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An authentic account of Tsunami

Train #50 (Tsunami Disaster) - Disaster recaptured in a bizarre tale

John and Lisa lead a very successful married life though they are not blessed with a child. Lisa who is leading a busy life as a doctor, tried very hard to obtain a child. On failing her attempts, Lisa makes her mind to adopt a child from Sri Lanka as she has developed a fondness towards Sri Lankan-American friends' children.

On reaching her fortieth birthday, Lisa together with John flew to Sri Lanka in the hope of adopting a child.

Would their cherished dream turn out to be a nightmare as they happened to travel in the ill-fated train to Galle? Has the Tsunami destroyed their dream for good?

"Train #50- Tsunami Disaster" by Pradeep Gunawardana answers many questions and shed light on the disaster which claimed thousands of lives. Pradeep has captured the defining moments of the catastrophe and perhaps, the world's most horrendous train tragedy as the roaring waves swept off the South-bound passenger train at Peraliya in Kahawa.

As people belonging to diverse nationalities and religions confront with the common fate, the chanting of many faiths intermingled. Many passengers perished and some of their bodies were withered into the thunderous waves.

"It was a total cacophony, a total chaos. Amidst all this, some one was chanting "Ithipiso" (the qualities of Lord Buddha). In another place, some one was praying to God. Holding on to Kaleed's hand, Saleema prayed to Great Allah.

Romani held on to the gold cross around her neck.Savithri hugged her son and started singing a hymn to God Shiva. In front of her was Saminadan, the man they befriended at the station, with his eyes wide open in a stare. Now, Dedas' eyes were also open..."

On another plane, while people were helping the victims, some turned vultures and started to rob the corpse of jewelry and valuable without sparing hapless victims.

"When Karu looked back for a moment, he saw someone stealing a ring off of a dead man's finger. This was not the first time he saw such a thing. By now, some had stolen the jewelry from the corpses.

And not only from the dead- were some stealing from the helpless victims. Among the pious ,devoted and spiritual people were hiding some who were like vultures and wolves, waiting for their moment to grab rings, necklaces, wristwatches, and other items of value. They were like wolves in sheepskins. "

Gunawardana as a master painter draws a true and candid portrait of the disaster from a humane perspective. In that decisive moment the passengers belonging to diverse religions and nationalities unit in the face of an impending disaster.

It is here that Gunawardana drives home the universal truth that human beings are belonged to one race albeit tend to make artificial barriers based on cast, creed, religion, region, race and nationality.

Instead of being a mere reporter of the tragedy, Gunawardana analyses the unfolding events in a manner that is both subtle and appealing and the message thus craftily integrated into the tapestry of the story would register in the minds of the readers making it an unforgettable read.

The author has flamboyantly and grotesquely described the aftermath of the Tsunami, how the hapless people struggled to save their lives, how the main guard Mr.Wanigaratne Karunathilake at the ill-fated train also saved many lives and the controller Mr.V. Gunapala in Colombo saved five other trains the same day.

With a candid and simple diction, Gunawardana paints a realistic picture of the disaster through equally realistic story.

The book offers a panoramic view of the disaster from hitherto unseen aspects of life, answered many unanswered questions and how the human soul survives in a landscape devoid of life in the aftermath of Tsunami.

Pradeep Gunawardana had been the Consul General of Sri Lanka in California in USA. The book not only strongly reflects on the tragedy but also on author's strong back ground of social and political career.

Bhadraji Mahinda Jayatilake, a prolific writer has contributed to the success of the book as the co-author.

It could have been more effective if the author had tried to avoid some of the Sinhalese expressions that have been included in the story and more mindful of the loopholes in language although it has little impact on the overall effect of the story.

The Publisher of the book PURPLISH AMERICA is one of the most prestigious and leading publishers in USA. It is, for the first time, a Sri Lankan author published a novel for the main chain of book stores in the US, including Barnes and Nobel.

Though the book is not available in island yet, you can obtain a copy online www.barnes and nobel.com or www.amazen.com . Further information can be obtained through the website www.traintsunamidisaster.com.

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