A Haul from Sri Lanka

So, last December of the decade, I found myself in Sri Lanka. It was thanks to my parents who took pity on my desolate existence and took me along on one of their trips. And given my proclivity currently for books set in different countries, the only thing I added to the agenda is a tour of bookstores in Colombo.

First off, let me say, Colombo is a beautiful, beautiful city! I wish I could have spent more time there, roamed around more, maybe, gotten into the vibe more than as a tourist…but well. I did manage to squeeze a few bookstores in though, much to mum’s chagrin. And here’s that haul!

Upon a Sleepless Isle by Andrew Fidel Fernando: I was browsing an aisle of Sri Lankan literature in Barefoot; my hands were already bogged down with the first short-list of books, my indecision was gradually taking centre-stage when this man comes up and challenges me to read the first page of this book. What can I say, I couldn’t put it down! Luckily my dad walked in at this juncture before I could take any drastic, pocket-emptying decisions; but, this one survived.

Ravana is the villain of the Indian epic Ramayana. The story goes that he abducts Sita (wife of Ram) in return for defacing his sister (which was actually done by Ram’s brother laxman). Then, follows the war that’s the climax of the epic and the reason for Vishnu’s manifestation on earth as Ram. Lanka (which equates to modern Sri Lanka) was Ravana’s kingdom. While Indian mythology paints him as an erudite villain, Sri Lankans, I had heard, told stories of him from a very different perspective- as subjects of a just and noble warrior-king. I went in search of those stories and this was the only book I could find on the topic, gathering dust in a little bookstore called Bookland. I don’t know if this is what I was looking for, in fact, since I haven’t read it yet; but, I don’t think I’ll regret the buy since anything to do with Indian mythology is gold with me.

The blurb gave the description of a character who’s cynical realism seemed to resonate a lot with me. Also, I want to be well-prepared for imaginary sexual exploits.

A little corner of a huge mall was stuffed with piles of books and managed by a man who gave the impression of having read all of them. I asked him to recommend a book which can give me the taste of Sri Lanka and this was my pick among those recommendations. The blurb makes it sound like a heart-rending story, so, I’m going to pick it up when I’m prepared for a good cry.

This was another find in that little store called Bookland which caught my attention with its wicker gate, wooden name plate and lovely climbers all over. I don’t know why I picked this particular book up though. Probably because it looked old; vintage, aged wine and all that jazz…

In that same Sri Lankan literature aisle, before the kind man came by, this book cover caught my eye, interested me in the blurb, and hooked me with the random page I read. So, I saved it from my dad’s chopping block.

I didn’t buy this- my dad did, for my niece and nephew. But, they’re just babies yet with no interest in anything beyond their own developing milestones. So, I- who has failed at every attempt to read the Bhagavad Gita– stole it in a fit of optimism. Hopefully, I’ll read it before I enter the stage of integrity and despair.

Short stories give me the freedom to close the book whenever I choose to and since, I’ve to read all my books piecemeal thanks to the demands of life, an anthology is always an easy pick. Also, these are tales from the history and folklore of Sri Lanka, probably stories that kids there grew up on; so, what can be a better way of getting the pulse of a country than to tap into some local mythology?

Well, that’s the last of my haul. I had a grand time carrying them through the immigration of two countries and an extra flight home. I had an even grander time rearranging my books to make space for the new ones. I discovered that space is a myth in the process. Either which way, I do really (no sarcasm) feel grand about having some international literature on my shelves and can’t wait to dive into them.

But, exams come first.

Happy Reading!


2 thoughts on “A Haul from Sri Lanka

  1. Y the love for Rama ? Ravana was an extra-ordinary man ,without any peer in that time and upto date in India.

    As per the Valmiki Ramayana,Rama was an impotent gay pansy,a coward, a murderer,a man who pimped his wife,who was born out of bestiality and who was an impotentica !

