Sri Lankan Easter of 2019

Instagram does it again.. this was again supposed to be an Insta post but because of it’s post length restriction, sharing this piece here..

Last Easter.. yeah, Easter Sunday of 2019.. 🐰 ..

This small accident happened when I had fallen down on the staircase of the railway station.. exactly 3 fourth of my toe nail got chipped off.. that nail, cut deep into the flesh and was still stuck there.. blood everywhere.. floor, pant, bags.. and had to run to catch that train.. was running late trying to figure out the platform.. don’t ask me how I managed to get into that train… thanks to those red cross exams and frequent small accidents that I am used to doing first aids.. just that, this time it was a little bad.. and had to sit in the train for good 5 or 6 hours before I could go to a doctor.. and it was just that morning where I was thinking my toe nails had grown too long, should cut them.. yeah.. talk of irony.. and was wearing some flip flops and not shoes…

This was the same day when the serial bomb blasts had hit Sri Lanka, which killed over 350 and injured over 500 people.. Major churches and high end hotels were targeted with 8 blasts.. It breaks my heart and hands go cold to even think of that day sitting at home and writing this today.. I was right there, at the heart of the country when all this was happening..

I was taking the train from Colombo to Mirissa.. had already spent over a week in Sri Lanka and this was like the last part of the travel.. had about 26 kgs of luggage including cameras and dive gears with me and was traveling by myself.. and absolute chaos, anytime anywhere a bomb could go boom..

So yeah, after spending around 5 hours in the train I swear couldn’t move my feet.. It was all swollen up like crazy.. There were two elderly Australian nurses in the same compartment as I was and Mirissa was about 15 mins away and I was trying to stand up, gathering my luggage and they were asking me if Mirissa was the next stop.. They saw my feet while I was trying to answer them and both of them immediately asked me to sit down and put my feet up at 90 degrees and asked me the back story.. sigh.. and they gave me some general instructions to take care. They looked at all that messed up first aid and said “Good job though” lol.. We did have a hearty laugh about the fall.. and not to forget to wear shoes.. The train stopped, we had reached Matara and… the train stopped a little before the platform and we were asked to jump off the train because of another train crossing or something I guess.. but yeah right!! jump off.. any other day, absolutely yes, but that day.. howww.. 😢 I had never felt that helpless in a long time.. But guess what, the ticket collector was passing by and he had seen me do the first aid when he had come to check for tickets in the morning… I don’t know what did he do or say.. All that I saw was that he had asked me to move out of the way of the door and peeped out towards the platform.. The train started moving… and stopped a little ahead by the platform… And the TT – πŸ‘¨β€βœˆοΈ just said take care Ma’m and left.. I smiled back and said thank you.. I got off the train at the platform and there was another gentleman, he was the station master I guess.. he inquired what happened out of curiosity I’m assuming.. I remember asking him to hold the ticket for me.. wanted to freeze that moment..

Got out of the railway station, dropped off my bags at the home stay where I was supposed to stay and went straight to a doctor.. The doctor saw my feet and goes.. how did this even happen.. he constantly kept looking at me feet and my face simultaneously.. the broken part of the nail was still stuck on my toe.. so now he had to do two things.. one remove the broken part which had gone really deep cutting through the skin.. second pull out the rest of the nail which was not broken.. my feet had swollen up to double the size and blood clot of course.. I was lying down on that hospital bed screaming and shouting when the doctor was trying to remove that bandage which was stuck.. I remember not letting him touch my feet for the next two hours after that.. 😢 .. It was a small clinic and I could see people trying to peep through the curtains trying to see what’s happening… He gave me two options.. one, have the nail pulled out.. second let the broken part be there but it will cause infection and swelling later.. Also,Β  if I chose the first option.. he won’t be able to use local anesthesia as my feet was way too swollen to go numb.. 😢 … I had no option but to choose the first option, without local anesthesia.. For someone who was never hospitalized, who hadn’t taken a single pain killer in all these years.. imagine being lying on a hospital bed with a swollen bleeding feet and top it all could barely manage with the language which the doctor was speaking..

