Posted by: akilamoni | December 3, 2006

Thoughts from SriLanka

Thoughts from Sri Lanka:

I haven’t maintained a log of all my activities in Sri Lanka but these were some thoughts I wrote in my little notebook when I traveled everyday.

The thought that struck me the most in Sri Lanka is about identity.

I had never traveled outside India before this trip.

I always felt an identity is what you create for yourself. I have always had trouble with any other sort of Government identity(not everyone has a name with 31 letters in it)

But the word identity took a whole new dimension for me here in Sri Lanka. All Sri Lankans are expected to carry a national identity card here everyday. Without that they can be detained by the army, police, spl task force or anybody posing with guns and wearing a uniform.

I have always been interested in studying how order of society came into being. In that context I should have been a supporter of the “identity card” world.

But I sure hate the idea of identity cards. I hate being frisked. I hate the idea where a card defines me. But isn’t it a pity for a nation in having to identify its own people. Am sure there a sizeable chunk of people who have no form of Government identity back home. Yet they can roam the streets of their hometown and no son with a gun can stop him.

Civil War:

I am not a war supporter. Given a chance I would be an anti war supporter. But I also get irritated when peace talks get nowhere. But that is me. Confused.

The one war that no nation should fight is a civil war. But having to fight people of your own country(no matter what they claim to be) , to divide your own country, to having to differentiate among your own people is as bad as it can get.

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Life in Colombo:

The streets of Colombo get deserted by around 7 PM. The city claims to have an active night life- clubs, pubs, casinos – Everyone parties in the safety of four walls.

But I think they are sick of partying indoors.

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The Sri Lankan:

There is something in the voice of a lot of Lankans that is beseeching. Beseeching someone to stop the war.

A driver who was ferrying us around the city spoke about how India should help Sri Lanka by monitoring the Indo Lanka maritime border. Alwis spoke of how the beaches in the North and East(the war torn part) is much better than the beach we were in. Nilanka took great pride in the fact that Sri Lanka had a variety of cultures- Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslims. Almost everyone talks about the lost opportunity in trade. Sri Lanka has great resources they say – gems for eg. Tourism is grossly underutilized.

But despite all this, Sri Lankans are true to their key chains and t shirts- SMILE LIKE A SRI LANKAN! And what a smile that is – genuine and filled with a simplicity that tugs at your heart…

Somebody do something and stop the Civil War

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As I traveled to work everyday we passed through a lot of small towns. I could have easily been in Kerala for everything in Sri Lanka bears an uncanny similarity with Kerala. They serve dosai, Idyappam(called string hoppers) and pittu(puttu in mallu). The folks here have a dark complexion and endlessly long and curly hair. Women were dressed much like the Nair Sisters from Sabyasachi Mazumdar’s collection.

The market visit took us into numerous grocery stores. All of them reminded me of my mum’s native place. There was a smell in the air which brought back memories of my rare trips to her house in Kerala.

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Responses

  1. Aks one thing you will soon learn as you start travelling across the world, no country in the world gives its people so much freedom as india does….

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