Tuesday, February 28, 2012

37. Close Encounters Of The Cops Kind - Three More Cop Stories: #2 NICE TRY, DUDE!!

This is the Cop Story #2 “NICE TRY, DUDE!!”

Polonnaruwa , Batticaloa Road. It was  5.00 P.M. The Honda Civic Hybrid in front of us grabbed our attention a because of its foreign plates. Just because the Honda was almost crawling and the solid white line, which prevented us overtaking without crossing it, was there all the way since we left then city limits, I was very positive we were way under the legal speed limit. And, I was extra cautious because of the unusual number of uniforms all over the city that particular day.

Just as we were passing a beautiful paddy field full of herons out on the open highway, some cop uniforms loomed ahead. As it always happens, a cop whistle shrieked and we were flagged down. I mean not the Honda Civic Hybrid with foreign plates, just innocent me. I stopped following the proper parking procedure and grabbed the documents from under the sun visor, when the rookie cop oozing youth approached the door with that Sherlock Holms smirk. This is his first sentence. He asked this in the tone a teacher would use on one of his most notorious students.

“How many offences did you commit, sir?”

“I didn’t commit any!” I answered still seated. I was quite positive about this.

The rookie’s eyes nearly popped out of his head. Then he shook his head slowly with that leering I-know-it-all grin.

“You say you didn’t commit any offense?”

“Officer, I didn’t commit any traffic offense now!” I said. 

Then I checked that no vehicles were behind us before opening the door and then stepped out and stood in front of the vehicle for further conversation.

“You are still telling me sir,  you didn’t violate any law, huh? Let me see your documents.”

I selected the documents relevant to the van out of my pouch and handed over. He frowned at the ones I didn’t give him which were the documents of my bike and asked,
“What are those?”

“Well they are the documents of my bike. And that bike is also mine. They aren’t relevant to this. I take both the sets no matter which vehicle I ride. That’s to be on the safe side.”

“Okay, then, sir you won’t own up the offense you committed.”

He was testing my patience, which had begun to wear thin by this time.

“Look here officer, I may have violated some of the commandments in my life. But I’m sure you aren’t interested in those. You want to know about the traffic offenses. Well, I’m telling you haven’t done any. For example. I followed that Honda Hybrid with foreign plates since I left the city. It was crawling but I didn’t overtake.”

“Uh-huh! Which means you felt like overtaking.”

“Definitely! I want to reach Batticaloa before nightfall. Already it’s five o’clock. Still I didn’t overtake even though I wanted to.”

“Which means sir, you were tempted to overtake crossing the solid white line.”

“That’s what I said officer, I felt like overtaking but I didn’t.”

“But felt like means you could have overtaken.”

“Here, listen officer, can you sue me or fine me for my thoughts, if I didn’t do that?"

The boy cop admired my face with a sly grin for a long time. Then he handed my documents back to me.

“I just tried.” He said, “You can go, sir”

I slammed the door shut with all the fury. My cousin who was traveling with our family who happened to be married to an Inspector of Police, had been listening to the whole conversation.

“Bro, He had no way out because you didn’t budge. He would have booked you if you stuttered and admitted to his charges. Just see his nerve to say “I just tried!!”

“Sis, that’s the problem with us non-police-dudes. When you and your husband are flagged down all he has to do is to flash his ID, and you are cleared with a salute, and sometimes and apology no matter what offence is committed.” I said.”You tell him when you get home what happened today.”

“Not just tell him, you write it to the media.” She said gritting her teeth.

“No. I have a better idea. I’ll blog this.” I said.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

36. Close Encounters Of The Cops Kind - Three More Cop Stories: #1 THE MIDNIGHT SERMON



How long can you use a LPG cylinder?

