The අඹ යහළුවෝ Scene

So, while Sri Lanka seems to be up in arms against my kind *tsk* India seems to be enjoying a two-day holiday* slash day of non-productivity given the two-day bandh (strike).

Before I proceed, let me explain my title. අඹ යහළුවෝ literally translated to English would be lols mango friends which is also a modern day BFF. This was also a story (book) by Kumaratunga Munidasa T.B. Ilangaratne *lols* we all – or most of us in my generation, Sinhala speaking / medium – read. The story from what I remember contains two protagonists Nimal and Sunil. I don’t remember what happens at the end, but the scene that is most vivid in my mind takes place in the first few pages of the book when Nimal and Sunil are going back home after school. Sunil is the rich one of the two. When walking back they see a mango tree and there is a mango lying at the foot of it. So one of them claims it to be his by saying that he “saw it first” whereas the other goes by the notion of having “acquired it first”. The accuracy of this part of the plot may be subject to deliberation but I am recalling a scene my eleven year-old mind read and a decade later, I should be allowed such allowances! 😀

So coming to my point, post-anecdote.

I don’t quite know if the connect is as lucid as I thought it initially would be, but let’s give it a shot.

From what my little head understands, most terrorist acts, or acts of violence carried out by one group / community towards another too, works on the same premise. I think.

Let me try to work on the basis of examples. Arguing out a point or attempting to present an argument was never my strong point – my teachers are witnesses for this! I argue or try to do so the way I speak, i.e. – abstract. It’s not arty in this sense. I’m sure if I was as stoned or whatever as Coleridge was and wrote an answer script, it’ll be the shit. But I’m no Coleridge and Jillinthebox gets no arty marks 😀

So, coming to my point – finally! – with regard to communal violence, I seem to realise that most partition narratives, namely Tamas and Train to Pakistan, the much spoken of and debated ethnic conflict and the now prevailing disturbances at home and the two-day bandh in India arrive at the same conclusion too.

As far as my understanding goes, it comes down to a matter of who did it first or the first brave person to do so so that we can all join in mutual disharmony to create violence. Andrew Fisherman’s Tumblr seems to agree to that too. She says how Marina Abramović, a performance artist, put up a piece based on trust. I quote: “This piece was primarily a trust exercise, in which she told viewers she would not move for six hours no matter what they did to her.  She placed 72 objects one could use in pleasing or destructive ways, ranging from flowers and a feather boa to a knife and a loaded pistol… Initially, Abramović said, viewers were peaceful and timid, but it escalated to violence quickly.  “The experience I learned was that … if you leave decision to the public, you can be killed… they cut my clothes, stuck rose thorns in my stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away. It created an aggressive atmosphere.”

It seems as though everyone out there was waiting for someone to create a spark. Create that relatively – in comparison to what lies ahead – minute act of disturbance, so that they can all get up in arms against the rest of humanity. As in the case of the bandh, once that local party leader or whoever was crushed to death, the rest of the community marched against the opposition in Noida, whoever that maybe.

In an attempt to link this to the අඹ යහළුවෝ scene, it’s not a matter of whether Sunil or Nimal saw the mango first. But what matters is the little tiff the two of them got in to as a result of silly mango lying beneath a tree. Please do not even attempt to draw the most far-fetched innuendos, because I think I just did and it wasn’t pretty.

That makes me wonder, are human beings in general that violence seeking? I mean, do they long to do something violent, say out of boredom or something? This is a real bubble pop for me who is relatively pro-humanistic and believed that people are inherently good. I think it’s time for me to grow up.

Ageing is a bitch I tell you.

 *Posting this the day after it was written, in college. So no holiday. Only a self-imposed one.



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