Kudos To A Much Admired Person
Menika’s heart brimmed over with affection, respect, regards, and proprietary pride at Muttiah Muralitharan’s behaviour all his adult life and his manner now when on the brink of retirement from cricket.
You will, reader of Menika, accept the fact of affection, respect and regards but will wonder at the qualifier of pride. Well, proprietary pride since Muralitharan comes from Menika’s home town – Kandy – that unique city producing good people. She took great delight in all the honours offered this man, and the several manifestations of respect and appreciation ranging from schoolboys holding aloft cricket bats in a guard of honour to the comradeship and compliments paid by the Sri Lankan team starting with that other admirable Kandy product — Kumar Sangakkara. Muralitharan deserves all the kudos heaped upon him. You can bet your last thousand buck note that no hubris will overtake him, no showmanship, rather will the same simplicity and sincerity prevail.
It was marvelous celebrating something (the decent retirement without clinging on like a Matara limpet) and someone (the world’s best) instead of being disgusted by political gimmicks and Theatre of the Absurd. So what did Menika do? She cast aside her G&T like Ceasar waved away the crown offered him by Antony in the Roman marketplace. Does that mean she turned teetotaler? Not on your life! The celebration of Muralitharan called for the best so Menika popped the cork, she really did pop the cork and sent it zooming ceilingwards — of a bottle of Moët (could not afford Dom Perignon) and drank to the health of Murali and Sanga and all the other excellent cricketers, including Arjuna R.
She hiccupped once or twice – again in celebration — and then her memories took hold of her. She is a spinster because she could not marry the man she thought best of the lot of her pursuers. He was Tamil.
Menika’s very conservative mother had proclaimed loud and clear that a good Tamil was better in marriage than a Sinhala lower caste but when it came to her daughter, the tune changed. What really jinxed the union of Udunuwara tambilithel with Yalpanam thalathel was that the mother of the Tamilian was more conservative than even Menika’s. Wanted her son to marry from his kind.
Hence Menika’s single state and abiding respect and affection for Tamils. She was in a liberal missionary school in Kandy town where race and religion were of least importance. It was how you played the game that was important; whether you cheated, sneaked, curried favour or stole another’s boyfriend. My best friends were Tamil and I found them sincere. We lived together ever so amicably till SWRD reared the serpent of dissension and now of course its ultra nationalism among the races of this Paradise. When will we all be Sri Lankans and brethren and …(no feminine gender of that word!). Murali and the manner of his being feted have shown us the way in these bigoted times.
Listening to Minister Keheliya Rambukwella (another from Kandy!) justifying the touring of the Cabinet Circus, Menika felt she had to extend a helping hand in the way of sound advice. She gave wet blanket advice, like many others did, to not get into the mode of a touring Cabinet and least of all to start the tour with Kilinochchi. But to no avail. Will they ever listen? Does the collective voice of the Plebs hold any water with the Powers-that-Be? Some said this and some said that; they quoted the strong con of the cost of the junket, with no pros at all.
Another was insensitivity exhibited and a wrong message conveyed to the settling-down IDPs and the few who managed to stay on in the area. Anyone would hear the refrain: “Here come the conquerors” and that would definitely be counterproductive. But no, once the government’s mind is made up, it is made up, especially for expensive gimmicks. And so this latest extravaganza of a touring Cabinet. A dictum that Menika subscribes to in her long life crammed with experiences (of one kind and another) is that if you cannot defeat them just join them.
Thus Menika joins the government in planning its next Cabinet meeting out of its usual venue by the D Oya. The said K. Rambukwella patiently told the public that the idea behind the roving Cabinet meetings is to see at first hand the travails suffered by segments of Sri Lanka and to offer remedial measures (never mind implementation). If that does not highlight the magnanimity of the government, what does? The very fact that some amount of GDP was sent down the drain in holding the Cab meeting in Kili goes to show how much it cares for itself, never mind the Plebs whose quality of life deteriorates by the day. Four million (or was it four billion) spent on the Kili junket was only a miniscule portion of government spending, a Minister said. Menika’s head went a spinning when she saw the amount in Arabic numerals. Such a number of zeros. Did the people of Kili see and meet and greet the Prez? Or was he whisked away on landing? Was there a walkabout in the area by the Ministers of State? Did they listen to local complaints?
Be that as it may, Menika forwards some excellent suggestions for future Cab meetings. Now that Kili has been conquered by a civilian host of VIPs, let the Cabinet move to Bloemendhal garbage dump or any other of the several in the land. Attendance will be nil.
Why not go right into the heart of the dengue menace. That is one situation that is truly troubling and should never have escalated to epidemic level. So let the Cabinet hold a meeting in a mosquito breeding site. There’ll be swarms buzzing around for the rich blood of bloated bods. Elephant country is another apt place for a meeting of the ministers of state since the escalation of the elephant/man conflict is due to negligence on the part of those who should have taken measures to separate the two long before they clashed and so many were killed – on both sides. Most will absent themselves of course, unless the meeting means a safe safari, except persons like the green MP from Hambantota who loves the elephant – the real ones not the leader of the human herd. Prostitution is on the rise they say, with attendant danger of broken homes and HIV infection. Many sites – both posh and degenerate — are available. I don’t hear protests and excuses.
Ah well! What use advice and suggestions? The venues for Cab meetings will be carefully chosen with comfort and compliance of the residents topping the long list of requisites.
Solide advice: stop traipsing around the country and get down to some business in the usual Cabinet meeting room.