Three weeks?  One month? Well, if I say we use our LPG cylinder for one or two years would you believe me? Well it may sound like a little farfetched tall tale blown out of proportion to you, but it’s true. The reason for this is when we come home for the vacation we are mostly out on the open road moving, eating out. So gas cylinder is hardly ever used. But, no worries, we pay the money due to the motherland in other forms. Especially, through post offices, the Police Department and right into the treasury.
Well the inevitable part of life on the open road is traffic cops. They try their very best to levy the money due to the country we cheat on LPG. “Oh, It’s their duty, isn’t it?”, one might argue. Well here are three cop stories from the last vacation. You decide for yourself!

I am almost always busted for a couple of offenses. One is speeding. Please don’t misunderstand this as driving recklessly and dangerously endangering other people’s lives. You really need to have a special skill developed to track the speed limit signs. They are cleverly placed in a way that you would easily miss them. Even if you find them the other sign that indicate the end of speed limit is missing. So how far is the speed limit is valid is a secret only the cops would know.
The other is overtaking, especially over the white lines. This is also a game of wild guessing and risk taking. In most of the places the while lines are not visible due to wear and tear.  And the most frustrating thing is when you have to crawl behind a truck loaded with logs, a tractor, a bus that stops at every stop for kilometers on end, as you won’t dare running over the white line.  And at the end of your patience when you think the while lines are over and it’s safer to overtake, and you do so and there you are flagged down immediately by the cops hiding at that very place, whose job is to know such places and trap you. But unfortunately, the private bus drivers who raced passed you overtaking you as if you were standing still, driving on the wrong side of the road, on the other side of the double white lines without giving a shit abut road rules, blasting their air hones which would make elephants shit their pants, terrorizing you, miraculously escape. And you are busted!

Well this is the Cop Story #1 

THE MIDNIGHT SERMON


It was the midnight. We were driving towards Colombo from Dambulla. I and the van driver ahead of me had been crawling behind a heavily loaded truck for the last 20 kilometers. We didn’t overtake because of the continuous solid single or double white line along the mountainous stretch of this road. I also was determined not to be busted this vacation, no matter what. So many vehicles overtook us over the white lines as if they didn’t exist. On severe climbs I even let the truck go ahead as I knew the danger of following a overloaded vehicle uphill. 

Finally the continuous white line transformed into a broken white line, yet shorter gaps and longer lines.

In a little while the faded lines appeared to be the same length as gaps, or at least I thought so. The van driver and I took then advantage of this and overtook the truck. Before I could swing back into my side a red lit police baton a flashlight and jumped out of the hiding place on the wrong side of the road and flagged us both down. The green luminous strips added flavor to the misery.

“SHIT” I muttered in Capital Block Letters.

I glanced at the dashboard clock before I stepped out. It was 12.30 a.m.! I grabbed the documents from behind the sun visor and walked back to the officer who stopped me. This one who held a higher rank than a normal traffic cop. 

The first thing that greeted me was reeking of liquor. 

“Do you admit that you committed an offense?” he asked even before I came to a standstill.

“No. I overtook crossing the broken line.”

He shone the flashlight on the middle of the road and asked,
“Are these broken lines?”

“Maybe because they are worn off, to me it looked like broken lines,”

“Let’s see your License and insurance”.

He read the documents with the help of his flashlight and paid special attention to my drivers’ license.

“This is quite old”.

“Yes, but it’s still valid.”

“When you got the license, those days, did they teach you about the road markings?”

“That I can’t remember specifically, but know my highway code”.

The cop nodded smugly like a FBI special agent who finally managed to hunt down and capture a serial killer.

“Ha ha ha!” The reek of liquor penetrated my nose. “I got my license recently. Even I learnt my Highway Code from the book I got from the learners”. 
(Don’t ask me the validity of this because these are his words.)

“At least now, do admit your fault?”

“Officer, you are going to fine me anyway. What difference does it make?”

“Ah hah! That’s where you are wrong! If you don’t admit that you committed an offence it’s not ethical to fine you. If you think we are there only to fine you, you can’t be more wrong. We are there to guide you and advise you, too. Well sir, I’ll ask you one question. Which road do you think the highest number of motor accidents are reported from?”

