Amala Stories

Juhan

written by Anand Pereira

Back in 2013, my friends and I decided to take a spontaneous trip to Sri Lanka. So spontaneous in fact, that we booked our flights four days before flying out. As a group of three guys on a small budget, getting from Colombo to Trincomalee was the only thing on our to-do list. Our first plan of action was to find a driver and with the help of the internet, we found Jehan, who we recruited to guide us around safely on this 10-day journey. Everything seemed to have come together perfectly, until we got on the road.

We arrived just after midnight and looking back, I am not sure whose bright idea it was to start the trip with a 7-hour drive across the island but I’m almost certain it wasn’t mine. Seeing as it was night time, the roads were pitch black. With no streetlamps, the only light guiding us came from the car’s headlights. Within minutes, Jehan was speeding down the two-lane road like a madman in a hurry. I looked over at my friend and saw the same panic-stricken face I had on too. These were the same narrow roads where elephants are known to cross, and every other minute, Jehan was blinded by the glaring lights from giant trucks—the deafening horns didn’t help either. What we thought was going to be some time for R & R turned out to be a series of near-death incidents.

Several hours later as the sun began to rise, we finally caught our breaths, wiped the sweat from our palms and leaned back into our seats feeling utterly exhausted—but dear Jehan did not seem fazed at all, he turned towards us and casually asked if we managed to get any sleep!

What a cool cucumber, but lesson learnt—don’t wing it in Sri Lanka.

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