An Open Letter to my Country, my (old) Friend

Hi (old) friend,

It’s a bit odd, catching up this way, but I guess there is no way else we could do it. I can’t sleep at night despite saying that I would. But most of all, fear, the fear of you, keeps me up at night.

We’ve been friends since I was born and for me to now stop our friendship and denounce you publicly, all that through a blog post also, is quite dramatic. I understand. The following GIF clearly sums up what you are feeling of me, I know. We’ve been friends for too long that we know almost everything there is to about one another.

An accurate representation of me writing this and you reading my writing captured brilliantly via http://www.giphy.com

After all, it’s been nearly 30 years. That’s a little less than the war we’ve “won”. I was fortunate enough not to be born during the early 80s. Did you know my biological parents got married on Black July? Quite a fitting title to describe that relationship. snigger. The circumstances are such that I will be using quite a bit of dark humour (or as much as my wit will allow me to) as I could summon. If that’s uncomfortable for you, perhaps you should stop here and continue this another day. A sunnier day, hopefully. Whenever that would be.

See within our three decades or so of friendship, you’ve seen me grow from goofy child to angsty adolescent to perpetually lost adult and you’ve seen how I formulate my relationships. You’ve also seen walls I choose to build around myself as a result of wanting to protect myself. Did you know that we even raised the parapet walls of our house to protect ourselves because the thieves got in the first time? See, during our 30 odd year relationship, my dear friend, you’ve realised that I forgive very less. A bad habit, albeit, but a strong one I haven’t been able to shake off. And as my adult years grow in number, so does my stubbornness and my (lack of) will to forgive.

But I’ve made an exception I haven’t with you?

<insert dramatic GIF> 

With you, I decided that we would be #BFForeva

During and after my time in India, we became very close. Would you say that it’s a fair analysis that until I left you that I hadn’t realised how much you meant to me? I remember my first flight back to India after my short two-week vacation. I cried all the way back during my hour and a half long flight. I bawled out as we flew passing the last bit of the island and all I saw was the Indian Ocean.

During my time in India, my love for you grew and while you were always #1, (South) India soon became #2 and Nepal, #3. My work became a blessing to me and I began travelling more of South Asia and before you know it, I had fallen in love with the region, its people and paradise, all over again. But throughout it all, you remained #1.

It’s not as though the past decade has not been without hardship and turmoil. Post-war, we’ve dealt with quite a few things together. Let’s not talk about pre-2009 because that time was difficult for all of our friends. In 2016, parts of Colombo (I’m a bit too tardy to see if there were other areas too) were hit by a terrible flood. The experience then is very similar to what a favourite author of mine, Haruki Murakami captures in After the Quake. The feeling was mutual when that earthquake hit Nepal four years ago and in December 2017, while I was in Orissa and a storm (of sorts) caused terrible damage to South India and Sri Lanka.

But this time around, it’s different. The main difference being, it’s not a natural disaster.

On Sunday, April 21, 2019, Easter Sunday, I must add, multiple terrorists blew themselves and killed 350 people (this number is a bit controversial as now they say it’s 250 so I’m not too sure). Suicide bombing is not new to us. During the ethnic conflict, Wikipedia (my go-to very reliable source) tells me, “The LTTE’s Black Tigers have carried out the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, who was killed in 1991 using a prototype suicide vest.” So yes, it’s something very local. But this happens ten years after “the end of war”. Ironically, a month shy of our “end of the war” 10-year “celebrations”. For those wondering why I put some words in inverted commas, it’s mostly to not aggravate the SJWs. I joke. It just seems most right. After the attacks on April 21, while we all donned our Sherlock/Tintin/detective-of-your-choice-costume and rushed to solve this mystery and the murderous groups behind it, the government decided to not tell us much. Frankly though, if you want the tea on that, go read the news. It’s fucking depressing. 

Now, this is when it gets tricky and I’m going to equate you, my friend to the government because it sounds like the most sensible thing to do. But the connection would be similar to the Game of Thrones Season 08 Episode 02, Sansa trust = Brienne trusts = Ser Jamie scenario. i.e. if you don’t watch Game of ThronesI trust = you, my friend, my country who trusts = the government.

Your series of errors began with you not telling us about these attacks. If you want to kill off a bunch of people, I would suggest we buy you a PS4 or Xbox or whatever else they have these days and give you a violent game. I sometimes used to put my Sims inside pools and remove the ladders or put them in a small room and remove the doors. Or you could watch on loop the Mountain and Viper battle each other on Game of Thrones Season 04 Episode 08 for an epic bloody mess. But killing off unsuspecting Church-goers, these are the believers and not the ones like us even, on perhaps the most important day in the Christian calendar, is extremely uncalled for.

