Koluwa’s Story; Part 3

So Koluwa’s Story is something I started working on a few months ago. I didn’t proceed beyond Part 2 but finally got my self to continue. So here’s Part 3 and in case you need to be reminded of the story here’s the first part where we learn about Koluwa and Latha’s friendship and the second part where Koluwa is wounded and we see how affected Latha is by blood.

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The cut was soon a mere scar and Koluwa was happily working on the garden again. The Master had told him to rest his leg, and Koluwa had been waiting for the day he would be allowed to feel the soil and pull out the weeds.
Latha too waited for Koluwa’s return to the garden. She saw nothing of him during those days of rest. She wasn’t allowed near his shed and Manike was watching her too closely. So many times she would look around when she was out in the garden, hoping to catch a glimpse of her dear friend.
The day soon came when Koluwa was given his first job in a month. He squatted by a coconut tree and ran his hand over the black soil. An earth worm smiled up at him and he sprinkled some soil over the little guy. Still squatting he looked towards the well and mango trees. A far away look had invaded his usually emotionless eyes.
He was reminded of the garden he had once played in as a child. The brown dust had made it impossible to grow many plants, and whatever had won the battle against terrible soil and the weather were dry trees that were quite unpleasant to the eye. They bore nearly no fruits and his neighbors and friends had been generous enough to give him some. It was funny, they would comment, how Koluwa’s garden was as useless as one could be. And yet his neighbor had one of the oldest mango trees of the village.
Koluwa shut his eyes tightly as he remembered that long ago past. He wasn’t Rajah anymore; no one used the name his mother had carefully picked out for him. Even that Latha called him Koluwa. Boy! He wasn’t a boy; he was nearly as tall as the Mahaththaya, and maybe even stronger. Everyone looked at him as if he was a mere child though, an illiterate little boy.
He sighed and got back to work. Pulling out the weeds that had seemed to take advantage of his wound, Koluwa thought about where his life was headed. He knew the Mahaththaya was saving money for him in a bank account. He had been told the money would be his the day he decided to leave.
“But Puthey, as much as I want you here for my own selfish reasons, you too shouldn’t just leave because you feel like it. When I was your age I didn’t want to stay in one place. You mayn’t believe this, but I even ran away for a night or two with some friends. Ah! The beatings that followed.” The Mahaththaya laughed at the memory. He suddenly seemed younger, as if a weight had been lifted off his shoulders, even if it was for a very short time.
“What I want to say is this. You have a good job here, and your account has enough to get you through for sometime, until you find a job. But Puthey, finding a job isn’t easy. I can give you some small job at my office but you won’t earn enough. So think very carefully before you make any decisions. Since you are an adult now, I can’t stop you. But, don’t disappoint me.”
Ah! The Mahaththaya, so kindhearted and caring. Yet, Koluwa didn’t want to tend to this garden forever. He loved it as his own, even though someday that Egghead would let it all go to waste. Still, Koluwa had to move on. He could work here for a few more years at most. But he wasn’t educated beyond the primary grades and he had no one in Colombo. Going back to the North was out of the question. His uncle wouldn’t want another mouth to feed and what can he do in a place of which whatever memories he had only haunted him?
Koluwa hadn’t told Latha any of this. He was afraid that she would want to tag along. Sure, she was his only friend but he couldn’t be responsible for her. Also she was a young girl and if she was to expect more than friendship from him, he wouldn’t know what to do.
He saw her now, walking towards him, carrying a glass of hot tea. What went through that girl’s mind, he wondered. Was she too looking for an escape?

5 thoughts on “Koluwa’s Story; Part 3”

  1. Hi Shailee! It’s great to see you taking up this story again! It’s good that you linked the previous posts to this post too!As Vasika had suggested in the first post, you have given more space to the titular character this time! 🙂 The innocence of these two youngsters you have created is charming. It is evident in lines like “An earth worm smiled up at him and he sprinkled some soil over the little guy.”I’m not too sure whether the Mahaththaya is really concerned about this boy though…Latha seems to miss her friend very much… Waiting to see how this will turn out… 🙂

  2. But the Mahaththaya seeing Koluwa as a son….isn't that a little bit too predictable? I mean, granted I love this extract of the story as we see inside Koluwa's thought process and inside his heart and memories, but shouldn't there be some other sort of conflicting force?

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