Put down that book and read this letter. The book is never going to help you anyway. What you achieve is going to come from the world outside; school books will only get you so far in life. You will only know 8 answers to the Science Part 1 paper in your O/L’s. (Sorry to be blatant so soon, but that’s how prepared you were). The rest is going to come from the guy two rows away, who is going to get it from the guy who is 2 seats in front of you, who got it from.. god knows where. Yes you are going to copy, and don’t act like you don’t know it. But it’s OK, have fun doing it and don’t get caught, because after your O/L’s you are never going to copy again. Not because you can’t, it’s because you don’t have to.
Your band, Chaos, it’s not going to be anything you dreamed it would be. It’s not going to be anything at all. You will write lyrics, you will design the album cover and also decide how you guys are going to make your first live performance. Yet you will forget to learn the instruments and never play. This will come by being complacent after the exams and thinking that tomorrow will always be there. You will soon learn how wrong you were. However, don’t stop dreaming, I never did. Your dreams are only limited by your imagination, make the most of it.
Your passion for music and your obsession with the band is going to lead to you start writing. Do not throw this stuff away, and do not stop writing. It will come in handy later on when you are almost my age. Your inspiration will first come from the pain you went through with the girl who scarred you for life. Hate her all you want, but you can’t ever escape the fact that even for one day in your life, you loved her with all your heart. Learn to channel the negativity in life into something profound. This will be tough at first, but later on you will come to realize that pain is an old friend and will always remain close to you.
Pretty soon, you will learn a secret about your life which was hidden from the day you were born. This will crush you and you will see that the life you lived up to now had been a lie. Confront this feeling, and talk to the people who matter. You will realize that the ones who kept the secret did it for your own good, yet, you will appreciate the ones who told you. If not for them, I would still be living a lie.
Your love life will be on the rocks for sometime. But thereafter it’s going to be pretty amazing with a pretty amazing person. However, remember you will never truly heal, and you will always crumble when you least expect it. To be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Learn to get up again, it’s what will make you me. You will realize that you are your best friend and also your worst enemy. Very few will understand you, and you won’t fail to leave those who do pretty confused too. But you can’t expect anything more from them, when even you can’t understand yourself, can you? Do you understand me?
For a few years, you will try to live carefully. You will monitor yourself in the face of others and always strive for a good image. This will end soon. You will realize that nothing is worth it, and carefree is the way to go. You will be afraid at first, others will worry about you, but deep down inside you never really give a shit. You will learn this the hard way, and I’m not going to make it any easier for you.
Your regrets will plague you, but not unless you act upon it. The only real advice I can give you, is don’t be afraid and don’t back down. If you got this down pat, then you will probably never know me, because then I will probably never exist. And everything I said above will be redundant. But just to make it interesting, let’s see if we do follow the same path. The older Me never wrote a letter to me and I had to figure things out on my own. So appreciate this, fool. My letter to you won’t help you figure things out either, because the best lessons you learn are the ones you learn on your own.
Do things just because you can. Live like today is your last day on earth. Don’t judge others and stop trying to keep them from judging you. Learn to get high on life. You will realize no substance can match this high, because it comes from within. Learn to appreciate your family and not distance them. Don’t hold back, let go of yourself. It’s the only way to be free. Your hormones may control your life sometimes and you will start thinking with your dick, don’t fight it. It will lead to the best times a guy could have. Dream big and work on those dreams. The road will be slow at first and don’t let that bring you to a halt. Keep going, keep going until your legs give out. Don’t sleep to dream, sleep to build your energy and dream when you are awake. Make amends, life is too short to live being pissed off with people. Write shit down. It will help when you start losing your memory. Love your friends; they are going to be one of the biggest and best parts of your life. Stop trying to understand yourself. You will only fail. We are an enigma, just like everybody else.
Eram quod es, Eris quod sum. (Let’s see)
The mind keeps spinning as the thoughts enter my brain in my rapid succession. I feel them whirling around like a whirlpool as so many memories of so many moments keep flashing before my eyes. I see visions of my past, of the highs and the lows that I experienced.
