26 November 2014

Dear Percy, your Membership Card is ready*

Yep, you touched it up nicely. We own it though.  But we feel generous.  Come join us.  Membership is yours, if you want.
There’s a cluster of caste-based villages off the Kurunegala-Anuradhapura (via Ella) road, about three kilometers from Galgamuwa when you are going towards Thambuttegama.  I read somewhere that although there were several castes the villages themselves didn’t contain them.  There would be kumbal or potter-caste people who lived in the geographical area that was generally taken to be ‘govi-land’ or territory associated with the farmer/farming caste and vice versa.  And yet if you asked one of these mis-residence people which village they belonged to, they would immediately name the village associated with their respective caste. 
It’s the same with Kolombians.  We are not all from Colombo 3 or Colombo 7 and not all of us live in these two areas of the city with lush avenues and fine architecture.  We don’t have to.  We just have to identify ourselves and be identified in return as authentic Kolombians.  It’s about the clubs we frequent. It’s about our English pronunciation.  It’s about who we know and who are ready to claim they know us.  We could be living in Mt Lavinia or Kaduwela, Athurugiriya or Wattala, Galle or Kandy, but if we have that Col 3/7 way about us, we are members.  If we don’t, we are yakkos.  Simple. 
We don’t like Mahinda.  Well, we do benefit from what he does, but we don’t like him.  It’s not about the schools he attended or where he was born; it’s about who his friends are, his English proficiency and a certain lack of Kolombian elegance about him.  All this we could have suffered; after all Ranasinghe Premadasa was not a Kolombian and we didn’t mind him at all. 
Our problem right now is that we can’t find a good enough reason to support Mahinda.  We can’t convince ourselves that he is some kind of Kolombian adjunct or an ‘associate member’.  If we could, then we wouldn’t have this headache.  We would love to support the guy but instead we are in a situation where we have to support someone like Ranil Wickremesinghe.
I’ve spent so many sleepless nights thinking of stuff that begin with ‘if only…’  Just the other day, I thought to myself, ‘what if Mahinda became a Kolombian?’  I asked myself ‘can’t we give him honorary membership?’  I thought to myself, ‘if only that had Mahinda chosen to go with his middle name, Percy, life would have been so much nicer’.  The name counts.  ‘Don Stephen’ as well as his son ‘Dudley’ were Nobodies but they did become ‘Somebodies’ (another word for Kolombians according to our political-cultural dictionary).  I believe the process is called ‘Sanskritization’ where you acquire the habits, customs and other ways of the community/class you want to join.  They worked hard.  In fact if you traced the ancestry of any random Kolombian you will find that we all had an ancestor who was a Nobody who somehow became a Somebody. 
This is the problem with Mahinda.  He’s just not interested in becoming a Somebody.  He never wanted to be called Percy.  That’s one bus he missed.   He could have surrounded himself with some Kolombians.  Some Kolombianness would have invariably have rubbed off on him.  Had he started in 2005, he would not only have become a Kolombian, we would have hailed him as the most celebrated Kolombian ever.  Another bus he missed. 
Mahinda is a Somebody but he’s not a Kolombian.  We’d rather have a Nobody who is a Kolombian if we can’t have a Kolombian-Somebody (whether or not he was a Nobody before) but there’s no one who can fit the bill.   And then that Kolombian Wannabe Akila Viraj calls him a Baiya and Mahinda, true to form, embraces it!  Why does he have to go out of his way to ruin his chances of getting Kolombian Citizenship?  It’s a green card that’s his for the taking and the man insists on doing everything to ensure he doesn’t get it.  Doesn’t he get it?  

Other articles in this series:
English is a feel-good thing na?
*Everyone takes note.  Some keep notes.  Some in diaries and journals.  Some in their minds and hears.  Some of these are shared via email or on Facebook or blog; some are not.  Among these people are Kolombians, people from Colombo who know much -- so much that they are wont to think that others don't know and can't think.  This is the sixth in a series published in 'The Nation' under the title 'Notes of an Unrepentant Kolombian'.


තිස්ස දොඩන්ගොඩ said...

DBW & RP both had the same problem I assume - Resulted in "Doshabiyoga" & "Frnaciku Naadagama" by Kolombians!

Any thoughts about infamous '62 ??

Nilooka Dissanayake said...

Percy don't want no Kolombian green card. Thank you very much.

BTW, wasn't R Premadasa as much a Kolombian due to where he's from, only not in the same 'clubs' so to say? I guess Sucharitha is not posh/cultured enough. He was an in-your-face Kolombian and no one could say he wasn't; that was why he was tolerated.

Signed, Another 'no thank you very much type of non-Kolombian'

PS. Is Maithree a Kolombian or wanna be?

sbarrkum said...

Why should Percy care.

His sons, Brother In Law etc are dyed in the wool Colombians who went/sent to the right school (STC) and played the Kolombian exclusive game of Rugby.