Mrs Aandupaksa has been in extremely high spirits ever since the 18th Amendment to the Constitution was passed in Parliament. She has been talking about it non-stop to friends and neighbours. She says she doesn’t really understand anything about the 18A, all she knows is that ever since it was ‘passed,’ members of her vast extended family have been getting appointed to various high positions in government, and relatives who were hitherto jobless have suddenly secured prestigious, influential and well-paid jobs. And isn’t that a cause for celebration, she asks.
Mrs Aandupaksa’s most recent call to Mrs Anumaana was to announce what she called a ‘very important’ appointment - that her Baappa has been made the Commissioner of Selections. She says this appointment will ensure that the results of all future selections will be favourable to her family and relatives. So now there was nothing to worry about for posterity.
And besides, her Malli has just been appointed Chairman of the Sri Lanka Rupavehicle Corporation, so that means Baappa will have full media coverage and the whole nation will be able to witness him visiting the temple, kovil and church (in order to obtain the blessings of all the devas in the pantheon) before he assumes duties. The nation will also have the privilege of watching live coverage of the numerous ceremonies associated with his commencement of work at his new office.
The week before, Mrs Aandupaksa said her Loku Aiya and Podi Nenda had become Judges in High Coats. Mrs Anumaana was not quite sure what type of attire Mrs Aandupaksa was referring to. But Mrs Aandupaksa says that she doesn’t have to worry any longer about that land dispute case of hers that had been dragging on for decades. From now on she is sure that everything will go her way and she will win the case.
“And what do you think, Loku Putha is now a Commissioner in the Exercise Department” Mrs Aandupaksa rattled on. “Do you think Sunil …?” Mrs Anumaana ventured rather timidly, but was cut short.
“ … So now Seeya will be able to get that liquor licence for his restaurant in double quick time.”
(Mrs Aandupaksa was now going full speed ahead and there was no stopping her.)
“And Loku Akka is now Assistant Secretary at the Coarse Conversation Department. Punchi is Coordinating Secretary to the Ministry of Ingenious Medicine and Loku Akka’s husband is Additional Secretary at the Ministry of Housing and Common Enmities.”
Mrs Aandupaksa went on to elaborate on how her Maama had become Coordinating Secretary to the Secretary to the Ministry of Convoluted Affairs and National Disintegration, and her Leli was now Senior Assistant Secretary at the Ministry of Urban Destruction an Scared Areas. Very soon Loku Thaatha was to be appointed Coordinating Director at the Ministry of Vacations and Technical Training. Mrs. Aandupaksa’s Podi Malli and Massina in the Polish Service had been promoted as Deputy General Inspectors, and she said this meant that “nobody would try any nonsense with her in the future.”
Mrs Aandupaksa was proceeding to launch into details of her Bena’s appointment at the Ministry of Higher Elevation, and her Naena’s position at the Constipational and Statutory Affairs Division, when Mrs Anumaana realized she had developed an earache. She was pondering how she could escape from the phone, and started rationalising that Mrs. Aandupaksa wouldn’t notice whether she was listening or not anyway, when she heard the doorbell ring. With a sigh of relief she hung up the phone and went to the door. It was ANOTHER plate of kavum and kiri-bath from the Aandupaksa house, following yet another round of celebrations.
The writer is a senior freelance journalist.