Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I am in an alien world and I am actually saying it – I never thought possible
Last weekend, was spent with some friends in quite a glamorous setting at a seaside villa in Pamunugama. The villa had a sea frontage, with 5 air-conditioned bedrooms and a swimming pool. There were 11 adults and 5 children in the party. It was a gorge fest of delectable eating, bites wine and spirits, walks on the beach and buying from the fishermen for bites with drinks. All very bourgeois and in the past I probably would have found it quite up my street. Now having lived in Polonnaruwa for 5years, and on the farm in Meegoda, I eat regular Rs100 meals at road-side cafes or ‘dara lipa’ cooking of basic bath curry that I somehow found that my system could not cope with three rich meals a day. One is my max!
What I found quite alien was the extremely westernized nature of these kids, who are used to a level of toys and gadgets that no one I know in the village can aspire to. These are kids who have English accents similar to the programs they watch on TV, with little in common with the kids I meet in the village whose one ambition is to get a small bike they can ride around in with their friends. The village kids are unsupervised whereas these kids (especially with a pool at hand) had to be completely under watchful eye of protective parents. I know my sisters’ children are also in the same boat, but as I have not vacationed with them lately I have not noticed the contrast with them.
RAIN DROPS ON THE WATER IN THE LIT UP POOL
This peep into another world of pampers, swim suits, and Thomas the tank engine and not a Sinhala word spoken is one I can understand how my rural friends feel when I bring them into contact with my suburban friends. I am caught in two worlds where there is little common ground between them in the same country. I really love my rural life, but I find it hard to survive there for financial reasons, as I am unable to be financially independent there, though that is my real desire to be there with my Sinha Bahu(www.sinhabahuridgeback.blogspot.com). The problem is that they see me as an alien in their surroundings as much as I feel the same in this situation, and lo and behold I have either become a man of no worlds not one of both worlds!!
I have shown my Polonnaruwa neighbors my Colombo world, and the World Trade Center where I also work, to show them another side of society, staying at my flat on chic Gregory’s Road. They must also have some out of body experience on the same lines. They would not know how to handle my wine and cheese parties at my flat, but I so want the two worlds to meet there to try and understand each other in our surrounding not us to go to theirs which can appear patronizing. It is all a social experiment, the results of which are still to be ascertained.