I remember ’99 December vividly. The heat after the cold of London, the green after the grey. The new friends, CP and S who are more than family now, and R being there with his terrible hairstyle, akkis were thin and sexy, J was down and DJ’ing at the Blue where a bottle cost a measly four grand. Life was fresh and young then and I was all about the partying. Hand brake turns on Havelock Road and B looking ridiculously cute. I look like I was 12 in those pictures a life time ago as do most of the crew. Most of the crew who now, for better or worse have fallen apart. Some like C and CP having kids, the others like M just disappeared into the wind, unheard from for half a decade. The stories will live on though and we trot them out everytime when the remnants meet up, the clutch slipping at Galle Face roundabout at 2am, the unfortunate toilet incident, etc, etc.
Ten years on and I’ve come to the end of an era. New Years Eve this time was spent with N, a 12 year old bottle of Mendis and some random but interesting acquaintances in the middle of the jungle. Cicidas whirred, while we played chicken with elephants on the way to the room at Yala Village. Rapidly warming ginger beers and arracks in hand, we recounted the incredible leopard sightings of the day, the almost sightings of our childhoods. I was thinking a year has wrought incredible change, but the decade much more so. I never thought I would celebrate 31st night watching elephants wrestle in the moonlight, away from the City, the music, the girls but I did and I have never felt so complete.
As the drunken texts poured in and the clock struck midnight, there were no fireworks. Just the sound of the ocean on the dunes and the rustle of the nighttime jungle.
It was perhaps the best way to end the year. To remind myself why I moved back, what part of my soul was missing all these years. The jungles, the heat, the sandy tracks and the fresh pug prints. For awhile I thought I was trying to capture something I lost over 20 years ago and who knows maybe I am. But I think I’m just writing a new chapter in my life. It’s not the finality I was searching for but I’ve come to realize that doesn’t exist. It’s been an interesting journey across a couple of continents over the last decade and an especially difficult one over the last year but I am looking forward to the present as it slowly transforms into the future.
I hope everyone had a great end to the year and a content year to come.
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