Chucking The Dragon
Browsing through the endless titles in one of the famous book stores in town, I came across a rather unusual cover illustrating graffiti art and posters that we would see on our urban walls. The illustrations gave a fairground to the story that was to be narrated by its author Mark Wilde.
The author introduces himself as Mark Wilde and says that it is not his real name, possibly to save the authorities from worrying themselves to abduct him, I believe. Unlike other books, it is of quintessential importance that one should read the introduction before commencing on the chapters. What was so interesting about this book was that it is a true account of the author’s life as a kid who grew up in a time of turmoil in our society.
It speaks for all the young people who are trying to keep up with the trends in our society whilst trying to be different. It is an ode to the common issues we faced as children who were brought up in a war-torn under-developed country, which is run by goons who saw a dollar sign marked on every socio-economic issue we faced. To top it all a tsunami that broke all barriers and profited the authorities and NGOs equally while the displaced victims would sit and stare deeply into the sea until their necessities arrived just in a bag full of essentials to feed their little ones.
While he speaks about the social issues, he also writes a detailed account on the crucial and horrific incidents that occurred to him. The author is fortunate enough to have parents who are intelligent and keeps an open mind on the ongoing things. He says that he sch=ooled at a prestigious institution in Colombo and was smart enough to get in to the university and graduate from the same. What more can you expect from an average youth in Sri Lanka?
As the title indicates it is all about ‘Chucking The Dragon’. In other words, getting out of his drug addiction. You might wonder as to why this intelligent youngster would have a dangerous addiction as such? Well it is a question that always gives you the least expected answer. The author has specified in different occasions and gives various reasons as to why a youth would get into the use of drugs. Anyone who reads this book would find it easy to relate to his autobiography. For instance Wilde writes about the time where left-winged politicos used to harass innocent people and as to how the authorities dealt with them. I do not think anyone should be reminded of the era when neighbours, especially Tamil nationals, were pulled out of their beds in the night just to be harassed. We cannot also forget the infamous shop burnings that occurred in most parts of the island. How our soldiers would arrive home in sealed coffins, body bags or sometimes are reported missing and there was no news on their whereabouts thereafter.
In the wake of war, most of the kids in our generation were sent abroad if they were blessed with wealthy parents who could afford to do so. But what did we, as the generation who stayed back, do with our lives? Mark Wilde speaks about this group of kids who survived through all these dilemmas. Not only does he sing our story, he also points out on how the rich became richer and the poor had to suffer. Having able to move with both these social groups Mark Wilde equally gives us insight about their life styles. While the rich waste their money to get high on party drugs and expensive accessories but end up having awful relationships and pretend to be happy with their partners; the poor survive on doing odd jobs to make ends meet which at times would cost their lives and also end up using dangerous but cheap drugs as heroin. At several occasions the author talks about deaths of his dear friends who were either addicted or overdosed on it. And at one instance about a friend who was stabbed 17 times because he assisted in stealing and transporting things to earn a buck to fill his stomach. One of his friends gets out of the drug and joins the army to support his family but he ends up arriving home in a body bag. Thankfully Mark Wilde happens to have some friends and an ex-girl friend who helps him to get out of it as well. In addition to the interesting story, the author has added colour to the book by sharing lyrics from some of his favourite songs, poems and art to send across simple messages to today’s youth.