Note: The picture used for cover photo is not mine and was copied from AOM Journals Website. I haven’t referenced the article.
We moved to an area called Malabe/Kaduwela in Sri Lanka in 1986. I was six years old, and my mother was in her mid to late twenties. At the time, although 17km away from the Captial City, it was a rural village, without proper infrastructure or transportation services. My mother’s whole family and friends feared the area, as there were supposed to be murderers and way layers living in our area.
I cannot recall seeing any murderers or way layers, instead the village was filled with farmers, teachers, nurses, and the like, and a relatively poor in terms of money, but rich in terms of land kind of folk.
There was information around illegal alcohol shops. In fact, we have seen them, we even knew where they were. The poor people in the nights went to these shops to get drunk. We have come across drunk people who usually have their entire sarong lifted up to show “everything” walk towards us. The funny thing is, these people drop the sarong and cover themselves, as soon as they see my mother, my sister and I. I don’t know what it was, but the villagers treated us with some form of respect, and never got us into the mix of their issues. Their fights, disagreements, drunk halabaloo, all were with the villagers, we were treated differently.
During such time, someone who’s name I will refer to as “Frank” from this point onwards to not bring much identity into the mix. “Frank” had got into an argument with a villager about some money in the illegal alcohol shop. During the fight, a man was killed. The villagers’ news was “”Frank” stabbed the man to death”. Now that I know how exagerated the villagers’ news is, I don’t know much to say about the truth of it.
“Frank” had been in jail. Then we got the news that “Frank” was released from jail. The village news frightened my mother. Obviously, a young female living by herself and two children, in a rural village with no other known people other than some brand new neighbours.
One day, we had to go to one of my school concerts. It started in the night, so we left home around 5.30 in the evening. Mom was in a saree, and heels. I was dressed in what ever the costume, and my sister probably in jeans and t-shirt (Mom always dressed her like a boy for her protection).
Getting close to end of our road, which was probably about 2km from our house, the three of us see a man rushing towards us. He is directly running towards my mother.
He grabbed my mother, and pushed her to a side, and using his feet, killed a snake, which my mother almost stepped on.
Mom was still in shock, as she had known this was “Frank”. But the young man with a beautiful smile and a handsome face was busy calming my mother, saying how she almost got killed by a wiper (Polanga), but confirming how it was dead now.
Although we have had news of farmers being killed by snakes, during this time, the villagers normally didn’t kill snakes. So, he probably even stepped outside of his norm.
My twenty something year old stunningly beautiful mother, covered in gold jewellary, in the evening, with her two young children, was rescued by the “village murderer”, “Frank”.
Knowing what I have managed to learn, and give back to the world, this man, for me is a true hero. Had my mother died that day, leaving me and my sister behind, my story would have been very different. I really don’t want to hide his identity. But i’m scared that he will feel upset or be insulted. But in my mind, I have thanked him a million times.
What amazes me is how we as humans, really jump on all the small timers, who were trying to make a buck, and engage in an accidental killing over a fight. But yet, let the world be run by people who has done a lot more damage.
While thanking “Frank”, wholeheartedly, I’m requesting us to look at all “Franks” a bit up, close, and personal, before judging them.
Do you see a difference between “Poor Frank” vs “Rich Frank”? Does “Wealth” or “Fame” or “Political Power” give a “Frank” more rights than the other “Frank”?
– Nim –