For those of you that have followed this blog for a while, you might recall there was a phase back in '09 where I was gloriously unemployed. I say 'gloriously' because while I did my best to find an employer that could use and abuse me, I often took a 'glass half full' approach to unemployment - after all, I was very comfortable at home, I got to work out three days a week, go jogging, blog incessantly and generally do whatever I wanted. Of course, eventually I got off my lazy butt and found a job, and soon all those other extra-curricular activities took a backseat.
It's the Sinhala and Tamil new year here, and as a result we're on holiday for a week. It's nice sitting at home and relaxing after a long time, without having to squeeze all my fun into a couple of days before setting off for work again. However, I was determined not to spend the entire holiday in front of my computer, so there has been a lot of time spent in front of the piano instead, the results of which I hope I will be able to post soon.
Yesterday, I decided to go on one of my infamous 'walks'; those hour or 90-minute long treks I used to go on during my stretch of unemployment. Kandy is famous for its hills, and the tiny lanes and twisting roads that wind up them, as well as the scattered housing perched almost precariously on the slopes. It makes for some very confusing driving, but it also makes for an excellent work out.
I used to have several routes, but yesterday I chose the hardest route, which includes a good 12-15 minutes of uphill jogging, followed by more climbing to a view point that looks over the city. I discovered all these lanes by pure chance back in the day, so it was refreshing to go along the old familiar route again. Of course, the scenery had changed somewhat.
|Sounds like a name for some UNICEF project|
|I wonder if this wall belongs to Dilu, because that would make sense then|
I somehow jogged to the top of the first crest with my lungs on fire and the blood pounding in my veins. I consider myself to be in somewhat decent shape, but jogging up that incline was something else. I can't remember whether I found it harder or easier than back in the day, but at that moment I didn't have enough blood reaching my brain to ponder. After finally catching my breath, I started climbing up the second half of the hill, a series of twisting lanes wide enough for just one vehicle at a time. Again, I was surprised to see how much had changed; the roads were tarred, and the edges were clearly marked for the novice driver, and a lot of houses which were under construction at the time were now beautifully done. Houses with a view no doubt command quite the price.
As I climbed higher, the light started to fade, and soon I noticed a few people staring curiously at this spectre in a white t-shirt and tracks walking up their lane in the half light, on the eve of the Sinhala and Tamil new year. I was not bothered, my ear phones were plugged securely into my ears and Incubus was keeping my thoughts company.
I kept climbing higher, anxious to reach my view point before it got too dark to enjoy it. Three years ago there were several places where I could see the city below but despite the improvements in the state of the homes here, the tall grass on the side of the road had gotten out of control, obscuring most of the view. After 40 minutes, I finally reached the top, tapped the light post like I always did, and took in the view of the Hill Capital.
|Poor lighting; my phone camera did its best|
The light was rapidly fading, and the cloud cover lent a very muted tone to the view, but it was still refreshing standing there, the cool breeze seeping through my drenched clothes as well as into my heaving lungs. The view was the same and yet so different from all those times I came up here so many years ago. The overgrown shrubbery, the newly painted walls and additional storeys all lent an alien feel to a familiar surrounding.
I stood there for a good ten minutes, just taking in the view and trying to recall the thoughts that must have been in my head 3 years ago at this very point. I remember I used to wonder how it would feel to live here, on this mountain side with this view. I used to imagine designing a home, perhaps with my wife, many years in the future, and I distinctly remember thinking that the twisting lanes would deter friends from coming home for parties and meals. And imagine taking the kids to school! I doubt any school transport would come up that hill no matter how much I paid them...
I smiled to myself as I replayed these hidden discussions in my head now. How silly I was back then, planning and hoping for things I had no comprehension about. And yet, I am almost envious of that man, who was hopeful in his naivety. My thoughts last night were much more sober, and far less exciting. Just like the view, somehow I had changed despite remaining the same.
It had been a while since I had had time to myself, to clear my head and to air my thoughts. I swore to myself I would do it more often; I only hope I can live up to that promise.