To celebrate its second anniversary, The Hindu Business Line’s BLink magazine has published a fiction special. My short story on Sri Lanka, family and faith, written exclusively for this issue, is in it.
In Warakapola we stop for the first time, at the Bhadrakali-Hanuman kovil by a hill on the A1 highway, the first of many roads on this journey. We climb the few stairs to the temple to see its strangely companionable deities, but our grandfather gets out of the vehicle only for the Pillaiyar at its base. He holds a dried coconut with both hands, and circles it in the air, making his entreaties to the god of beginnings. And then he breaks it open on the ground, using his better arm. On the second try, it cracks open.
We bought the coconuts as we left Wellawatte and divided them into two bags. One is in the backseat, the other lodged between the driver and my grandfather, in the front. They must not be stepped on. We stretch our limbs out and try to sleep.
Nobody tells us — although there are those in the van who know — that it will be 10 hours to Batticaloa, in all.
You can read all of “16 Coconuts To Pillayaradi” here.