To get rid of the stress of the day, I just lazily lie down on the bed. The red lily at my windowsill draws my attention. Two flowers on a long stem with just four long lean leaves. Beautiful! Admiring the beauty of the red lily, brings in the memory of the so called November Flowers Karthikai Pookkal or Gloriosa Superba. My unborn nation’s national flower.
While my long ride to work through the potholed roads, the only pasture I used to see was the nearby jungles, paddy fields , tall lonely Palmyra tree, shrubs and the intertwined November Flowers. The red flowers decorated the bush like a Christmas where butter flies flew around like angels. The way back to home dust and dark was illuminated by the light worms. My kids learnt the colours, parts of tree, nature, poem, math and anything they can grab at that age on the passing trees , bushes , flowers and birds. My daughter ate her meals singing Two Little Ticky Birds. My son learnt his numbers on the passing trees. Even though they still love the nature and have the knowhow to enjoy it, the internet shrank the world giving everything handy as a candy. How lucky they are. From the rutted roads to the carpeted roads, they arrived safely.
Yes. Safely. Safety provided by the thousands of brothers and sisters who left their homes just like that, just to save our lives. Being in a country, where every seconds need money to survive, even random act of kindness could be perceived dangerous, and people do know the man only as a material not any more as human , it is very difficult to understand such selfless acts. Even I wonder after all those years, how was it possible? For others?? No wonder they are perceived dangerous.
Thank you siss and bros. I know you are no longer there. Most of you could have died at the genocide which was conducted systematically under the observation of the whole world. The world could have forgotten you. You might not have a home any more. You might have lost your identities, name and addresses. You would not have even got a decent cemetery address, because you were killed by brutes that never know the decency to how to treat a corpse. You could have left to decay, smell bad and eaten by those dogs and maggots. But even on your dead bed you served the world, fed the homeless dogs and the innocent maggots. Some where there your souls still await not resting in peace to know that your people finally got their freedom.
Rest in peace siss and bros! while you were alive you suffered a lot. The lean bodies carried heavy loads, your soft hearts carried burdens of your colleagues. Working in the community, talking to your mothers and sisters I learnt how some of you were tortured, how some of you were killed. Captured at the front you never came back respectfully. I remember a mother crying, her daughter’s genital parts were inserted by an unexploded shell. I heard a mother saying, how she could not love her baby because she never knew which soldier was the father of the baby. When her village being seized at a dawn, she was captured by the soldiers. The nights followed by the arrest, she was forced to serve each soldier in order of their ranks. After long three hell of years her unwanted pregnancy brought her to an army hospital then to a civil hospital and then she escaped from there. First thing she did , joined with people who can help her revenge the soldiers. She said, “I do not know their faces because they came in the dark. So I am going to revenge whoever happen to be in my path.” One day I saw her in the newspaper, did and dead. But our people who have the decency to love an enemy’s baby sheltered the baby. They did not kill as they put our babies in the boiling tar.
Kantha! I remember you from my school days. I was volunteering at the District Hospital to take care of the war victims. You were tied to a bed. You were injured. A bullet went through your head. You were unconscious and you were about to die. The doctors wanted to give you a peace full death. But you were shouting unconsciously to let you go and fight. Western would say it is a medical miracle. But I know that witnessing all the brutal tortures, rapes and murders of your siblings gave you strength to fight while dying. Our people know, there is no other miracle other than you and your comrades.
Vasanthy! When I left the country you were wheel chaired. Paralyzed to the hip, unaware of the soiling, always smiling, and still wanted to do something to the community, you were there.
Thamil! you were just fifteen when I joined as a teacher at your school. Long eight years after I heard that you injured on your abdomen and your upper skin of the abdomen was kept open for a month because they did not want it to be opened again and again to get rid of your infection. When I visited you after a month I thought I was seeing a ghost. Such a thin layer of a human body slept on the bed. . Why did you suffer this? How did you learn to tolerate the suffering? For you? For your people? For your village, which was long ago looted?
It is not sufficient to say thank you to you. Even saying a thank you could degrade the sacrifices you made.
Novembers always come! The dead Gloriosa Superba rises through the cracks of the earth. Grow tall, intertwined on the trees. Blossom! I hopefully wait to go home one day and see the flowers once my country is a haven and full of Gloriosa Superba.