“This road.”  Actually I had read it online.

“Absolutely. We can catch 25 lawbreakers an hour if we want. And we are here to minimize that number.”  

The liquor smell was beginning to gag me.

“How nice.” I said.

“Now do you admit it?”

“Well, if you say that I violated a law I have to admit it”.

“Oh no, don’t admit just because I say so… According to your heart, do you accept that you broke the law?”

“Actually right from the beginning it was according to my heart that I said I didn’t. That van driver and I both were crawling behind that truck for so many kilometers without overtaking because of that white line. I have lost count how many other dudes overtook all three of us crossing the white lines. But I know you won’t believe me.”

“Okay, what I want to know is do you admit that you committed a traffic offense by overtaking that truck right here?”

“Officer, I have even advised others never to argue with a police officer, especially at times like this. It won’t do one any good because you hold all the aces  and I am totally defenseless. I have only my word against yours, which isn’t much. So, that is the reality. I haven’t done any crime as I understand. On the other hand the lines here are faded and almost invisible. I overtook at the very end of my patience when I couldn’t take it any more”.
“Sir, what are the places that you can’t overtake?”

“Well, when you would have to cross double or single solid white line. And where you can’t see far enough ahead to be sure it is safe,  er.. near a pedestrian crossing, a corner or bend, a hump bridge, the brow of a hill...”

“Burrrrrp!” 

The loud burp erupted out of the throat of my teacher brought my list to a standstill.

“Okay, in the mountainous roads where all those markings aren’t there, how do those drivers manage?”

“How do you mean?”

“I mean how do those dudes know where to overtake where not to, who’s given priority at the narrow bottle neck and at the hairpin bend and the likes…”

“Okay you tell me.”

“They do these out of courtesy, sir out of courtesy”.

“Uh huh!”

He stopped the lecture and shone the flashlight on my van.

“Who’s in that van? Your family members?”

“Yes my wife and my son.”

“Where did you go at this time of the night?”

“We visited a friend and are now going home towards Colombo”. I gave several answers bundled together in the hope of cutting the conversation short.

“Do you know sir, I can go near your vehicle and point out five faults if I feel like, any given time?  Wanna try?”

“On, no officer. That’s absolutely not necessary. I know you hold all the aces tonight”.

“You can’t find a vehicle that is free of faults, it’s not easy.” He said shaking his head, pursing his lips.

“Now that we are on that subject I’ll tell you officer. This morning on my way here I followed a police vehicle belching black smoke, a long way. There must have been over one hundred faults on the vehicle and in the driving both”.

To hell with it. Water was above my nose anyways.

“I accept that.” The surprised me by handing over my documents back to me.

“Okay. It’s quite late now. Be careful when overtaking. You can go. Good night.”

“Good night, officer, thank you very much!”

As I was snapping on the seat belt I glanced at the dashboard clock. Thirty seven minutes! Actually I edited the lecture which was much longer than this and there was a lot of repetition. But, at least he didn’t fine me.

“What happened?” Deepa asked.

“It’s a long story. I’ll tell you on the way. He didn’t fine me. That’s what that matters right now”. I said shoving the documents back under the sun visor flap.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

35. Do you get that feeling of Déjà vu when you read my speech?

This is the teachers’ speech I made this week at the school assembly. This is not a poem, but written in stanzas so that it would be read with more effect as a speech. This is not a school in Sri Lanka. But you can check if it relevant to your place.

SHIFTING THE RESPONSIBILITY

Whether you go to a government office
or a private company
there is one doubt in your mind.
that is,
whether you’d be able to
get what you want done.

And as you feared
the most common answer that you get is,
“I don’t know”, "It's not my duty."
with a shrug of shoulders,
which is perfectly normal.

And most probably
the officer you wanted to meet
is not at his desk.
He’s either absent
or on annual leave.

Well, everybody has a right to take leave.
The big question is who’s there
to cover up for them.
And take over their responsibilities.

