Category Archives: youth

Randomness-Part one

(Based on an in-class exercise at one of the Write to Reconcile workshops. A little simpler than what I would generally write, but here it is, until I come up with my next post)

Savithri and her sister Sujatha led their two dogs across the harvested field that belonged to Ananda, their father’s old friend. Everything was going the way of the two girls when they set out. The low breeze enveloped the world like a cool curtain, lifting the locks of hair off their once-sweaty shoulders. Their dogs barked and slobbered with dumb happiness as only a dog could as the girls led them by hand. Savithri heaved a sigh halfway there.
Their dogs were delightful, dainty little mongrels, and practically took care of themselves meant that she had time to spend-or “waste”-on herself. These were such sturdy, adaptable creatures, far more than the cattle and goats that were so common everywhere. The scent of coconut oil massaged finely into her glistening hair, was dancing on the sweeping wind. Her memory jogged along with her feet. Her parents said so many things about her “habits” as they called them.

“Worrying about her face! I will find a husband one day, then you will find out that your face is not at all important!” her mother rasped sharply from the labyrinth of her mind.

“Buy this dress, buy that!” The thunder of her father’s voice hit her like…

Pursing her lips, she shook her head violently. For fifteen years she’d been alive but for all those years, she’d never known what the thunder in the north was about. She felt in the depths of her heart that something was wrong with someone else in that vast country. A cascade of thoughts rushed through her and the wind brought on a sudden drop in temperature. “Catch up, come on!” Sujatha’s voice struck her in unison with the powerful chill of the wind. Emotions mixed in her mind and heart as she clenched her fists, nerves rising with each tremor of soft tan skin.
“Catch up, come on now!”
Some god with a crude sense of humor had tipped her world on its head. Why would she care what happened to those other people? The poor villagers. Those miserable creatures always shied away from her own race, but all she knew was, they were being massacred. Slaughtered like cattle, so the newspapers told her. Those words in block letters stung her heart as it drummed away within her ample chest. She was, for a second, blind and deaf, standing alone and straight as a pillar. The wind attacked her, biting viciously into her limbs and chest as dull, hellish thunder shook the air. The two dogs whimpered nervously.

“There, there.” Sujatha’s gentle voice calmed down her dog, a small spotted pup with spindly legs. “Now come on, sister, let’s go!”

Savithri’s face darkened, an emotionless cloud passing over her eyes.
She could not explain what she read about all the time. Slaughtered people, both Sinhala and Tamil, lying in their own blood. the hands of Yama, King of the Dead, would not lead them to his dark kingdom. The great tumulus of earth loomed ahead, casting a low shadow over the area. It stretched across the plain like an ugly scar, festering with pus of barbed wire. She had never tried to climb that barbed wire, unlike the foolish village children.
Their screams would echo from whatever monster lurked behind the mound. Monsters that took the form of humans, and wielding the cruelest weapons in all the Three Worlds.

 She was from the biggest house in their village.
She was not poor, she would never be poor.
But she asked herself, what right did she have to insult those ignorant and sometimes extremely young, poor children? Had she been like them-she prayed and wept every night, hoping that she wouldn’t-she would end up with her house burned and the flower of her innocence ripped away from her body.

That scar tainting her landscape hid secrets so dark that she felt her heart sink into an abyss as she pondered about the mound.
No divine hand could allow men to murder one another in cold blood. “Walking the dogs was all your idea, you know. You told me that we could go up to the…” The little girl’s excited and subtly confused banter stopped. Her sister’s expression was rock-hard but her mind was racing. The great wind once more lifted her dress off her legs as the vast shadow of a supersonic aircraft blotted out the sun like a hell-born bird. Sujatha looked up at Savithri.
The unspoken understanding between sisters rippled in the air as Savithri’s gaze hardened. This metal dragon had launched itself from behind the tumulus like all the others they had seen. Minutes crawled by at snail’s pace as the dogs whimpered at their mistresses. Thunder again filled their ears, though Savithri’s eardrums felt like exploding. But they didn’t.
“Savithri?”
“It doesn’t matter.” Her reply was curt. It was hopeless trying to think about the atrocities that occurred in their world. Nothing mattered. Not the dancing blades of grass, slicing against their legs, nor the angry roar that swept across the plain like an invisible wave. It didn’t matter when Savithri’s mind struggled with flashing images of the bomber’s vicious cargo decimating people in their thousands and turning beautiful forests into lifeless hellholes.

It didn’t at all.

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A disgrace to something sacred

I don’t admit to being a hugely “Lankanized” Sri Lankan. I openly admit that I’m alright with living absolutely anywhere, but since I was born here and my friends and family are here, I will still feel tied down to the country one way or another. My tie was apparently greater than I’d anticipated. So, with the use of a picture that I’d already used before, here is an opinion from me, something that’s extremely rare in these parts. Yet the blogosphere needs to know this.

We all have ways of showing off our “Lankanness”, what with all the tea we drink, the rice we cook in milk and eat with spicy red-hot onions and the constant games of cricket we all jump up and down to. Plus the memories of the last three decades of war against an elite terrorist organization. All of those are the markers of the stereotypical Sri Lankan, aren’t they? Well I’m not a great connoisseur of tea, milk rice makes me sick to my stomach and I’m dead clueless about cricket. Yet I am alive and well, having lived through a monster tsunami plus said war against terrorism. So maybe my way of showing my “Lankanness” is just plain different.
If anything though, it’s not waving a little flag in my hand and howling like a lunatic.
The reason for this post was something or the other my mother told me a few days ago. Or at least, told herself, she’s extremely old-fashioned when it comes to matters of respect and whatnot. Her complaint was one, a marathon in the middle of the road and two, a statement regarding rules about disgracing the flag and showing some respect to it. The marathon was being run by the common young men and boys you see lounging around on a common Sri Lankan suburban or rural road: Tall to medium-size, talking loudly, maybe sharing a smoke.

Their peers in this situation though, were doing that common Lankan hooligan trademark call: Th hoot. All the time while swinging about small copies of the national flag.

Now, a country’s national flag is always flown at full size, at ceremonies or major events that actually commemorate something important that happened in our nation or to our nation. And a road race in the middle of the day is definitely not something worthwhile. In fact it’s not even close.
But here comes the double-edged sword.
These kids probably were doing their best to show off their “Lankanness” to the world. Maybe this was the only practical way they could think of at the moment. Of course we know all about the modern youth. This species is not crazy. Speaking in evolutionary terms the teen is a creative, knowledgeable, inquisitive and powerful breed of human who would gladly challenge those geezers who call themselves “superiors” and “elders” with great wisdom.
Then comes the other edge of the sword. These old coots had lived through a time that these bucks and blades could hardly imagine.
I couldn’t live in a world with no Internet!
And all that Generation X and before had to keep itself from going mad during those long nights, was to pray and read. They prayed for the good of others, and they prayed for the country most importantly. Why they call it the “good old days” and gripe so much is still beyond me-I hate them for doing that but at this time the sword seems to be swinging in quite a…well, strange direction.

I didn’t think about it much until a later musing on the topic.

The national flag is a symbol of Sri Lanka and the literally leonine might of the Sri Lankan peoples as a whole. It is thus a glimpse of what we are and it’s there in the database for the whole world to see. It isn’t party decor, it isn’t something to be waved from a motorcycle by young lunatics. So at the end of what would have ordinarily been a productive day for me, was a display of selfishness and disregard for others’ feelings-especially those of motorists in a hurry to get home or go to wherever they had planned on going.