Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Firstly, I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite. I enjoy my occasional tipple, and in my interpretation, occasional is about once a month, and in December about 5 times that!!!
Sri Lanka, I believe is up there on the world list of alcohol intake per capita, and when one generally takes female drinkers as restricted to some of the numerically insignificant wealthy, and estate labor, the male intake is actually world beating.
I was seated at my desk on Poya Day, reading the various newspaper cuttings I set aside to read and assimilate, and despite the wet weather, there were these yobs from the adjoining village coming through my property to sit by the side of the tank and play the music on their three wheeler and drink themselves silly.
I was not ready for a fight, so I had to suffer in silence. However the cheek of them coming to my backyard to drink, without doing it in their own backyards, is just bad manners! Who cares about manners when you come to the perfect spot for a booze up?
Poya fell on a Wednesday, and being a holiday, they can’t find ANYTHING BETTER TO DO, than arrange to get sloshed, at my place, disturbing the peace at HOME!!! Would I go to their back yard to get drunk and be merry!
There are many occasions, where even my friends have asked me to arrange for the alcoholic craving that seems to overcome people when they come here. I have acceded, though not too willingly, as I come here for the peace and quiet more than the noise, and can live instead with the sounds of the forest, and the birds and frogs, who inhabit this area in numbers.
Closing all Alcoholic sales on Poya just seems to encourage the abuse even more! Begging the question if we must keep all bars open on Poya. I don’t have an answer there.
My firm belief is that as part of the complete overhaul of the mind of a person, it can only be done at the pre- school or Montessori stage, where education by highly qualified teachers will impress on these impressionable children the disastrous consequences of alcohol abuse, and as many of their fathers are addicts they must be encouraged to forsake it, rather than believe it is a natural part of a father to come home drunk and abuse mother! Only time will tell, if we seriously have the heart to change our attitudes for the sake of the Country!Ultimately a clear and satisfied mental state will only forsake the need for IT.
When the fishermen walk by my house each morning with the catch, I have first right of refusal! so I choose the best, and fleshiest. Eaten in a curry, devilled, fried, smoked or dried!
I have been trying to grow a reed called Gallaha with not much success so far. It was pletiful in the village in days gone by, where all the mats and baskets and other useful daily items were woven by the village women.
It is hard to find anyone who can do this anymore, and wanted to revive this craft, before it completely disappears. I do not have a problem in marketing their produce, but finding the raw material has been the problem ever since.
For once on this visit to Ratmale, I decided just to stay put. No running around, just spend quality time and appreciate the surroundings.
It rained every day this visit, but hell, we must value the rain in a place where 90% of the rain fall only comes in a spurt of about 2 months of the year. So I took it all in, and enjoyed taking some photos of the rain, rain drops on the pond and testing the prowess of the Camera to focus on the water for a change!
Staying in the room, seated at my desk, testing my theories of relative merits of the haves and have nots, reading a re-reading the budget to evaluate a genuine concept of what sea change we MUST have in Sri Lanka if we are to survive or exist as a country, was foremost in my mind, and no doubt will form a series of blog entries in time to come.
Then I was appalled at the selfishness of the interested parties, when the Car Permit scheme was knocked off! After all the concept of Permits is abhorrent at best, and it is time that in 2015 that it is completely abolished, and confined to the history books. Then at least one can decide if one wants to ever own a car, and only use public transport, and the choice is left to the Individual.
This concept of public transport, in our society seems to be an alien concept, when the most developed countries have a fantastic public transport system, that does away with the need for a vehicle, and only hire one as the need arises for travel outside one’s normal commute. If we are to become a developed country, we have to be more community minded too.
The need occurred to me of trying to obtain the services of a naturalist, or a birder even better, to document the names of the 50 or so varieties of birds that fly within 20 meters of the ROOM from 6 to 9 am on any given day. This occasion with all the ponds around me full of water, the birds were in heaven with their unique calls, all which must be documented for posterity, lest it disappears under the current concept of growth, power, and politics!
Talking to the fisherman, the farmers and those who grace my well for their drinking water has given me sufficient inspiration to make some proposals for improvement that if adopted, can improve the quality of life of our rural citizens, who are the mainstay of this Country, no matter that the measurable growth still comes from the Cities.
Living in a room, that doubles as Bed Room, Dining Room, Study, and Living Room has its advantages, as one seamlessly moves from one state to another!