The drama continues; but Sadhu and Hallelujah for good times! | Sunday Observer

The drama continues; but Sadhu and Hallelujah for good times!

Yes, Menika means the Theatre of the Absurd with anti-hero Wimal Wee in the lead role, which continues. This column last Sunday treated you to a slice of the drama being enacted. The scene shifts to some yellow robed persons, yes Buddhist monks, intervening and asking the anti-hero to please come off the fast unto death. (Some say, with glucose and water for prison guards to see and what else, we can only guess). So, the brave man takes liquid nourishment only because the Maha Sangha asks him to resist from dying, too precious a Siri Lankan to lose. It was his supporters who said, the ‘Maha Sangha’ asked him to cease fasting unto losing weight if not to death and demise. Menika is ready to bet her last 1,000 rupee note that the highest of the Maha Sangha, the Venerable Mahanayakes of the Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters did not oblige by their verbal intervention. They would not be a part of this comedy. Also, the Mahanayake of Malwatte had snubbed Wimal Wee when he had his last audience with the venerable monk about a year ago. So, also other well known monks who would surely have been approached so that WW could save face and get off his boring liquid diet, refused to be part of the comedy.

The tragic-comedy continues with the said WW requesting that he be released on bail since his daughter is suffering from a mental condition due to his absence from home. (This cat would have celebrated!) Anyway, the daughter is now thrust forward, and a doubly sorrowing, pale blue clad Sashi is seen in courts and captured by a journalist's camera standing close to Brother Basil who came to see how the appeal proceeded. The Magistrate asked for medical reports. I don’t suppose we now get docs who lie through their teeth at the bequest of high powered politicos. This feline repeats that children or adolescents, even young adults, should not be thrust forward for mileage, or leniency in this case. Menika writes this on Wednesday 5 April. Much will transpire by the time you read this on Sunday.

Aluth Avurudu and Easter coinciding

Yes, the sadhu and hallelujah in the title is because two major religious cum ethnic ceremonies are occurring at the same time. They are always close together in the month of April but this year they are smack with each other. Aluth Avurudda falls on Friday 14 April which is Good Friday. The people who celebrate the two occasions are in two, more or less exclusive groups: Sinhalese Buddhists and Tamil Hindus as New Year celebrants, while most Christians are Sinhalese, Tamils and Burghers. So, within the races there will be those who celebrate and those who are in sorrow; those who have the sun going from one House to another and astrologers dictating terms with their auspicious times to do this and that; and the other group mourning the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. One group in villages mostly will beat the rabana, play games, hold Avurudu Uthsava and eat, drink and make merry. The other group, mostly urban, after forty days of Lenten sacrifice will, on this Friday, go to church and suffer the pain of the crucified Jesus, while singing hymns to organ music. But, not to worry. the Sinhala Hindu New Year goes on for about ten days, until oil is anointed on the head, the first bath for the New Year taken and at the auspicious time, people set off for work. The mourning Christians who gave up one fractional item of living during Lent will go to town celebrating the risen Christ with rich food and that which cheers on Easter Sunday.

As one large group consisting of two ethnic sun-groups celebrates the post harvest New Year, the other will first mourn the crucifixion of the Son Of God and then three days later celebrate His resurrection. While the first group celebrates with kavun and kokis, murukku and laddu, the other has chocolate Easter bunnies and decorated Easter eggs.

Opportunity for racial and religious amity

This is propitious. This juxtaposition of two national/religious festivals should make for amity, understanding, tolerance and mutual respect. Commemorating and celebrating according to age old customs transferred down from generation to generation or introduced by European colonizers, but now imbued in the culture of the Christian churches, the two groups should unite through diversity. It is a fervent hope that these two festivals occurring simultaneously, will foster better fellow feeling among those who celebrate as they are wont to.

Horrid vibes

Menika shuddered as she saw on TV (supposedly) Buddhist monks of the Inter University Federation rioting and coming to blows with the police while screaming like hyenas at their anti SAITM protest march on Tuesday 4 April. It was anything but a protest march. It was hooliganism and rank breaking of laws. And, what a disgrace and shame to the entire Sangha and all Buddhists. Even the commentator on the news bulletin expressed doubts the mob was composed of only Buddhist monks. Like all protests of now, paid elements we suspect, join the protest to worsen it. Their paying masters’ aim is to disrupt and bring down the government. Not so easy JO!

What Menika opines is that those who took part in the protest should be sent out of the universities they are in. They should be expelled. Those who rioted on Tuesday 4 April should be identified and disrobed. They get special concessions and entry to the universities due to the robes they wear, which they degrade deplorably. They should be punished. And, will these pointless protest marches against SAITM ever be terminated. The GMOA are worse offenders than even the monks. A worthless sop to Cerberus is their saying they will not strike in hospitals in dengue and flu infected areas. A strike or even work to rule by medical personnel is disastrous in hospitals anywhere.

Let us put these irritants aside and commemorate Easter and celebrate the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. So here’s this cat shedding her cattiness and becoming totally benign to wish everyone of her readers a good celebration; whatever it is – Christian, Hindu or Sinhala.

Purr… Purr! - Menika

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