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Dreaming Of A Better Future

By Gamini Weerakoon

(April 12, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) I was in a New York down town restaurant and from the furtive glances cast at me I knew that I was the best dressed man in the place. My Pettah Third Cross-Street tailored suit was the envy of all eyes — even those sporting Saville Row and Brooks Brothers suits.They were looking at my Slave Island hand made pure leather shoes and also my Slave Island buffalo leather belt. My batik tie from Tie & Die was a work of art with colours matching Gaugin’s combinations. Waiters were going around me trying to summon enough courage to come to my table. At last one did.

‘From Sri Lanka Sir?’ he asked. And how did he know?

‘We are an international restaurant, sir, with visitors from around the world. Sri Lanka we know is now the Hub of the World. You have bankrupted Singapore, closed down Mumbai and other Indian ports even the Cape is feeling the pinch. Your country must be the richest in the world. How many dollars is the Sri Lankan rupee worth? I hear its $ 100.

I wanted to be modest. ‘That’s what our Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal says, we said. He wanted to know in which town of Sri Lanka I lived and when I said Hambantota, his respect visibly increased. ‘Living there I know is more expensive than living in the Riviera,’ he noted

‘What do you like to drink sir,’ Champagne from the vineyards of Champagne, the best of malt whisky from the highlands of Scotland or……. ‘No’, I said, ‘bring me water.’

The fellow seemed absolutely embarrassed. ‘Oh, I am sorry sir, I forgot to mention Sri Lanka arrack, the most expensive drink in the world. Most American businessmen call for Sri Lanka arrack when they want to push through a deal in Sri Lanka.’

‘No, no’ I almost screamed. ‘Do you want me to lose my job? It’s against our government policy — Mathata Thitha.’

‘Are you an Arab?’ he queried and I told him to vamoose and bring water, if he wanted a 50 dollar tip.
While I waited for the water my thoughts went back to the extra $2 allowance permitted when I first went abroad and I was scared even to drink water from a tap lest I had to pay for it when an Old Colombian pal breezed in saying:

Hallo Machang kohomeda vede, Ranil to Dunne Vede?

Now this was quite a surprise. The new arrival was a known pal of Ranil for years and some say even a member of the FRCS — Fellow of the Royal College of Suckers. When reminded of it immediately he shooed us to silence. There were many on government ping adi travelling abroad in the service of the nation, he said. Undoubtedly he was one.

Weren’t you at Royal? How did you make it to Thurstan? ‘Machang my wife’s, uncles’ brother’s brother- in law was at Thurstan. Now I have cranked up the relationship. You know the secret of evolution. If you don’t adapt to the environment, you become extinct like what happened to the dinosaurs. So here I am singing Jaya Sreee Jaya Sreee…..Jaya way…..’

‘So what do you think of the future of your new party?’

What can’t you do when there are fellows like Mervyn Silva, Tennekoon and the like. There are no hurdles to obstruct progress. If laws obstruct us we bend or break the laws. Later we can repair it no?

What is this law and order ? That was the kaduwa of Ranil. What’s the use of law and order if it obstructs you. Break it and you are through. After that you can shout like hell for law and order, repair and restore it. That’s the new Chinthanaya.

‘So how do you propose to rise in the party?’

Machang, Cheer Rajapaksa, Rajapaksa, Rajapaksa and any amount of Rajapaksas. I even cheer the Thomians if there is a Rajapaksa in the team. You must know what the ‘Open Sesame is.’

The other thing is to blackguard, hoot and jeer Ranil while doing the same thing to Gen. Fonseka.

At this moment my friend suddenly got up and commenced shouting: ‘Ado Fonseka stooge, traitor, traitor…….’

The waiter who obliged us so much, turned up with a couple of bouncers and threw us both out of the restaurant.

‘That was an American army officer in uniform’, he said and threw a bucket of water on me. I shouted at the Colombian and called him back to apologise to the army officer but he was doing a strategic retreat. I awoke on the floor of my bed room dripping wet. I had toppled the litre bottle of water kept by the bed to cure my thirst. I heard my ever loving saying: Something has to be done to cure him of his nightmares.

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