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The Return Of The Captive Image Credit: Fountain Ink
The Return Of The Captive Image Credit: Fountain Ink

The Return Of The Captive

After eight years as a prisoner of the LTTE, a naval officer returns home.

Ajith Boyagoda & Sunila Galappatti

I had missed a lot. I didn’t know the neighbours. We had moved into a new house just before I was captured and I’d never had a chance to settle in. our neighbours came to meet me for the first time. for the first week or so, the house was full of people. people came who knew us well; people came who didn’t know us well. They asked the same questions, I gave the same answers. I did this again and again. I felt a little tired through that week.

There were things I had to do—I needed an Id card and a new driving licence. These things had got lost at sea on the night of my capture. I needed them to become a citizen again, with a bank account and all the other trappings. In my first week back, I met with an accident at kohuwela roundabout. The collision wasn’t my fault but I didn’t have the wherewithal to avoid it. The ability to drive a car came back instinctively but the situation on the roads was new to me. It felt like there had been an explosion of cars in the city while I was away.

For the first months I was mostly preoccupied with finding ways to re-enter my family. you can’t have these things back instantly. I had to wait for a way back into their lives. for the eight previous years my family had to be whole without me. There was no immediate role for me to play. I would say that I was more unfamiliar to them than familiar.

I realised that I could not tell my boys what to do and not to do; not when&nb

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