Saturday, January 2, 2010
a point to remember - how different our lives are within Sri Lanka
I spent this New Year period in my Hingurakgoda, Polonnaruwa cultivation having driven in after a full day of work in Colombo on 30th and so arrived at 2am. December 31st was a Poya holiday, but we were up by 6am as it was a full day of work on the land, husking dried coconuts to be dried in the sun for coconut oil. Then it was onto plucking coconuts.
When we went into an isolated section by the riverside, in my sister's property we caught a coconut thief on his way down a tree after plucking the coconuts. He did not know who we were, and offered to pluck some nuts for us! On reflection we should have asked him to pluck the nuts from all the trees before revealing our identity and taking the law into our own hands and send him packing, saving us the climbing time and effort and lugging the nuts to the road so they could be loaded onto the truck.
Once he realized his luck had run out this time and was sorrounded by three of us, he quickly knelt and revealed the identity of who it was who had engaged him in the thieving. No physical violence was used. Later we confronted the absent purpetrator with threats of going to the police to make an entry, he said he was doing this because he did not have a job! and would be grateful for a job. His identity and farce requires another blog entry for another time.
To get back to the point I am trying to make, 31st was another day in the village. I also decided to have a hair cut before the new year, at the local salon and that cost Rs100, less than a US dollar. The barber has set up shop in a small shed in front of his house that is by the main road. I dare say that at the same time Colombo ladies were busy getting their hair done for New Year's Eve celebrations!
We had our normal dinner, which was rice and two curries as well as some fish we had caught a few minutes ago from the river on my property. I had received a bottle of Scotch from a customer of mine, which I had brought with me. So I invited my neighbors (men) ladies dont go out at night! There were 8 of us to share the bottle, and two Mega Bottles of Sprite (1500cc bottles) were used to dilute the strength. ( those who drink legal arrack also use this to dilute the strength and hence the use of Sprite) I dare say none of the others had ever had Scotch! Remember on Poya the bars are closed and accordingly the day before is the day of mega sales at the liqour outlets.
I dont have electricity at my place so it was with just a Godakumbura safe bottle lamp, and a fire on which the khomba leaves were burning on my verandah to ward of the mosquitoes that we enjoyed the eve of the last decade. It was bed time by 8.30pm and I did not hear the sound of one fire cracker, and was not woken up at midnight with the sound of fire crackers or barking dogs who would be frightened by the sound. Up again by 5 ready for another busy day. I had forntunately switched by mobile phone off so was not woken up by the loads of sms awaiting me in the morning.
Contrast this with three New Years parties that I had foregone in Colombo and the incessant sound of crackers from early evening till well past midnight in the Western Province, one would think we really live in two countries, and one does not know of the existence of the other.
So with this thought where 80% of the country would see the new year fast asleep in bed, with hardly a celebration, ready for another regular working day, as the 1st is not even a holiday in Sri Lanka, I wish you all my best wishes for the year and future ahead in achieving your goals and wishes.