One day, a couple of weeks ago, I was having my usual walk, and when I was going on a narrow bit of a road that is under construction, I was confronted by an earth mover. So I stopped walking, assuming it will pass. Since neither of us had moved, I looked up to see that the driver was hand signalling me to move. As I was passing by I heard him say in a giggly cheeky tone, that the matter would have resolved faster had I walked a bit faster, in my native language;
ටිකක් අඩිය ඉක්මන් කරලා ගියා නම් වැඩේ ඉවරයිනේ!
I looked up again, now to see him closer, his adorable looks, and his full smile. I must admit, I felt I was blushing, so I smiled, looked down and continued to walk. I was hoping to meet him again, but he always seemed very busy, everytime I had seen him since then, so didn’t get the opportunity.
Today, despite the cloudy sky, and a bit of rain I saw in the morning, I decided to go for my morning walk, and contemplating time. While sitting in my usual spot, singing along to Carpenters’ “Yesterday Once More”, and playing with my Angel Cards, I saw what Sri Lankans refer to as a “Tipper Truck”, moving rubble. The first thing I noticed was how skillful the driver was, and how aware he was about his Tipper Truck, maneuvering very close to the edge of a Bund Wall of a waterway. An inch incorrectly turned, the Tipper Truck would be in the waterway.
That’s when he appeared, and parked his earth mover opposite side to where I was sitting, over the waterway.
I was happy to see him, and observed his driving. He was equally skilled to the Tipper Truck driver. He moved gently, but extremely skillfully. That’s when I started to wonder:
How much are they paid?
Do they have a sufficient income to enjoy the luxuries someone of this calibre enjoys back in Australia?
Are they happy in their job?
What do they think about economic situation of Sri Lanka?
So I decided to walk to them and have a chat. Of course I had another motive, to get a closer look at my eyecandy. But then again, what’s wrong with pleasing my eye, if my ultimate end goal is to bless them kind souls?
Both drivers were looking my direction and smiling, the Tipper Truck driver, was no longer driving. He was talking to the Earth mover driver, and a few others builders were building a wall with the rubble.
I got permission to talk to them, take some pictures, ask some personal questions, explaining that I write. They seemed more than happy to help.
What I found out was that they were roughly earning 200/- to 250/- Sri Lankan ruppees an hour. That’s roughly AUD 1.60 to AUD 2.00 per hour. A decent pack of food with sufficient amount of curries, to make it a healthy diet, would cost about 300/- to 350/- per meal. That’s AUD 2.40 to AUD 2.80 per meal.
Now imagine if they have families to feed, children to send to school, parents to look after, other bills to pay, and as young boys/men, I’m sure they have other social needs like going out with friends, or surprising the one they love with a gift or taking them out to a movie. They must be dreaming to have a “normal” life. After all, they are skilled, they are building the roads for all of nation to enjoy, and they work hard in this terrible heat. So it’s fair that they dream, it’s fair that they want to steal from people who have more, as much as I look down upon taking what is not given.
After feeling terribly sad for these men, I decided to ask the cute one his name. Boy did he not surprise me when he said it was “Nimesh”. Same name as myself.
His full name happens to be “Nimesh Aruna Sampath”, which means;
Nimesh – Moments
Aruna – Light from the Morning Sun
Sampath – Natural Resources
So I would make it mean, “Energy equivalent to many moments of light from the morning sun”.
The Tipper Truck driver’s name is Upul. It’s the colour of blue water lily, and I’ve read that it derives from Upulvan, who is believed to be a guardian diety of the country, whose skin colour is the colour of the blue water lily.
I did have a softer corner in my heart for Nimesh, he has the same name as me, and his smile melted me. I hope I sufficiently hid it from him for my interview purposes. But, I wholeheartedly hope and pray that this country does some justice to these hardworking talented human resources.
So my dear Sri Lankan Government officials,
I am not at all into politics. In fact, I’m disgusted by the endless greed all of Sri Lankan politicians appear to have, and the bullshit you sell to innocent hardworking people like Nimesh and Upul. They indicated their political views, which I will not publicise for their own safety, as that’s how much I trust the politicians of this country. I wouldn’t want any harm fall upon them for having a political view.
If I was in power (which I do not intend to, and not qualified to), I would heavily tax all people who earn very high salaries, and usually don’t know how to give, see these innocent people as rowdies (රස්තියාදුකාරයෝ), and will flip if their daughter or son fall in love with such a person. That would include all of politicians, who enjoy luxuries even someone from a developed nation cannot imagine to enjoy, let alone the 3rd world!!! I would use that tax to increase wages of Teachers, Tradesmen like Nimesh and Upul, Farmers, Fishermen, Bus and Train Drivers, Etc. Who do a greater service to majority of general population of Sri Lanka.
Your corruption, short sightedness, and uneducated decisions push this country further down, if that is even a possibility.
At least give back what you steal, try to understand that this life is shorter than you may think, and one of these moments you’ll be struggling for breath, banging on death’s door, thinking whether you lived a proper life. I’m sure most of the Sri Lankan politicians will be hellbound as it stands. But it’s not too late to change your ways.
We can turn this ship around. If not now, there will be no Sri Lanka. Being Sri Lankan is not about protecting your bullshit, narrow minded views, and definitely not about someone removing a bra in public. Who the fuck cares who throws a bra, and who catches it, if both parties involved like it. You have bigger issues to solve than be concerned about a fucking bra!!! I’m seriously ashamed to know that the biggest problem the president of a country that suffer, has to talk about is a fucking bra throwing incident!!!
Forget your differences and work together, even the previous leaders who is said to have stolen large sums of money. Even they can correct themselves. Please work together at least for ten or twenty years, and go back to your seperate political parties. Think of the generations to come. Imagine it to be a blank canvas. Let go of racial conflicts. Make English, Sinhala, and Tamil to be mandatory languages to learn.
Give, Love, Live and Let Be!
Please don’t let this country sink any further than it already has!
– Nim –