I felt a sense of premonition
that somebody would seize me by the neck if I attended the funeral since
I was considered a family outcast. She must be lying peacefully at the
funeral parlour wearing her usual osari with a puffed sleeved jacket and
a string of beads around her neck to match.
I cannot deny the fact that she contributed wholeheartedly to my
intellectual and emotional well-being by sending me to a leading school.
Moreover, only on one occasion she encouraged me ending up with chat-up
statements such as “You are exemplary, you can outdo others, keep it
up!” When I was growing up, she just gave me an idea about matrimony and
emphasised on education and home background as matrimonial
considerations whereas I was blinded to act on my own accord despite her
In spite of that, she forgave me instinctively. Whenever I felt
miserable being unable to meet both ends, I was compelled to stretch my
hand towards her benevolent hand. She made my family comfortable. Her
outpouring was always about her loneliness, monotony, boredom and
anticipation ever since I joined my career as a big man. As such, I
wondered how she could manage to get over them at the Elder’s Home.
Her days would have been more stressful and immensely sorrowful
Now, where could be the pretty collection of my baby-smocked, cross
stitched embroidered in French patterns and fringed. Besides, a remnant
of a green sarong that I wore for the first time in my life on my eighth
This collection was the one and only valuable possession she had in
the lowest shelf of our antique cupboard, among quite a number of
A television footage is focused in front of my eyes highlighting a
sinful occurrence along with some other fragrant reminiscences of a
golden era. The main role of the plot is displayed by my wife Shammi
over a trivial dispute.
The lonely house of my mother is the location. She seizes my mother
by the neck - I’m too provoked and my robust right hand is raised to
approach my mother’s cheek. She doesn’t utter a single word.
The plot reaches its anti-climax when three unexpected witnesses
appear all of a sudden. A vehicle with the state emblem is parked at the
gate. My three children and the driver peep through its shutters.
dashes with mother’s belongings on the floor. Water’s spilled on the
floor. “Umba merunama api enne ne,” she says.
It’s a predicament. Mother is stunned. The wooden spoon that she had
in her hand has dropped. A served plate of rice is left on the table. A
pan of gravy is on the ember. Tommie trembles with fear under the table.
The jasmine flowers offered to the Buddha in the morning are scattered
on the cement. To wind up, Shammi kicks the garden gate and gets into
the vehicle like a queen.
I felt the cascading television footage winding around starting from
my feet up to the neck tightly. How can I move? Will I be able to
breathe? “Thaththi, do you know that your mother has died?” my sixteen
year-old daughter asks showing me a caricature of the corpse of my
mother drawn by her.
Do please forgive me Amma.