The Sunday Leader

Celebration And Jubilation: A Slap In The Face Of Poverty And Hopelessness

Whilst the rest of Sri Lanka celebrated, or at least pretended to, otherwise being branded traitorous, Menika in the security of her flat, quaffed her tear-salted G&T and moaned.
She sat huddled in her sofa, a la Gemunu (I mean the genuine one, not the pseudos parading around now) trammeled on this side by the display of celebration and on the other by the devastation caused by the recent floods. Hence the tears flowing into her glass, tears over the celebrating ‘First Family’ and its spreading branched tree and tears over the misery of thousands of people, within the limits of Colombo, watching the face on posters strung every yard and hearing the sounds of jubilation.
Menika actually has the temerity to wonder what this vast celebration is about, one week long and costing immensely. After all, we celebrated HRH’s win over loose canon SF; the win of the blues against the greens and reds in the general elections; the jumping across of faded green to blue patriots of the ilk of the Mussalman and the failed female mega star and the so easy passage of the 18th (I don’t refer here to an acquisition of the navy). We celebrated the pumping in of water by bowsers to our newest mega harbour and will celebrate again as three of our own little ships creep into the harbour, the harbour declared open for business by HRH himself. We clambered all over upper Kotmale and through the tunnel — the peeking Jane Nonas and the poking Jamises — costing the government a packet due to stoppage of work on the project for three days.
So much kiribath shown on TV this year that Meniks is permanently turned off by this item of food which was a favourite. And the celebration goes on. Actually it should be a private party at a certain abode a la the Roman feasts and not thrust on all of Sri Lanker since we the people have nothing to celebrate, but plenty to mourn and gnash our teeth over.
Menika turns her eyes away from a newspaper lying around with pictures of the devastation caused by the floods of 9th, not only caused by the anger of the weather gods but our own doing, building roads over water draining drains and rich mansions on rain absorbing marshlands reclaimed for the rich and powerful. Against that – water swirling into homes washing away the poor dwellers all. They have not been paid compensation and the charity meals distributed were putrid. Votes don’t count now. The message is stare in wonder at the mega constructions and celebrate the enthronement for life – not only of one but of the progeny, unless of course there is a riot in the palace itself.
Meniks is bursting to share a secret with you. She got caught in the thick of the flood (mixed metaphor?) and nearly got washed off. Visited a friend down Dupli way and once the thunder, lightning and rain abated, she said her good-byes. In these posh houses of the nouveau riche, the hostess does her duty but does not extend it to seeing the visitor out. Not for them the long drawn out Sri Lankan good-byes from sitting room to verandah to doorstep to roadside. I suppose the abrupt goodbye over the tea trolley was because yours truly has no clout, is a spinster and may return requesting handouts. So it was, “Bye and you can see your way out of the front door.”
So Meniks saw her way out and into a swirling sea of muddy water. Not she who would ring the damned bell to re-enter the house, so she stepped out and nearly drowned. She espied a young man standing and watching the water. With temerity Meniks asks the young man: “Can you please help me to get across to the next lane?” Dear Good Samaritan, Tarzan, Human White Cane, that chap helped Meniks along the road, the pavement too pitted and dangerous, avoiding floating cars up to their windows in water, until the two came to the turn off to her lane. She reveled in the strong support of his hand, the fact his was in hers and the magnanimity of humans met here and there. There ended Menika’s adventure but the young man’s ready help still warms her cold and sinking heart. And if you think ole Meniks tries her wiles at cradle snatching, you damn well think wrong. To her toy boy keeping matrons are s-h-*-t.
Menika asked herself in puzzlement why many say the rainstorm should have come one week later. She even heard her bachelor girl neighbour declare: “Then all would get washed to sea on Galle Face Green.”
While Menika sat thus, ruminating like a cudless cow, Dingiri, the domestic, was having a ball watching the mega events. Slapdash meals served the mistress during this week of celebration, even soon-to-be-kaput bread. Questioning the said domestic brings forth the answer: “I am watching our Rajathuma and his family.” So Menika, her wage paying employer has to near starve! Menika’s TV has been given a rest.
Menika is far from unpatriotic. She approved of the mass tree planting, in spite of that part of her tiny brain inherited from Doubting Thomas. That insubordinate section of her thinking mind kept saying: Yes grow trees so that some politico or businessman will illicitly fell and sell. Anyway, she got a pot and compost and a karapincha sapling and at the auspicious time of ten something, she planted her contribution to the one million (or is it ten million or hundred million?) trees. Nothing is done on an average scale. Everything is mega like the ever bloating size of our politicos and the ever increasing sound of sycophancy emanating from them. The plant was potted on Monday. Tuesday saw it looking jaded; Wednesday had it faded. On Thursday no amount of watering and saying ‘I love you’ had the miserable plant reviving itself. After all, it should have grown straight and tall in celebration of the demise of democracy and the rise of demagogy. By Saturday the plant was dead as dead could be.
People who planted on mother Earth too had their planted saplings playing foul. Gave way to that day’s evening torrential rain. Preferred to drown than celebrate, was the message of these reps of the plant kingdom.

6 Comments for “Celebration And Jubilation: A Slap In The Face Of Poverty And Hopelessness”

  1. Tiny

    Lanka the country of Jolly living…. so why not celebrate……. like

    - Guiness world record Kiribath
    -Presidential joy trip costing Rs 1400 million, 4 floors of ultra high class hotel vs.Obama’s 10 rooms
    -Minister ties a govt. worker to a tree is rewarded with a Jaguar car
    - more cars for MP’s after ‘corrective formula’
    -IIFA party Rs 450 million
    - Presidential car fleet costing billions
    -Presidential swearing ceremony Rs 5000 million
    - KP has said ‘even Prabakaran did not treat me so well ‘!
    -Commonwealth games ‘party’ in 2018 likely to cost Rs 600 billion

    Welcome to Lanka !

  2. Ram

    This is a very special event , not every day , so you dont have to shout about it ; I can imagin if UNP got this chance they will spend millions and millions
    as they did before.

    • Nimal

      Yes you are right. reathe than spend Rs 5000 million SL rupees celebrate the occasion by creating more relalistic development projects, plans to resolve proverty, eliminate curruptions and improve the standard of living.

  3. Boru Booruwansa

    No wastage and corrupt practices by this Goovt will surprise us now…
    We have seen and witnessed mass and large scale malpractices.
    It is a sin and a curse that the good people of Sri Lanka will have to endeavour and suffer for many years to come because of all these dirty and corrupt rulers.
    We are no longer fooled…You can’t cover up and paint a rosy picture as we can see our commoner’s plight very soon….we will be taken to the lowest of the lowest levels ….We are not given the correct information like the inflation rate, GDP levles, Cost of living index changes etc etc…all an eye wash as the people heaqding these areas are also all corrupt and shamelessly appointed by the corrupt rulers.

  4. mercator

    “G&T” ???
    “Jane Nonas and Jamis’s” ???
    What is this neo-colonialist rubbish ? This is not blighty., it’s Colombo, Sri Lanka and the people are BROWN .. not white.
    The Dingiri’s, Jane-Nona’s and Jamis’s of this island are the king-makers now., not the gin-swilling elite of Colombo who hanker after a past where the feudal lords held sway.
    It’s gone…..

  5. HUD

    Authors like these and newspapers like this are not different from MPs in the opposition. They point to only corruptions and malpractices of their opponents. When they faults of their friends and guardians they just keep their mouth shut.

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