Continuing with your trial, you then made our local media look like fools. So let’s get one thing straight. I may trust you (remember the equation) but not many people do. But we trust a few media sources. YOU DID NOT GIVE THEM THE INFORMATION. Why did you withhold it? Did you forget? You didn’t forget to pick up your due bribes, did you? How can you forget such a thing?

Let’s say it was an honest mistake and amidst all the important tasks you have to achieve during the biggest holiday month in the country, you forgot. Fine. (Not fine, because people are still murdered thanks to you.) But then, you still don’t tell us anything. You keep us in the dark. Again. I mean, the “Adam” of your creation wasn’t even in the country when this happened and didn’t come till much after. However, days go by very slowly and through your trusted security personnel, you choose to share some pictures of suspects, who turn out to be innocent diaspora (at least one of them was I think) you found on a Google search. Did you know how quick people were to show hate, rape their neighbour’s dog and even flay their family in front of their eyes? You then apologised publicly and said you made yet another mistake and no sooner was that done, you say that there was a discrepancy in the body count (which is a good thing because fewer people are dead – as a tweep mentioned). But now with all your mistakes, who do we rely on? And most importantly, how can we trust you again?

Which brings me back to this letter. How do we continue this if you are not going to be honest with me (and us)? How do we remain friends? Do you know how many times I’ve defended you and the few opportunities that came my way to leave you, I turned down because of you. Because I thought you gave me a place on your land. I, who came from a single-parent household and a mixed race background. You made me feel that I was different. I was special. You made me feel that I had something to be grateful for and to give back. When people left you and went in search of greener pastures, I often questioned their sense of responsibility. I’ve been extremely fortunate enough and even privileged to an extent to have the facilities I do, work multiple jobs, mostly from home, travel parts of the world and get paid for all of the above. But despite it all, despite the privilege and the fortune, I’ve realised that if there is one thing I cannot handle, it’s disappointment. You’ve disappointed me and a bunch of (many) others multiple times. You disappointed us who had that sense of responsibility and the need to make this place, a better place.

Of the 30 odd years we’ve known each other, you know that I cry and laugh on the outside but I’m a stone cold bitch on the inside. But today, for nearly four hours, I’ve been crying. I’ve been crying because of the disappointment and I’ve been crying, because I’m scared. I’m scared to live in your land. I know that I and my minority-ethnic group family do not have a place here. I stay awake during most nights and sleep during the day. It is the same for a few others too. I don’t know if those who lost their loved ones on Sunday even sleep at all. I want to reach out to them and apologise for your mistakes but how can I do so when I know that you will continue to do them once again?

I know that most of my letters never really meet their destined recipients but writing these letters that would never be read is a way I am able to deal with what is and what is to come.

So on those words, I’ll leave you to it. Your problems are beyond me and clearly, I’m not of much service to you. Writing that brings tears to my eyes like the rest of this post did. I hope you will able to find peace within yourself and among your people. I hope that someone else out there will love you as much as I did and not be discouraged by your shortcomings.

But for now, it’s goodbye.

A Letter to the Children I Would Never Have

To my dearest,

I know you think it’s silly that I am writing to you, truth be told, it is.

I haven’t written letters in a long time, let alone one that wouldn’t be open by the intended recipient. But I think it’s probably wise you know on why I have decided on taking the decisions I did. Again, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll read it but I need to get it off me, so here we are.

It might sound ironic, but I love children. Especially little ones. I like to think it’s my mental age, but I get along with them, probably because I am jealous of them being able to simply eat, poop and nap whenever they want. It’s the simple life I’m a little jelly of. But besides that, we get along. There are building blocks, Barbie dolls and unintelligible noises. How wonderful.

But no, I don’t want any of my own.

Yes, you are right my love, I am being selfish. But I have a good reason for being selfish and I want you to hear me out.

I am scared for you. I am going to be that helicopter parent even after you are married and leave me because I will be always protective of you. We might always argue because while I would make sure you are independent and go by bus and do your own thing, I might also follow you from a distance.

Why am I being a creep you ask?

Because, this world we live in is sickening. It’s so sick that neither men nor women are safe anymore. I don’t want you to grow up here in Sri Lanka. But do I want you to grow up in another country? I really don’t know.

Either way, I don’t want you to be a part of this ridiculous petty competition that is currently prevailing. By not being a part of it, I don’t want you to really be cornered or bullied. It’s bad enough that I as your Mother come with the anxiety and depression, let’s try to at least keep that away from you. God forbid there isn’t something else they’ve discovered by then.