In the middle of all that, family.. friends.. colleagues were trying to call me to check if I was doing alright on hearing the news of the bomb blasts… 😢 .. I also remember telling one of my ex colleague, Chandan that I was on the way to the hospital and he thought I was hurt in the blast and had got really worried.. πŸ™ˆ … I was answering the calls on that hospital bed and trying to pretend like I was chilling and not around the bomb blast areas.. lol.. I’m laughing right now.. but that moment was like – “Heyyy what’s up…. yeah, I’m alright.. nothing to worry.. thank you for checking up on me.. you take care too”  keeps the phone down and goes screaming – “Nooo doctor, please don’t touch my feet yet.. will I loose my feet?? look at all this blood!! what is that in your hand, is that a knife!! I want to go home… why is that guy standing there laughing so much.. I want my pappa around, – look at my feet pa.. and then imagining his reaction of – who asked you to go alone!-😑 and thought, never mind.. lol.. so much drama.. πŸ™ˆ …

This picture was taken on the last day in Mirissa, just before leaving for the airport. Swelling had come down by now and was in a much better shape.. and size too..πŸ™ƒ I’m haven’t taken pictures of any injuries after this and don’t think I will. Just want to have memories about the healing process and not about the injury and want to believe that everything gets better with time..

It’s a little mentally exhausting to write about the entire process of how those two pieces of nails were finally pulled out.. The doctor thought it might need a couple of stitches but later let it be and asked me to rest up for a while… Honestly, the whole time I was lying down on that hospital bed, kept thinking that why was I creating such a fuss of just a toe nail being pulled out.. I understand without anesthesia, but still… people had lost their lives on the very same day and time and there I was screaming and shouting about a toe nail… phew.. sigh.. and everything else.. I was in Colombo too, my name could have been on ‘that’ list too..

Anyway.. now I had to check-in to the home stay that I had booked.. It was evening already.. sweet little quaint house.. high ceiling and white walls just the way I like it.. The folks helped me with the bags.. check-in formalities were all done.. they offered me some fruits too.. πŸ₯°which then reminded me that I hadn’t eaten anything since morning.. Okay now, where’s my room..? “Third floor..” okay, and where’s the lift..? πŸ€” “No lift..” In my head – (bloody hell!! πŸ˜–how will I get to that third floor now… πŸ₯΄ I cant even lift my leg forget about walking or climbing the stairs.. why… why meee… I’ve already had enough since early morning..)  There was a bit of an awkward silence in the room.. poor guys, I could see they didn’t know what to say or do either.. they didn’t know their guest from India would come to them in this state.. πŸ™ƒ There were no other room available either.. So yeah.. this was it.. It had to be the third floor.. They helped me again with my bags.. and I took the stairs.. like quite literally one stair at a time! Took me a while to get there.. and then immediately looked for the bed.. just wanted to go crash and fall sleep.. but wait, another night mare.. no mobile network, no internet, wi-fi in the house wasn’t working.. there was a curfew that was called in.. all communication was disrupted with jammers.. My India number was not working, that local number wasn’t working.. had spoken to my parents in the afternoon.. and now I don’t know when will I be able to speak to them.. they’ll be crazy worried.. and there goes my sleep with that thought.. will never be able to forget that night.. Next morning, literally begged those house guys that I have to make just one phone call, tell my parents I’m doing alright.. I don’t know how.. but they managed to arrange for that one phone call.. Oh gosh.. πŸ™ˆ Pappa was crying.. mumma was crying.. they actually thought something might have happened to me looking at those various news channels.. I don’t know if media helps.. or creates more damage during times like these with that ‘breaking news’ in bright, bold red and white.. phew! what a day.. convinced them that I was  perfectly alright and that I won’t be able to call them for the next couple of days until I leave from there and I’m staying in safe place.. I had my fingers crossed when I had said that though…

The only view I thought I could get to see stuck there..

