Today is poya… but that's not why I'm at my wit's end, dears! A year, two months, and one week after the official end of the war, all I have to do is dream - and it's driving me mad. When the lunatic conflict was in all our faces, we were compelled to shut our eyes to the myriad possibilities that were passing our moonstruck country by.
Now that the sun has set on that manic age as far as one can envision, the fulfilment of whatever potential we had still seems just as elusive as ever…
And the manner in which many of us are now baying at the worldly moon makes me think an eclipse has come over our nation-state that may take a while to ease? I'm as patriotic as the next person - unless that individual is a politico on the lunatic fringe - but it remains to be seen whether Paradise Isle has seen a glory gone for good. QED: because the dreams we dreamt have yet to come to pass…
Call me weird, folks, but I yearn for a reality that is quite different from the breathless political aspirations of our day and age. Not for me territorial integrity and sovereignty, high security zones and high speed convoys, if the long arm of the law falls just short of cynical criminals in the upper echelons of power, and power struggles for more power sharing merely consolidate the status quo of those already in power.
So save us all from the jaded ambitions. No, leave us out of more programmes, plans, and policies, which go off at a tangent from true development, towards triumphalistic demagoguery - and that includes parades, statues, and other monuments to one's achievements in war and peace.
Pains me more than some to admit it - but these are just blasé, passé, and outré now. They are yesterday's dreams, nightmares of the past that sometimes cast a pall over the present, and may well continue to loom over all our tomorrows - until and unless we start envisioning an altogether nicer sort of future.
The kind of future in which we hardly notice the powers that be - because they have shrunk in size, and scope, and stature, with the welcome reintroduction of small government!
The type of thing that minorities as well as power blocs can enjoy… Like the sheer joy of travelling freely anywhere in Sri Lanka without having to carry an NIC (why even now?). Like winning at international sports and competitions, without losing each other's trust at home. Like hosting the world to a taste of our inimitable smorgasbord of hospitality - a Sri Lankan niche which we need to rediscover, and recover, to truly rule…
The nature, condition, and degree of great generalship in war, good governance in peace, and gentle rulership in both… to which a Napoleon Bonaparte or a Nelson Mandela can as relate as easily as (oh, let us say) any Nameless Politico who thinks and feels that the time has come to roll up those maps; and roll out those roads, and bridges, and welcome mats that bring the marginalized back into the mainstream.
You get the idea, don't you? We must go back to being a republic again.
In the meantime, rather than merely lamenting "sic transit gloria mundi" in sibilant undertones, there are tasks and duties and obligations that can overtake us all in the national interest. The army, nay the STF, has been called in to contain the spread of contagious disease. Why? Because aggrieved citizens are too busy complaining about their rights to care enough for their responsibilities. Keep your own garden neat and clean before you dig in your neighbours' patch! Or radically seek to uproot the rot that is abroad in the plots of power. These are manifestly better than murmuring against the nation, state, and country.
There is a state of mind in which we can be brought to believe in heaven and hell as co-existing, when we consider that a hell for humans can easily be created in tandem with a heaven for mosquitoes.
Which reminds me: I have to clean up my backyard and empty those water-logged containers, which are a rank breeding ground for dengue-causing parasites. Maybe the powers that be will take a cue from citizen action, and empty the corridors of power of similar pests that do nothing but buzz about causing mayhem, sucking the lifeblood out of their constituents, and setting the worst possible example for their peers? Such pesky politicos may perhaps be bitten so badly by that bug which induces panic when criticized by worldly powers; results in outrage when opposed by right-minded fellow citizens; and causes epidemics of self-righteous rhetoric when taken to task by their friends, family, and foes alike.
This has nothing to do with the shining orb that brightens up our night sky tonight, but is the result of too much power in peacetime going to the heads of those who only dream of warlike pastimes.
May they whose endeavours are so aggravated find the peace, tranquillity, and equanimity that will help them - and us all - to stop mooning over blood spilled… and seek the sunshine of sweat, toil, and tears in a Sri Lanka where we can all work out our joint salvation with fear and trembling. Not lording it over the people we were meant to represent just because we paid them a small courtesy once… like swatting some major mosquitoes!