It is Perehara Time in Kandy and if I cycle to work I get a heart attack or knocked down and killed by an erratic driver who is visiting Kandy on Pilgrimage.
This little town cannot accommodate normal traffic on a normal day especially when V.V.I.Ps visit with police cordon.
I have devised simple method which is to boycott Kandy City for two weeks or take two weeks leave and exit from the city.
This has worked for me for the last 20 years.
My last visit to the city on a Friday evening worth recording.
I walked down to the bus terminus (for my sanity I will not state the place) which is always jammed in all directions since Kandy police won’t let the bus drivers to park in Kandy city limits.
1. Funeral Procession was the first obstruction to smooth flow of traffic.
2.Then within half a Kilometer a Wedding Car doing almost a U-turn on the main road in front of a guest house.
3. From that point traffic was at snail pace to Kandy.
4. Then to my surprise I saw a pack of cyclists overtaking us.
Most likely they were Australian tourists who had come for the Cricket.
I thought they were a mad lot to cycle to Kandy in this terrible heat.
They will get heat stroke if not knocked down by somebody.
There were few ladies too.
A casual look at them. there were at least three professional cyclists one leading the pack, one behind and one securing the ladies in the middle. Moment I saw these three gentlemen doing the impossible and without obstructing the main flow unlike our three wheelers peddling along safely, I was bit happy.
Then they disappeared from our sight.
The traffic were snail pace I thought they were the only wise guys / girls on the road who could beat even a policeman on a motor bike.
5. Then suddenly an ambulance was on sight.
Another patient who needed to be transferred in a hurry but almost stuck on the road.
I was thinking the cyclists would be in town and having a drink but when were within a half a kilometer of the city they were stuck at a junction not knowing where to turn.
Who is / are wise me on a old commuter bus on a Friday afternoon to beat 6 P.M closure time or cyclists without knowing the route, I wonder.
Exercise is recommended and cycling is one of them to prevent heart attacks and cycling in Sri-Lankan road is a Killer Entity.
Tourist beware, no cycling and no driving (please hire a car).
If you need some exercise please follow our President and do cycling on a exercise bike in a air conditioned room (?prevent dehydration-even air conditioning might dehydrate you but may prevent heat stroke) with a face mask on.
Next killer is air pollution and Kandy has the best / worst polluted air in this country for one to breath (only intermittent rain prevent this pollution) and mind you this Perehara festival is to bring rain (eater cutting ceremony) and its religious overtone is a superimposition only.
At least if it rains poor elephants won’t have sore feet (when they walk on tar roads the heat burns their feet) and that is also not happening due to global warming and our politicians and their kith and kin even clearing Sinharaja forest for road development add to the destruction already done by predecessors.
Friday is a very unhealthy day to travel but I had to do that to go to a bookshop and buy some reading material to read till this bizarre period of festivity is over.
Three more days to go and I have already finished the books.
Perhaps I might do some writing and this is the end result.