The heart beat of Sri Lankan women | Sunday Observer

The heart beat of Sri Lankan women

Experiencing the heart beat of ordinary women
Experiencing the heart beat of ordinary women

Last Sunday I was waiting at the village community centre (which was built before 2015) to attend a meeting of our welfare society. I was a little early and the meeting commenced after 30 minutes of the scheduled time. So I had to wait there for about 45 minutes.

After a while three women - a house wife, a private sector employee and a young unemployed graduate arrived. I greeted them and sat with them in the empty hall expecting a lot of `information’ about the villagers. In the past, all the gossip of the village was heard during these gatherings. But my dreams were shattered within a few minutes. They began a dialogue about the Presidential Election and related matters! Anyway I was keen to listen to them as they represent the ordinary citizens of Sri Lanka who had casted their votes at the recent election.

The following conversation ensued between the unemployed graduate and the housewife. “How are you aunty ?” “Where is your akka, the medical student who was injured at the recent protest in Colombo?” “She is fine. Now she is in her second year and is very busy. Her injured eye was saved by our doctors at the National Eye Hospital. She was lucky that her friends took her to the hospital just after tear gas hit her left eye. They had used expired tear gas or something like that”.

“Oh! What if she lost her eye?” questioned the private sector employee.

The unemployed graduate then said, “Aunty….before 2015 all the graduates had jobs so there was no necessity to get on the streets to demand jobs. But after 2015 job opportunities were scarce for the new graduates. The few who had political influence got jobs, but not us. My medical student akka was facing danger. That’s why she had to come onto the streets with her fellow medical students. The previous regime was trying to turn individuals even without A/L Arts stream qualifications into MBBS doctors, for money. How can a person like you and me operate a patient and cure illnesses even if we got trained? Definitely the patients will die due to wrong diagnosis, wrong medical treatment and wrong operations. The other important fact is that no Sri Lankan doctor will be accepted by any foreign country because of the sub standards of the medical education they received. No one can betray the entire country and the nation to give a MBBS degree for 75 or 80 very rich individuals with links to politicians and other powerful people. But now I think the issue is solved. I believe that only A/L Science stream students with the required number of marks should be allowed to receive a medical education and the minimum standard should be the same as in previous years.”

She paused for breath, tired of talking!

“Nangi, are you still working for .... that firm? The housewife questioned the girl from a private company. “No...no nenda. I lost that job.”Oh my God! What happened to you my dear sister ? The unemployed graduate questioned. “I had to go to my children’s school regularly for several days in order to ensure the safety of the school after the Easter Sunday attacks. The first few days were ok. But later my boss, a strong supporter of the previous Government didn’t let me go. I could have asked another parent to take my place. I gave up my job for the security of my children. I cannot live without them. They are like my own life. I was praying to God… to chase away the rulers who cannot protect my children, to bring a ruler who can be trusted and who has already proved that he can do it. On November 17th God answered my prayers. Now I am relieved. Now I can work, eat and sleep in peace while my children study at school. Now I can go far away from home for work. The company I worked closed down after not getting enough business. One of my close friends said her company owner had started a new business and I can get a job there. I am so lucky. God answered my prayer and now I am getting a new job at a higher salary.

The meeting began. But I do not remember what was said during the meeting as I had experienced the heart beat of ordinary Sri Lankan women.

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