The times I laughed until tears formed in my eyes and my sides hurt, the random spontaneous journeys with my friends, our differences, arguments, and my school life. The best highs in life, my life highs and the intoxicated highs where going wild is the only road to take. Voices echo in my head, a peaceful invasion to the barrage of memories. The voices belong to the people who made those memories. I listen to them and drift back along memory lane, listening to the laughter and the conversation.
My mind drifts onto my moments of solitude, the ‘Me’ time I find very important; the moments in which I take a time-out from the rest of the world to hang out with myself. Sitting on beaches alone, watching the sunset and listening to the waves, alone inside my head, yet not feeling lonely at all. The times that I sometimes felt divided and wanted to leave everything behind. Thinking about my dreams and how I want to achieve them so badly. How I stumble and fall, how I get up again and smile and keep walking. My many deaths and resurrections and the things I stand for and everything in between.
It happens fast and each memory replaces the next soon. Some of the memories burn inside my head, leaving only the embers to glow in the darkness and light my way on my cerebral journeys assuring me that If I lose myself I have the memories to guide me back to who I am.
And then the clock strike midnight.
And I strike 23.
Happy faces wish me a Happy Birthday with warm smiles, hugs and pats on the back. Phone calls and SMS’s come flooding in wishing me the best and happy returns. And I stand there surrounded by some of the people I love the most, grinning like an idiot and showing that inside I’m not really 23 and I just don’t give a fuck about the number.
So this isn’t really goodbye 22. Your time is up but you will always remain, because you were an amazing run. The best I ever had yet. 23 needs to work hard to top you, but I’m behind the wheel and I got it gripped with both hands with the pedal to the metal and I make a silent vow to never stop. The wind is in my hair and the journey that I have traveled so far, stretches out farther. But I’m ready for it. The ride thrills me and the speed, although said to kill, keeps me alive. I got my thoughts focused and as I watch life pass me by in the rearview mirror, I feel a sudden surge of self induced innovation.
Another new beginning of all things to come?
Well I’m ready. Bring it on.
The chronicles of an unforgettable journey
Photography by [K]
- Buy small portable BBQ grill from Cargills
- Buy sausages, bread, chili sauce, drinks and charcoal
- Steal a butter knife from the hotel you are staying in
- Get kerosene oil to light the fire
- Park vehicle on a dark hairpin bend in Badulla, preferably with a beer pub nearby
- Get beer
- Go to a corner of the hairpin bend and set up the grill
- Open up the hood of the vehicle and keep sausages on the engine to defrost
- Get the iPod dock and put on some good music
- Start the fire
- Watch it burn and grin to yourself
- Let two of your friends do the dirty work of BBQing and have a chat with the rest while you wait for the food to be ready
- Spread chili sauce on a slice of bread, put sausages and make a sandwich
- Eat it
- Dance on the road while waiting for more food, but make sure to move away when you see an oncoming vehicle
- Stop caring about the slight drizzle that started to fall
- Feel good about life
- Get high on the moment
- Stare back at the people passing you and staring at you as if you came from another world
- Eat all the sausages, including the ones you accidently dropped on the ground
- Forget to get tissue, so use the leaves on trees or a hanky or even your own t-shirt to wipe your hands
- If leaves don’t do the job / you don’t have a hanky / don’t want to mess up your t-shirt, covertly use the back of your friend’s t-shirt to wipe your hands
- Smile at him as if nothing’s wrong
- Talk about what a good investment the portable grill was
- After all is done, clean everything and pack up to leave
- Forget to take the BBQ grill which is a good investment and leave it on the road side
- Remember that you left it behind when you come to Arugam Bay the next day and prepare to have a BBQ
We sat down on the sand and watched the waves crashing in the darkness. It was the last night of our major 5 day holiday. I wanted to make the most of it before I drove back home into the real world, where lay the usual work week, daily responsibilities and the other miscellaneous personal demons.
It was 4am in Arugam Bay, and I was sitting on the sand with a friend waiting for the sunrise. I always wanted to see the sunrise and missed it in Maldives. It was just a short walk across the island to watch it rise, and I overslept. I had to try very hard to forgive myself for not witnessing it when it was so easy. I wasn’t going to miss it after driving across the country to Arugam Bay. My hopes were dashed the previous day when it was raining like a bitch and dastardly black clouds covered the skies. Today was much brighter than yesterday, and although I didn’t have any high hopes to see the sunrise, I had enough optimism to forget about the long drive back in the morning and sit on the beach with a drunken friend for two hours to watch it rise.
