The Sunday Leader

The Sinhala And Tamil New Year Just Ended

Menika has been lying around coiled on her sofa, feeling far different from sexy Cleo; her coiling being python like and induced by her pigging on kavun and athiraha.
She knew she’d feel this way but went ahead muttering damn to lethargy and shoot to cholesterol. The Sinhala and Tamil New Year comes but once an year so why not indulge in rasa kevili and a prolonged period of nonagathe – doing nothing but chewing the cud of remembrance.
Menika recalled her childhood in a peaceful Ceylon where there were few in the State Council and fewer in the Senate and men who governed of the caliber of down to earth DS and his honest; too trusting son Dudley; prankster Sir John; slippery thin SWRD and dapper JR. They had their peculiarities and faults but never so besotted with power and glory as those who came later. Menika remembered the jambu trees she clambered up; the swings she swung on; the new pink organdy dress she scratched and itched in and of course the kurini petti in which her athamma kept the delicacies – not to be touched until the auspicious time for eating was observed.
She drooled as she tasted vicariously the treacle of  unduvel and oozy delicacy of dodol – all home made, usually in open fireplaces in the back midula by cheap labour – the village women who were happy enough to start with paddy pounding, treacle making from the sap of the kitul trees in the property and then turning out all kinds of sweets with the beat of the rabana reverberating across the paddy fields.
And then she came back to the present day. All the honourable men in the Cricket Board and team resigning. Last Sunday she moaned the resignation of Kumar Sanga from the captaincy — that eternally popular gentleman cricketer. Menika embarked on a spell of mourning by foreswearing her G&T. Stuck to the regimen for two days and was back to the comforting glass in her hand, sure Sanga would not want this compatriot to suffer on his account. And then came further blows.
Gentleman in every sense of the word who when he scored his century against the Indians presented it to his wife by looking at her and pointing his bat in her direction. How very gallant, how very true in love, how chivalrous and she the lucky lady removed the card she had been covering her face with, not daring to look on in case he was bowled or LBWed. Who Menika means in her romantic rambling is Mahela J. Then Aravinda resigns. All giving excuses that cannot  stand, being gentlemen and keeping real reasons to themselves. But we know what’s to blame and there are stories traveling around about who’s to blame. Menika dare not out her guess.
She promised to tap the grapevine but got no convincing reason. She cheered like crazy when the departing Bayliss placed his thumb spot on and pronounced the corruption of the cricket controllers and politics butting in. Some Dandys are sticking on like glue though interimmed since they draw huge salaries and had complimentary World Cup match tickets to scatter around like confetti. Curse them is what this present day Kuveni says with all the venom she can muster. And proof again that we Sri Lankans, actually those who rule us, are so very adept at killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. They’ve done it before. Are they mad? No, its not madness, its utter self centredness. Help ourselves and our sycophants and to hell with the country, its image in the world, its reputation, its economy.
Menika got a shock when she went to her bank teller machine and withdrew Rs. 20,000 to tide her over the spring cleaning and gift giving New Year. Out came four miniature notes in a dirty brown colour. Imagining the teller had gone mad or dipped into some foreign currency lying around, she hurt her foot by stamping it against the money spitting machine. She looked again and found she had Rs 20,000 in hand, in just four notes. These big money notes came into circulation – unheralded, unannounced, almost surreptitiously. Did you dear reader, see a notice from the Bank that is the bank of last resort announce this new note? A piece of paper for 5000 solid bucks! A little Korean girl in one of the opposite flats told Menika: “Ooh, I hate to touch the five hundred rupee note. It’s so like dried poo”, by which she meant excreta. And I agreed with her after examining such a note.
So in a very hush hush manner the currency note for five thousand rupees has been slipped in. My baas’ comment: “Harima vade api vaage minissunta meva maarukaranna. Pohosath ayata thamai meva achchu gahala thiyenne.” Yea, Menika agreed. This new currency note that has been slipped into the island’s circulating money is for the rich man, and to Menika’ jaundiced eye a sure fire indication of dangerous inflation. Menika, in her stupidity, shortsightedness and confusion of the new currency notes has already lost a couple of hundreds mistaking them for 20 rupee notes. She’s going to be extra vigilant about the rich man’s note. She cannot afford to lose half her pension by missing out on the printed number on the note.
The poor koha continues to shriek its head off announcing the New Year. Or is his cry now one of farewell? It’s too damn hot to ponder over such impenetrables. The sun overhead is scorching us and the rulers scorning us for the buffaloes we are. Neither can be changed, so the best is to sit back and relax. Menika quaffs her drink and wishes all her readers a happy New Year. OK, OK, Menika is late in her wishes, but that’s how things are nowadays – topsy turvy, all confused.

1 Comment for “The Sinhala And Tamil New Year Just Ended”

  1. Ma-Rout-Ti

    “dapper JR. They had their peculiarities and faults but never so besotted with power and glory”

    Good one!! JR had “faults” but not “besotted with power”

    How are we to take this generous pronounciation on he who imposed the Executive Presidency on Sri Lanka ?????

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