Rip-off

Mt Lavinia Beach Sri Lanka

25th March 2017

Or Ripley’s believe it or not
Enter –
This “tourism haven”
travel maven
treated to a
cultural shock
Of a dis-tasteful
exploitation!

A miserable twerp
luking like he was
hi on inhalation
demands money
upon laying hands
on our luggages!

Board the van
with the man that
drove us to our
destination. Via
“Parangia Kotte giya”*
ulterior motivation –

With a sob story
to accompany
his misdemeanor
aiming to tip our
purse strings
at a higher
calculation.

Next –
In the line of
Rip-off land
of this “Badagini
Hamudhaava “*
comes a woman
demanding money
from u at random
claiming destitution.

Go ask ur Prime Minister
to whom I have just now
coughed up
a ten thousand
notes of devalued
printables
which has rendered me
penniless.

Enuf is enuf we say
no mo of this extraction
shall we suffer
n determined we remian
resolute!

Then –
A sudden turn of events
leave us speechless
as this out of town
tuk tuk driver
gives us back
mo than
the due
balance
in change!

Making two things
clearer n blue-er than the stone
we purchase –
with the help of a
tuk tuk driver
who directs us to this
Gem of a mine
literally called
Gem Mine!
conveniently situated
on the other side
of where we tussle
n make it
at the nic of time
applying for my visa!

Y does everything
always have to b a test
of ur abilities or
not
a sort of challenge
Make me wonder!

(May b that’s the reason –
to keep me wondering!
I cease to ponder.)

To get back to
the two things
that r clearer than
Chanticleer –
the tide is certainly
turning for the better
for me n
hopefully for this country
which from now on
I shall b forced out of
calling
Rip-off!
I’m forced into
decision.
Indecision!

(My red daughter in law Athu
picked a blue stone!
to b worn around her neck!)

Henceforth the tide
truly turns n
keep turning
I’m thinking.
When, no there’s
not a chance
not in this world?!

‘Andare Seeni Kaapu Haeti’ *
is the legendary tale
about the court jester
but today I see only
the “jaraava kaapu
kaapu dhena “*
from the bottom to the very top
n the “pagaa”* gets added
on to every item purchased
as sum one once said
in a
Cost + Loss
manipulation!

So the prices soar
with no need for wings
they rise to unlimited
heights with none
to haul them down!

The poor
bear the burden
as they do
with their incomparable
agony in containing
the avid hunger!

HungryGoWhere
is a foodie App
where I come from
over here there is nowhere
to go when hungry
except to
take to the streets!

I move from “bath kade”*
to plush hotel
n back
with no remedy
nor answer
in site
I languish
lamenting at the plight
of this country
of mine!

Then of a sudden
a gleam rises
in the far distance
for me
it’s the answer
I’ve been luking for
n it was always there
but it never dawned
on me until
Now –

I return home
to where I live
(by the sea)
knowing my answer
was rite –
And I dream
Actually dream.
of people dressed
in various outfits
sum in military uniform
others in sci-fi gear
Goose-stepping in columns!
what does this mean –
We r in for a future
of a dictatorship!

A dictatorship
with all the rite
answers
so not only u n I but
everyone out there
will b able
to fill their stomachs
not with “jaraava”*
but with “kaema”*!

Returning back home
on the flite
I’m in the aisle seat
but I see two
shooting stars
Leap high!
from the window
as we move
towards descent
It’s a definite sign
for me! 

*Taking u in a circuitous rout the way the Sinhalese took the Portuguese to the Sinhalese kingdom to meet the king

*Literally hungry army

*How Andare ate sugar

*Refers to those who accept bribes. Literally eating filth

*Bribes

*Shops selling rice n curry

*Refering to bribes as filth

*Food

The high points of our (forced) trip to Sri Lanka:

Receptionist at The Department of Immigration and Emigration, Battaramulla, Sri Lanka
Uber driver who drove us from Battaramulla to Mt Lavinia
Mr n Mrs Wijetunga #10, Lillian Av. Mrs Wijetunga formerly Ms Padma Daluwatta past Visakhian. Found by accident
Mr n Mrs Abeysuriya Anglers Restaurant Mt Lavinia
Nilu. Mrs Wijesundara’s friend
Tuk tuk driver who introduced us to Gem Mine
Gem Mine
Galleface Green
Chanditha of Catamaran restaurant Mt Lavinia beach
Food service n ambience at Catamaran restaurant
Saaravita kaaraya on Mt Lavinia beach
Painter Bernard Perera from whom I bought a painting on Mt beach
Bombai motai kaaraya in Mt
Hoppers at top of Station Road Mt Lavinia
Shanaka Rodrigo of Green Cabin
Food ambience n service at Green Cabin
Chef at Cafe Che
Cafe Che #60 Stratford Avenue Colombo 06
My traveling companion Anoma Marapana on the way by train to Galle
Waella kade Galle
Galle Fort
Ho Chi Minh bust at the Colombo Public Library n Victoria Park
Mohammed Samur of Hotel Raheema
Godhamba roti pilau rice vegetable n mutton kurma n faluda at Hotel Raheema
Krisantha Sri Bhaagiyadatta n writers n musicians at Poetry P’lau
Poetry P’lau
Our dear friends n family
Nandana Seneviratna who drove us cruising on the highway back to the airport

 

By Sharmini Jayawardena

Photo by Sharmini Jayawardena






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