Old Man and the Sea

It was an unlikely place to be, the little shanty in Dehiwala by the sea, bidding goodbye to a most unlikely friend. Lights flickering and a baby kitten mewling as we sat quietly in a group with a shared sense of loss. He was almost unrecognizable out of his constant, characteristic red t-shirt. I’m going to miss the early morning rides out, the old man’s shrewd eyes slightly milky with age but with a sharp tongue. His ribbing about my weight was an integral part of our dives as were the stilted chats during the surface interval, the old days of fishing and the scarcity of modern times, a grassroots view of the current dire straits the country’s marine resources are in.

One of my favourite memories was the mischievous glint in his eyes  when he happily informed Asha and me that while we were obliviously coming up from a dive, our bubbles had tickled a Whale Shark over our heads.

I think Ajja put it best.

‎"Up the road, in his shack, the old man was sleeping again. He was still sleeping on his face and the boy was sitting by him watching him. The old man was dreaming about the lions." Good bye to the real "old man and the Sea". We will miss him so much.

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