iSurprise Old Thotupola

A bitter memory of the Nilwala river

Uncle Siri, can you hear me? I share your pain. Forgive me, for I was not strong enough. Today after many years, I feel my debt is paid. I am with you as you join the very earth that birthed you and I. I’m humbled that the same stars that sealed our fate that day, allowed me to travel with you today. Till we meet again… May you rest in peace.

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.

The bamboo bush at the place where the boat overturned
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