One of the things I love doing is reading posts by my fellow bloggers. They entertain, inspire, teach and inform you. It’s like your own little portal to an around the world journey of different thoughts and ideas. For some reason words on paper (or in this case a screen) means more to me than words uttered. I think there are posts which make you think, laugh, cry, and then there are posts which just make you fall madly in love with it. These are the posts which makes your head scream “Must re-blog!!”
I came across this beautiful post (thanks to a good friend of mine) which describes what being a Sri Lankan is really all about. I can truly say I absolutely love this post! It is beautifully written and subtly shows us the things which we should really concentrate on, the things that bring us together, not tear us apart. I fell in love with it, maybe you will too.
We’ve barely worked our way out of one ethnic conflict – and already trouble makers of Sri Lanka are starting up the next one. Anti-Muslim this and that – a small minority to be sure, but a frighteningly vocal one. They insist that we must protect ‘Sri Lanka’ and that they are ‘Sri Lankan’.
To me – I have never imagined myself as any less Sri Lankan because I was from a minority That was not how I was raised, and that was not how the people around me saw themselves. But what scares me is that as a nation we spend so much time drawing lines around our communities, that we forget the things that bind us together as Sri Lankan. And to me – those are the best things we have.
To me being Sri Lankan means having your mouth water at the thought of acharu in little siri siri bags. Thambili on a sweltering day. Horrific traffic and people driving like they are blind. The mosques call to prayer broadcasted on their speakers mingled with the nearby temples chanting. Waving to the elephant when we pass the Gangarama temple. The smell of Sidalehpe when one is sick. Feeling a thrill when some random Hollywood movie mentions ‘Sri Lanka’ and re-watching that scene for that reason. Complaining about internet speeds.
Being Sri Lankan to me means always having your breath taken away when Vesak comes around, and the whole city seems to come alive. Eagerly waiting to see what magnificent Christmas decorations Odel and the 5 star hotels will dazzle us with. Plates of buyriyani at Ramadan. Blessing our multi-ethnic society every-time a long weekend comes around. Double blessings when we find two in a month. Araliya trees in bloom. The tree lined Thurstan Road. The smell of sandalwood in Wellawatte.
Calling everyone ‘Aunty’ and ‘Uncle’. Everyone knowing or being related to everyone. Everyone having family who lives in USA, Canada Australia or all three. Family dinners that don’t serve food til 10pm. Always asking someone new you meet – ‘What school did you go to? Oh, what batch? I know so-and-so’. Lavish weddings. Jumping with excitement every time an American fast-food franchise opens up. Freaking out at cricket matches. Sighing whenever you go abroad and someone assumes you are Indian.
I feel Sri Lankan because of all these things. This is what Sri Lanka is to me. And no matter who they accuse of heading conspiracies and how they try to divide and alienate us – I just need to remember that there are things that bind us together, no matter how different our lives are.
But I fear that while the rest of us refuse to raise our voices, this small angry minority will rip us apart. And when we allow that to happen – it is our children who will weep. Like our parents left us a war torn nation to fix – we will leave our children a shell of a nation. Is this what we want?
If you love her work as much as I do, head over to her Little Pink Note Book.