I could hear the police vehicles all night long..  I was in the southern most part of  Sri Lanka where the bomb blasts hadn’t been reported so far.. so it was expected that anytime anything could happen.. They were checking and patrolling the entire area and the the place was on high alert.. hotels were advised not to let anyone check-in until further notice… everything shut down.. Now, my flight was from Colombo in a couple of days and I had to get there from Mirissa and all means of transportation were closed.. don’t remember if the trains were running though..  I was advised to not take the train for security reasons.. but on the flip side was again asked to take the train by the locals.. I didn’t want to climb any more stairs with that feet and luggage of mine.. and.. there were a lot of stairs in the railway station.. so.. no trains.. πŸ™…β€β™€οΈ ..

In the midst of the curfew there were few local buses running to Colombo, got on to one of them and reached Colombo.. and man.. the city was so dead.. all that I kept hearing were the sirens.. ambulance.. police.. The city was still in curfew, I had to go straight to the airport from the bus stop.. but then.. wanted to see which was that church that was bombed.. πŸ™ˆ .. I know.. I know.. that was really stupid of me.. I am not too proud about it either… Thank god for Uber, got a taxi.. had asked the driver if we will be passing by the churches and hotels that were bombed.. aiyoo.. can’t forget the look on his face and my utter stupidity.. the roads were anyway blocked.. all men in uniform deployed all through the city.. so many rifles and guns everywhere.. I was very tempted to ask one of them, that which rifle was it.. but nope.. πŸ™Š.. didn’t even dare to say a word.. Stopped by at a small tea shop kinda place to see if there was anything to eat… they did have a staple meal, forgot what it was called though… took a quick bite.. booked another Uber, straight to the airport.. but now I’m thinking, Meghana.. you were anyway going to the airport.. why did you stop by at that restaurant? I mean.. whyy… umm… and that voice in my head says.. wanted to have something local for one last time.. πŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆ … and sink in a little bit of that whole atmosphere around.. and to someday, remember that this had happened too…

At the airport, damn! the security checks were insane and it was like they wanted to pack us up, put us on that plane and send us off from their country asap.. I remember that feeling when I was giving them my bags… I was like, yes please take this, take this also.. just take it all.. I can’t carry these bags anymore.. πŸ™ƒ .. but hey, not my cameras.. they go with me.. πŸ’™

In-spite of whatever happened there, my belief in something got even stronger..

I’m a firm believer of – When you follow your bliss, you are met by a thousand unseen helping hands.. I was in Sri Lanka looking for the Blue Whales.. πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™ .. Well.. that part of the story is for another time.. 😊 … That was just before all this happened.. Did I get to see the whales.. yes I did.. πŸ₯°πŸ₯°πŸ˜‡  .. How did I feel about it? lol.. I’m glad I got back home without going crazy with that amount of happiness and that sense of.. umm… I’m falling short of words.. all my dive buddies who have seen these mighty beings up close in their own wild habitat know the feeling I’m talking about right… πŸ₯°πŸ₯°πŸ₯° … I would not be able to see and spend that amount of time with those whales, without the help of those boat captains.. I was supposed to be in that church in Batticaloa where the bomb went off, to see how they celebrate Easter in Sri Lanka, something happened and I changed the plan in the last minute.. about 25 people lost their lives in that church… gives me the shivers as I’m typing… I would not be able to sustain in the hospital with that doctor if my host at the home stay wouldn’t have accompanied me to the clinic and translated the language for me which the doctor was speaking.. So many people like that… I don’t even know if I will ever be able to do justice to the ‘thank you’s that I’ve said to them.. But all that I know is that.. the world is not that bad of a place to live in that we keep hearing about.. I’m ignoring all the times when people were mean.. People are much more kinder than we now and there is always a helping hand in some form or format.. always.

I did go out for sometime on the last day while I was in Mirissa.. squeezed in a couple of hours in-spite of being stuck with that feet and the curfew.. was somehow very keen on spending that last few days of the travel there.. Maybe because of the whale stories that I had heard.. Mirissa.. you were beyond beautiful of whatever little that I got to see of you.. I’m looking forward to come back again.. whenever that happens.

