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
"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
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.