In spite of all plans and attempts to get my long-awaited teaching
appointment to a school in or close to Colombo to enable me to continue
the post graduate course I was following at the Colombo university,
disrupting all my expectations I got in to a college in Bandarawela and
when I was reluctant to accept it my father, a well experienced school
principal, advised me to accept it as otherwise I might lose the
opportunity of getting it at all.
But unexpectedly, this college happened to be a popular one with all
the necessary facilities and its principal was a middle aged fatherly
gentleman who got friendly with my father in no time.
When enquired about a suitable boarding house he said that I could
stay in the bungalow of an estate owner who was looking for a teacher,
good in English, to help his son and daughter in their studies. So, when
telephoned, a handsome gentleman with a charming lady came in a super
After introduction and a long discussion they seemed so pleased that
they agreed to accommodate me with food free of charge. To my great
relief I was given a fully furnished bedroom with attached toilet and
bath and was treated as a member of their own family.
Sapumal Bandara, the estate owner, was a very kind and well mannered
gentlemen and his wife, Seetha Kumari, loved and treated me cordially as
I resembled her beautiful sister, a university lecturer, killed in a car
accident. The children too, became more and more attached to me as time
the end of my second year, my beloved father died of a heart attack
leaving me in a desolate situation and his only brother, a university
lecturer at the London university, wanted me to accompany him to U.K.
and do my Masters' degree there.
But after about one year I was compelled to come back to attend to
the funeral of Elisa auntie, our faithful servant, who had become my
second Mother since the death of my beloved mother at her second child
delivery when I was six years.
I was shocked when I heard that Mrs. Bandara and her elder son had
been killed and Mr. Bandara had been fatally injured in a car accident.
So I decided to see Mr. Bandara and his two remaining children before
The children, seeing me, came sobbing and crying and clung to me as
though they were begging from me their lost motherly love. I was moved
so much that I too began to cry hugging them.
When they were somewhat consoled leaving them to their nanny. I
walked to Mr. Bandara's room and seeing his heart breaking sight stood
on the threshold stunned.
He, whom once I admired as a very handsome and clean man, was now
looking highly disfigured and having an emaciated body with overgrown
moustache, beard and hair neglected and dishevelled and also with a
fully plastered leg. Though he was facing the door, he did not notice me
and seemed in a brown study.
When I slowly tapped the door he, recognising me, slowly sat with a
forced smile on the bed, but seeing me with tears pouring down my
cheeks, he held back his smile and looked at me in bewilderment and
after a long silence, asked me when I would be going back.
When I told him that I would be going back by the 10 p.m. flight on
the following day he ordered his cook to prepare lunch early to enable
me to set out without delay. With the help of a crutch he came to have
lunch with us.
When we were having lunch the climate changed unexpectedly covering
the entire area with a mist followed by a storm and a heavy down pour.
Mr. Bandara advised me to stay the night and go early in the morning
as driving in that climate was very risky. After dinner when I went to
sleep the children too followed me with their pillows to sleep with me.
As the rain and wind were still terrible it was very cold. Baby Sampath
fell asleep pressing his warm lips on my cheek and resting his soft hand
on my bosom and his sister Shalinie slept on the other side keeping one
hand over me and a leg on my knees. I could not move. Their breathings
were like two sets of bellows operating continuously on both sides to
keep me warm.
Almost whole of the night I was awake thinking of their plight. At
about midnight I felt baby Sampath feeling my breasts very earnestly. I
in surprise raised up my loose night jacked a bit to enable him to find
the place he was seeking.
He finding the place he was groping for began to suck it like a long
starved calf sucking milk from its mother. I, in tears waited patiently
allowing him to have his own way. Sampath after sucking for some time
loosing his grip fell asleep again while I with unbearable grief began
to think of a way to appease their sufferings.
By dawn I had come to the decision to sacrifice my future for their
well-being. But I had some doubts whether their father would agree to my
plan. After morning tea, telling the children not to follow me and
mustering up my courage, I walked to Mr. Bandara's room.
He seemed in deep thoughts and seeing me, greeted me with a bow and a
smile, thinking that I had come to take his leave.
When I, very earnestly, told him my decision to sacrifice my life for
the well-being of his motherless children, the pleasant smile on his
face disappeared and very emphatically he told me that he could not keep
an unmarried young lady under his roof now, and after a long silence he
said, "Yamuna" teacher, I appreciate your intention.
I know that you are very honest and generous and immensely love my
children. But I fear my neighbour and relations may misunderstand us and
spread rumours and gossip.
"Please try to understand me Mr. Bandara," I said. "My beloved mother
died when I was six and my father did not marry a second time fearing
that a step-mother would ill-treat me and not only that, he left no
stone unturned to curtail that vast loneliness I was undergoing.
"So, through my own experience I can feel that gravity of their
suffering and that is why I came to this decision to sacrifice my life
for their well-being.
"Like your father I too have the same fear. If my second wife bears
children she will naturally prefer her own children than these," he
said. "Frankly speaking, I was dreaming to marry a good man like you and
bear a son and a daughter like yours. So your children are my dreamed
"Mr. Bandara my intention is not to marry a rich man and lead a
luxurious life bearing children, but to look after the three of you and
lead a simple and a quite life", I said.
Without uttering a word he began to sob like a baby, covering his
face with both his hands, shedding tears. Noticing that he was
attempting to get up I rushed and sat by his side while gently feeling
his head lowered it on to my lap.
Though he lay there silently like an obedient child I felt his warm
tears. Unable to control my emotions I too began to sob shedding tears
wetting his face.
He, as though awaking from a reverie, raised his head and seeing the
tears pouring down my cheeks stretched both his hands to hug me, but
hearing the children entering the room he moved away.
The children seeing my tearing eyes clung to me like two frightened
kittens. When Bandara saw his children clinging to me and I hugging them
his face lit up with a beaming smile like the full moon emerging through
a rainy cloud lighting the entire area after a long darkness.