07 May 2023


Thursday is just one of seven days of the week. All named. It has the same number of hours, minutes and seconds that make a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday. It may be significant for some people for some specific reason; a doctor’s appointment, a child’s school event scheduled for that day, a sporting event looked forward to, a particular program on radio or television. Any of these could also happen on any other day of the week.

There may be more rain this coming Thursday or the Thursday that just passed than was or will be recorded on any other day. Someone must have been drenched for want of an umbrella or the convenience of some kind of shelter, but people do get drenched on other days too. Somewhere.

Days of the week, whenever I reflect on them, take me to a story I read a long time ago about someone who was trapped in an eternal Monday.  An endless corridor at the end of which is a door that opens to another long passage at the end of which is another door. Or a mirror that recedes as you approach it. Something that all your senses say ‘cannot be’ and ‘a worthless pursuit,’ and yet which you will not give up on.  

Those who are lost in the indescribable magic of the first flush of love come closest to comprehending endlessness. Well, they and those who have to contend with that which will never return. Grief is not endless, but the irreversibility stays and stays. And then again there are those who await simply because not doing so would mean death; they too know, inhabit and are intimately aware of endlessness.

It does not crush the heart, no. You may think it does, but that resilient piece of human flesh is endowed with primordial powers of resuscitation and resurrection. Only, it allows the consolation of unscheduled pinpricks which enable its owner to remember and grieve, grieve and rejoice in the fact of having loved to the point of submitting to the cruelest cuts that can be inflicted by a sword made of the sharpest words or the equally sharp blade of silence.

Pick a day of the week. Pick a month. Pick a year which does not end on the 31st day of December but throws you back to the first day of January of the same year. Pick a Thursday, why not?

A Thursday longed for, a Thursday lived, a Thursday that will never come again. There’s one for everyone and one just for you. One for just you and that someone else with whom alone that day is a Thursday like no other.  

It may have rained on that indescribable and inimitable Thursday or it may have not. Thursday could be a moment in time, a park bench, a bus halt, a street corner, a fragrance or a song that someone played and you heard or one that slipped surreptitiously into mind and heart and refused to leave.

And so if it rains (or if it does not), if you see a park bench or didn’t see one, if you see a bus halt or a bus, turned at any street corner, caught some strange perfume or remembered one, heard music played by someone else, just tuned into a random radio station or showered with silence called forth melody, you could suddenly realise, ‘today is Thursday.'

THE Thursday. The Thursday you belong to, a Thursday of a room made of mirrors, a Thursday of a promise at the end of a long corridor opening to another long corridor at the far end of which hangs a sign that says ‘enter’ and once you enter you find as long a passage with similar invitations which too just cannot be ignored.  

It doesn’t rain every single day. But it might. It is not Thursday every single day, but there will be a Thursday.  Someone will take your hand and walk with you to a city called Friday, a circus called Saturday, a concert titled 'Sunday,’ an ocean called Monday, a movie called Tuesday and a pageant unlike any you’ve seen before where fire dances spin out fire-letters that spell ‘Wednesday.’ You might even be delighted. You might even smile. And you might even turn around, who knows, just to say ‘thank you,’ only to find it’s your lover from centuries long done and lifetimes lived out. Thursday.

You cannot erase Thursday. Not completely. It will return again and again like the memory that an amputee has of a lost limb which torments with an itch that is felt but cannot be scratched to the point of oblivion. It would be folly to embrace Thursday as you would a lover whose arrival was anticipated for so long that you fear the person, the moment and love would dissolve if the clasp was light. It would be meaningless to brush away a Thursday which on account of having lost all corporeality will float back at will.

Thursday. It’s for caressing. Touching and yet leaving untouched. And in this way you could allow Thursday to walk you to a river, step on to the awaiting raft with you, cross the waters placid or turbulent without mishap, and once you reach the beckoning shore, step into a world that is so timeless that days can never be named. 

['The Morning Inspection' is the title of a column I wrote for the Daily News from 2009 to 2011, one article a day, Monday through Saturday. This is a new series. Links to previous articles in this new series are given below]

Other articles in this series:

Deveni: a priceless one-word koan

Enlightening geometries

Let's meet at 'The Commons'

It all begins with a dot

Recovering run-on lines and lost punctuation

'Wetness' is not the preserve of the Dry Zone

On sweeping close to one's feet

Kumkum Fernando installs Sri Lanka in Coachella, California

To be an island like the Roberts...

