Wednesday April 24, 2019 – 00:02
You think things would get easier. But, they haven’t. Back when I used to study Literature, they would often say that tragedy writes easier than comedy. The fact that I’m still writing, three days in a row, is also my inability to find solace with myself and what has happened. Not that we ever will or we will as soon as one would hope to. But the fact that the news we hear is going from bad to worse every passing day, does little to raise our hopes.
Last morning (Tuesday 23rd) when I woke up, I felt as though I hadn’t slept at all. Was it the same for you as well? Instead, after coming home, I slept in the late afternoon hours when the sun was up. The last time I slept with the light on at night was at a friend’s estate when it was extremely quiet and nature turned out to be a bit too eerie for my liking.
We went into the city and there was little traffic. Were circumstances different, we would’ve been in praise about the smooth drive with little to no stops at all. In Havelock Town, we saw an unofficial checkpoint. It is protocol and yes, the country is in a State of Emergency, but this familiar yet distant sight was not a welcome one. It reminded me that despite my blatant Agnosticism, I belong to a minority and therefore, I am not safe. Yes, that’s a wrong thought to harness at such times, but it is what it is. My (majority-ethnicity) last name does little to protect my entire family. This time personally, has also been one where the question of faith has concerned me. Is this a sign to go back to religion?
On our way back home, we stop by an outlet of my favourite supermarket chain and they check our bags because they are asked to. In the faces of these “security aunties and uncles” are smiles to cover up their feelings of discomfort. The best we could do is it to comply with them and most importantly, smile back.
After a long time, people are vigilant. If someone is dressed differently or different from the majority around them, there are heads that turn. Our heads turn too. Especially if their heads are covered. Or they have more hair on their face than an “average” Sri Lankan man. Or their skin colour is darker than “average” Sri Lankan women. Our heads still turn if the clothes someone wears seem “too professional” or “too revealing” or “too chic” but that head turn is one that generations after us will continue to grapple and fight for.
A foreign Instagrammer I know wants to come to Sri Lanka on a holiday with a group of friends in the coming month. My immediate answer is no, but this has been planned months in advance. As someone who is anal on planning, I know what it’s like to cancel plans when everything has been put in place.
Everyone wants it to stop. But with the developments that keep piling on the table, it’s difficult to see the end. There are multiple groups that are benefitting from the current circumstances. Why would they want to end it if the situation is advantageous to them?
How do we explain to the oldest child of ten, who does not know what “war” or “terrorism”, the meaning of what’s happening? How do we tell them that they would also have emergency bomb drills, like the ones we had when we were going to school that would require to gather at a common place or hide under tables?
So many questions, so many loose ends, which Google does not answer.
I would like to once again leave with a thought that was inspired following the attacks at Christchurch in New Zealand.
Share the names of those who are not with us anymore. Share the names of those who did not make it through. Let’s remember them. But share not the names of those responsible for these crimes.
Stay safe and sunny.