One summer at Hikkaduwa

The paper was crumbling, in the journal I had kept in my teens.  The collection of photos was damaged. But they were special and had survived among my treasured possessions despite many home moves across countries.

Then it was always summer. ... Photograph copyright Aruna Kirtisinghe.

The memories of the summers in Hikkaduwa can be only rebooted and read from a forgotten hard drive  — of sea baths, walks early morning with the high tide washed silky soft sand oozing through your toes; long chats sitting on catamarans; fishing in rock pools in the burning hot sun; plopping and killing the deadly jelly fish on the sand with sticks; walking at low tide hanging on to cousins to the big reef; watching at sunset the fishermen pushing their boats out to sea; cricket in the back garden and even doing geometry on the beach.

Then there were the long arguments and discussions on every topic –politics, religion, arranged marriages, and the voicing of doubts about what the future had in store for us — would we be happy, have enough money to travel; would we be rich enough to have shoes to match the dresses; would we marry out of caste and religion, —   the list went on. Accompanying us gyrating Elvis crooned Love me tender, It’s now or never; we wrote  love letters in the sand with Pat Boone, and star gazed trying as Perry Como did to catch a falling star. We loved itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini –  but bikinis were strictly taboo in the Kirtisinghe clan—room was made for the single piece swimsuits by the English ladies who married uncles, but jeans and shorts were out.  We’d sit on coconut tree trunks that had fallen across the beach as if in worship to the mighty sea and dream… about love and careers, marriage and children … Scrawled across the journal in my ungainly handwriting was the poem.  I hadn’t noted the author’s name, but I still remember coming across it — one summer at Hikkaduwa.

Then it was always summer, so it seemed,

As each day slipped to night

Softly the grasses stirred as if they dreamed,

And such a light

Lay in the noonday hour

As never was before

And will be nevermore:

And love was sweeter then, a flower

But now unfolding, holding

All the promise in its cup:

Then was the heart aware of every door

That opened on to beauty, where

Uncounted bluebirds soared upon the air:

That was the time when life was one long song

And we the singers, then…

They were the years when

We and the world were young.


This is my 110 blog post, posted on 11.11.11 @ 11.11 pm.

8 thoughts on “One summer at Hikkaduwa

  1. It’s no comment of mine, but a poem by Hopkins:
    “Margaret, are you grieving
    Over Goldengrove unleaving?
    Leaves, like the things of man, you
    With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
    Ah! as the heart grows older
    It will come to such sights colder
    By & by, nor spare a sigh
    Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
    And yet you wíll weep & know why.
    Now no matter, child, the name:
    Sorrow’s springs are the same.
    Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
    What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed:
    It is the blight man was born for,
    It is Margaret you mourn for”

    Let not, as your heart groes older, to such sights become colder.

  2. This is great Chulie. I think the topic of the conversation between good friends remain still despite the all other changes in Hikka. However, wish it was as beautiful as you have said 🙂

  3. What a lovely writing, the poem and the picture is beautiful but your words takes us to world of its own. Please keep writing.

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