My Dear Keheliya, I thought I must write to you because you seem to be in the news again these days. Although it appears as if it is for the wrong reasons, I suppose you must believe that any publicity is better than no publicity-and you are unlikely to reach these dizzy heights again! As [...]

5th Column

Nightwatchman cameo or family innings?


My Dear Keheliya,

I thought I must write to you because you seem to be in the news again these days. Although it appears as if it is for the wrong reasons, I suppose you must believe that any publicity is better than no publicity-and you are unlikely to reach these dizzy heights again!
As for this incident where young Ramith is supposed to have tried to open the cabin door of a British Airways aircraft thinking it was the toilet door, I have heard you say that it is only a minor incident. Now, Keheliya, I know you are a magnanimous man, but I wouldn’t let it go at that, if I were you.

Look at what the team manager said in his report to Sri Lanka Cricket. He says it happened because of the dim lights in the cabin. Apparently the dim lights caused young Ramith to mistakenly believe that the cabin door was the toilet door! I think that manager should be promoted as your media officer!

Then, Keheliya, you must sue British Airways for having dim cabin lights. We expect better service from British Airways, don’t we? Surely they can have better equipped aircraft-after all, it is supposed to be a major airline and not, for instance, Mihin Lanka!

I also think, Keheliya, that this could even be a British conspiracy. First they try to prevent us from hosting the Commonwealth summit, then they allow Tiger protestors to disrupt our cricket matches in England, then they ask Sri Lankans to pay a deposit when obtaining visas and now this!

If you talk to your colleague Wimal about this, I am sure he will explain to you in great detail how all these events are linked with each other and how young Ramith has fallen victim to a campaign to discredit the Sri Lankan government-maybe they spiked his drink as well!.

There are those suggestions in the British media that young Ramith was drunk which is why he couldn’t find the correct door. Young Ramith says he was not and we have to believe him, don’t we? After all, being the son of the government media spokesman, from whom would he learn to lie?

Besides, young Ramith is not one of the hoi-polloi to think that he was travelling in a private bus and walk towards the door saying ‘issaraha bahinawa’ -I am sure you would have taken care to raise him the ‘proper’ way, with all the comforts of a ministerial offspring.

I also heard young Ramith saying that all this happened because he was ‘sleepwalking’ and that he has been doing so since he was a child. There are those who will say that this is somewhat like young Duminda saying ‘mata mathaka ne’ but I do believe the poor boy.

Keheliya, that explains a lot. The way he has been batting, for example. There are many who say that he is not fit to be in the national ‘A’ team but he must be sleepwalking while he is batting as well and getting out unnecessarily. Sana must be aware of it, which is why he is picked despite his poor form.

Then, Keheliya, remember that little incident at Royal College five years ago, when young Ramith was accused of allegedly breaking into a school office and stealing some files? On that occasion too there was a big hullabaloo, if I remember right.

Why, the poor boy was suspended from school by the Principal. Then there were stories that you walked in to the school and allegedly told the Principal that nothing of the sort happened. There were even stories that you allegedly warned the principal of consequences if the suspension was not lifted.

I know there are those who now say that if the Principal was allowed to discipline young Ramith properly at that time, incidents like the one which occurred during the British Airways flight would never have happened. You shouldn’t listen to them, Keheliya, because I have a different theory.

I think young Ramith must have been sleep walking even then. And there you were, the anxious father trying to get some help for your son who is suffering from a serious disorder and you have to deal with Principals who want to suspend your son. It is all very unfair, isn’t it?

I think I know what you should do, Keheliya. I know young Ramith is all of twenty one years of age but I think you should get him some diapers which he should wear at night. Surely, it will help him to avoid these difficult situations he seems to be getting in to while sleepwalking and looking for toilets!

Come to think of it, Keheliya, all those accusations that you walked in to Royal College and allegedly threatened the Principal could be explained too if sleepwalking was hereditary. Maybe you too were sleepwalking when you did that-otherwise, you would never do something like that, would you?

If you too are suffering from sleepwalking, Keheliya, that would explain other incidents as well. Why, there was the time when you fell from a hotel balcony in Melbourne and no one knew what had happened. Thinking about it, I am convinced that the Rambukwella clan carry the sleepwalking gene!

Now I hear that there will be an ‘inquiry’ into this recent incident involving young Ramith which will be conducted by Sri Lanka Cricket. I think you should get the inquiry conducted by the SLFP Central Committee-it was they who inquired into the incidents involving Mervyn, remember?

I don’t think you need to worry about young Ramith’s future, Keheliya. If he continues to fail at cricket and you are unable to find an overseas diplomatic posting for him as you did for his sister, he has already shown that he has a great future ahead of him in politics-and he can follow in your footsteps!

Yours truly,
Punchi Putha

PS-You being a Thomian, you obviously knew which school was better-that is why you sent your son to Royal. And even though Royal teaches its students to ‘Learn or Depart’ it seems that young Ramith is keen on following the Thomian motto, ‘Be Thou Forever’, rather than the Royal one. So, I am sure we will hear more about him in time to come!

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