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.