Friday, May 10, 2019

Murdered for love හෙවත් අනිච්ඡාවත සංකාරා : Resharing my short story that was published on femasia magazine.

A woman was killed in my neighbourhood in 2011, because of Love!

I saw it with my own eyes, as did the many who were around.

Millions of women are getting killed everywhere in the world but, is this story a different one?

Death is such a banal subject because everyone who is born must die and death happens in many ways. How boring it is to die at the age of 99, surrounded by the lollipop -sucking great grandchildren who always wished your death so that they can have a nice family get together in the name of a funeral! Death has ceased to shock me after I saw her being killed. 
Natural death and being killed by someone else are two different things. Murdered. Murdered for no reason. Murdered to shock others. Murdered to murder sensitive living beings. I saw it, this murder, that is why I am telling you all, again and again. , Now,  I can’t erase the memory.

When you see something, it remains inside you forever, it tattoos in your brain cells, bad pictures, dirty pictures, especially. That is why I envy the blind because they see the world in pitch black like the darkest night of Amawaka; and they believe beautiful, multicolour things exist outside their deformed eyes. I just want to whisper into their ears: stay blind! You can hear from one ear and then forget it from the other ear, you can smell from the nose and then exhale in the next breath: short-lived pleasures, the mouth, doesn’t have any value at all except for your constant need to jabber. Eyes, they grab the image, they store it and then they constantly torture you until you find a way to release it. That was what happened to me when the murder took place: I could not believe my eyes! 

I am taking some time, to introduce my heroine, oh, I am sorry she can’t be a heroine if she was killed, rather a tragic heroine, because they taught us at the university we should wait to introduce the characters and we should not introduce them directly at any cost because it would kill the story. So, if you are impatient to know her name, why she was killed, you will have to wait because I am writing a short story, it is not storytelling for kids, this is serious work, as is my theme: Death.

No one asked me to write about her, but when I saw her dying, when her breath went out on the air, I was determined to myself that I should write about her. I thought it would make a great story one day if I was able to write it down in English or in French, so the members of the book clubs will read it enthusiastically; the tragedies happening in the Third world while having their tea. Now you are curious, I know because I did not tell the country, again I don’t have a right to tell everything in a story:  they would call it a description, they would say it is too direct. I am sorry, I will introduce the setting later. Promise, it is just that you have to be a bit patient when it comes to Literature. Now the ladies who read this would cry if they are sensitive enough, I am planning to have a business partnership with a tissue company as well. But I am not sure whether this is a tear jerker or the greatest tragedy is ever written, I cannot assure you of the tears, therefore at least keep an onion with you, to cut. Gentlemen will start to look at the literary aspects of the story, try to find a storyline or themes and make a hell out of it.  I would indeed be glad!!

I can call her Prema, although I can’t remember her name properly.  Now, I can’t telephone Amma to verify whether she is Prema, Ramya or Seetha. Names are just names. They don’t carry any meaning, even though we were supposed to have a name with meaning at birth according to the astrology. All the fathers in this exotic island run to the astrologer with the birth time of the baby to find the auspicious letters to name the baby. It reminds me of the famous Sinhala  song :

Pin malu wale Kusalhami malu baanwa
Sil aran awith Seelawthi makuno maranwa
Dhanapala unath miniha maha paree hinganwa
mama ahala nene Sathyapala aththa kiyanawa

Mr. Kusalhami alias The Good Karma fishing in the lake
Mrs. Seelawathi alias  The Pious observes Sil and then comes home to kill Bedbugs
The one whose name is Mr. Dhanapala, the Richest is begging on the Road.
I have never heard Mr. Sathyapala , alias The Truth,  speak a single word of truth !

Prema means Love, you can add nuances to the name Premawathi, Premani, Prem Leela. Well, that’s her name: Prema.

Now, I am supposed to create a bit of atmosphere because death does not come  in a banal way: it should be dramatised, you know like in films, it is indeed an entertainment. But, the set was not well defined; neither was the cast , it was just a random thing. She screamed like a … I don’t know. She screamed for help, guessing perfectly what was on her way : The Death.

She screamed 
« Budu Ammooo, Bera Ganiyoo, Moo Mawa Maranna Enawaooo! »

Yes, those were her words, exact words which made all the neighbours yelp as well. If I could translate it directly into English, I would say she screamed :
( Sacred Mother, Save me!, This beast is coming to kill me!)
Would an English lady scream like that?
I also heard a man shouting in utter filth. It was so common to hear filth from that part of our neighborhood, which we were always ashamed to talk of. But, as kids they were our entertainment providers because we get to hear all the bad words which we were not allowed to hear in day today life. Therefore, it was with great pleasure!  I remember some of our dear neighbours who were the sole providers of such joy in our miserable, virtuous lives.