    Y do Lankans allow the celebration of Dewali and a vilification of their national hero ? dindooohindoo

    The Proof is below :

    Case 1 – Rama told Sita to whore herself- this is in the Valmiki Ramayana

    Chapter [Sarga] 115

    तद्गच्छ त्वानुजानेऽद्य यथेष्टं जनकात्मजे |
    एता दश दिशो भद्रे कार्यमस्ति न मे त्वया || ६-११५-१८

    “O Seetha! That is why, I am permitting you now. Go wherever you like. All these ten directions are open to you, my dear lady! There is no work to be done to me, by you.”

    तदद्य व्याहृतं भद्रे मयैतत् कृतबुद्धिना |
    लक्ष्मणे वाथ भरते कुरु बुद्धिं यथासुखम् || ६-११५-२२

    “O gracious lady! Therefore, this has been spoken by me today, with a resolved mind. Set you mind on Lakshmana or Bharata, as per your ease.”

    įatrughne vätha sugréve räkņase vä vibhéņaëe |
    niveįaya manaų séte yathä vä sukhamätmanaų || 6-115-23

    “O Seetha! Otherwise, set your mind either on Shatrughna or on Sugreeva or on Vibhishana the demon; or according to your own comfort.”

    Case 2 – Sita called Rama an Impotent Pansy

    Book II : Ayodhya Kanda – Book Of Ayodhya Chapter[Sarga] 30

    किम् त्वा अमन्यत वैदेहः पिता मे मिथिला अधिपः | राम जामातरम् प्राप्य स्त्रियम् पुरुष विग्रहम् || २-३०-३

    “What my father, the king of Mithila belonging to the country of Videha, think of himself having got as so-in-law you, a woman having the form of a man?”

    अनृतम् बल लोको अयम् अज्ञानात् यद्द् हि वक्ष्यति | तेजो न अस्ति परम् रामे तपति इव दिवा करे || २-३०-४

    Case 3 – Rama killed a Sudra to save the son of a Brahmin ! Also because the Sudra was studying the Vedas

    Book 7, the ‘Uttarakanda’ [Final Chapter], sargas 73-76, in the Adhyatma Ramayana version of Ramayana.

    When Rama is reigning as a virtuous king, a humble aged Brahmin comes to him, weeping, with his dead son in his arms. He says that Rama must have committed some sin, or else his son would not have died.

    (74) The sage Narada explains to Rama that a Shudra is practicing penances, and this is the cause of the child’s death.

    (75) Rama goes on a tour of inspection in his flying chariot, and finds an ascetic doing austerities, and asks who he is. ”

    (76) Hearing the [inquiring] words of Rama of imperishable exploits, that ascetic, his head still hanging downwards [as part of his austerities] answered:— ‘O Rama, I was born of a Shudra alliance and I am performing this rigorous penance in order to Conquer the heavens with this body. Lord Rama killed him due to his bad intentions and there by giving Shambuka his Moksha.

    Case 4 – Rama;s mother had sex with a Horse !

    Book I : Bala Kanda – The Youthful Majesties

    Chapter [Sarga] 14
    Queen Kausalya desiring the results of ritual disconcertedly resided one night with that horse that flew away like a bird. [1-14-34]

    Case 5 – Was Rama a Gay Monkey ?

    Book VI : Yuddha Kanda – Book Of War

    Chapter [Sarga] 128

    आजानुलम्बिबाहुश्च महास्कन्धः प्रतापवान् |
    लक्ष्मणानुचरो रामः पृथिवीमन्वपालयत् || ६-१२८-९७

    That Rama, having his long arms reaching down his knees, having a broad chest and glorious, ruled this earth with Lakshmana as his companion.

    No humans has arms reaching to the knees ! Is Rama an Ape ?

