Tuesday, June 26, 2012

49. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, YOU COOL DUDE!

Some decades ago on a day like this a little boy was born.  

Then some years later this is what happened in our house…
“Wait Deepa, those new shoes I bought would match this shirt, let me bring them”. With that, Thaththa left the living room and headed towards the master bed room. We heard him opening the cupboard and then fumbling around. But as the seconds ticked by we were waiting anxiously for him to come as we were already late. But he took his own time and  finally  he came back looking amused.

“What happened?”  we all asked.

He just handed over the shoes trying to suppress a laugh and then we saw it. Both shoes were of the right foot!!!!

A few months ago, he and amma had visited a shoe sale and got this particular pair and more and we were forever hearing about what a bargain it was. And on this day when he tried to wear one of the pairs, believe it or not, he had bought the same foot twice. We all had a good laugh and had to keep two right legs as the sale was long since finished……

 In our house if we pile up all our goods, books will occupy more than 75% of all our belongings.  It is something both my parents taught us when we were very, very small. They both read quite a lot and we took it as an example. The passion for reading. Well, anyhow, thaththa decided to take this  a step further. Whenever he uses the toilet, he takes a book with him and sometimes we have to scream our heads off to get him out in order to save our bladders from bursting.  And one might think that this problem would be avoided in a black out. Oh no, then he takes a candle with him…..




And he is a great chef.  Well, whenever he decides to cook like once a year. His food tastes delicious and has a lot of nutritional value despite the fact that we hear Amma screaming from the kitchen that she has no food stuff remaining to cook with because Thaththa used all for his special recipe…..

Ever heard of a master in all trades? Well, that is thaththa. Whenever something breaks he manages to assemble it back the way it was or make something better out of it. My very first cupboard and blue potty were both made with his very own hands and for me they were better than any fancy furniture. Most of the times he mends things. Most of the time because sometimes he breaks things while trying to mend other things. Like burning Amma’s hair dryer trying to dry the flooded car starter motor with it…


Then there was this time we used to have a lot of snails in our yard. So we used to collect them into bags and take them far and throw them away. But this was of no avail. The numbers didn’t decrease. Then Thaththa had this brilliant idea and he and my little brother took a correction fliud and marked all snails on the shells, by putting a tick on their shell with it. They wanted to check if it is the same fellows who keep coming back. I don’t remember the result. Maybe he will mention it in a comment….

This is thaththa in a nut shell. He is the coolest father you can have. He is strict [ believe me I know], orderly [ a trait I inherited only partially], patient [ this I seemed to have missed altogether], and most of all he is the one we all turn to whenever we have a problem. It is like he has all the right words to tell and all the solutions. However dire the situation may seem, after talking to him it seems not as big a problem as it was. He always says the right things.

And on this special day I want to thank him for the following things and much more:

For being there when we need you…

For making home a haven for us…

For helping me realize my dreams …

For all the road trips we went on, even now when I think about home I never picture being with you three at home, I see us being on the road drinking tea with the back door of our van wide open….

For all those evenings you had to pick me up from after school practice and stand all the way home because I sat in the only seat available…

For fighting for malli and me and taking us with you two to that foreign land when all said that we can't be taken...

For holding me up and even when I fall for pulling me back right up onto my feet...

For the great lessons you taught me about life...

For not crying in front of me the day I left you three and came to be on my own [ I knew why you left me and went away for five minutes before returning and saying good bye]

For loving Amma so much that you are the standard I measure all men with…

For never giving up on us even in the hardest times of life …
I want to thank you for these and much more but I don’t think there will be enough room in the blog once I finish so I will just say that these are just a few things of what you mean to us.

And also thank you for being our Thaththa. 

I read somewhere that any man can be a father but it takes a lot to be a Dad. And you are the definition of that. Someday I might put your picture up in front of the word Dad in the dictionary….


Happy birthday Thaththa! We love you

 


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

48. HAVE YOU HAD YOUR DAILY DOSE OF POISON TODAY?


I couldn’t make up my mind to write anything because the passing away of my beloved mother. If you don’t mind reading my blog post "වැරදි දවසක අප හැර ගිය අපේ අම්මා" about that in Sinhala this is the link

These three isolated incidents took place in two countries. 

Today, two of us were walking home after school when we saw the grocery store we used to buy things on our way home showed OPEN sign. We stepped in. These are self-service stores and only the cashier is on duty. While Deepa was buying some commodities like sausages and teabags, I went to the fruit stalls. I snatched a plastic bag and started to select red apples when I saw the fly who was fallen just near the  stack of apples with its feet in the air and convulsing. This is a fully air conditioned store just like most of the ones of this type. So generally free of flying insects. Well, they could enter through the door that was constantly being opened and closed each time a customer walked in or out. Somehow this dying fly told me another story.
I turned to the cashier and asked him. “A fly is dying here. Did you use any insecticide spray right now?” The dude was a bit hesitant and gave me a sheepish smile. He said guiltily, “Only a little.” I dropped the apple and returned the bag. We bought only things that came in plastic packs we had originally selected and came home, discussing the stupidity of a shopkeeper who sprayed fresh fruit and vegetables with insecticide while in the store.


That time we were in the capital city of the same country. There was a bakery where two Sri Lankans worked, one as a manager and the other as a baker. As the bread was salty more than sweet to the satisfaction of our Sri Lankan tongues, I used to visit them very often to buy fresh bread, and also cakes and buns without the plastic wraps. When I entered the shop that day, I found the atmosphere a little tense. The elderly shop assistant was arguing with the Sri Lankan manager.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“This idiot sir”, he said in Sinhala, “is a total moron”

“Why, what did he do this time?”

“This buffoon keeps spraying the shelves and the showcases with this insecticide just to get rid of these ants. Then he stores bread and buns just on those shelves. And today he sprayed over the bread.”

“Noooo” I was stunned.

“Oh yes. when two of us objected that we are poisoning our customers, he keeps on arguing with us. We can’t press too hard because he is a close relative of the owner. Already he’s threatening us and I just asked him to go to hell”

“Thank you for telling me dude.”

“Sir, today you don’t buy bread from us. Go to another bakery.”

I thanked him and walked out.


I was reading the Sinhala weekend paper happily. I used to prefer the real paper rather than the online flipping book version that I read now. I liked the smell and feel of the newsprint rather than the computer screen. Maybe I’m too old fashioned. Someone had said that ‘The television will never totally replace the newspaper as you can’t swat a fly with it!’ In this case the word television must be replaced by the word computer.

Then I found this article about the sufferings of our farmers. They are always in trouble and a constant struggle. Compared with the American farmers our farmers’ standard of life is pathetic. I always sympathized them. And, suddenly I saw this line which made me just wonder if they sympathize us in return. 

The writer was interviewing a farmer and his family. And, when asked about the crucial issue of the misuse of insecticide, the wife said, “We know it is wrong to use these lethal doses of chemicals on foodstuff. But if we don’t we can’t protect our crop and make an income. We will be in serious debt. We owe to the bank. So, we can’t help it. So we have a separate plot cultivated for our family’s consumption free of any chemicals.”

I suppressed the stream of abuse that screamed inside me for the sake of decency. 

What these morons who poison us wouldn’t consider was even though they protect themselves from their own produce, they have to buy the rest of the food with lethal doses of chemicals from the market and are poisoned as much as the innocent rest of us!


HAVE YOU HAD YOUR DAILY DOSE OF POISON TODAY?


 


Cooling it off!

I took this photograph the same day and the same place I took the beautiful photos above. This is how they keep the veggies packed into poly sack bags cool in this road side gutter. 

The reality bites!