I heard the cry but it did not move me from my bed to leave behind the novel I was reading, I respond to sound so slowly. It was the yelling of my mother next to my window which made me get up. Is blood  thicker than water ? Anything can be thicker than water, even curry. 

« Come here quickly, That man is going to kill her, Come now, watch, Be quick, Aiyoo, Come out from your room. What the hell you are doing? Always locked up in the room. Come out. Come here,  we can see it from here, hurry up! »

Now did you all feel a rush in those words? Are you all holding you breath? I did, at that time. Should I be generous, and make you feel what I felt?

My mother who loves drama, who is also dramatic, who is naturally sensitive to all the gossips in the village while perfectly staying at home, was crying quite naturally. It needs a little word to make her cry, so I thought this was normal, a normal situation where loud domestic fights do occur on a regular basis.

Village women next to Prema’s house also wailed 

«  Aiyoo, Kawuruth Neddo, Anee Deviyane, Kawru Hari ennako! »

If you scream in English you would say «  Oh God, Isn’t there anyone around? Please help! »

But will they come?

No one moved but continued to screech.

Now where is the sophisticated villain with the guns? Instead, I saw a middle-aged man clad in a dirty sarong and unbuttoned shirt, running down to her rented a small house, with a sword in one hand and holding the border of the sarong on the other hand. He ran at such a speed that time actually stopped. I think this man was chasing her around for a while, which made her scream and made her got out of her house and run to another house.

So, we started to watch the scene. He dragged her out from the place where she was hiding while she was desperate to run, he grabbed her by her hair and started to beat her and shake her. She was so tiny I could only see a black little thing being shaken here and there.

« Ko thope podi eka, thota maath ekka enna beri unane, Ko thope podi eka »
(Where is the little bastard? You could not come with me. Where the hell is the baby ? )

He yelled like…a devil even though I have not seen a real devil, I thought the Devil must be someone like him. It was obvious he was drunk, he must have drunk Kasippu which Ananda sold from a shrub even though I had never seen that, either. . I always smelled nasty-smelling men coming out from that shrub, spitting har on the floor when I passed by.

So, we were watching, my heart beat went fast, I was watching the scene from the hill which separated our house from theirs, across the yard, there was a lot of space, I was safe, we were safe, perfectly placed. My father dared to go near the fence and he watched the scene closely whereas we women watched it from far, sitting. Some men also came to watch the scene. We did not move an inch, all flabbergasted, waited for the next thing to happen. The screaming continued, Prema, the man, her neighbours.

Suddenly, I saw a little boy appearing in the scene, he couldn’t be more than 10 years old, wearing shorts and showing a naked chest, a tiny black creature.
He cried so hard and pleaded :

« Anee thathe gahanna epa, aiyoo gahanna epa !» 
( Oh, Dear Father, don’t hit, please don’t hit! )

He was the only to plead.

The Man shouted «  Ayin weyan yako, gedara palayan! » 
( Get lost, buggar, Go home! )
The boy decide to coil around his father’s legs like a snake, yes this time I found the correct simile, and he continued to beg,

“Aiyyo thathe, mokuth karanna epa eyata!”
(Oh, Dear Father, don’t do any thing to her!)

whilst the man continued to beat her, to drain all her energy out, and kept on threatening her.

« Umba kiwwe neththen, mama umbawa manarawa! »
(If you don’t tell me, I will kill you!)

She continued to ask for help :

«  bera ganiyo, moo maranna handanwao » 
(Help, God, Help, This one is trying to kill me! )

Now, Is this happening really slow for you? I want to elaborate a bit. They did not negotiate, they did not have intervals to talk, they did not have commas, inverted commas, full stops, capitals, simples and translations. These were uttered in a rush within seconds. Shall we analyse a bit of grammar and the register of the language she used?

And he stabbed her, he stabbed her several times. I saw.

The little boy shouted from his throat. All the village women cried. Men watched.

He stabbed her again. She fell. Again he butchered her this time like the fishmonger who cut the fish against the wooden block. Chop, Chop, Chop.

She was a fish, the earth was a wooden block, ask the earth, I smelled the blood, I imagined the colour red. She lay flat. He continued to stab, with his unsharpened sword. She did not move a lot, this time.

Something broke inside me, my voice started. Tears started to cascade, throat went dry, blood rushed to my head, I started to shiver and words came out, yet I did not move.

