So it is the Sinhala Tamil New Year in Paradise, and the wishes keep pouring in, filling up my SMS inbox. For some unfortunate mortals like us – who are far away from home – it’s yet another day at work. Another day, another dollar. Be it Tokyo, Shanghai, Jeddah, Toronto, Connecticut or London.
From what I hear, the mood at home is not as celebratory as it would have been, or should have been. There is a certain somber feeling in the air – all of us are feeling the suffering of our fellow countrymen. There may be joy and happiness over-pouring in one’s own cocoon, but the island at large isn’t in the mood for fire-crackers and laughter. We cannot ignore the war. It doesn’t matter which side of the earth-bund your opinion lies, this is one of the most significant days in our calendar that reminds us how closely inter-knitted, and inseparable, the Tamils and the Sinhalese are, in Paradise.
Economic situation has only added to the misery. Pavements of Nugegoda used to be very different just before the New Year, in the good old days. The excitement is gradually disappearing year by year – slowly, but surely. Or I’m just getting old sooner than I ever imagined.
I call home, wish my parents. And call my favourite cousin who has been giving me some attitude, just because I didn’t ask him to pick me up from the airport when I arrived in Colombo for the big-match last month. I thought I was doing him a favour, but wasn’t so it seems. Amends made, albeit some sense of hostility. Some of us Sri Lankans get offended if favours aren’t imposed on them.
I make a few more calls and pull myself out of the bed. Do the usual round and settle for some pita bread and hommus. I wish I had a nice “avurudu” (New Year) breakfast, instead. Kevun, kesel, kiribath...
I turn the television on, and sit in front of my laptop with a cup of tea.
Well, I have a pleasant surprise. A new year gift, all the way from Tokyo. Sach the one nominates a couple of my blogposts for the Top 100 Sri Lankan Blog Posts Book Project by Cerno. One on Sri Lankan Superbrands and the other on Being a Single-Dad in Colombo. Whether they get published or not, this, indeed, is a grand gesture from a fellow blogger.
Suddenly, it feels like New Year. In the middle of the desert in Saudi Arabia.
Sach, thank you. And may a hundred Sakura flowers shower on you when you walk the lonely streets of Tokyo.
And, Happy New Year – to all of you.