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Exile from Atlantis

March 2, 2012

I thought I was mythologising SriLanka too much when I came across Paul Binding reviewing Gunaseraka’s second novel, The Sandglass, saying:
“SriLanka compels the leaving of it. Not for nothing is it tear-shaped, fecund and beautiful, it is the putative site of the Garden of Eden, of the paradisiacal Atlantis, from which humanity was exiled. Even those who stay there are forced, by the uncertainties and cruelties of its unflagging war, to live a kind of exile.”

So here, in my real exiles are a few things that remind me of home.

A Kenyan afternoon, when the heat catches and the plants shake off a dusty, overpowering scent.

A small village in Kerala, with thin brown-skinned men standing at front gates, watching their brisk wives walking down the red earthed lanes.

A bus driver in Wales cheerfully holding a baby while her mother fumbles in her handbag for her bus pass.

Ethiopian food.

Freshly washed hair.

A Seychelles beach.

The formal gardens in Cardiff’s city centre.

The curve of my baby’s back.

The scent of the jasmine bushes growing wild in front of a council house at the end of my road.

The stillness of this afternoon.

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