Debts that can never be repaid in full

An island which no flood can overwhelm

Who really wrote 'Mother'?

A melody faint and yet not beyond hearing

Heart dances that cannot be choreographed

Remembering to forget and forgetting to remember

On loving, always

Authors are assassinated, readers are immortal

When you turn 80...

It is good to be conscious of nudities 

Saturday slides in after Monday and Sunday somersaults into Friday 

There's a one in a million and a one in ten

Gunadasa Kapuge is calling

Kumkum Fernando installs Sri Lanka in Coachella, California

Hemantha Gunawardena's signature

Pathways missed

Architectures of the demolished

The exotic lunacy of parting gifts

Who the heck do you think I am?

Those fascinating 'Chitra Katha'

The Mangala Sabhava

So how are things in Sri Lanka?

The most beautiful father

Palmam qui meruit ferat

The sweetest three-letter poem

Buddhangala Kamatahan

An Irish and Sri Lankan Hello

Teams, team-thinking, team-spirit and leadership

The songs we could sing in lifeboats when we are shipwrecked

Pure-Rathna, a class act

Jekhan Aruliah set a ball rolling in Jaffna

Awaiting arrivals unlike any other

Teachers and students sometimes reverse roles

Matters of honor and dignity

Yet another Mother's Day

A cockroach named 'Don't'

Colombo, Colombo, Colombo and so forth

The slowest road to Kumarigama, Ampara

Sweeping the clutter away

Some play music, others listen

Completing unfinished texts

Mind and hearts, loquacious and taciturn

I am at Jaga Food, where are you?

On separating the missing from the disappeared

Moments without tenses

And intangible republics will save the day (as they always have)

The world is made of waves


The circuitous logic of Tony Muller

Rohana Kalyanaratne, an unforgettable 'Loku Aiya'

Mowgli, the Greatest Archaeologist

Figures and disfigurement, rocks and roses

Sujith Rathnayake and incarcerations imposed and embraced

Some stories are written on the covers themselves

A poetic enclave in the Republic of Literature

Landcapes of gone-time and going-time 

The best insurance against the loud and repeated lie

So what if the best flutes will not go to the best flautists?

There's dust and words awaiting us at crossroads and crosswords

The books of disquiet

A song of terraced paddy fields

Of ants, bridges and possibilities

From A through Aardvark to Zyzzyva 

World's End

Words, their potency, appropriation and abuse

Street corner stories

Who did not listen, who's not listening still?

The book of layering

If you remember Kobe, visit GOAT Mountain

The world is made for re-colouring

The gift and yoke of bastardy

The 'English Smile'

No 27, Dickman's Road, Colombo 5

Visual cartographers and cartography

Ithaca from a long ago and right now

Lessons written in invisible ink

The amazing quality of 'equal-kindness'

A tea-maker story seldom told

On academic activism

The interchangeability of light and darkness

Back to TRADITIONAL rice

Sisterhood: moments, just moments

Chess is my life and perhaps your too

Reflections on ownership and belonging

The integrity of Nadeesha Rajapaksha

Signatures in the seasons of love

To Maceo Martinet as he flies over rainbows

Sirith, like pirith, persist

Fragrances that will not be bottled 

Colours and textures of living heritage

Countries of the past, present and future

A degree in creative excuses

Books launched and not-yet-launched

The sunrise as viewed from sacred mountains

The ways of the lotus

Isaiah 58: 12-16 and the true meaning of grace

The age of Frederick Algernon Trotteville

Live and tell the tale as you will

Between struggle and cooperation

Of love and other intangibles

Neruda, Sekara and literary dimensions

The universe of smallness

Paul Christopher's heart of many chambers

Calmness gracefully cascades in the Dumbara Hills

Serendipitous amber rules the world

Continents of the heart



Anonymous said...

‘A Thursday longed for, a Thursday lived, a Thursday that will never come again.’
‘There’s one for everyone and one just for you. One for just you and that someone else with whom alone that day is a Thursday like no other.’
Love this!!