Actually, no one seems to have thought about that.
If one officer is absent,
You have to go back another day,
When he’s back at work,
hopefully.

You must be wondering
Why I’m talking about
government offices and private firms
at the school assembly.

Well, one reason is
School is probably the only place
when one teacher is absent
another teacher is sent on relief duty.

And another is,
the school is the place
where all those government and private company employees
originated from
with their nature of being irresponsible.

It’s at the school we learnt to say,
“I forgot to bring my book.
So’ I’m not working today.
I’m free.”
as if it is the teacher’s fault.
And unfortunately,
“I forgot” is widely accepted and excused.

It’s at the school we learnt to say,
“I was absent for the test because I overslept.”
Again, accepted and sympathized too.
So, you expect the school to give you a retest.

It’s at the school we learnt to say,
“You are asking me not to talk.
You always pick on me.
Look, he’s also talking, not only me”

Finally, It needs a lot of courage
to accept that we are wrong.
And not to point our fingers at the others,
shifting our responsibility to someone else.

Thank you.


Do you get that feeling of  Déjà vu when you read my speech?

Simulblogged at  මට හිතෙන හැටි my Sinhala blog.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

34. A DAY I WAS DELIGHTED TO HEAR ABOUT A TRAGEDY

The number of accidents reported on our E1 Expressway is astounding. It beats me how the vehicles equipped with all the safety devices imaginable, driving at 100 km.p.h., on an almost straight wide road, meet with so many accidents.
Generally, the majority of accidents on a freeway are pile ups. But, here that’s not the case. This is the mere loss of control of the vehicle at higher speeds. There are speeds each individual is comfortable with. Some dudes are 60 km.p.h. dudes while the others are 80 km.p.h. dudes and never forgetting the 40 km.p.h. dudes who hog the roads when we are in a hurry.  
Anyways, higher the speed, sharper must be senses, speeding up and minimizing the response time. And, one must sharply look out for the imminent dangers ahead, so the alert eyes must always be shifting between the road and mirrors, constantly scanning and assessing the rapidly changing scene.
And the road discipline is a must.  Those who aren’t capable of this should drive at slower speeds at which they are more comfortable with.

It made us very sad, when we read online, the first death caused by an accident on E1 on the 3rd February. In a little while, we were delighted when we realized something else. That’s not because we are barbaric enough to be pleased at a tragedy. Wait, I was just going to explain that.
 
Just a few days before we had to leave Sri Lanka at the end of the vacation, on 29th December to be exact, I drove along that Expressway with my family. My wife Deepa and my son were videoing and taking stills of the trip as they usually do when we are on road trips. 






We also met several dudes who owned the road! And some idiots who violated the traffic laws with no compunction.
I’ll write about them later. Please watch out, dudes!
We were driving at 100kmph most of the way which explains how we made it in one hour.

We saw this shocking scene when we were slowing down because we were arriving at Pinnaduwa the final Exit. It was only a several hundred meters to the tollbooths. Actually, these are the screen shots from my son’s video.





This SUV would have been a minute or two ahead of us.  See how it has dented the guardrails and vaulted over ending up facing the way it had come. We don’t know what connection the people in white shirts who seemed to have come in the bluish car parked at the shoulder had with this accident. We didn’t stop because it is prohibited to do so. And everybody is warned against that as it could be fatal. However, we informed the security services immediately.

There seemed to be one person, perhaps trapped in the passenger seat. Another lying on the grass outside the guardrail, and while we were watching, another staggered a few steps and collapsed into the waiting arms of the guy wearing a blue T shirt as his knees gave way. I think the SUV is  totaled up. 
I didn’t notice all those things at that time as I was driving. We watched the video several times to take it all in. Anyway it was shocking and too much to grasp.

Actually, when you are out on the open road, especially on a longer haul, you develop an invisible bond with the fellow drivers driving the same direction. Maybe, because of the common goal. It’s the same beautiful bond that makes us warn the oncoming dudes about the traffic cops around the corner, by flashing our headlights. 

