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The Fifth Column

30th May 1999

Impermanence and permanent members

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“Thaaththa” Bindu Udagedera asked, “ what is this fuss about the cricket matches?”

“Some people are protesting that cricket matches should not be shown on Vesak day…” Bindu’s father Percy said.

“Why is that, thaaththa?”

“Well, they seem to think Vesak should be a day meant for spiritual observances…”

“So, what’s wrong with watching cricket, thaaththa?” Bindu wanted to know.

“Why, Bindu cricket is a competitive game, not related to religion…”

“But I think the matches should be shown, thaaththa,” Bindu argued.

“Why do you say that?”

“Because”, Bindu said, “I think the matches have an important lesson for Vesak…”

“What’s that?”

“Why, thaththa, Buddhism teaches that nothing is permanent, isn’t it?”

“Yes”, Percy agreed, “but what’s that got to do with cricket?”

“Why, thaaththa, our cricket team is also teaching us that nothing is permanent”

“Ah, yes”, Percy said, “and they seem to be also teaching us that everything ends in ‘Duka’…”

“But, thaaththa, there appear to be some things that are permanent…” Bindu argued.

“What’s that?” Percy wanted to know.

“Why, some people are permanent members of the cricket team…”

“How do you know that?”

“Why, they have said they will not retire…”

“People who do not leave” Percy said, “tend to wait till they are chased out”

“That isn’t only in cricket, thaaththa…”

“Ah, that reminds me,” Percy said, “from the government’s point of view these losses in the World Cup are terrible…”

“Why is that?”

“Why, Bindu, if we are winning the matches, who is worried about anything else?”

“But what has that got to do with the government?”

“Why, Bindu, then there are no strikes, no body bothers about the cost of living and there are no unemployed graduates fasting by the roadside…”

“Why is that?”

“Why, Bindu, they are all watching the matches on TV and don’t care about anything else…”

“But thaaththa”, Bindu protested, “they might not be able to do even that now…”

“Why do you say that?”

“Why, thaaththa, with so many advertisements in between overs, only half of the next over is shown…”

“I think that is done purposely, Bindu,” Percy said.

“To show more advertisements and earn more money…” Bindu suggested.

“Of course not” Percy disagreed.

“Then, why do they do that, thaaththa?” Bindu was puzzled.

“Why Bindu” Percy said, “if we are so sad after watching half the over, we will be twice as sad after watching the full over…”

“ But, thaaththa, didn’t they promise a coverage without interruptions…”

“When the government doesn’t keep its promises, why should they?”

“I think the government is more worried about the other tournament…” Bindu said.

“What tournament is that?” Percy wanted to know.

“Why, thaaththa, the tournament in the South…”

“That’s also somewhat like the World Cup” Percy said.

“Why do you say that?”

“If you don’t put up a decent performance in the qualifying round in the South, you will get knocked out of the finals that are scheduled for next year…”

Bindu didn’t disagree.

Rajpal Abeynayake's Column

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