26th October, 2003 Volume 10, Issue 15



















Henry Holdenbottle

Festival of fights

Dear Chandrika

Dear me darling, I thought you knew. I thought you knew that highway histrionics like highway robbery tends to lose its romanticism after a while. As much as the clipperty-clop of the highwayman riding down a ribbon of moonlight will be devoid of charm, if he were in the process, to strip one of all one possesses as one rode down that lonely ribbon of moonlight oneself, so would a few hundred paid PA die- hards shouting slogans be devoid of any enchantment.

I mean to say dear, a lunch packet and a pint of something will bring out a couple of hundred curiosities to shout a few slogans on your behalf, but nothing serious will come out of it all you know.

You might even add a few ghee balls, and gulab jamuus in keeping with the festivities but I suspect, to no avail. These street politics tend to lose their attractiveness pretty darn soon and political casuistry is a tactic, if tactic is the word I want, as old as Methuselah and as dead as the Dodo.

It surprised me thus, that having been the butt of many of these staged bits of political play-acting yourself during the time you held the reigns (some say you still hold them), that you would have the good sense and indeed the imagination to try something new.

One does not need to mimick the UNP in everything. It is at best a tiresome habit and a change as they say is as good as a holiday.

This no doubt was foremost in the mind of your buddy V. Puthrasigamani who abandoned your ranks and toddled over to the TNA over what he termed your consummate skill to kill a good party.

Now whether the chair he was sitting on was pinching him or something I don't know, but the chair on the other side seemed for the moment at least far more inviting. The grass is always greener darling, always bally greener.

And in effect, the blot on your escutcheon called you the killjoy of the century. And can you blame the poor poop? I ask you. Can you blame him? No sooner had our Hindu brothers tucked in their vettis and our pottu sporting sisters ransacked each others flower beds in order to reconstitute them on their individual heads, than you go and do everything in your power to spoil the show.

Ere the aroma of thala thel savouries could waft on to the streets, you felt that a few hundred unsavoury PA die hards should. And they should do so by making all kinds of unwarranted noises about the peace process. I tell you dear, at this moment, you are as popular among those Hindu revellers as King Herod at an Israeli mother's union meeting held at the local synagogue in Bethlehem.

Would you like it if people started protesting in droves at the Town Hall during Vesak dear? Surely, you seem to be marching down the same road that those turbaned chappies, bearded to the eyebrows were  marching down. Now what were their names? Germs or gems. Oh yes, I know, Jemaa'h Islamiya. If you must know, those chaps thought it fit to bomb people in churches right in the middle of them singing 'O Come All Ye Faithful.' Whether the singing was off key I'm not saying and I don't care. I don't care what anyone says, I feel it is absolutely wrong to bomb an honest Christian especially when he is belting out with gusto, a carol as popular as O Come All Ye.

And I may as well tell you that if at the time you had happened to wish me a Merry Christmas, I would have looked you in the eye with a great deal of solemnity, as I certainly would look you in the eye now, and tell you that much would depend on what you mean by the adjective Merry.

And Puthrasigamani, no doubt miffed that his festival of lights is being turned by you into a 'festival of fights' has in desperation refused to remain in a party which as he says "deliberately violates the fundamental rights of the minority people - it is my religion and my people that are being harassed due to this kind of unwarranted demonstration."

This is just not cricket darling. Just not cricket. And to then give the excuse that the festival of lights is celebrated in the night and therefore it is alright to carry on your protestations in the morning is really turning the knife dear. Turning the knife.

Ivasuva Athi darling?
Ivasuva athi thamai!

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