«  Thathé, aiyoo thathé, Monawahari karannko , Anee ara manussayawa nathara karannako, aiyoo kawru hari nathara katannao , aduma ganne wathrua baalidyak wath gahnnako ? »
(Oh dad, Please go & save her, please do something, that man is killing her, can someone please stop that ? Can someone at least throw a bucket of water at him ? )

I asked the help of my father simply because he was the only man  I knew, my solution was a bucket of water to stop a murder. With all my innocence, I pleaded my father to go and throw a bucket of water or throw some stones at that man. But he was silent. I told him again to go and help, I was shivering and could not stop the tears;I am sure they were not from pain but from a fit of deep anger.

Suddenly, mother stopped crying and she scolded me :
« Pissuda, thathawa yawanna , ee manussaya thathwath marayi, penne nedda yakek wage ». 
(Are you mad ? Are you mad to send the father ? That man will kill father as well, Can’t you see that man is like a devil ? )

Then she was killed. Completely. Her voice stopped. 
The climax is over. Sleep.


The voices restarted slowly, whisperings then developed into a big discussion in the village. I got to know the story quickly.

The man, completely drunk, sat beside the dead body: no one dared to go closer. He did not try to run away. He sat there all satisfied. The little boy was also next to his father. There came another woman to the scene and she started to beat him for the crime he did. She was his real wife. She beat him so hard, crying with anger, for the foolish act he did, thinking of the long term imprisonment he had to go through, cursing the whole universe for selling alcohol, contemplating the debts she has to pay all alone, she kicked him hard. He sat there, lifeless until the Police came one hour later and created a panic as if he was trying to escape from the handcuffs. But he was not in a hurry, he marched peacefully to the jeep. They left one cop to guard the corpse waiting for an ambulance to arrive. First, they transported the murderer, then the murderer. Cops had pride in their eyes to catch the murderer so easily.

Then came a man with a little baby. He was her husband, Prema’s illegal husband who never married her, who decided to stay with her to create a family. The little baby was crying hard, she wanted milk from the mother who was now lying on the floor covered in blood. She wanted the blood to become milk. Her tears were not enough to make them white. She did not have a father, yet she was in a father’s hand. She had a hole in her heart, she was born to die, she was born to see how her mother being killed hiding in a bush with an unknown man. They all cried, sitting beside the murderer and the murdered.

Prema had fallen in love with this uncivilized drunkard who was a father of two children. She must have tasted some forbidden fruits rolling in the lemongrass bushes in the woods with him. They say he wanted her, and eloped with her, leaving his family, but Prema did not want this, because she also loved her baby and her cowardly non-husband, her little family. The devil wanted to kill the baby so she would come with him to play Kotta Pora. I really don’t know, that what these women say, they love the stories about women, their own kind, to add a bit of salt and pepper here and there and make a whole curry out of it. They who screamed in pain while ago started to question her behaviour. Men preferred to keep quiet, as usual.

Geethani, who had several men when her husband was abroad, said Prema deserved this death for sleeping with men and playing with them. Samanthi, the pretty woman who recently arrived from a Middle East job with a big belly, and lost that big belly within a week, said Prema was a bitch and no one should go to her funeral even. Wimala said she predicted this a long time back and Karma could not be stopped. Ramya sympathized with the real wife of the Devil approving her courage to beat him. They all said Prema deserved this death for committing adultery, for leading a man to kill her and ruining another family with two children. She was clearly responsible for her death, according to them. A woman should not behave in such a way, they all uttered in disapproval. Is she a woman? Would not it have been a nobler death, if she committed suicide, I thought at that moment after listening to all these bitter comments from these women.

I did not go to her funeral because she did not have a proper house in my village so her funeral took place in her native village. The women who went there came back with more interesting stories that there were men from that village who came to see her body and started to weep, among them the real father of the baby. Father of the baby, adopted father of the baby, the murderer, the baby and some men actually cried as I believe. Prema did not cry anymore.

Now, you have got the plot don’t you feel bored? I can’t really help that because stories begin and end, they can not keep us continuously entertained. 
Were you disappointed? Then again, we can not really find a meaning in everything we write. We imagine, we narrate, but we always fool you. I suggest that you don’t be carried away by the illusions of writers.
When I think about her now, I imagine how she was killed, how no one actually did anything to save her at all because she was bad, because she was not powerful, because she was not rich, because she was not beautiful. I imagine how she asked for help, how I sat watching it like in a film. Should I have another bath to forget the bucket of water I could never throw at the Devil? Should I throw more stones to the Sea because I could not throw a single stone to the Beast?
I am nothing but a handicapped writer with a perfect body, and some useless grammar, and vocabulary to push the wheelchair.
I am just a gossiping woman who dared to describe her private life, hating the other gossiping women.
I have always been a silent spectator, among many, waiting.
Yet, today I write for one last time.I saw: She was murdered: Prema. 
We could have saved her.