2006-07-23

Ignorance is bliss

There is a little roadside tea-shop in Balungala (Balanagala) closer to Girandurukotte, on the way from Polonnaruwa to Mahiyangana. The woman runs the shop while the husband tends to the patch of land they cultivate and other manly affairs in life.

Inside the little shop, there's a couple of plastic chairs for the odd traveller, and a kettle on fire in a corner on ground level. In the dimly-lit corner, next to the fire place, one would find a family of cats snoozing. Their toddler, with a home-made toy - an old tuna tin with a string or something - keeps himself busy while the mother attends to the guests. There are some skinny dogs loitering about - life in all forms and shapes exist in harmony around the place.

You will taste the best Vade, halapa, dodol and laveriya there - and of course a plain-tea with a piece of jaggery would be THE treat for the weary traveller.

The woman, has the most amazingly calm look I have ever seen on any woman's face. Peace, serenity, tranquility - crosses my mind. Her face says she is content with life. It says her life is perfect. It says she is the happiest person on this planet.

Ask her about the cost of living, or who voted for whom at the elections, she wouldn't know. Has she read the papers or watched tv lately? She doesn't find an absolute necessity there. What's going on in the next town - is there a musical show or a political meeting taking place - that's not at all important to her...

That is life perfect. That is bliss. Not to know the thing that you don't need to know.

The image of her serenity is carved in my memory - and every time I get frustrated and emotional about issues that are beyond me, I keep telling myself that ignorance is bliss. The more we know, the more we complicate our lives.

Sometimes, I wish I were an illiterate peasant living in a remote village, somewhere deep in the bush. My life, my aspirations, my expectations, would have been much less complicated. Sometimes I just wish I had never known most of what I know now.

4 comments:

  1. Nicely written. Brings back old memories. I was always fascinated by the simplicity of our “illiterate” folks in remote villages. Besides my craving for typical old fashioned Sri Lankan food, I often dream about village life. They might think we are much fortunate than tem, but the fact is , I’m not so sure about it any more.

    Having said that, If I stay couple of months over there, I know I’ll miss all the good things about this fast life. I guess now I’m a typical industrial animal in this concrete jungle. So my best guess is better to appreciate beauty of the simple village life from a distance.

    Thank You. Should have posted few more pics.

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  2. Very beautifully written. I know exactly what your talking about, I too have the same feelings from time to time. As lazyowl said I know I wouldnt be able to handle that life for too long, however having grown up in that environment I would've appreciated the little things more... There is a poem called the paradox of our time, read it, its an amazing poem about the modern day life.

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  3. Well, Thanks. The Paradox of Times can be found here and you would also find a bit more about the poem's origin and some trivia.

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  4. Beg to differ.

    We plan a trip to the outskirts of our Island, enjoy a delicious wadey and a plain tea with hakuru and we think the lives of people who make them are as sweet as they are. No, they are not.

    Once I stayed in a rural area just as what you describe for a week. And I stayed with people, not in a hotel. And I really got to see the way of life of those people. Man, it sucks. Simple as that.

    But all the same, what amazed me is that with all that they still manage a smile, every minute of the day. That is the nature of us Islanders I guess...

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