IL DIVO

Watch how these four handsome men make Opera go Pop. Well, indeed thye are amazingly good looking, multicultural and suave, classic, talented etc etc…everything to make a woman’s heart melt.
But I am so sick of super stars. It’s the Amrican Idol’s Simon behind them.
They are great singers…but I am so sick of perfect looking men with perfect voices in prefect dresses in perfect places…singing in Spanish at that.

Do we all want so much ‘phenomena’ in our lives?

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Heal Me Like Madness

Like a prayer does, a devotee
take me from these certainties
these paths that lead to common destinies
these ambitions spurring to known ceremonies
the rituals of normalcy
take me from the throes of a predictable day
from the insane sanity, precision, flawlessness
and release me to the unknown, unacceptable
uncompromised mystery

for this life of mine cannot ever be
something known, something ordinary.

Politics is Just a Joke

I am rather silent these days. I keep my opinions to myself. In my previous blog I had declared ‘in the past few years, in which I have grown from a school girl to a woman, I learned to reserve my political opinions; instead I write poetry.’

In this blog I have meandered off and on. And some of the opinions have been put forth, quite directly. In a way, it is a useless process I am involved in; adding my opinions to an opinionated world, which couldn’t care less. On the other hand, people around me seem to have no opinion of their own at all. My family, for instance, is slowly realising the parochial media gimmicks, and are bewildered on what to believe. In the kind of life they lead, they do not read Garcia Marques or Galtung. They do not watch movies like The Edge of Heaven. They do not hang out with the think-different crowd. My family belongs to the common, urban, middle class. They do not want to search; they need truths to be given to them on a platter to believe in. Even when they realise that the ‘truth’ is the fabrication of someone in power wishing to  hold on to power, they would rather believe what makes life easier for them that moment.

I try to give simple answers when I am asked for my opinion on the current politics these days. I am worried that I will become another cynic or a useless idealist that the world around me doesn’t need anymore. Thank god, my grandfather, simply because he’s lived so long, probably has started seeing through the dark mere. But with the rest, it is difficult to talk without getting into arguments. So, I wish I could revert to my old stance:  Only small individual creative acts can make sense to me, personally, in this madness.

So, despite my mentor’s comment ‘we really don’t have the option of remaining silent now’ which I think  is absolutely right, I find myself attracted to silence.

The other day, I found myself, yet again in a delicate situation. Taking a bus ride with a new admirer, trying not to break his heart, holding his hand gently and explaining why I feel like the way I do, among a crowd of paranoid passengers, we are told again that a bomb has gone off in Mt Lavinia. Here we are: Kilinochchi’s won. Elephant Pass taken. And a handsome, new star monk tells us how important it is to be grateful to our heroes; to take care of them. And the News First tell us the next moment how they were attacked and that a bomb just went off in the route that we are taking. There I was, holding someone’s hand in a crowded bus, telling him we shouldn’t, because I don’t want to hurt again and hurt him too in the process.

He closes his eyes for a moment and says, “this is madness, isn’t it…this life, this country, with all these things happening around us? And here we are trying to find love…trying to find happiness…and it is absolute madness.”

That moment I wish that all the social barriers between us disappear; and my painful memories of recent loves and losses disappear and I am free again, and brave again, to accept this little bit of love that is offered to me.

So, when he asks me ‘what if a bomb goes off in this bus?’ I tell him, just so to return the kindness, ‘I would be the happiest dead-girl in the world’. He does not want to die young. But agrees that life is suffering.

Sometimes, it is more painful to be loved and not be able to return that love.

So after everything is said, all our political opinions are discussed, the recent movies and books exchanged, we sit in silence in the noisy traffic. And everything seem so meaningless and sad. Suddenly I realise, things have been this way as long as I can remember; but our inability to love, brings it across sharper.

We got to love each other, says Don Mclean, cos politics is just a joke.

And listening to this song he wants me to hear, I wish so too. And I couldn’t have put it any better than Don Mclean, in this video, AND I LOVE YOU SO.

How young we are, and how bitter…just like this island so beautiful and so sad.

The Edge of Heaven

heaven

What is it that we have here, in this part of the world, and they – the developed world – don’t have? (Apart from the yearlong sunshine and refreshing monsoons…) If you rule out the exoticism and the lure for adventure that brings many ordinary white people (without hidden agendas and not working for the CIA 🙂 to our shores, what is it that we offer them, in return of the luxuries they leave behind in their countries? I am not talking about the tourists, you should know by now. I am talking about those who come for longer periods, who come in search of work, who come because they ‘want to help’.

With my interesting connections to first world attempts to help the third, and with the excessive media coverage Wimal Weerawansa is getting at the moment, I couldn’t have timed experiencing this exceptional movie by Fatih Akin any better. (Ok, I don’t grudge Weerawansa his moment of glory, I only feel a whiff of nausea when it is overdone.) But Akin is a good antithesis to Weerawansa. It’s a good way of putting things rather than disqualifying all what Weerwansa says as bunkum.

The Edge of Heaven is not a story about conspiracy. It is not a story about aid workers. It is not a story about super powers’ manipulation of the world market. It is even not a simplistic version of globalisation and multiculturalism often bought and sold in the ideological arenas of the day.

