The Final Question

At work today, I came across this conversation between twofriends. You may know them, but not as Anusha and Buvaneka.  Buvaneka’s interest is aroused when he spots Anusha’s status message: Anusha is surrounded by characters from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Buvaneka: Ah, I see it is a normal day at work, then?

Milo Drinker is leaving today no?
10:54 AM Anusha: yes she is
Going to miss the party starter
Have you read Nallur?
10:55 AM Buvaneka: Nope.
Anusha: Nallur was a beautiful ancient kovil in Jaffna
that was razed and burned to the ground during JR’s time
10:56 AM it is also the name of a poem by Jean Arasanayagam
very beautiful
I’ll see if I can find it
it was out of a print a while ago.

7 minutes
11:03 AM Anusha: It’s quite scary how any memories or literature indigenous to the Tamils is disappearing before our very eyes
it’s the worst kind of genocide

9 minutes
11:13 AM Buvaneka: I have heard of the Nallur kovil. It’s an area of Jaffna. It’s been rebuilt, yes?
You know about the burning of the Jaffna library, right?
11:14 AM Anusha: yes, that was atrocious
palm leaf manuscripts
wisps of ash
feeling like writing some poetry
11:15 AM Buvaneka: I noticed your comment on the post.
11:16 AM Anusha: yah, people who can, should write lots.
Today, I am sad for one reason only.
11:17 AM Buvaneka: Gonzales [Anusha’s boyfriend] leaving?
Anusha: No. I am sad, because in addition to the emptiness that two and a half decades of civil war, and centuries more of oppression, has left with Tamil people

that we will have very little to remember their generations by even if we do declare a truce with the rebels

Buvaneka: You’re not sad about Gonzales leaving?
11:18 AM Anusha: I’m not sad about Gonzales, he’s in a much better place and I don’t have to worry about him getting blown up every time he goes to or from work, or drives past a high security zone on the way home.
11:21 AM Buvaneka: fair point.
Anusha: not that it was a likely eventuality
Buvaneka: do you think the government should call for a ceasefire and talk to the Tigers?
11:22 AM Anusha: No, I think we should continue with a military solution
but we are failing on several other counts
Buvaneka: such as?
HR violations?
Anusha: wars are won by those who fund them best.
not even that.
Buvaneka: Individual freedoms etc?
11:23 AM Economic arguments?
Anusha: We should be pouring triple the amount of money into Jaffna
giving Tamil youth options
that are better than a boat the size of a fruit basket to Italy
or a tiger uniform
we should be showing them that we are the superior economic power
11:24 AM Buvaneka: They’re doing it to the “liberated” East now, apparently. Not that I’ve heard of many who have actually seen it. The spending, I mean.
Anusha: Yeah, Mr.X [mutual ex-military intelligence friend] was saying
that they do leaflet campaigns from their armoured tanks.
11:25 AM Buvaneka: I think Jaffna, although under government control, is still not considered “liberated” because a) the Rajapaksas didn’t do it themselves and b) it’s cut off and vulnerable.
Free flow of goods difficult
11:26 AM especially for infrastructure
until 6 months ago, only 2 hours of power a day
11:27 AM Anusha: It’s unlikely that unless a truce is declared that we will have access to their markets
but can you imagine the rumblings from the south
once it does happen?
“Ko Apita”
will be the national slogan
11:29 AM Buvaneka: Rajapaksa’s Sinhala Man credentials cannot be questioned easily. Whoever his political strategy advisor is (they say it’s Basil) is smart. They are handling public support very well, and running the military, too, admirably well.
If only they weren’t a bunch of corrupt thugs with misplaced economics.
11:30 AM Anusha: even if he’s the worst despot, I admire his gumption. And whatever my reservations, I agree, I’m on his team. I hate the coach, the strategy needs to be fine tuned, and I’m as poor as a church mouse because of it, but he’s my president
and I want him to have his inflated ego
because perhaps that’s what it takes to win this war.
11:31 AM Buvaneka: Exactly
11:32 AM Not that war is the best way to peace in theory, but in practice, this situation leads to very few other justifiable conclusions
Anusha: I wonder what happens after though?
need to take a slash
Buvaneka: That’s the question ______________________________________________________ That was the end of the conversation. There was no more. I do not know what happened: whether Anusha and Buvaneka got distracted by work, or whether their internet connection failed, or whether they just disappeared into thin air. Maybe Buvaneka never made it home from work because he was lacerated by a shard of glass from a exploded bus window. Maybe Anusha went to the toilet, then slipped and fell on a loaded AK47 in a Sripathi Sooriyarachchi-esque accident. Maybe they both migrate, like Milo Drinker and Gonzales. Or, maybe they stay and drown horribly in a stagnant pool of double-digit inflation.I can speculate, but I do not know what happens to the two friends, and frankly, I will not lose too much sleep over them. However, I do care about myself and so, I do really want to know what happens next. I care about my own future.  So, I wish they were around, so I could ask them, “What happens after this?”, but the option of talking to them is no longer available, and all that remains of them is that last question. _______________________________________________________

 “What remains?
Only the remembrance
Of a vanished history
And those portraits of your grandparents.”
– Jean Arasanayagam


8 thoughts on “The Final Question

  1. “what happens after?”
    After war,
    Bad, sad memories, hurt and pain, dreadful dreams and of course happiness of no more war. But the question is who is going to survive in that small Island of yours after the war.

  2. Emperor Ravana lived about 5000 years ago in Sri Lanka. As a buddhist ravana was vegetarian and worshiped Kashyapa Buddha. His kingdom was Lankapura and queen was Mandodari King’s children were known as Upendraminika (son) and Sohili (daughter). According to Ramayana, the emperor Ravana was assassinated by Rama. But referring ola manuscripts, rock inscriptions and folklore of Sri Lanka, Ravana was not died at war. He was not to killed by any other common person as Dasis Ravana represented a soul of a bodhisattva. The emperor had many names as he ruled many countries. Ravanna, rabanan, ravanan, dasis, ravan, ravula are some of them.

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