    Rama ruled for 10000 years with Lakshmana – as HIS COMPANION ? What about Seeta Maiya ? What do have here ? A Gay Monkey !
    Rama spent 12 years with Lakshmana and Apes, with no sex with a woman – so he became Gay –so what – it is all evolution !
    As per Ramayana – Rama ruled happily ever after for 1000 years, with Lakshmana by his side (not Seeta) – it is all the Gay Thing (although Uttarakandam says that Rama and Seeta made merry for 10000 years – as miya bibi – but that was to neuter the Gay Theory of the Valmiki Ramayana)
    Also, the Ramayana says that Rama had hands till his knees, and that explains his love and fondness for all apes and monkeys
    Rama the Limpdick spent 12 years with Lakshmana, in a jungle, with no sex – and was sexually frustrated , and then Vali was banging his brother’s wife – and so, Rama the Limpdick killed Vali – it is all OK La !

    Case 6 – And the proof is the limpdick of Rama !

    This is Hanooman describing the UNDERSIZED LIMPDICK VIRILE MEMBRANE OF RAMA ! (Don’t ask how did Hanooman know)

    Book V : Sundara Kanda – Book Of Beauty
    Chapter [Sarga] 35
    18.
    “He has three folds in the skin of his neck and belly. He is depressed at three places (viz. the middle of his soles, the lines on his soles and the nipples).

    He is undersized at four places (viz. the neck, membran virile, the back and the shanks). He is endowed with three spirals in the hair of his head.

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    1. Hi Samir, thank you for your comment on my post and for taking the time to explain your stance. I’ll address each of your points before I answer your questions.

      1. The part where Ram speaks down to Sita and demeans her character were never glorified in the story. Even the need for an “agni-pariksha” to prove her fidelity were contested by the very Gods in the epic. This is also followed by Ram’s explanation that while he might be divine, in his avatar as the common man, he has to endure the rules of mortal realm and thus, he spoke such biting words.
      This was not said to absolve him in any way. In fact, the entire Uttarakanda takes place because Ram again gives in to his material principles and banishes Sita. But, he is later avenged upon by his sons Lav-Khush for this very reason and Sita never does go back to him.

      2. What you’ve given is a definite case of misinterpretation. This passage is from the part where Sita is trying to convince Ram to take her along on the Vanvaas (forest). Understanding the context would place the title “woman in the form of a man” upon her father who would be crest-fallen to have a married daughter home, left behind by her husband.
      There are other interpretations of this particular verse for which I direct you to http://www.ibiblio.org/sripedia/srirangasri/archives/nov04/msg00139.html and none of them are about impotence or “pansy” in any way.

      3. The story of Shambuka is a contentious one based on that it was never a part of Valmiki’s Ramayana and makes no sense knowing the character of Ram. Nevertheless, in your own words you’ve characterized Shambuka as being one with bad intentions and of course, then it would be Ram’s duty to slay him.
      Another point to be made here is that castes weren’t heredity-based or as rigid as we’d like to believe in that time. The populace was divided based on their principles (guna) and duty (karma)- its maintenance was akin to asking a carpenter to stay away from fixing fractures. Rather reasonable, wouldn’t you say?

      4. This is an interesting point you bring up and it appears like yes, there was some sort of a ritualistic intercourse involving a horse that took place to conceive Ram and his brothers. I also think, due to the use of the word “disconcertedly”, that Kausalya was no more happy about this than you and I.

      5 & 6. These are jokes, right?
      Interpreting Mahabaahu to be long-armed like an ape is akin to a 2 year old thinking “mind-blown” means really bombing your brain. As for gayness, sexuality started being strictly boxed quite recently. Lets not devalue those times of freedom with our current narrow-mindedness. Also, if you wish to understand every companionship as including sexual favours, that’s just sad.

      Finally, to answer your question, I’m not a fangirl of Ram. But, I love the Ramayana. Ram, for me, is one of the characters who’s flawed and glorified as the story demands. I don’t worship him and nor do I worship Ravana. Mine is a purely academic pursuit.

      As for the Sri Lankans, you’d do well to ask a Sri Lankan. Though from looking at your history on the internet, you don’t seem to require my advice. You’ve been spamming the “limpdick” narrative in very random forums. Any which way, I hope you can get over your issues. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a Hindu or Muslim, whether you’re a Brahmin or Shudra, whether you’re Indian or from somewhere else- you’ll live and die as you choose to.
      Keep safe.

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