During my morning walk and contemplating time today, I saw a lady who was carrying a heavy bag. I saw that she was struggling as she was resting every ten steps or so. So I decided to ask whether she needs some help. Initially she said “No”, to assess who I was, which I understand knowing what goes on in this country, and in this day and age. But later, she accepted my help. It was a bag of cow dung, which she was going to use as furtiliser for her flowers.
Once I reached her home, she invited me for a cup of tea, which I initially refused, but later accepted, as I wanted to see her flowers, knowing the furtiliser she use. I didn’t get to see the flowers, but I saw a little human flower, a blessed young child, who decided to show off his “Tipper Truck” and his driving skills. This made my day.
I asked his name, he didn’t really answer, but was busy telling me all about his truck. He was very obedient, when ever I asked him not to go near the steep stairwell or not to accidentally sqaush large black ants (in my native language “Kadiya”), he moved away. In fact, he wiped off the large black ants (“Kadiya”) with his hands away from danger to itself, and to himself.
After driving his “Tipper Truck” fast, which appeared to be what he liked to do, not dissimilar to all of us really, he brought me his “Tipper Truck”, which was now in two pieces. He looked at me full of confidence in me to fix his toy, while placing the two pieces in my hands. Thank God, I was able to deliver. I didn’t want to disappoint his smiling face, and confident eyes.
Later, I found out that this was the afformentioned lady’s grandson. I didn’t meet his father or mother, but the grandmother, who appeared to be around my own mother’s age, was a kind lady.When I inquired how much she paid for the cow dung, she said she paid nothing, but collected them from the fields with her bare hands. This is something I’ve seen only in farming culture or back in late eighties.
My mother, who is somewhat obsessive about cleanliness, would use gloves to do so. We have had wheelbarrows full of cow dung brought to our garden, by an older farmer named “Abarung”, whom we referred to as “Abarang Ātha”. But, this sort of behaviour, I have found to be a rarity in Sri Lanka today. So I was so pleased to see this family.
We continued to chat a little bit more about potential school for the grandchild, and also a bit about Sri Lanka, and Australia. Then, it was time for me to leave, after enjoying a very nice cup of coffee, which was made to perfection, just as I requested, with no milk, or sugar. I was relieved to receive this, as it’s typical of Sri Lankan culture to disregard such a request, and make a cup of tea or coffee full of sugar and milk, to show generosity. Thank God she chose to respect my request, than attempt to show generosity as per cultural practice.
On my way back home, I revisited the sequence of events, and thought to myself:
“This was what it was like in Sri Lanka. We all trusted one another, and we all spoke to one another. We all helped where ever we can, when ever we can. We always offered a cup of tea to a stranger, as there was no lack of trust.
Today, many moons later, my blessed incident is a rarity. No one trusts another, for very good reasons. No one helps another, for no reason at all. Yet, we claim to have a great culture!
What really happened? How can we change this to what it was, the loving kind Nation? Or was I deluded all along?”
I pray to God, that the young human flower I met today, whose name I don’t know, would see a different world to what I see now.
I wish the young generation, love each other enough, to trust each other.
– Nim –