East is east, and west is west;
The twain can never meet.”(Kipling)
I often used to reflect on the above lines; still, I have not learned about the modes of life of the two races-the orientals and he occidentals.
My close relatives studying in the west, made me to realize the difference. Many of them have settled in foreign lands. It has rather, become a craze.
Anyhow, I am a Pukka Pakistani. Western culture and mode of life do not appeal to me. As I have heard and read, life in the west is materialistic, shameless, full of crimes though attractive and alluring. I had won the ‘prize’ in the ‘Nilam Ghar- a free ticket to visit any country of my choice. I preferred to visit Srilanka (Ceylon)., Air passage and other expenses were borne by the awarders.
I boarded the PIA plane at mid-might and landed at Colombo Airport at about 7. a.m. The sun was rising behind the tree-tops covering the roadside mountain. The taxi-driver was a very courteous man. He dropped me at Grand Hotel – a multi-storied building. My sponsors had already informed and instructed their Ceylone agents about my visit. Their man Mr. Dayan Narke, soon contacted me in the evening. He arranged for my tours and acted as a guide.
Ceylone is an island in the shape of a cup. The skirting mountain slope towards the center. It is full of natural beauty and greenery. Graceful palm trees made me to look up. I was greatly impressed by the tourists’ services. The island has rightly been called ‘tourist’ paradise’- in the Indian Ocean. My uncle had been there as a delegate in an Educational Conference. He has already introduced me to the land and its worth seeing spots. First I visited famous historical centre Sirghre. There is an old palace on a height of 1600 feet. The resthouse at the foot offered most modern services. I also climbed the hill.
Its rather perpendicular ascent left me panting. On way to Sirghree, the bus stopped at Pusyala famous for its feminine brunette beauty. The familiar elephants wading in a lake attracted the tourists.
My next visit was to ‘Kandee’ the old capital of Ceylone. It is an mountain – ribboned city. People lived up the terraces. In the centre there was Buddha’s Golden Tample. We removed the shoes as we entered the shrine. On way, I stopped at the monastery famous for its 40 feet tall statue of Buddha. I enjoyed the typical fruits and drank coconut water. The pineapple was my pet. The mountains were overgrown with spice trees.
I also visited the Jaffna port and river Kuwait. It was a rebel torn area so we were very cautious. In the night I used to visit the seashore after supper. Ceylone is famous for its cottage Industries. I purchased some toys and decoration pieces inade of Bamboo roots, rubber, coconut shells, ebony and horns. I also did handsome shopping; bought pineapples, Kazoo and some coconuts. I found the Ceylonese very hospitable, courteous, simple and social people.
After spending an unforgettable fortnight, I returned home with sweet memories.