The thought that these dudes in the SUV also would have been joking and talking and enjoying just like we had been doing a minute or two ago which makes them our fellow road users, made us feel real awful and depressed. This was the darkest moment of the whole journey, the whole day and days to come whenever we remembered this incident.

We actually thought several of these dudes would have left this world until we heard about the incident on 3rd February. So if they say this is the first death on E1, that also means you dudes are okay, thank God! We are so much relieved dudes! So, that’s the story.

If anyone who were in this SUV or in this pictures happen to see this blog post, please make a comment underneath. If you know these people, please let them see this. And, we have this video. 

Dudes, one more time. We are jubilant that you were lucky enough to save your lives miraculously. 

Anyway please be careful in future!

 This article was simulblogged at my Sinhala blog  මට හිතෙන හැටි

Sunday, February 5, 2012

33. මේ ජාතික දිනයටවත් ටික ටික ගෙවන්න හරි කොන්දක් ගමුද?. ජාතික දිනයට මට හිතුන දේ.

පාවෙලා වගෙ ආපු තද අඳුරු වීදුරු සහිත කලුපාට SUV එක හඬක් නොනගාම මළගෙදර ඉස්සරහ නැවැත්තුවා. දොර ඇරුනා. වායු සමනය කල බේජ් පහැති රථ අභ්‍යන්තරයෙන් උස මහත මැදිවියේ පුද්ගලයෙක් එලියට බැස්සා.
මළගෙදර එලියෙ මා අවට ඉඳගෙන බුළත් හපමින්, දුම්වැටි උරමින්, පහත් හඬින් කතාකරමින් හිටපු මිනිස්සු දඩිබිඩි ගාලා නැගිට්ටා. ඒ මිනිස්සු නැගිටලා, ඔලුගෙඩි කසමින්, දියාරු හිනාවකුත් එක්ක , බයාදු, නිවට බැල්මකින් අර පුද්ගලයා දිහා බලාගෙන එකත්පස්ව ඉන්නවා දැක්කම මට ඇතිවුනේ වේදනාවක්.

