It is a quarter to twelve and I stepped out of the house a few minutes ago to find the entire landscape bathed in a brilliant moonlight. I stood savouring the scenery and the cool breeze of the night. There is something about the glow of the moonlight that lends even the most commonplace scenery an air of romance and mystery.

It brought back memories from a long time ago.

There is nothing I enjoy more than a good conversation, a rare and prized commodity in this country. A friend once said that the only conversation to be had in Colombo is about women, the latest deal or cricket. Fortunately I have a small circle of friends who I can converse with, one of whom lived with his maiden aunt down a lane on the seaside of Bambalapitiya.

It was an old rambling house that was falling to pieces with a small garden. I used to go over on the eve of the poya day carrying a bottle of Rockland Gin or Gilbey’s Lemon Gin. He would generally have a kottu rotti or some other nibbles handy and we would take two chairs out to the garden and chat late into the night.

The roar of the ocean, the stiff sea breeze, the coconut trees swaying to the front of us, the gaunt outline of the old house behind us and the entire scene bathed in the ghostly glow of the moonlight; with the alcohol, flowing as freely as the conversation, those evenings had an atmosphere that I have not experienced since.

Sadly, the passage of time has taken those simple pleasures beyond reach. The Marine Drive devoured most of the garden of that old house, the house itself was later knocked down and the land sold; my friend migrated to Australia and I do not know what became of his charming old aunt.

I wish I were typing this out in the yard under moonlight rather than in my room, I think I shall pull out a chair and spend some time outside now and ponder on the magic of mother nature.