We have passed period of war of 30 years. A period of fear, blood and death. But it seems like we are thirsty for violence, judging from the hate mails and posts that are circulating. We cannot afford another war. Why do we hate each other anyway? They say it’s a great honor to be “Sinhala”. I ask, on which body part of yours was this branded when you were born? Because I sure don’t have any branding on mine.
I was too young to fully comprehend the seriousness of the war, apart from the last few years. But even those years drove me into a sense of futility, that I keep wondering how people can hate so much.
One’s victory is always another’s loss. At the end of the day, once we all pass on from this life, we all are equal. On that note, here’s a little work of fiction of mine; fiction that I strongly believe to be true.
I rise. The whole place is full of smoke. Probably nasty smells, too. But I can’t feel them. It feels so relaxing. Peace at last. I hear voices. I float towards it.
Two young men are huddled up on the ground. The younger one is embracing the other man, apparently lifeless and soaked in something red.
“You said you wouldn’t leave me.” The young one sobs. “You promised!”
He is unable to continue. He sobs hard, hugging the lifeless form.
I decide to move.
A tent. I hear voices inside. I go in.
There seems to be some sort of a party.
“Is it a boy or a girl?” A man asks.
“A girl” Another man answers. His face is full of joy.
“Want to see her picture?” He pulls out a picture of a pink thing.
All the men clamor.
“Hey, careful!” The Happy Man snaps.”It’s all I got.”
The men shout and laugh; light-hearted.
“So, when are you going to see her?”
“Soon. I’ve already applied for leave. I’m pretty sure I’ll get it.” The Happy Man keeps the picture close to his heart, perhaps subconsciously.
A serious looking man enters the tent.
“Look, Sir, ” A young man addresses the officer. “It’s our mate’s daughter.”
“Congratulations, soldier. And how old is she?”
“Three weeks, Sir.” The Happy Man answers.
“I see. I have bad news.” The officer says. “Our troop has just located soldier 093. He was dead when he was found.”
The room goes quiet.
“Oh, and soldier,” The officer speaks to the happy man. “We can’t spare any man at the moment. Your leave is cancelled”. He leaves.
Nobody speaks for a few minutes.
A man clears his throat. “It was his sister’s wedding next week.” He says in a low voice.
“Yes, he was really looking forward to it.”
“I really don’t know how they will break the news to her. The poor thing.”
The Happy Man seem not to hear all this.
“I wonder if I’ll ever see my daughter for real….” He says to himself.
They seem so miserable. My heart feels heavy. I hear someone sobbing. I look.
A young man sits alone under a tree. He is speaking to himself.
“Oh, god, why did I kill him? Like he said, what is the grudge between ourselves……I have never even seen him in my whole life…..I want all this to end…..it’s all rubbish…I don’t feel proud; I don’t feel satisfied; I feel nothing but misery…..oh, god, please forgive me for what I did, and what I am to do….”
He kneels and prays.
I leave him to himself and float further.
Lots of people are running about, screaming. They seem terrified. I see a sudden light and hear a blast.
Hundreds of people fall to the ground. I feel scared. I hide behind a blackened tree and wait.
The smoke clears. Hundreds like myself are emerging from the bodies. Pale, transparent, and light.
I smile. I have found company. I shall go join them.
We might “win”. We might “lose”. For either of the outcome, the price would be just too high, as it was the last time. Should we not at least attempt at harmony.