“Thaaththa,” Bindu Udagedera asked, “what is the best country to visit these days?”
“I think it must be Britain, Bindu...” Bindu’s father Percy suggested.
“Why do you say that, thaaththa?” Bindu wanted to know.
“Why,” Percy said, “if you try to travel to Britain, you are assured of making headlines in the newspapers and television the next day...”
“Why is that, thaaththa?” Bindu was puzzled.
“Why, Bindu,” Percy said, “that is because of all these visa issues...”
“And what visa issues are those, thaaththa?” Bindu inquired.
“Well, there are so many of them, Bindu, that it is now difficult to keep track of them...” Percy observed.
“Well,” Bindu asked, “what happened first?”
“At first,” Percy recalled, “there was the incident where a notorious drug dealer was accompanied to the airport and put on a plane to Britain by an even more notorious minister...”
“But what is the visa issue in that, thaaththa?” Bindu queried.
“Well,” Percy explained, “we never heard of him being deported from Britain, so it seems that Britain had given a valid visa for this drug dealer...”
“I don’t know whether you could fault them for that,” Bindu said, “but what happened next, thaaththa?”
“Then,” Percy recalled, “we had our attorney general being summoned to the High Commission to get his visa...”
“And what is so wrong about that, thaaththa?” Bindu demanded.
“I don’t think it is correct for them to do that to a high official of our country because it shows that they do not respect our country as well...” Percy observed.“But was he given a visa, thaaththa?” Bindu asked.
“I think he was...” Percy recalled.
“And what happened next?” Bindu wanted to know.
“Then,” Percy remembered, “High Commission officials accompanied a lady to the airport and put her on a plane to Britain without a valid visa...”
“Why did they do that?” Bindu wondered.
“Well, they say she was a lady who had applied to migrate to Britain and therefore she was entitled to enter that country...” Percy said.
“But thaaththa,” Bindu argued, “if she was in Sri Lanka, shouldn’t they respect Sri Lankan laws first?”
“That is indeed so,” Percy agreed, “but I suppose part of the problem is because they still think they can say and do what they want in this country just as they did some sixty years ago...”
“And,” Bindu said, “they seem to be keen on taking drug dealers and people without proper documents while refusing government officials with proper credentials...”
“Yes,” Percy suggested, “may be they want to make Britain also a nation of convicts like they once did with Australia...”
“Well,” Bindu wondered, “what happened next?”
“Then,” Percy said, “they refused a visa to our foreign secretary...”
“But, isn’t that a serious insult thaaththa?” Bindu wanted to know.
“It is,” Percy agreed, “but I suppose they consider it as tit-for-tat...”
“Why is that, thaaththa?” Bindu demanded.
“Why, remember how the British Foreign Secretary came here a few months ago when we were in the final stages of our battle with the Tigers...” Percy recalled.
“Ah, yes,” Bindu said, “that Miliband chap who came with the French foreign minister...”
“Yes,” Percy said, “and he was told in no uncertain terms that he shouldn’t meddle in our affairs...”
“So, that may be why Britain is doing all this to our officials...” Bindu said.
“It certainly looks like that...” Percy agreed.
“But thaaththa,” Bindu said, “there is something which I do not understand...”
“And what is that?” Percy inquired.
“Our own Foreign Minister is saying that no one including his foreign secretary was refused a visa...” Bindu pointed out.
“Yes,” Percy said, “he has said that indeed and he reminds me of that Emperor...”
“Which Emperor is that, thaaththa?” Bindu was puzzled.
“Why, the Emperor who went about naked because everyone was telling him how nice his costume was...” Percy said.
“But thaaththa,” Bindu argued, “if he is our Foreign Minister why is he saying that?”
“I suppose he is trying to ensure that his next visa application to Britain is not rejected too...” Percy proposed.
“In that case,” Bindu proposed, “there is only one solution...”
“And what solution is that, Bindu?” Percy was curious.
“We should send him to Britain and then refuse him entry to Sri Lanka when he returns...” Bindu suggested, “and then they can keep him there...”
“Well,” Percy agreed, “since they have taken the oddest persons and people without proper documents, I suppose that wouldn’t do them much harm...”