Header Ads

Incomparable greens and the stench of ‘dog-things’

By Malinda Seneviratne

(April 20, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The elections are over. Of course we have the ‘little matter’ of some polling stations in Nawalapitiya and Trincomalee, but once it is all cleared up the only difference will be whether the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) needs six or eight more MPs to reach the magic number 150 and a two-thirds majority in Parliament. What ‘Nawalapitiya’ will tell us which UPFA candidate is in and which one is out. That’s about it. So we are at the moment as close to ‘all done’ as is possible.

Last week had a name: Avurudu. I went to Kegalle and then to Mawanella, Aranayaka and Hemmathagama. I came back through Ruwanwella, Karawanella and Avissawella. The Sabaragamuwa Province ignites the yaksha blood in me, I like to think. Last week was special because it was Avurudu and that pre-dates Mahindagamanaya by more than a millennium, according to some. It was special, also, because it rained. It rained in the manner of the Bak Maha Wehi (the Great April Rains), along with the Bak Maha Akunu (the Great April Lightning) that tore trees down on power cables, wrecking the power supply and in this and other ways demonstrating the raw power of nature. Not so much like the volcanoes erupting in Iceland of course, but still, ‘tremendous’ was the word that came to mind.

Rain at this time, in Sabaragamuwa, does things to the landscape. I’ve always been amazed at the shades of green on either side of the Kandy road, as one proceeds from Ambepussa to Kegalle and beyond right up to Uthuwankanda.

Of all the greens, though, there is one that stamped signature-hue on this week called ‘Avurudu’. Light green, the dalu-green of tender leaves, just stirred from drought-slumber by the gentle nudging of pre-monsoonal winds and then made wide-eyed by huge drops of rain. No, this is not Sabaragamuwa-specific. Last evening turning into the High Level and towards Colombo at Kottawa the dalu-green of the Bo tree against the rain-heavy black clouds beyond was poetic beyond description. Perhaps there is some kind of ‘climatological’ reason for this, I don’t know, but for shade-nuance nothing I’ve seen beats the greens of Sabaragamuwa.

Lightest greens, against the sturdy-black of trunk and branch or against grey of threatening cloud roots me, back to ancestor and heritage, the good and bad of all that, the heroism and cowardice, the birthrights and transgressions. It allows me to affirm my individuality. It puts me in touch with all things encompassed by the far more beautiful and compelling word, ‘collective’.

And this is why I was pissed beyond belief when the ‘political’ interrupted my gaze and breathing in the form of image and name on almost every tree trunk and every culvert and every 2x2 and larger space available for splashing these things.

Reminded me of dogs and other animals who lift their hind-legs and dispatch a squirt of urine to mark territory. No offence to animals intended here. They have a valid reason to do what they do. And it is done without causing hindrance to anyone. Just saying, ‘this place is mine, folks, just stay away like I keep away from your place’.

What I saw was nothing as civilized. There was for example this name, that of the son of a powerful regional politician, all over the place. ‘Man, he must have consumed a lot of liquids,’ I thought. He had piddled all over the Kegalle District; so much so that the fragrance of history finding expression in dalu-green and other such hues came ammonia-adulterated throughout the journey.

I know this is not Sabaragamuwa-specific. We have two months of it all over Colombo. And I saw it along all the roads I’ve travelled during this time, i.e the Gampaha District, Ratnapura, Hambantota, Badulla, Kandy and Kalutara. I am sure it’s the same story in other parts of the country. I don’t expect everyone to have a dalu-green fascination or feel a Ravananess at certain times passing certain places, but I am sure very few would not be disturbed by this pissing phenomenon.

They’ve done it, these politicians have. They’ve marked their territory. They’ve pissed us off (yes, we are ‘past tense’ now that the results are out, barring Nawalapitiya and Trincomalee of course). They’ve done the balu-thing (the dog-act). I know they are not going to listen to me, but I will say it anyway: do the (wo)man-thing now! Un-urinate, un-mark. This is not your private property we are talking about. This is public space. Clean up!

Mr. President, you have on occasion come out strong against vandalism of this kind. We have got a Parliament of pissers, that’s a fact. Not your fault. The fault is with us, the electors. Now please, Your Excellency, ask these merry men and women who have been operating as though they’ve consumed enormous quantities of beer and are consequently quite incontinent to mop up.

Those who can’t clean up after them are not qualified to represent us. That’s the bottom line. I don’t want my tax rupees to be spent to go around with mop, pail and detergent to wipe out piss-stain and remove piddle-odour. Sorry. I think I am going to see a lawyer about objecting to the Municipal Council cleaning up after politicians who have not yet been toilet-trained.

My greens have got a bad odour, Your Excellency. Annoys me no end. I trust you understand and since you do, please do something about it. I don’t like urine staining the incomparable image of a million bo leaves against the rain-clouds at 5.47 pm. Too much for a citizen to ask?

No comments

Powered by Blogger.