Waiting to fly.

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It’s only 9 am and I’ve come close to crying more times than I can count. This stress reminds me of heartbreak simply because it’s making me want to crack under the pressure of something huge; something I feel I can’t get through. It’s only a day though. A moment, really. And moments pass. I thought heartbreak would never pass – but it did, and if I got through that, I can get through a few hours of hard work, surely.

And then I’ll be on a plane. I love flying. I’m afraid of heights but when I’m on a plane, that height is unfathomable to me so I’m not frightened of it. Instead, I’m eternally fascinated: I love the grumbling rush of the plane as it ploughs down the runway, I find the lift-off always takes me by surprise – it always happens sooner than I expect – and I love that feeling of suddenly being weightless and airborne. I never tire of seeing the earth shrink by degrees, and watching cars and humans rush around their day like tiny lego people in a child’s make-believe world. Then, even that disappears under layers and layers of cloud. Those clouds. I wish so much that I could play in them. Continue reading “Waiting to fly.”

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Packing.

Vintage Luggage Parmiters Antiques Southsea, by Geishaboy

I’ve been dawdling over my packing the last few days. Knowing it has to be done but loitering over it anyway – indecisively putting clothes in and taking them out again; making patterns on my bed with lipsticks and blush brushes.

I like packing. I hate order in life but like finding order in little things. A well-packed suitcase is a thing of wonder. Pressed and ironed clothes make geometric designs in the case, all the while maintaining a smooth, flat surface. Then comes that tricky layer in the middle where the bulky, shapeless items go: shoes, handbags, that perfume he gave me, the cream I just bought, still in it’s box. I stuff under wear and scarves to fill in the cracks. And perhaps the most trickiest to pack: bras. I wish I was a small-breasted girl who didn’t need them, but alas, I am not and I do.

Yes, I like packing – but it stresses me out. I don’t stress easy but this always gets me. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because packing is kind of like predicting the future – or at least taking a stab at it. You pack according to what you think you’ll be doing. But no one really knows, do they? I have a rough idea – I’ll be seeing my sisters, my friends, my aunt in her house by the beach. But what about those delicious unknowns in between? How to plan for those? How to pack for those? Continue reading “Packing.”

A day in Vavuniya

Originally published on Perambara.

The heat in Vavuniya is incredible – oppressive and dry, as if it is trying to sap every last ounce of moisture from you and evaporate it into thin air. As I clambered out of my blissfully air conditioned van and into Vavuniya’s searing heat a few days ago, I felt immediately tired, even though I had only been sitting and sleeping for the past 7 hours since we left Colombo.

I mentioned this to the young woman I was with, who I had picked up from her family’s house just outside of Vavuniya town and she cheerfully agreed. “It seems to get worse every year, even my aunties agree”, in her thick European accent. Only in Sri Lanka for a very brief visit, she met me and my crew for a day’s worth of filming connected to her charity work at the Vavuniya hospital.

My first impression of the hospital was that it looked quite new – I supposed it was probably built up after the end of the war last year. The paint on the walls was still fresh and clean and so were the wide windows, if you ignored a light coating of dust, inescapable in these parts. Walking inside however, I saw that the place was a mess of tired patients and harried medical staff. Stray, mangy dogs skittered unnoticed in and out of the open doors and crowds of aimless looking people sat on the floor of the entrance to the hospital and all along its corridors.

My companion saw my doubtful stares in their direction and clarified: “IDPs”, she said simply. “They arrive in busloads early morning, but they cannot leave until they’ve all been seen. They are only allowed to go back to the camps late in the evening.  So they wait”. I remember the two young girls I had seen when I first stepped out of our vehicle in the parking lot. They were sitting at the foot of a dusty red government bus, staring at nothing in particular. I supposed they were waiting to go home too. I felt sorry for them, sitting there with nothing to do and in this terrible heat. One of them looked at me, brow furrowed, when I pointed a camera in her direction but looked away again, disinterested.

Continue reading “A day in Vavuniya”