Hang in there | Sunday Observer

Hang in there

5 December, 2021

“I am somewhere between giving up and seeing how much more I can take”, here ‘I’ has two possibilities; the first is to give up and start afresh, the second is to hold on much longer.

Each of these choices has its own pay. If ‘I’ gives up, switches the graph to a new curve, ‘I’ will of course come across new origins as well as different coordinates. What happens if ‘I’ tries to hold it in more?

‘I’ will become more strong on what ‘I’ is doing. However many people tend to give up rather than fight against it. No one can be blamed, they have their reasons.

Recently I came across a story where a journalist meets one of her old neighbouring friends. The story is as follows…

Two or three days ago I was at the Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital in order to get vaccinated. The place was very crowded, there was a long row of people to get vaccinated, due this reason the Hospital Staff and Special forces were ultimately busy. During this space of time I noticed a young beautiful doctor.

After noticing her I couldn’t get her picture out of my mind, although she was wearing a face mask her face felt unusually familiar. Therefore, as soon as I finished getting vaccinated, I went towards her.

“Excuse me Doctor, will it be possible to speak with you for a few minutes”

“Well, yes you sure can. What’s the matter?”

This short conversation was able to transport me a few years back.

It was 14th of April 2004, the day of Sinhalese and Tamil New Year. With all the celebrations in and around, I was enjoying the sweet platters handed to us from friends and family.

As it was a festive day, the surroundings were full of the sound of crackers. Around 10 a.m., a strange sound twice as loud as the bang of crackers was heard from my neighbouring friend, Tania’s house. This sound didn’t create much of an impact with the joyful nature of the day. Results of the event came a few days later by the villagers. “That dirty woman has been caught with another man by her husband. All because of her filthiness a child lost her father.”

These rumours about Tania’s mother were raging like wildfire. With thes news they were nowhere to be found either. Seventeen years went by, with no clue about them.

Yet unbelievably 17 years later I am meeting lost Tania as a doctor, my curiosity took both of us back in ages.

“My mother was a worker who was employed in my father’s construction company, she’s 10 years younger than my father. With time my father proposed to my mother with the consent of her parents. Her parents were delighted with the idea of their daughter marrying the owner of the company she works for.”

“Filled with love, time passed on, bringing me into their lives. My father was a businessman but was pious, he used to have almsgivings every two months while every three months a Pirith chanting was held simultaneously. He was very simple unlike many other businessmen we see.

Thatha never let me and my mother mourn, always gave us our needs at our feet. Aside from these facts he never kept my mother as a decoration, She always accompanied him to his business parties or other occasions. It was a party where she met a well known film actress, becoming close with her new friend. She was invited by her to spend their free time together. As days flew by they became really close in terms of friends, this initiated Amma to have a dream of becoming an actress, like her ‘friend’. However my father opposed this fact, he often stated “Darling, let me get you any other thing in this universe, but not this one”,

With my father’s strong dislike of her dream, you can say the peace at home was gradually ruined. Step by step my mother started dragging about the huge house we were living in. She demanded another house, this time too my Thatha wasn’t in her favour, he didn’t want to leave the house that brought him luck, but decided to build another house by purchasing a plot of land.

Soon her friends were also decided by her so-called ‘Friend’. It was with the help of her Amma she met the villain of this story, namely Paul, a great friend of a top politician from Keleniya.

Paul’s arrival wasn’t much for any of us, but by day and day or else by hour and hour my mother became a lot closer to him.

They became inseparable, she even told him secrets from my father’s business. Me and My father, weren’t home all the time, therefore, making it possible for them to have their own space. It was crystal clear that she was cheating on my father.

I was normally picked up from school by the driver, Sena. One day my father came to pick me up from school, I was surprised. Together we went home, Thatha parked the car near the house, saying that he had to return to the office and went in.

The turning point came then we got to hear a voice of a woman and a man laughing.

That was the first time Amma was caught cheating with Paul, at the time Paul had threatened my father with a pistol. These events were not seen or heard by me. I was protected by my heart-broken father.

My mother took advantage of my father’s undying patience with her. She disregarded to stop her relationship with Paul, he was hurt as well as embarrassed with living in humiliation, reasoning himself to take his own life. The sorrow of my father’s death seemed to deem my mother only for eight days, right after his death she moved on by marrying Paul. They moved into the house my father built on Amma’s request.

Then Paul changed, he transferred the ownership of all the properties we had, our houses, lands were all in the list. He then deceived my mother. He even sold our cars, took new ones with his ownership. Paul said that the expenses were high, firing the maids that worked for us. He literally made her a servant of his. If she protested, a slap was sure.

Time and again, I have seen her crying over my father’s photo hysterically after she got slapped.

During this time I was getting ready for my Advanced Level after successfully attempting my Ordinary Levels. Normally, parents look after children in this time period, but my mother forgot me this time because she was due pregnant with Paul’s child.

One day, a woman with two kids older than me came in search of Paul. Disaster struck, He has cheated on my mother. He was indeed quick in throwing us out, we both found it really hard. Even if we get into a taxi, there will be no place to go. We were stranded.

Last but not least, Amma dragged me towards Thatha’s grave, where she cried and cried. The only left choice was to make a phone call to my father’s elder brother, but would he help a woman who killed his own brother.

We had nothing, only 3,500 rupees, we both used it to take a taxi. I requested the taxi driver to take us anywhere with shelter, he humbly took us to a set of line houses located in Borella. I didn’t have anything to do, line houses were dirty, one washroom was used by at least more than five families, and to bathe we had to stay in the queue. It felt like I fell from heaven to hell, left with no choice. I was determined to continue my studies.

However I couldn’t continue without money, so I contacted my father’s brother again. He deposited Rs 8,000 monthly for my education purposes, that too for the sake of my father.

Apart from that, my learning process were always in the Public Library or at my friend’s house.

When my results came, I was overwhelmed with joy, and I cried joyful tears. It felt like I was crowned. After gaining my MBBS I am now working here as an intern. My mother’s second child is a boy. I look after them very well now. Still my mom cries hugging me with my thatha’s photo to forgive her.”

Regardless of the place I was in, after listening to this story I felt stuck, the things she went through, its a journey. Her success now defined her. I felt very happy for her.

Life is a song, the melody and chords are set, U have to write the lyrics accordingly. If you do a great song, no one will question you. You mess it up, just hang in there and get back on your feet.

This doctor might have had several wrong steps but “Small steps in the right direction had turned out to be the biggest steps in her life”. She deserves to be where she is today.