So there we were with an iPod dock listening to the soothing sounds of Armin Van Buuren’s Zocalo. I felt the guitar riffs pulsating through my stoned mind. I felt the drowsiness creeping in but struck up random conversations to clear them away. The night was cloudless, and we were bathed in the moonlight. It was a beautiful picture and we were in the middle of it while the world around was asleep. As the sky became clearer my hopes began to rise. While having a conversation which I cannot remember I just happened to look up at the dark sky. Through the clouds I saw a luminous green light streaking across the sky. It was like a shooting star, but there was no tail. I was shocked because it felt so real yet it seemed like a hallucination. I thought I was seeing things until I heard my friend say ‘Woah what was that?’
Then followed a conversation to characterize what we had seen. Was it a shooting star? No, it had no tail, and the greenish colour looked very artificial. Also, it can’t be a plane because planes don’t move like that? So what could it be? Could it be a UFO? No way! We are stoned but that doesn’t mean we should jump to conclusions about seeing things from outer space. Come to think of it we can actually call it a UFO since it’s an unidentified flying object. We couldn’t define what it was and we gave up leaving it as a mystery which intrigued our minds more.
The ocean was dark except for the white slivers of the waves gleaming in the moonlight. I stared at the waves and listened to the sound of it crashing. My mind played wonders on my eyes as I saw things in the sea which I cannot really explain. I still remember what I saw, it was something very natural yet it looked out of this world.
The time was 4.30 am and we decided to smoke up the final J that I rolled especially for this moment, and wait a bit for the buzzing in our heads to settle down, and then hit the water at about 5.15am so that we can chase away the drowsiness and be in the water once the sun came up. So we smoked up while feeling sorry for the other buggers who went to sleep early. It was the last night and we were making full use of it. I had to drive back home but I kicked that thought out of my head so that I could focus on what was at hand. After a while we both leaned back on the sand and stared up at the sky. The stars were contrasting against the black of the sky as they shimmered ostentatiously. Just as I felt myself drifting off, I saw something that made me stare. A star was moving swiftly in the sky. My friend saw it too, so we weren’t imagining it. We followed the journey of this star across the sky until we realized it was a satellite. It circled above us as it made a wide arc across the world we could see. We waved and gave peace signs, happy that we witnessed something like this in that state of mind. This was definitely the best high I ever had. Such a simple moment yet it felt extraordinary.
After the satellite disappeared behind the clouds, we decided to hit the water. It was rough and the waves were high. We didn’t go far and stayed close to the shore. Waves crashed around us and we kept diving into them and riding the waves. One wave spun me underwater and tossed me a fair distance away and I crashed headfast into the water banging my head against the ground. It hurt like a bitch but I wasn’t gonna let that ruin the moment. The sky was getting lighter in the horizon. We could see the beauty of the orange glow as it seeped into the blue black above. Slowly creeping in, pushing the dark side of the sky to the other side of the world so that we could have our share of the sunlight for the day. The horizon was a fusion of yellow, orange, light blue and dark blue. When I looked back to the other side, it was still night. The moon was out and almost full and stars illuminated the sky. I felt like I was trapped somewhere between night and day. I was totally tripping. What an experience.
We didn’t get to see the sun, as there were dark clouds over the horizon to conceal the spectacle. Obviously put there by nature to mock our optimism of seeing the sunrise. I was a little disappointed, yet everything that happened up to that moment was brilliant and this kept me upbeat. I waited a little longer hoping to see the sun, but it had no plan of showing itself. I walked back out of the water, into our little hotel, feeling glorious deep inside for that unforgettable moment I lived in, and for the fact that I tried my best to see the sun. I knew no one would understand when we told them our story after they woke up. They would think we were stupid to be up and wait, especially for me, when I had a long ass drive back home.
I was happy as I hit the sack. I closed my eyes and pictured everything once again. My last night in this real dream was complete. The minor nagging feeling I had before where I thought we didn’t experience Arugam Bay to it’s fullest was no more. This was the best high yet, and I’m glad it ended with such a smooth bang. I knew nothing could bring me down. I went to sleep at 6.30am, trying to get as much shuteye before I woke up again at 8.30 to leave. As I look back on that moment, I know that these words I have written cannot do justice to what I felt at that moment. Everything that happened will forever be etched in my memory, because I know that nothing else would do justice to the visions in my eyes, the thoughts in my head and the sensation in my heart.