අනේ අපේ මිනිස්සුන්ගෙ කොන්දවල් වලට මොකද වුනේ?
“කවුද ඒ? ඇමති කෙනෙක්ද?”
ඉඳගෙන හිටපු මා ලඟ හිටගෙන ඇඹරෙන පොරගෙන් ඇහුවා.
මොකද දේශපාලන කශ්ටිය දැක්කමත් අපේ හුඟ දෙනෙකුගෙ පශ්චාත් භාගයට කරන්ට් වදිනවනෙ.
“මහත්තයා, ඇත්තටම දන්නෙම නැත්ද?”
“නෑ. ඉතිං කවුද ඒ?”
“මහත්තයො,” පොර කියනවා. “එයා තමයි ලංකාවෙ ඉස්සෙල්ලම ටිකට් මැෂිමෙන් මාටියා ගහන ක්‍රමය හොයාගත්තෙ. එංගලන්තෙං ඔය මැෂින් ගෙනාවෙ මාටියා ගහන්න බෑයි කියලා ගැරන්ටියක් එක්ක…”
මට මල අතේ.
“එහෙනං පට්ට හොරෙක්නෙ. ඉතින් මේ ඔක්කොමල්ලා දඩිබිඩි ගාලා නැගිට්ටෙ ඒකා එනකොට?”
“හුහ්, ඒ ගහපු ගැහිල්ලෙන් තමයි මහත්තයා නැගිට්ටෙ. අද කෝටිපතියෙක්. බස්ම තියෙනවා…”
“නොදකින් මෙහෙමත් නිවට…!!!” හිතුනත් මම කිව්වෙ නෑ.
මම ටිකකින් නැගිටලා ගෙදර ආවෙ අපේ ජාතියම ගැන ඇතිවුනු පුදුම කළකිරීමකින්.
පස්ස නොසෝදනවා යයි අපි අවමන් කරන සුද්දන්වත්, අප්‍රිකානු සම්භවයක් කලු ජාතිකයන් ලඟවත්වත් දකින්න නැති මේ නිවටකම දකුණු ආසියාවෙ විතරද තියෙන්නෙ? අර මුලින් කී වර්ගයේ කලු හා සුදු මිනිස්සු හිටගන්නෙ ඇවිදින්නෙ පවා කොන්ද කෙලින් තියාගෙන. කතාකරන්නෙ ඕනෙම ලොක්කෙකුගෙ ඇස් දෙක දිහා කෙලින් බලාගෙන.
ඒකට අපේ කට්ටිය!
අපිත් එක්ක වැඩකරන විවිධ යුරෝපීය ජාතීන් හැරුනම වැඩිම පිරිස ඉන්දියානුවො.
ඉන්දියානුවො එක්ක බලනකොට අපේ උන් හොඳයි. මේ පොරවලුත් හැම එකාටම සර් කියනවා. තමන්ගෙ යාලුවට, එතකොට තමන් එක්ක එකට වැඩ කරන සගයට, කාකාසේට, කම්කරුවට, බාබර්ට, ටේලර්ට, බේකරි කාරයට, කොටින්ම කිව්වොත් ඕනැම කෙනෙකුට කතාකරන්නෙ ‘සර්’ කියලයි. ගිය අවුරුද්දෙ අපිත් එක්ක වැඩකරපු පන්ජාබ් ගුරුතුමිය වෛද්‍යවරයෙක් වුන තමන්ගෙම සැමියට කතා කරන්නෙ ‘සර්’ කියලා. නැති තැන අපිත් එක්ක කියන්නෙ ‘ඩාක්ටර්ජී’ කියලා. ඉතින් මෙයාලගෙ සර් කියන වචනේ කිසිම වටිනාකමක් නෑ. හරියටම ‘ඕයි’ කියනවා වගෙ.
අපිත් සමහරවිට ඊට දෙවෙනි නෑ නේද? අපි හැදිලා තියෙන්නෙ, අපිව හදලා තියෙන්නෙ කොන්ද පණ නැති ජාතියක් හැටියට නෙවෙයිද? වෙන රටවල වාහනයක් පොලීසියෙන් නැවැත්තුවාම පොලිස් නිළධාරියා වාහනේ ජනේලය ගාවට යනවා. රියැදුරා ඇතුලෙ ඉඳගෙනම වීදුරුව පහත් කරලා ලියකියවිලි ජනේලයෙන් එලියට දෙනවා. “අවශ්‍ය වුනොත් විතරයි, “Sir, please step out of the vehicle” කියලා ඉල්ලීමක් ලැබෙන්නෙ. ඒ වාහනය පරීක්ෂා කරන්න, නැතිනම් බීමතින් ඉන්නව වගෙ පෙනුනොත්.
අපේ රටේ කොහොමද? කවුද වාහනෙන් බැහැලා යන්නෙ? කවුද සර් කියන්නෙ, කවුද බයාදු විදියට ඔලුව කසන්නෙ? කවුද නිවට හිනාවක් දාගෙන ඉන්නෙ? කවුද තමන්ගෙ අතේ වැ‍රැද්ද තියාගෙන හරි, නැතුව හරි ‘සර්, සර්’ කිය කියා බැගෑපත් වෙන්නෙ?
රජයේ කාර්යාලයකට යන්න. උදාහරණයක් විදියට අධ්‍යාපන කාර්යාලයකට යන ගුරුවරයා මොන තරම් නිවට විදියටද කාකාස ඉඳලා අධ්‍යාපන අධ්‍යක්ෂ දක්වා නිළයන් ඉස්සරහ හැසිරෙන්නෙ? එක ලිපි කරුවෙක්, තව ලිපිකරුවෙක් ලඟට ගුරුවරයව යොමු කරන්නෙ, “අර ‘මැඩම්’ගෙන් අහලා බලන්න,” “අර ‘සර්’ ලඟට යන්න,” කියලා නෙවෙයිද? ඉතින් ඒ ‘මැඩම්’ හරි ‘සර්’ හරි ලඟට ගිය ගුරුවරයා, යාචකයා වගේ එකත් පස්ව හිටගෙන ඉන්න ඕනෙ. මොකද සමහර වෙලාවට ඉඳගන්න පු‍ටුවක්වත් නැති