“The Fog of War”

Truth.Memory.Fiction
There is a wonderful phrase “the fog of war”. What the fog of war means is, war is so complex, it’s beyond the ability of the human mind to comprehend all the variables. Our judgement, our understanding are not adequate, and we kill people unnecessarily. Words by Robert McNamara, in the shattering, haunting documentary The Fog of War – Eleven ...

Taking Refuge in the Muslim Quarter

Truth.Memory.Fiction
My brother was wandering the streets alone, fighting back tears.  My brother was searching for his mother, our mother, and his sister. One of the most extraordinary events of our lives had just taken place. Not half an hour before,  he had been what you would expect of a twelve year old boy – avoiding homework, telling tall tales and ...

The Afrikaner Men Who Made Me Want To Be More

Truth.Memory.Fiction
I had turned up as a scrawny teenager in their classrooms, with a tormented past, having missed months (years?) of school, unable to follow conversational English, let alone speak it. The slow dismantling of the Apartheid system had forced this once white-only school, in the heart of Transkei, to admit non-white students, and yet the teachers remained all-white – a mixture ...

From Around the Web: In Charge

Truth.Memory.Fiction
A score never chased in world cup history. Against a team we’ve never beaten in any form of the game. One run to win. One ball remaining. And Dilani Manodara hits it for a SIX! It’s a shocker ladies and gentlemen. The girls have thrilled and delighted us! You can see a video summary of the match here and the ...

An Istanbul Encounter

Truth.Memory.Fiction
The two beautiful women, with a hint of glamour about them, sat nestled together on the long red soft sofa, the large white duvet with colourful circles drawn up to their chests and spilling down to the wooden floor in waves, their freshly showered scent filling the softly lit room. The broad face and innocent welcoming eyes of one and ...

Free (and cleaned up) e-book: “The Village in the Jungle”

Truth.Memory.Fiction
Downloads: EPUB | PDF Leonard Woolf’s novel, The Village in the Jungle, is available for free on archive.org. The e-book is available both as a scanned version of a physical book, and also as OCR-ed versions (where the scanned pages have been automatically converted to machine text). The versions rendered by OCR, however, are pretty bad. They are at best ...

From Around the Web: Outside In

Truth.Memory.Fiction
Cinema is needed to help us reflect on life. An interview with director Asoka Handagama about his latest movie Ini Avan (Him, Here, After / இனி அவன்). Charles and Jenny would sit opposite each other in the shade of the porch outside the kitchen, their legs spread out in front of them, bare feet touching. The food would be in ...

House Clearing

Truth.Memory.Fiction
There is a kind of beauty to reclaiming a house from the weeds. We always started early, to do as much digging and pulling before the sun begins to singe the skin. It is methodical. Inch by inch we battle the unwanted plants – such abundance of it – and we win. The land emerges from under the suffocation of ...

The Descent of Man

Truth.Memory.Fiction
1986, the year bombs fell from the sky in Sri Lanka for the first time since  Japan bombed Colombo and Trinco in 1942. You will be bombed today Dear little ones This afternoon the silence Of expectation Of something in the air Will be punctured You are not yet as an animal In the jungle Skittish and alert This is the beginning Of your descent Here we go

The Descent of Man

Truth.Memory.Fiction
  You will be bombed today Dear little ones This afternoon the silence Of expectation Of something in the air Will be punctured You are not yet as an animal In the jungle Skittish and alert This is the beginning Of your descent Here we go

An Alaskan Encounter

Truth.Memory.Fiction
“Where are you from?” he asked. We were standing outside at the Hot Spot Cafe, north of the Yukon River, the only place for miles along the Dalton Highway in Alaska. It was late at night, but it was light out. I was hugging myself against the late summer chill. “Sri Lanka,” I said. “Hmm… Sri Lanka… How do you ...

From Around the Web

Truth.Memory.Fiction
Then one night I awoke screaming and realized that the house had been set ablaze. My neighbours burned my house because they thought I had HIV. Princey Mangalika, founder of the Positive Women’s Network (PWN+), recalls her journey. She received the Red Ribbon Award this year. I felt that the way women experienced loss and trauma was very different from ...

A Country that Forgot Ten Million Deaths

Truth.Memory.Fiction
I was reclining on the grassy bank next to my tall lanky pale friend. Peter was like a brother to me. The glorious summer sun was beating down on us and shimmering off the pond. “You know, there was a village from Congo reconstructed where we are seated,” he said. “What are you talking about?” “King Leopold had a whole ...

That Space in the Mind

Truth.Memory.Fiction
There are boundaries, physical boundaries, that are mapped on to the mind. “Thangachi, don’t go by the Old Park Road.” “Did you hear? Don’t go by the Old Park Road.” “Yes, mother.” Death lurks by Old Park road. Conspiracies are whispered. Each morning, Old Park Road funnels hundreds of boys and girls, in their starched white uniforms and striped red ...

From Around the Web

Truth.Memory.Fiction
We are walking endlessly inside a narrow circle built by the past without having the ability to break it open. From Remembering The Martyrs And Traitors, an opinion piece by Mahendran Thiruvarangan, Colombo Telegraph. …that terrible time, years Compelling a revised image of ourselves, years When all discourse, all thought Yielded to an orchestration of silences From the poem Pasan ...

Leaving Sri Lanka: Part 2: The Journey

Truth.Memory.Fiction
Part 1 Fishing boats at Rameshwaram. The same boats used to smuggle people. Photo by Ravindraboopathi. When the on-board motor had failed to start the previous night, it seemed a force outside our knowing, good, evil or benign – it couldn’t be told, was playing tricks on us. I had imagined, that at the end of the journey, waited a sunlit room ...

Who doesn’t Love the Net?

Truth.Memory.Fiction
Set recorded live at Arugum Bay full moon party. 1am – 2am Siddhatha, Recorded Live @ Arugum Bay FM Party, Sri Lanka by Siddhatha Only the children turning fallen palmyra trunks into boats and paddling across the water with the oars of time have vanished From: Bridging Connections – Poetry dealing with the passing of time: a blog post by Rajiva ...

“Will you talk to me if I said I was Sri Lankan?”

Truth.Memory.Fiction
This is how much I loved cricket. In the first weeks of starting university, I had signed up for the first ever women’s cricket team. This was before women’s cricket was legitimate. We fought for net time and oval bookings with the boys and for recognition from the administration. True, we were not all that good, but we had mad ...

Leaving Sri Lanka: Part 1: Is This Really Happening?

Truth.Memory.Fiction
I saw my father’s face and knew he was not joking. “We are leaving,” was all he had said, still on his bicycle. I pushed off the ground and swung the gate open to let him in. We had in fact been packed for weeks. Our previous attempt had found us on the beach ready to board the boat, before ...

An Ode to Jaffna

Truth.Memory.Fiction
You taught me love for a language its scent is in my nostrils You showed me terror mind numbing soul annihilating terror and yet taught me to laugh at death Your sweet smelling earth under my nails and in my hair as metal turned to shards You gave me a stage and an audience so I could create new realities ...