The mother of all long weekends came and went, and during the course of the five day holiday, I was engaged in doing all things awesome. A huge trip was planned and executed brilliantly. The travel itinerary was one night in Avissawella on Wednesday right after work, head off to Badulla on Thursday morning and spend two nights there before driving across the island to the much awaited Arugam Bay for yet another two nights before coming back home on Monday in time for Avurudu.
Wednesday was long and fucked up. It was a day filled with many client calls, reports and emails and when I came home, I was tired to the bone. It was five guys that left on the journey and two more were going to join us in Badulla on Friday. The place we were staying in Avissawella was called Famous Guest House, but ironically no one had heard about it. We quickly kept our bags in the room and went into the lounge with a packet of good stuff and a pipe to enjoy while watching the Liverpool – Chelsea match.
I couldn’t pay much attention to the match because my thoughts were going haywire. The good stuff was called ‘Death’ for a reason, and the afterlife was quite amazing. The effects of Death coupled with the fatigue of the long day I had, made it really hard for me to keep myself from falling off my seat. Now I can’t remember much of what happened that night, but I remember feeling really good, and I heard the next morning that Chelsea had won the match, although I was watching it till the end.
The next day we had breakfast in the town and headed off to Badulla, on the long yet scenic route through Nuwara Eliya. The twists and turns were challenging, yet I was up for it, as it was my little personal goal to drive the whole way and back. I was quite stubborn in refusing to give the wheel to the substitute drivers and that aroused some scorn. But I really wanted to be behind the wheel. The drive was long, yet eventful. The scenery was amazing and I realized once again how much beauty Sri Lanka has to offer.
We reached Badulla in the night and went to our hotel. The place was called Riverside Holiday Inn, but guess what, no river in sight! Spent two days there, smoking Death through joints, bongs and cross J’s! Yep, that’s right, we had a cross J like the one in Pineapple Express. Fucked us up quite nicely. Went to the Dunhinda waterfall next morning after getting stoned, and some clever fucker in the group ‘forgot’ to mention that there was a long walk over steep rocks and bridges, and I thought I would die because it is so hard to trek when you are under the influence. The waterfall was nice but totally not worth the climb.
After some time at the waterfall and a very tiring climb back up, we went to the hotel and had a nice Nasi Goreng for lunch. Oh yeah I forgot to mention, on the way to Badulla, we stopped at a Cargills to get some stuff and spotted a small portable BBQ grill for just 800 bucks. We thought it would be a wise investment and bought it to BBQ on the Arugam beach. Our enthusiasm got the better of us and we decided to have a BBQ at Badulla as well. So on a hairpin bend on some dark road, we lit the grill and BBQ’d sausages and ate it with bread and chili sauce.
Afterward, we went back to the hotel and awaited the two buggers who were to join us. After they came, we intoxicated ourselves once more and went to sleep. Early next morning we set off for Arugam Bay, the final destination in our journey. The drive was good, reached there much earlier than we expected. The roads were surprisingly good and the scenery was just out of this world. There was an area, where we emerged through the thicket of the jungle which surrounds the road onto a clearing, where you can see far away. Trees and greenery cover the entire area, and in the distance you can witness what looks like a very modern bridge, and beyond it, the sea.
The first day at Arugam Bay was a letdown because it started to rain like a bitch. We were all a little glum but managed to have fun while the rain raged on outside. We stayed up till about 1.30 and went to sleep hoping to see the sunrise in the morning. But I didn’t hear the alarm, and overslept. When I woke up I realized I hadn’t missed anything because the sky was cloudy. However the rain subsided and the clouds cleared and we witnessed the much talked about beauty of this place. The sea water had an amazing blue and it contrasted magnificently with the shiny sandy shore. The beach was quite dead as we had come just before the season and it was very peaceful. We took a walk to an area where the beach and the jungle almost merge. The water was rough and exciting. I believe the sea has to be rough and I find it quite boring when it’s calm. There is no better feeling than diving head first into a big wave.
