Poison at my doorstep!
two weeks now I haven't touched my diary. Mainly because I have
tried to remain factual and sometimes some facts are best left unstated.
But then again, the idea of keeping a diary is to record one's experience
- both the good and the bad. April was a month of which I could
say: "Joy and woe are woven fine a clothing for the soul divine".
There was joy
- the "Avurudu" festival. The women worked with a will
and were amply rewarded when their sweetmeats brought them a tidy
little profit with which they were able to make the New Year memorable
for their loved ones.
the pleasure it brought me to help them, I felt a deep personal
a week before the Sinhala New Year, I lost one of my canine companions.
She was taken out of a well, dead. I found this very hard to believe,
knowing the animal. So I employed someone to look after my other
dog while I went to Colombo to see friends and relatives during
the "Avurudu" season. Imagine my surprise when I came
back to a very sick dog. This, despite the fact that I had been
keeping tabs on it from Colombo, and giving those in charge all
instructions to let me know if anything was amiss.
So when the
vet told me the dog had been poisoned, I was shaken. The feeling
that I had tried to submerge in my mind, that the first episode
was not an accident but something more sinister, hit me with renewed
force. I recounted the whole episode to the vet and answered her
questions and the more it proceeded, the more convinced was I of
foul play. But why? What was the ulterior motive?
I had no time
at the moment to think of myself and my actual situation. My first
thought was to save my pet, who needed all my attention and more.
Luckily that being the end of the week, my daughter was able to
come down from Colombo and together we managed to pull our dog from
the jaws of death.
Then she left,
and as I saw her take the bend in the road my confidence plummeted.
I had never felt so alone. Whom could I trust? When questioned,
those in charge were giving me conflicting stories. I could not
get the truth.
So my pet and
I took extra precautions and stayed close together. Although he
was too weak to attack, his growl kept people at bay.
The news soon
filtered down to Colombo and family and friends kept 'phoning me,
very concerned for my safety. Most of them wanted to know - "Is
it all worth it? What are you trying to prove? Come back."
But to return
to the bosom of the city would be admitting defeat to myself. I
have given myself a mission and I want to see it through.
To a visitor
the village in its rural setting is picturesque - the landscape
looks peaceful, the people seem so very kind and helpful, so simple
All true. Except,
that these are survivors. Avarice, greed and jealousy mar people's
relationships. There are those who do not want the village to change,
because they stand to gain. Any sign of change will have to be curbed
and fear psychosis is the most lethal weapon to get people to bow
to their will.
So what do I
do now? Nothing at the moment. Half of me wants to run back to Colombo
the other half chides me for being "chicken". But my whole
being seems to be on "alert". Luckily the long weekend
did bring visitors and I had company. So I slept, ate and breathed
freely. I now feel more in control.
My Uncle, a
very senior citizen, with lots of knowledge of the villagers assessed
the situation. His counsel was welcome and very apt. I was brought
up in the city. This was a village. One country but different cultures.
Act with authority. A friendly smile must not always be taken at
is known to greet even the man whose guts he hates with a smile!
So the reality is that peace, a level playing field, equality, are
all beautiful words and will remain an illusion, unless attitudes
change. This means the inner self, which is most often governed
by one's experience. As a Zen master once said, "The only truth
you bring to the top of a mountain is the one you carry yourself".