A bitter memory of the Nilwala river
Dramatic boat ride
The boat ride began for as little as 25 cents. It was a full moon Poya Day on May 3rd 1977.
Close to fifty people were on their way to start their day on the vessel named “asai - bayai” which set sail as usual without a hint of what was in store.
Near the Peak Wella Temple, a few boys in the boat reached out to pluck cones. For whatever reasons embedded in the stars, the boat tilted and toppled unexpectedly, all the while, the crocodiles who made the river their home, moved about undisturbed.
35 people spent their last day on a beautiful red, blue and white painted boat floating on the glorious Nilwala River.
The only parts of the boat that were still alive, or usable in this case, were piled up on the bank of the river and reassembled to become another boat named “yali ipade” - or Reborn.
This boat was later sold to someone else, and whatever remaining parts became fertilizer for the trees.
Uncle Siri, who sailed the boat carried the pain of that day till the day he closed his eyes forever.
I, a mere bark of the boat, became a part of the coffin he was buried in.