නිසා. පු‍ටුවක් තිබ්බත් ඒකෙ ඉඳගන්නෙ අග්ගිස්සෙ, හරියට ඉඳගන්නෙත් නෑ ඇන්දට පිට හේත්තු වෙන්න, බයාදු කමට. හුඟක් වෙලාවට තියෙන සැප පහසුකමින් අඩු පු‍ටුවත් ස්ථානගත කරලා තියෙන්නෙ පන්ති භේදය ඉස්මතුවෙන විදියට. ඔය මැනේමන්ට් කෝස් කරපු අය දන්නවා ඇතිනෙ වැඩි විස්තර. ඉතින් ඒ කියපු පු‍ටුවෙ ඉඳගෙන ඔලුවෙ පිටිපස්ස කස කස ලිපිකරුවන්ට පීචන් වෙන ගුරු මහත්තුරු නෝනලා අධ්‍යාපන කාර්යාලයකට ගියාම දකින්න පුලුවන් (මට නම්) හිත් රිදවන දර්ශනයක්. මේ කෙනෙකුට කතා කරනකොට ඔලුව කසන කාලකන්නි පුරුද්දනම් අපිට කොහෙන් ලැබුනද දන්නෙ නෑ!
බැගෑපත් නොවෙන, කොන්ද කෙලින් තියාගෙන ඇස් දිහා එක එල්ලේ බලලා කතා කරන පුද්ගලයාව සමාජය හඳුන්වන්නෙ ‘අලි ඔලුවෙන් ඉන්න’ එකෙක්, ‘ඔලුව උදුම්මවාගෙන’ ඉන්න ‘පුහු ආඩම්බර කාරයෙක්’ හැටියටයි. මට එක පාරක් ඔහොම ඉඳලා පොලීසියෙන් දඬුවම් ලැබිලත් තියෙනවා. ඒ කතාව පස්සෙ කියන්නම්.
වඳින එකත් ඔයවගේම කේස් එකක් නේද? මේක ටිකක් පරෙස්සමෙන් කතා කලයුතු දෙයක්. සිංහලෙන් කියනවානම්’ Now I’m walking on thin ice”
වඳින එක අපි තියාගන්න ඕනෙ වැඳුම් ලැබිය යුතු පුද්ගලයන්ට වඳින්න විතරයි. එහෙම නැතිවුනොත් ඒකත් අර ඉන්දියානුවන්ගෙ, පාකිස්තාන් ජාතිකයන්ගෙ ‘සර්’ කිවිල්ලට දෙවෙනි නෑ. ළමයෙක්, තමන්ගෙ අම්මට, තාත්තට, වෙනත් පවුලේ වැඩිහිටියන්ට, ගුරුවරයට, එතකොට පූජ්‍ය පක්ෂයට වඳින එක වෙනම කතාවක්. එතකොට ඔය ඉස්කෝලවල තෑගි උත්සවවලදි පවා අපි අපේ ළමයින්ට කියලාවෙනත් බාහිර පුද්ගලයන්ට වන්දන්නෙ අපිට තියෙන මොන අයිතියක්, මොන බලයක් නිසාද? මම මේ ලඟදි බලාගෙන රූපවාහිණී වැඩසටහනකදි තෑගි ගන්න ලමයි ලවා බිස්කට් කොම්පැණියක ලොක්කෙකුට දණගහලා වන්දවනවා. කවුද එහෙම කරන්න කියලා ළමයින්ව පොළඹවපු අහවලා?
මෙතනදි මම කියනදේට කෙනෙක් එකඟ නොවෙන්නත් පුලුවන් බව මම දන්නවා. රජයේ කාර්යාලයකට ගිහින්, තමන් කරන්නෙ උතුම් ගුරු වෘතිය බවත් අමතක කරලා හැම එකාටම නිවට විදියට විරිත්තමින් ඔලුව කසමින් බැගෑපත්වෙන ගුරුවරුන් ගැන මට තියෙන්නෙ කලකිරීමක්. ළමයින් ලව්වා තම තමන්ගෙ ප‍ටු දේශපාලන හෝ වෙනත් අරමුනු මුදුන්පත් පමුණුවා ගන්නට ඕනැම එකෙකුට වන්දවන උන් ගැන මට තියෙන්නෙ තරහක්! ‘තමක් නිවට වෙනවා මදිවට අනාගත පරපුරත් නිවටයො කරන්න එපා යකුනේ!’ කියලා හදවත කෑ ගහන්නෙ ඔය වෙලාවට.
මේ ලියන මමත් ගුරුවරයෙක්. මම හැමදාම ළමයින්ට කිව්වෙ කොන්ද, බෙල්ල කෙලින් තියාගෙන, මූණ දිහා කෙලින් බලලා මිනිස්සුට කතාකරපල්ලා. කතා කරන කොට ඔලුව කසන්න එපා, කොටින්ම අත මූණ දිහාටවත් ගෙනියන්න එපා. නෝන්ජල් විදියට ඇඹරෙන්න එපා. අභිමානවත් ශ්‍රී ලාංකිකයෙක් හැටියට හැසිරියල්ලා කියලයි.
මේක තනියම ගුරුවරයෙකුට කරන්න පුලුවන් දෙයක් නෙවෙයි. මම මේ කියනදේ පොඩ්ඩක් හිතලා බලලා, තමන්ගෙ ලමයින්ට පෞරුශ වර්ධනයට අවශ්‍ය මේ ලක්ෂනත් පොඩි කාලෙ ඉඳලා උගන්වන්න.
මතක තියාගන්න ළමයි දෙමවුපියන්ව අනුගමනය කරන බව. ලමයි ලඟ තියාගෙන තාත්තා ඔලුව කසකස පොලීස් නිළධාරියට බැගෑපත්වෙන එක හරියි කියලා ළමයත් ඉගෙන ගන්නවා. පස්සෙ ළමයට එහෙම කරන්න එපා කියලා අවවාද කලාට වැඩක් නෑ. ජාතියේ කොන්ද ගොඩනගන්න හෙට නෙවෙයි අදම පටන්ගනිමු.

