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An unnamed man, a Wanniyalaeto (Sri Lankan aboriginal), in his own jungle, took my hands and greeted me. In an unknown language, he threw a word at me, which from his phalanges to the palms of my hands, slipped into a shiver through my Adam's apple, to give me a strange message. In a perfect vibration, which I could not recognize, a moving energy attached to his greetings, pierces me like his gaze that stings at the bottom of my eyes, and weighs the burden of my being.


I am surprised, in front of the physiological smallness of a member of the Sinhalese nation that has become metaphysical immensity, representing a cradle of humanity, the true one, the one that has been forgotten and the one that is disappearing. "Oundaye" that he repeats me and I do the same by following his gestures.


In a flash, I remember Tagore and his words, "When the old words expire on the language, new melodies spring from the heart; and where the old tracks are lost, a new land is discovered with its wonders."

That's it, it's all there, in a word, and a new horizon, a redefinition of adventure and a pointless journey, which until then had been nothing more than a wandering movement.

With my pockets full of sentences about the behaviour of others and the drift of civilization, my goal now will be to walk these paths of existence and forget all these prejudices. I will now have to experience a journey with other twists and turns, that of encounters, of discovering cultures that nourish our diversities. "Oundaye"!


"Follow me and I'll show you the way to the jungle, the way to my house" this Vedda tells me. "Once you have walked this path, you will know it, and it will also belong to you. And if you take me with you, then your home will be mine. And these paths that we have created and traveled together will be the bonds of our worlds."


I listen to him and by following him into the jungle, we watch for raging elephants, emerald wasps, and hornets of fire. Like Robert Knox, I discover a life opposite of mine, and between Sinhalese and Tamils, the life of Vedda, isolated in a solitude that we have parked in 350 hectares. Animist, he listens to plants and feels the rocks, he hears life, and I don't hear anything. His axe hangs from his bare shoulder, his sarong straightened to the navel and his blood-colored lips, too red to have chewed betel, tell me about his life and that of those who before him travelled the regions of Dambana, the first inhabitants of the island of Ceylon.


Later, in his village, near his acacia hut, covered and thatched, sitting around a fire, grave and contemplating the golden sparks, he and his silk-haired son sing to me songs of love, war, glory and death, as in the famous days of Prince Vijaya.