A long-distance love story
Posted on July 19th, 2019

By Dr. Tilak S. Fernando Courtesy Ceylon Today

She lived in a faraway remote town, hundreds of miles away from the City of Colombo, and I was born in London. When the flower buds opened into beautiful blooms in her garden, they reached my olfactory glands automatically! Cool breezes swept across her garden in Sri Lanka, and moved thousands of miles, across the seas to bring me ‘love letters’ from her, my long-distance love! Neither had she seen me, nor had I seen her, the only bond between us was that I had heard about her from my parents quite often, from my young days in London.

Many professionals, doctors, lawyers, intellectuals, scholars, poets, renowned authors, journalists, and internationally reputed broadcasters all fell in love with her. Many artists captured beautiful portraits on her charismatic beauty, and the cameramen were eager to grip her splendour through their lenses. Poets wrote passionate poems about her, and songwriters equally composed romantic lyrics about her, and the singers echoed and projected her beauty in a most heart-rendering fashion, describing her mesmerizing beauty.

When I heard about all those, I too became more and more attracted to her on a daily basis. The metamorphosis of the sand grain turned it into a whole world, and a drop of water turned into a mighty ocean, and an infant child once, grew up to be an adult, and  an innocent heart managed to convert into something complex!

Her message to me, not so long ago, indicated her bond with me, when she said:

My dear…….! Although you and I live in two different countries separated by thousands of miles apart, your heart and mine beat always together!”
I responded to her sweet message in return by saying:

My dearest! I am willing to travel up to the seventh heaven in search of you and to reach you!”

When tropical birds migrated from Sri Lanka to other parts of the world, such birdies brought me information about her. When the moon shone on her, it shone on me as well, and when the sun went down for her, so did it for me too, perhaps within a few hours of difference.

However, at the end, I managed to work out a complex itinerary for a long-awaited journey to visit her. You (the reader), might think that I wanted to embark upon such a long and arduous journey single-handed….. No….! In fact, I decided to go with a group of others, who in their own minds had fallen in love with her, influenced by professionals, doctors, lawyers, intellectuals, scholars, poets, renowned authors, journalists, and internationally reputed broadcasters’ adulation.

The leader of our group was one of my best friends, whom I assessed as the one who knew where she lived exactly. In fact, he was the one who described to me in detail, and encouraged me, and organised this long trip, to have a meeting with her.


Days turned into weeks, weeks passed by into months, and finally, we ended up inside a SriLankan Airlines aircraft. It was very strange I thought, when I didn’t come into contact with any of the Government Cabinet Ministers, Prime Minister, or even the President of the Country inside the SriLankan aircraft. After a strenuous (11-hour direct flight) from Heathrow Airport, we landed at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo, in the middle of the night, yet my friend advised me we still had a few hundred miles to reach her. That wait seemed much longer now than the last twenty-five years of my life!

The feeling inside the aircraft was like a wedding without the bride. Lights inside the aircraft were turned off, except a few panel lights along the body of the fuselage, and the odd passenger, who could not rest peacefully inside the plane, started to read a magazine, by switching on his overhead light. I could hear thunder and lightning outside in God’s land! We finally landed at the Bandaranaike International Airport in the thick of night. 

Without paying much heed to the time factor, or the pitch darkness outside the airport building, I suggested to my friend that we started our journey to find her straightway.

Only the bright galaxy of stars in the sky over us were visible, a rare scene I had not witnessed all my life in London. There were hardly any streetlights on the main road, and the streets were entirely empty. Every now and then, I expected to see at least one, or two people on the road, but I could only see fireflies in the dark. As I said before, I was not alone on this long journey, but my best friend accompanied me. Although he had been a globetrotter, and was extremely familiar with places like London, Paris, Berlin, New York, Toronto, Sydney, Melbourne, and Chicago, this was his trip to Sri Lanka after a considerable period of time, and to his amazement the skyline of Sri Lanka had changed appropriately, that made him, I guess, to become rather confused.

We were chauffeur driven in the pitch darkness, along a dark road. After travelling a couple of hundred miles, we expected to see at least someone on the road! Occasionally, we did come across an odd person or two, from whom we made enquiries about her. Our Sinhala appeared to be Greek to them. Then their Sinhala was even worse than Greek to us!

In that unforgettable ominous night, we aimlessly walked on the main road, after getting down from the car at various places. It seemed like we were going in search of the horizon! Once, at long last, we came across a young man who spoke some Broken English. We tried to speak to him in our rusty Sinhala, and explained to him that we had come from London. 

Upon hearing the word London, a smile dawned on him. After a brief conversation with him, his countenance changed, and we gathered that he knew exactly where we were heading. Next, he voluntarily got into our car in an attempt to help us, which was totally a rare experience for us coming from London, and this young man’s offer to guide us in the middle of the night amazed us, which we could not have found anywhere in England, or anywhere in the world for that matter, especially in the early hours of the following morning, in order to guide us to where she was.

After few minutes of driving with the stranger, this young lad called her name aloud, screamed and shouted in order to wake her up. She seemed to be fast asleep. There were only memories of old castles, ruins of various buildings around us. The young man yelled in joy, to let her know that we had come all the way from London! Yet, I was wondering whether it would be proper for him to disturb the whole neighbourhood in such a manner, especially during unsocial hours. Alas! No door opened, no window unlocked, and not a single gate unfastened.

I then called aloud her name with ecstasy, to let her know that her long-distance love was there on her doorstep to tell her that I had come all the way from London, after all these years, to appreciate her beauty. At last, like a magnet attracts iron filings to it, our echoed voices attracted each other. The door opened to the one who kept on knocking! A cold breeze constantly blew. When the moon shone, it shone on both of us simultaneously. She cried and shed happy tears and welcomed me.

Who is she?

She is the one I had fallen in love with, from the days I was a young man in London. She was the one my parents used to tell me about, and described her as an unsophisticated, rural and healthy-looking damsel. 

Now, she has transformed into a sophisticated, beautiful lady!
My darling, the amount of trouble my friend and I had to undergo to find you in this unpromising night!” The other group members are fast asleep in a Colombo hotel, trying to get rid of their jet lag. Sure, they will come to see you tomorrow. The difference between them and me darling, is not only I have fallen in love with you, and I have finally found you, after all these years, and I am now in your lap! The dream I had from my childhood, having been born to Sri Lankan parents in England, from early ages, has now come true.

Dear old town Anuradhapura, once the Capital of Sri Lanka, the hub where hospitable, innocent, unsophisticated and harmless people live, and where my grandparents were born and bred, I have finally decided to get married to you, and spend the rest of my life with you, in your lap, in complete delight.


One Response to “A long-distance love story”

  1. Randeniyage Says:

    But your elder brother married her first, I thought.
    He had a hotel there, next to current Rajarata hotel ! He raised a family there,, more or less !

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