My tsunami memorial, Hambantota beach

Image of fisherman launching/beaching a traditional fishing boat on Hambantota Beach brings back a few memories. But first a few details on the picture: In the background is the hilltop peninsula of Hambantota’s “administrative” district. The Hambana rest house is visible in the background. Faintly visible in the background is the ramparts of Sri Lanka’s only Martello tower Wikipedia has more info on Martello towers.  To spot these details visit the flickr page of this image.

Hambantota beach - some time in the 1990s

I was with my parents and family friends when I took this photo. My obviously bumbling early attempts at black and white FILM photography as demonstrated by its poor exposure. It was some time in 1990-91. There was a gaggle of friendly local kids (10 and below) who were quite excited by the camera. They wanted me to take a group photo of them. Looking back I think it was a rare occasion for that group of friends to be photographed together. I obliged. Back in Colombo I got the photos developed and mailed them to the address one of the kids gave me. A name of a house (not a number) a road, and Hambantota. A typical “rural” address in Sri Lanka at the time. Possibly still is. I naively included the negatives too. Didn’t hear back from them.

I hope they got the pictures as a record of a happier moment in their childhoods. I found the photo in this post while sorting some old packs of lose photos. Interesting, the first memory that came to mind was recalling how thrilled those kids had been to be photographed together. The next spontanious thought was whether they survived the 2004 tsunami.

In defiance of logic, I hope they did. In an odd way this is my “Tsunami memorial”. Four years late, when those untouched by it are starting to forget.


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