It is a sight to behold, when you scamper through a stretch of sheer rocks, haul yourself up on rocking tropical branches, grab fistfuls of tundra grass to keep yourself from slipping as you climb up and balance your worn shoes on a makeshift road that is carpeted with pine-needles. It is also a sight to behold that awaits all this at the summit, a view to humble you, make you fall on your knees and to stun you at the amazing landscape that awaits.
It is also a sight to behold – apparently – unfortunately – for a local girl to be scampering about so. It is a sight to behold – one I am yet to come across – for a group of local girls to trek a mountain path. It is a sight to behold, indeed, if you happen to meet a fellow member of the incorrectly termed fairer sex, in the numerous adventure junkies that you cross paths with on your way to a summit; for this, I am yet to encounter.
What makes mountain-girls such a rare breed? Not the lack of enthusiasm, as a conversation with almost any girl will reveal. For a female to scamper a hill, there are two extremely essential things, which are in scarce supply in Sri Lanka: not stamina and strength, no – but an “I don’t give a f*ck” attitude and an ability to own that you are not a female from the “types of appropriate girls” book that society fondly treasures. Unfortunately, the latter cannot be done without the former, and both combined has the unfortunate effect of you being the talk of every aunty-gathering.
For every female you find sighing at the gorgeous images you post on multiple social media accounts – excuse me, but I wish to share the glory of my island home with you souls – you will also have another who makes snide remarks about “inappropriate behaviour”, “gallivanting”, “girls should be at home” and “this is Sri Lanka, not America”. I, for one, though, refuse to conform this notion. I refuse to accept that my genitals controls my world exposure; that I need to have a Y chromosome to be able to sleep under the starry skies or to lie on a sheer rock with the wind threatening to take me parasailing.
This to you, who tell me that I am crazy, stupid, indecent and many other negatives. I’d rather be a crazy girl with a mind that thrives on nature’s gifts; I’d rather spend my weekends sweaty, muddy and pushing myself to tread a path I haven’t tread before; I’d rather feast on a piece of watermelon and gulp down a sip of water than sit around, criticizing and judging the way another lives.