අනික අර මුලින්ම කිව්වා වගෙ අපේ මිනිස්සු ගරු කරන්නෙ බාහිර ඔපයට මිසක් ගුණ සුවඳට නෙවෙයි. මම බස් එකෙන් බැහැලා කඩේකට ගියොත්, ඕනැවට එපාවට ඇල්මැරුණු ස්වරූපයෙන්, ‘අයියා’ කියලා කතාකරන කඩේ පොරම, මම වාහනේ කඩේ ඉස්සරහ නවත්තලා, සන්ග්ලාසස් දාලා ඒ කඩේටම ගියාම පස්ස පැත්තට කරන්ට් එක වැදුනා වාගෙ නැගිටලා, “සර් මොනවද බැලුවේ?” කියලා අහන්න්නෙ ඔලුව කස කසා. අනික වාහනේ අලුත්ම එකක් නොවුනත්, ශෝට් එකකුයි, ස්කිනී එකකුයි ඇඳලා ගියාවුනත් “සර්” කෑල්ලනම් අනිවා, ඩෙෆා!!
අපේ රටේ විතරයි මම දන්න තරමින් වාහනයක් ගන්නකොට නයිට් නාමෙකුත් ඉබේ ලැබෙන්නෙ!!


This article was simulblogged at my Sinhala blog  මට හිතෙන හැටි on the occasion of The National Day Sri Lanka