Politics amid sickness | Sunday Observer

Politics amid sickness

It was last Saturday morning. I went to a leading private hospital in Colombo to consult a doctor. After waiting for about half an hour, a lovely voice came from the speaker nearby.. Although the voice was lovely, the contents were not so lovely and made a large number of patients unhappy.

It was that the doctor will be delayed by another two hours ! Some people who were seated around me decided to get their channelling fee back and return home or to consult another doctor. One lady said ‘this doctor comes to ……hospital before coming here and I am going to catch him there. She got up hurriedly and rushed to the counter.

Hmmm…..now what should I do? I asked myself. Anyway, I had to see the doctor because I could not postpone my sickness! I decided to have a drink and settle down in an area with less people to spend my two hours. I drank a packet of milk and sat on a chair in a corner.

The place was not deserted and there were some old (possibly retired) men seated in a group near me. They were having a very serious discussion in English about the current political situation in Sri Lanka. I certainly knew that two hours will not be adequate for me to listen to them. By this time half of my burden of ‘waiting’ was gone!

After some time I realised that their political ideologies belong to two main political streams. Three of them were talking on behalf of the leftist political parties while the other two were defending the capitalist political party. I later realised that three of them belonged to the main race and religion of Sri Lanka while the other two belonged to the minority groups. But they were from the same area, Moratuwa. Even though the discussion had started some time back, I started to listen pretending that I was reading a newspaper!

“Machang, you know now there is one way out for the Opposition. They will definitely use that tactic shortly. I am sure about it. I know exactly what their intention is. I realised it by the way they address people and hint at things to come to them.” “Ok….ok….tell us the tactic machang….then we can see whether it is like what we suspected. See machang…they will somehow get a few dead bodies from the public…at least one or two…..” “Oh! Machang…that means they will rob or break mortuaries?” queried the youngest gentleman in the group, while all the others started to laugh loudly.

No, machang no…they will encourage their strong supporters from the public to get involved in violence and ultimately a few of them will get killed.

Then, they can use their dead bodies for their political propaganda and re-gain some of the votes they lost from 2015 to mid 2018. They can also use the dead people’s family members for their political propaganda.”

“Machang……when one of your family members gets killed, he or she can be the bread winner of the entire family. They will not hesitate to kill or at least protest against any existing Government / Police or similar authorities. Maybe after some time they will realise that they had been killed for a certain purpose by a gang of thugs who were hiding in the large crowd or something like that…..” “But machang,…..then it will be too late for our motherland. We cannot let another ‘Evil 19th Amendment’ to be included in the Constitution! Now, we have enough trouble machang.

Actually, he was giving a ‘mini lecture’ but no one interrupted him. One was talking to someone over the phone. Then another started to talk. “Yes machang….what you are telling is true. I totally agree with you. But machang, now I spend less for my ‘monthly drug load’. You know machang…I am ‘full option’. I have all the diseases. Earlier, I was spending a lot of money for drugs but now I spend less”, he said.

Then the oldest gentleman in the group got very angry…He replied (I thought it will be another mini lecture!) in a raised voice. “You are talking about yourself! How about us?” he questioned angrily. “I started to take 100 mg tablets of a (XXX hormone) 25 years ago. Until 2016, I had no problem in choosing the brand I wanted. Machang, I can use only one brand because I have a throat problem and it is very difficult for me to swallow the tablet.

But after 2016, only one brand (not his brand) was left in the Sri Lankan market and since then I am having an unbearable pain while swallowing the tablet early morning. Every day, when I swallow the tablet which is in a distorted shape, I start to curse the Government. I am suffering from severe gastritis. But after 2016, only low quality brands of drugs are there machang….even if I take 100 tablets my tummy pain does not go away….but earlier two doses were enough to get rid of my tummy pain. Those high quality brands were from XXXX countries …” he ended his mini speech.

The voice of the lovely lady came through the speaker again. Dr……arrived at room number 87. The patients to see Dr…… please call over at room number 87. I got up and started to walk towards room number 87. The group is still there talking to each other.

May be I missed the best part of the discussion….