Delighted to be over at Words Without Borders, writing about my childhood home and city, Colombo, for the Words Without Borders, The City & The Writer series curated by Nathalie Handal. It was such a pleasure for me to write it and now, a few months on, to re-read what I had forgotten I’d said. Here is one of the sections:
What is your most heartbreaking memory in this city?
I returned home in October 2009, for my mother’s funeral. One morning as required by Buddhist custom, my older brothers and I took her ashes to set them adrift in the Kelani River. I held the urn in my arms as we drove. It was a simple, round receptacle, so small. It felt like I was holding an infant, all of my mother’s body reduced to these ashes in this cool clay urn. I felt protective and bereft. I wanted to say I was finally able to give to her this thing that she had taught me to give to the world—to see the child, the “some mother’s child,” in them no matter how old they were. I had never given her that, she had always been bigger to me, more than a child, indefatigable, irrepressible, a deity. And I realized I could not. It broke my heart in ways I would not have believed possible. I believe that was her last gift to me.
You can read the entire piece here.