That night we had a long session since it was our last night. Everybody decided to go to sleep at about 3am. But I didn’t want to sleep because I was afraid I will miss the sunrise. My friend who was quite drunk at the time also wanted to stay up and enjoy since it was the last night. So we decided to go and hang by the beach with his iPod dock listening to some music. I rolled a joint to have once the sun rose. I didn’t have my hopes quite up but I was optimistic enough to go and wait for it without sleeping. Everyone else went to sleep while the two of us were at the beach. This moment, I believe, was the best stoned moment I have had yet. It deserves another post and it’s gonna get one, so I will divulge into the details of what happened on that post.
The next morning after a lack of sleep I got prepared to drive back home. I was apprehensive about it yet I wasn’t about to let anyone else take the wheel either. I wasn’t being stupid as I was accused of. I was confident of myself and if I wasn’t, there was no way I would risk so many lives to just drive. I’m glad I was extremely stubborn about it because man, did I not enjoy that drive. It was one of the best experiences of my life. My vehicle, Chuck, never gave up on me. It was the first time that it actually fishtailed when I took three turns together at 130kmph and everybody thought that we would almost topple. At that moment I think my brain had an orgasm.
This trip to me was a life changing experience. The drive, the scenery, the whole fucking experience was just totally out of this world. The best part about going on a long trip to several destinations is whenever you pack up from one place to go to another you realize you are not going home and packing up doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the trip as it usually signifies. To me this was a resurrection. This is where I found peace and hope again. I vowed to go back to the beaches of Arugam Bay, to see the sunrise, to experience this beautiful bay in its full glory. This was my near life experience.
Who else comes home after a night out and needs to use the PC for at least a very short time for no real reason, even if you are really tired or completely smashed? Maybe just to listen to some music, surf the web, watch some porn, a quiet wank etc. Only for a short while, before you hit the sack. This is like a compulsory thing for me. The first thing I do when I enter my room is switch on my computer. I could be sleepy as shit, or stoned as fuck, but I need to do it. I come home at 5.00AM – 6.00AM, it’s still the same story. At least half an hour should be spent on the good old PeeCee before bidding good night. The day would be incomplete otherwise.
It’s amazing. Accuse me of insomnia, or accuse me of being a slave to the machine, but it’s the truth. It’s about giving a personal ending to a great day. Be it good or bad, the day needs to be ended in this manner. It’s like a drug habit that can’t be cured. It’s similar to adding the final touch, like icing on a cake. If the day is a sundae, then this is the cherry.
Sometimes when I’m out, maybe sleeping away from home, or I go on some trip, I find myself missing the session, and I never fall asleep properly. I used to attribute the sleepless nights to the fact that I need my own bed, but maybe this is a cause too, you know, you never know? I never feel right in the morning if the night is not completed this way.
So I’m definitely a slave to the machine, I’m ashamed yet I can’t deny. I have accepted the fact and I’m very happy with it. This is how the machines will take over the world one day. I’m merely a pawn in a greater plot.
As I write this I’m stoned out of my mind, and I’m swaying on the chair. The computer screen blinks back at me and typing is a challenge, but I am in such a good place that everything else seems turned down. Massive Attack’s Teardrop is doing wonders to the head as I look for the bakcsplace key. I’m focused on my final touch, saving the reality of a day in the real world to ensure it doesn’t get lost in the dream world.
Today was mellow, for a Saturday. At the start of the day was work and before that there was the Friday night, which means the more tired and sleepy I am today. Then there was hanging out with the other half, the filling lunch from Sandwich Factory, and a smoke up session on the beaches of Mount. A beautiful yet mellow Saturday. Not exactly life on the edge, yet life worth living. And now I’m here ready to turn in early for the night. But I have one more mission, the personal one. This was my mission. My cherry on top. This thing that I call a post. So I think I accomplished it, it’s the end. Oh wait…
I feel like I can go on into the night
Waiting here in my personal zone
By myself, all alone
Surfing the world, through a widescreen
Of a graciously enslaving machine
It’s a solitary journey
I am my own company
On the stairway to dreams
To peer through the seams
Saving memories of the day
In the back of my head
Locking them sound and safe
To never forget
For tomorrow is yet another day