to the room and pack. Tomorrow, I had conspired with Raja and gang, to head down to Dambulla and the famous Sigiriya Rock. I had also planned to move into the hotel they were staying down the road and all this needed some serious rest. 

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