Thursday, August 7, 2008

Where Is Your Village?


The blog acquires new readers yet the blogger has gone to bed. Days pass, then weeks. August. Doldrums. Dog days. Much needed rest. How much rest? Time to take the temperature, play with the children, put them to bed, read about the caterpillar waking up and the elephant who flew to the stars. The blogger will not lie down. His hero, the writer from Miraflores, writes his column every Sunday after a week spent on his latest novel. I come from Colombo, parents from Jaffna, grandparents from Alavetti and Atchuvelli.

I watch the globe and I see an island. The island burns. The island calls with treacle and curd while the bull lashes me with its tail. I wear a sarong, a vershti. I wear sandals made from cow hide. I wake up on a rock where a leopard once swung its head before pouncing on my trembling bones.

I shake my bones. I shake my bones. I shake my bones.

"I am going home. You can come if you want," my grandfather cried, in a white sarong, spectacles heavy on the nose, body thin after a stroke, lucid for a few minutes, at the top of the lane, Rosmead Place, a day's journey by car from home.

I will not rest until the island can go off to sleep. I want to get back to bed, to dream of early morning bathers in a tank built in some ancient century where disputes were resolved astride elephants or under a palaver tree.

The duel may offer a neat solution. A fight among the leadership. With rubber bullets. Queen of Marquesberry's rules.

Alavetti, Atchuvelli, villages on a map, pockmarked with shrapnel, excavated by bombs.  Jaffna, once a fort, a city resilient still, will continue its daily labor of searching for food, a battery, on a bicycle.


sharanya said...

Thanks for this post. Some day posts like this one could be collected and published -- I am reading Neruda's "Passions and Impressions" and am reminded. Thinking of you. :)

Indran Amirthanayagam said...

Thanks Sharanya. Passions and Impressions is a fine example of the poet as reporter, the charged eye. Will write soon by email about next steps in the return journey home. Cheers Indran

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