It’s a story about coincidences. It’s a story about what we gain and what we stand to loose in this world system. And what we ultimately want as the ordinary people we are; What do we want to do with our lives? What gives us meaning to continue the madness of existence?

Why do young people take to streets and resort to violence just outside the European Union? Why would Germans and Swedish and Danes risk their lives in our conflict zones de-mining our territory? And why do we reject their help? But why do they still want to continue despite the arrogant refusals of our governments? Why don’t my American and German friends want to leave Sri Lanka, despite the less than bearable visa procedures our government? Is it just the fancy lifestyle they get to lead here? Would someone give up a whole country, a ‘home’, a way of life as comfortable as what you get in Germany or Sweden to some material benefits that we can provide them here? The big gardens and bungalows with domestic aid, is that it? or the sunshine? or vipassana?Or is it the sense of purpose that we find in living in situations like these?

Weerawansa would have one answer to these questions. Fatih Akin has another.

When I look back upon the choices I have made in my life, I’d rather go with Akin. I choose Sri Lanka because it gives me what Sweden couldn’t have given me. Being here gives me a sense of purpose. I feel needed. And of course, it is HOME. I belong here. And I draw a clear line between that sense of belonging and love for a land and the euphoria I see around me these past two days.

Watch The Edge of Heaven. And let’s talk.

Love, Politically

I am not sure this new year will bring us the happiness and prosperity that we so wish each other in our frenetic-poetic text messages. Not in Sri Lanka. Maybe not anywhere. But then, I confine myself to this island; and this island is what I give a damn about; and I give a damn because I want to be happy in this little island this year.

image1So here’s something that makes me write on the first day of the year. I don’t care for citizen journalism, but in a situation where all of us sit around and crib about our decedent politics, it was refreshing to see someone walk out there alone; paint some canvas and put it out in front of the Fort Railway Station. Ok, it’s not the mass rally that will topple the government. And this young man, Sanjaya is still shy with his words, but he gave me enough freedom within his paintings and his slogan “Fight for Love; Love Peace” (Direct Translation from Sinhala). I will caption it, MAKE LOVE, NOT WAR!

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I am glad I went there. Apart from discussing about how poorly recieved art is among the masses with these fresh graduates from Haywood, we managed to have a decent conversation about why we should or should not leave out the words “war/peace” from our captions. After all, ‘peace’ is no more the winning horse. It certainly is not, as long as you think that Peace is a round of  talks in Switzerland or a ceasefire.  

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We were not disappointed: a lady walked to us and wanted to know what we mean by ‘all this’? “Are you trying to say that the war we are fighting now is bad?” She just managed to introduce herself as an army doctor, and it was a shame she did not wait for an answer. (Like all supporters of war, they bombard you with questions and fly away…and that question is suppose to haunt you in your dreams: “Traitor!!!!!”)

But what actually haunts me is this: “how do you have a conversation with a person like this good lady army doctor, who thinks that we are an ungrateful bunch of spoilt madmen, who don’t give a frothing penny about what our poor soldiers go through up there!”

Do they really think we hate our boys so much to side with foreign conspirators for whatever the gold we get to utter the Poisonous word Peace! The other day, driving past Ratmalana Airport, the road gets blocked and eight ambulance vehicles whizz past me, surely with body bags, followed by a Rosa bus full of bandaged young men in sanatorium clothes. Eyes plastered, arms in dressing…I know it is not a movie! and I bang at my steering wheel in frustration! CANT WE SEE! CANT WE SEE!! CANT WE SEE!!!

AND YET WE SAY NOTHING!

image8Sorry I have to change topics. I need to cool down…..

So, like Sanjaya, I too choose to talk about love in this situation. And my impression is that Sanjaya too, chose so for similar reasons. It makes little sense to talk of how battles are fought and won between governments and guerrilla groups. Of course you can talk about it for hours, but what is it that we as individuals who are far away from that line of action, who are caught up so much with our mundane battles, begin to realise that there really is a thin red line that connects our personal battles to those big games. How are own personal battles, within us, between those who  are close to us, are also arenas of conflict and violence of varying degrees. How cruel are we in these little battles we fight? between lovers, brothers and sisters, families, colleagues? How unforgiving? How mad do we get once we are out on the streets? How abusive?

No wonder the world is full of thieves, and people who are just about to become thieves.

The real battle is perhaps not the one up there in the north, in that sense…the real battle would be within us…within this society we face every day…to remain kind, loving, uncorrupted, good at heart, and have a conscience. The real battle is to believe in these virtues, in a time that they seem so out of vogue.

Perhaps I am as much a reductionist as Marx when he said that the fundamentals of everything is in economics: but I keep coming back to , no not economics, but love: love is the answer to many of the social deseases of the modern day. Love is a perspective; a practice; it is a process of healing and transofrmation.

Love has the power to transform us in to more honest individuals; kinder and more contemplative; more compassionate. In this mass anesthetized oblivion of our lives, only love can strike a sensitive chord.

And without that sensitivity there would be no Art. Nor Peace.

This is the moral choice we make. And I pray, I do not want blood in our collective conscience.

Inspired by Sanjaya Senevirathne

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