I know you will grow up in a safe and liberal environment. If you tell me when you are old enough that your sexual orientation differs to what our “culture” defines as “normal”, my love, you will still be my baby and so will your partner. If you tell your (now) Agnostic Mother that you want to embrace an established (or new) religion, I am fine with that as well. Let’s hope that you don’t incline towards Scientology or Paganism. We might have a few problems there.

But in reality, there is only so much that I can do to protect you. Despite being a creep, I would still grant you your independence and I know you wouldn’t exploit it. But I cannot be there always. What would happen when I look away? Or when I am not there anymore? Will those around you protect you and have equally accommodating liberal ideologies? Will they let you be who you are? If you say that  you don’t want to study and invest in some crazy start up, would they be supportive? Who would be supportive? Would the minority conservative and fundamentalist society we have now grow to be something larger than it already is? I may have watched too many episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale and that’s what’s probably scaring me, but I had made up my mind before that.

I can’t have you in this country, let alone in this world because the world is not a good place. It is not a kind place. While there are people like Ellen who preaches kindness, not everyone really practices it. Not everyone shows the other person the respect they deserve.

I love little girls and would be thrilled if you a girl but then it scares me really. Would you as a little girl, grow up to face the same challenges and difficulties I did of sexual, physical and emotional abuse for the very reason that you are a woman?

This makes me think that boys have it easier. But not really I guess. Even if I were to raise you to be a man who stands up for good causes, would you be able to successfully make it out there without the support of your peers? Worse, how would you be able to deal with peer pressure and no, I don’t mean the drugs and the alcohol.

There’s so much more that I want to tell you and make you understand on why it’s simply a bad idea to have you here.

It’s my only hope that you would someday understand.

Love,

Me.

An Open Letter from Me to You

To the dearest people in my life,

These are different from the previous open letters that I have written. This one is a tad bit more personal even to the extent of TMI. There might be parts that you might think are exaggerated but this is just me talking through the written word because we all know how bad I am at communicating in real life.

I don’t always speak my mind. You see, I’m crying-emotional AF and any sort of extreme emotion gets my waterworks running. I am not very emotional otherwise as most may already know. If you don’t believe me and know any of my close friends and family (or even better the ex-boyfriends!) do ask them too. I also used to be affectionate once upon a time but that too was lost after growing into adulthood. And on being sensitive and sentimental, but we’ve spoken on that before.

Instead of me speaking my mind, I want you to read my mind. No one is psychic here I know, but I can gauge your feelings. In a similar way I want you to do the same too. Because you wouldn’t know and I wouldn’t tell you otherwise.

I also don’t ask for things. If I get something I take it but if not I don’t. Because if we are close and I were to do things for you I would expect that you knew on how the drill worked. But if it doesn’t turn out that way that doesn’t mean i would care less about you. But you should know that I don’t ask. On the contrary if I do ask or say I want something, please by all means give it to me if you can or if you can’t say so. You see it’s part ego and part social anxiety that prevents this happening often.

Continuing on the note of asking, if I ask and you don’t respond because you may have simply forgotten, I won’t ask again.

You see, I’m not a very second chance type of person. My Mother is heavily into that but to an extent I’m unforgiving and I don’t know why. I suppose it’s because I don’t forget easily. I would want to ideally forget, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind style, but I don’t. This means I will ideally never (or not for s very long time) ask anything related on these lines again.

I also want you to remember. Mostly again because I remember.

I suppose a lot of these sound like I want you to be me, haha

Because for me if is always the little things. Also because I’m just tired of constantly reminding.

You should also know that I get lonely. I like being alone and we all know that, but being alone and being lonely are two different things. It’s probably again due to my social anxiety and female hormones, but I get lonely and because I don’t communicate, I don’t tell and I would want you to know. I want you to know and be there for me without me having to ask you for it. Because I don’t ask. But if you don’t, that’s alright because I wouldn’t love you less.

Finally, if you are wondering on what you get out of all of this, all I can give you is unconditional love. I will also give you little material or edible things when I can but it’s my “love” that you will always have and it’s not because love will save the world. I will also make sure that no one around you tries to hurt you and if they do I would wish nothing but unspeakable things on them and to the rest of their generations.

Overall, I’m asking too much. I know. But I can’t help it and the person in me is too adamant to change her ways. But if you are already here in my life, thank you for being there for so long. If you are new, welcome and I’m glad to you have here too. I hope this letter explains my behaviour because I’m simply a little tired of trying to explain myself.

Love,
Seni.
Open Letters

An Open Letter to All Those in Nepal

Dear you,

I don’t know if you would ever read this or if you would, but after the storm has passed. Obviously catching up on random WP blogs and social media are not priority, I understand.

