Menika has been submerged in an ocean of despair. Wish it were a sea of G&T. She felt inclined to drown herself in these two liquids, but even they palled on her. TV made her more mis’rable seeing the mass rabble devour kiribath and whoop it up, celebrating the death of democracy in this Kuveni-cursed island home.
If it is not poverty and war, it is other curses that descend on Sri Lanker, so much so that the latest had Menika musing that poverty and war were less evil than total suppression of democracy. The slogans Cry the Beloved Country! Weep salt tears of finality! resounded in her heart and mind and whyfore could she not pronounce Death be not proud!
The frightening thought of eternal subjugation haunted Menika day and night. “OK”, she said to herself, “You will soon be dead and gone, so why work yourself up into this lather of frustration?” And the calmer side of her mind prompted her: ”Yes, but what about the country, what about the youth of this land to be eternally yoked by a colored shawl?”
Menika is in metaphorical sack cloth and ashes. She loves her country – democratic, socialist and all that — and would honestly give her life for it, not that Sri Lanker needs her one quarter left existence. Along with deep sorrow is deep shame that baby elephants crossed over. They ride the back of the green pachyderm and then vote with the blue betel leaf. Death threats vs huge bribes are hinted at as the carrot that lured them on. Proven by a leapfrogger visiting his electorate in a helicopter!
We Sri Lankans, or more so Sinhala politicians, will sell not only their souls but even the country for tidbits thrown their way. Can we never more have politicians of the ilk of DS, Dudley S, Dahanayake and Kadirgamar? Are we to be forever supporting self-serving cheats, chandiyas and criminals?
In the nadir of her depression, on the morning of the fateful 8th September, Menika decided to look into her inbox. Lo and behold a message intimated (as the saying goes) that a vigil in protest would be held in such and such a place at such and such a time. So Meniks hauled herself off her couch and into a pair of black pants and white shirt. Her domestic comes along and demands to know where she is going on this napuru davasa. “Itipandamak pattu karanta yanawa” Meniks stutters between sobs. “Aney, appoi, ithin gedera pathukaragantako itipandam ekak beri nam dahayak”. “Yakko eledena, mama yanne protest karanta.” Parting shot of Dingiri is to tell Menika not to return water-cannoned, tear-gassed and bloodied.
When Menika reached the appointed place sharp on time she saw no one dressed in mourning, least of all persons holding candles. Instead was a long convoy of military jeeps with young Khaki Johnnys pouring out. So, disappointed and more depressed, Menika slunk back to her couch with an extra large G&T and watched news of the day unfolding before her eyes: a thinner, greyer and definitely frail looking Fonny sadly intoning dire predictions and the Chief Mahout spouting fire and brimstone while playing truant from the House by the Diyawanna.
And so we march on to the tune played earlier by another Asian Great Leader – Marcos. We are going the way of the Philippines but will never have people power asserting itself. We Sri Lankans somehow or other were not handed out backbones when the good God created us; or else Karma stole our spines when we went whirling in Samsara and landed in Sri Lanker.
Ooh la la! Omigosh! What double dealing politicians we have in this land of ours. We had more trust in women starting with Kusuma G and Sirimavo, avoiding Wimala K, circumventing Chandrika, and admiring Rosy S and Thalata Atukorale. Now we have the young upstart – Paba, Pubu or whoever, also grandly known as Upeksha Swarnamali who within months of riding the back of the UNP and Gampaha voters, turns her backside on them and goes all the way to the Temple Abode to pledge her allegiance for the 18th (not a date do I mean here, though dates may be forthcoming, and those not of the desert kind). What does one sell for a dollop of lucre – that’s the million dollar guess.
Then comes along another new-to-politics bird brain – model and (dim) star of the silver screen – Anarkali Aakarsha. She’s given an interview on Celeb Chat reported in a sister paper. Menika rolled around laughing her guts out; that’s after puking, until the roar of an ambulance and a stern tap on her door got her sitting upright. The forward domestic, Dingiri, had called Medicals with no prior payment being made. The said Dingiri had thought her mistress was embroiled in death throes or raving mad – not the first nor the last she will think thus.
Getting back to the inimitable Anarkali, she said she contested the Galle PC seat with “my car, just my mom and myself and one security person.” A mere two weeks electioneering, residing (as we heard) in Lighthouse five star, she wins a seat in the Southern Council. Her intention to contest, as mentioned in the interview, was to help women – “Women needed a better platform and needed more of assistance, let’s say, in getting a pathway made for them, to make their dreams come true to life.” And the pathways she is encouraging are; “English (to talk to tourists!), learn etiquette and grooming for young girls.. modelling school…” all in the backwoods of Galle, Matara and Baddegama.
Southern girls beware! Bentara gangen eha mothers keep your modest daughters at home! She also said her capability of speaking Sinhala was rudimentary due to education at CIS. Gawd if that is not the giddy limit, what is? A born and bred and jigged in the country woman saying she cannot speak Sinhala. Judging by her answers to her interviewer on Celeb Chat, her English seems to be only a mite less rudimentary than her Sinhala.
Well, smithereens of comfort came to Menika this week when the Editors’ Guild used the epithets ‘abhorrent and damnable’ in ‘unreservedly condemning’ the statement made by the recently reinstated deputy minister …. (Menika is too scared to write the name. Thus the extent of her bravado. She is not a mere Dutch couraged bod, but does have a sharp tongue. Albeit in this instance she fears a rope that can bind her to a tree or be noosed around her scrawny neck). So one brave group has made its opinion known in reply to the threat openly uttered by the said reinstated deputy minister: “Journalists should not write in a way which would ultimately force them to be hanged.”
He also said that “I personally know their background is not good.” Family tree climbing another pastime? Menika peered at her ancestry – mere peasants but honest and true. So can she escape the punishment meted out to Gen. Sarath Fonseka (poor saviour of the country) that the said Deputy Minister threatened journos with? Better be like the proverbial three monkeys in this monkey land, but sing hosannas unto fetters, shackles and strangulation.
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