That was the end of this sob story.. yeah, I’m calling it a sob story this time.. because.. I’m trying to get somewhere with it… it’s a national lock down and all of us are feeling stuck at home… but trust me, we are safe at home.. In a situation like this, I can’t even tell you how fortunate I’m feeling to be at home, to know that my family and friends are doing alright.. I’m glad my family and friends know that I’m doing alright too.. it makes me feel a little guilty every time I go off radar with no means of communication at times and my parents and friends end up worrying.. my parents, like any other parents, have sleepless nights every time I pick up my camera, that bag and go travelling… This time, I am very glad that I am home in Bangalore.. It’s not a great feeling to be away from home, in another country where you don’t know anyone when a curfew is imposed and bombs going boom all over the place.. That terror is way too real and the impacts can last for a lifetime… and what’s happening right now, is nothing less than what happened there.. except, it’s worse! Some of them had called and messaged me to particularly ask if I was at home or out travelling somewhere, well.. thank you much for checking on me.. I’m very much self quarantined at home.. Some of them had mentioned to me that they are missing my travel photographs and stories.. well, I’m hoping and praying that we get out of this, all safe and sound.. more photographs surely coming your way.. 😊 ..

I totally understand that these are difficult times to be in.. the anxiety levels are going insane.. But hey.. I think that we should really understand and come to terms that we are locked down.. We have been asked to stay indoors for a reason.. everyone has their way of coping with things.. while some are cooking and baking, some are setting newer fitness goals, some are connecting back to art.. some of them are feeling very helpless that they are sitting at home while others are dying out there… some of them trying to help out as much as possible.. a lot of them trying to share funny things online to bring that smile on someone else’s face in spite of their own anxieties.. lot of things… just let them be.. while we are nobody to ‘let them’ .. let’s just, let them be… If you are feeling guilty that you have so much time at hand and yet you aren’t doing anything.. that’s perfectly alright too… You might be home putting your kids to sleep, taking care of the elderly people at home.. which is taking up all your time.. it’s your thing.. please be proud about it that you are in a position and state of mind to take care of someone.. You are way too stronger than you know.. If you are stepping out to buy groceries because you don’t want your parents or your children, the most vulnerable ones to step out.. do you see what you’ve done? You’ve dodged a bullet that could have come their way and protected them.. Like they say ‘You have a family to take care of, not a community to impress’ So, please.. let’s not compare our quarantine activities to someone else’s .. there is space for everyone on this planet.. let’s just allow each other that space and stay strong together.. and this is a note to self too.

What scares me the most is that, while some of us feel safe at home… can you imagine if there are people who are going through domestic violence at home… scares the hell out of me to even think of their situation.. and on the other hand, it’s such a happy feeling when I see the earth healing.. animals trying to claim their freedom again.. people coming together to support.. communities getting closer than ever.. and organizations, big and small pitching in and going all out, all the way to make the medical supplies in-house.. so much of online learning happening via online classes and webinars…

there are days when we do a lot of things and then there are days where we barely survive… and it’s alright.

Our government is doing really well, trying it’s best and giving in all it takes.. if you’d ask me.. All that we have to do is stay at home.. take care of our people, our pets, our environment and most importantly – stay alive. Had read this somewhere, ‘Your grandparents were called for war, you’ve been just asked to sit on your couch’ .. Yeah.. that’s exactly what it is I guess… We have a lot of people out there who have risked their lives, so many of them are our own family and friends to keep us safe at this time.. Let’s not make it even more difficult for them..

Please take care everyone.. let’s stay home.. we need you more than you know..

sharing some of the ocean vibe, fearless breeze and some happy waves with you all.. for us to always remember that the sun surely smiles after any storm.. take care.

Cheers, Meghana

4 thoughts on “Sri Lankan Easter of 2019

    1. Hi there.. I can only imagine Nabeeha, although having seen it up close… sending in a lot of love to you from India.. πŸ™‚ .. I just lost a toe nail, can’t be complaining at all.. just thankful beyond measure…. Take care..

      Liked by 1 person

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