A few days ago a terrible earthquake shook and tore the beautiful Kathmandu I know. I’ve been there twice and it was love at first site. From the rickety airport that looks similar to our central railway station here in Colombo to (only) the main roads of Kathmandu City that were done up with the same haste and sham as our pavements for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, we have a lot in common.

You, Nepal have also a special place in my heart. Some of my closest friends live there and having lived amongst you people while in university and while on work, I cannot help but be genuinely devastated by the disaster that has engulfed you.

I don’t recall myself being as emotional when the tsunami struck in 2004.

That may perhaps be a result of the lesson in journalism we were taught: familiarity. Media and individuals consider what is newsworthy, based on a few factors namely proximity and level diplomatic importance. The latter of which would mostly be important for media and state-related news I suppose. The proximity of newsworthy-ness refers more often than not, to the geographical proximity of things. This is why, news of Modi or the Great Wall of China collapsing would be important to us. This also very strategically ties up with diplomatic importance, in this instance funding. But Nepal? Last I checked, Nepal was as significant as the recent climatic disasters in Chile. Of course, some may argue that I am concerned by these topics due to my line of work, but it is not always the case. I have a few online friends in South America and some of my closest friends in Nepal. This becomes proximity to me and hence, the news I follow may seem different from what is shown on television.

Nepal, I hope you are safe and please keep your people safe. They mean a lot to me and trust me, these people are trying. They are trying to remove themselves from the political and diplomatic clutches while at the same time trying to become self-sufficient and they try to maintain political stability. It’s not easy. Coming from Sri Lanka, I know it is not. But please keep trying and do rebuild your City and bring to life the political willpower and positivity you as a people have in yourself. The news tells me that your Government is doing a splendid job and I hope the news does not lie.

I don’t pray, Nepal, I’m sorry. But in my hearts of hearts, when I silently wish for things, I wish for your safety and your health. I want to come back to Kathmandu as much as I want to go back to South India or even come home after a long day’s work. Keep your city safe and your people happy.

Love,

Me.

Open Letters

An Open Letter to the Man I Never Met (or have and don’t know yet!)

Hi there,

Apologies on phrase in parentheses. I couldn’t help myself. This post was driven by this, something a friend had shared on Twitter this afternoon.

I have nothing against what Philip has to say. In fact, a few of the guys I know are actually hopeless romantics so much so to the extent that ‘chick flicks’ are no longer accurate.

I was never a romantic. I had seen and been apart of too many broken relationships, abusive relationships and unhappy endings since my younger days that didn’t provide me the capacity to be pro-relationships. I began dating only after I left school and then left abroad for college a year later.

To this date I’m glad I was in college, away from home, because I wouldn’t know how I would be in a relationship had I lived in the same country as my ex boyfriends did.

As a result of not believing in the success of relationships, I was glad for the distance. Since childhood, I was looked upon as the opposite of my sister. Friendly and talkative in social situations, yet quiet at home and often ‘kept to myself’. This, I carried with me to the rest of my childhood, teenage years and even to date. I do not open up. I do not express feelings. I care for people who are close to me, it comes naturally but that does not mean I cannot be indifferent to your existence as well. I am a happy loner. Nature and HBO tells me that the wolf pack survives better together but I survive better alone. I do present myself when required, I do not complain about what’s on the dinner table because more often than not, life is mere existence and the reason why we survive, continues to baffle me.

I’m not too sure if you would be able to accept me for who I am, but once we do meet I hope you do. I will not cheat on you as that is something I could never bring myself to do, but you must understand that space is priority for me. It’s a concept the previous generation struggles to understand. It’s a concept they understand as physical space, which is not entirely true. I would explain it to you in detail when we meet, but if you are able to understand me without me having to tell you this, I’m sure you would be what hopeless romantics call ‘The One’.

I know this is an overly personal letter to you, especially because we are yet to meet, but if you stumble upon this someday, I hope you would be able to read me better. While I do think that communication is important to a relationship, I also think that the ability to understand each other without having to communicate becomes more important. I might be seeking a mind reader and if you are by some stroke of luck, welcome aboard.

Romantic relationships were never a priority for me as I know that they are bound to fail due to some shortcoming from my end. I’m not trying the method of portraying myself innocent, but it’s bound to happen.

If in the event I don’t meet you or perhaps may remain indifferent to your existence, I truly apologise. I constantly keep myself occupied, as it is one of the most successful and lucrative ways to keep me distracted. I’m a happy loner and if we never meet, I wish you well and all the happiness and sunshine in the world and if we do, I hope the sun would always shine on us.

Much love,

Me.

 Open Letters