A few months later, the postman arrived at Silibiris house. As usual Silibiris was out gallivanting.
The postman very officially handed over an important-looking parcel to Siriyalatha, saying it had come from the Land of the Queen, addressed to Silibiris. Siriyalatha accepted the parcel by signing with her thumb print. The postman hung around to see if she would open it in front of him. Instead she ran inside calling out to her daughters. The postman peddled away muttering to himself, disappointed.
The women turned the parcel around over and over. It was wrapped in a strange looking brown paper, tied around with a strange looking string and sealed with some strange looking brown hard stuff. They speculated what might be inside. Who would send this strange parcel? Why is it sent to Silibiris not Haramanis? If it was few decades later, they would have run away from the parcel suspecting it to be a bomb. This was not that era in Ceylon.
Kamala, the eldest daughter, suggested they take it to the school and ask Lokumahaththaya to check the parcel. Siriyalatha suggested they take it to the temple. Ultimately, they decided to wait until whatever the time Silibiris came home. He was the linguistic scholar in the family!
Silibiris got the news from one of the village boys that he had received a ‘foreign’ parcel. The postman had spread the news not just in Ambarawa, but in the neighbouring villages as well. He ran home. Siriyalatha shouted at him as usual for running around with rowdy boys in the village. She gave him the parcel with both hands as if offering an Ata Pirikara to the temple monk.
Silibiris realized the sender was one of the sudda fellows who had visited Ambarawa a few months back to photograph wildelephants. Silibiris never expected to hear from the foreigner ever again who had made a hasty retreat after the wal aliya had attacked them and their jeep.
The ‘nature photographers’ had got more than they bargained for in their expedition. Not only did they manage to photograph flora and fauna in Ambarawa, but also managed to capture some jumbo ‘porn’ before the bull elephant turned around and charged them for disturbing his amorous activities with a she elephant.
Silibiris carefully cut the string. He slowly unwrapped the shiny brown paper packaging. The sisters fought for the string and the strange hard brown seal. They had seen chocolate but never tasted. The elder girl triumphantly took a bite out of the piece ‘chocolate’she claimed. She immediately spat it out. It tasted disgusting. Sealing wax was not meant for consumption.
The parcel only seemed to contain a book with a shiny cover. Silibiris suddenly realized the picture on the cover was vaguely familiar.
“Ammatahudu” he thought to himself, it’s the mating elephants in Ambarawa jungle in a slightly descent pose.
He thumbed the book excitedly. He pretended to read it to show off to his sisters. The sisters peered over his shoulders.
Further in the book, there was a feature article about Ambrawa with many photos of the jungle, village the temple and best of all Silibiris and the friends diving off the Kumbuk tree into the weva with the local young girls bathing in the background.
The woman rowing a boat plucking lotus flowers with setting sun behind her looked the best.
The men had also sent a letter, tucked inside the book with copies of some of the colour photos.
Silibiris could hardly read what the men had written in the letter but he was thrilled to see a money order – One hundred rupees!