26 July, 2017

As They Unfolded

By Mahendran Thiruvarangan

Mahendran Thiruvarangan

The warmer sun had appeared at last,
The city was gliding into the summer’s embrace;
Looking for fat-free milk on the globalized shelves,
The sell by date stared at my eyes:
MAY 18.

The mind-camera travels back in time,
Some eight years ago, to a nation strewn with charred bones.
Visuals unfurl on a television screen
Stationed at a boutique on a hill by the singing river;
Words typeset by a tall bespectacled fugitive
Show up in black on the library’s desktop;
In a rented room full of unwashed clothes,
Friends tell friends stories of friends
Broken and bruised
As loud cheers rock the streets where people served kiribath.

A woman in her thirties and two little boys
Cling firmly onto a tyre inflated with hope and life
Floating on a lagoon in the east,
Wading through the furious waters with
What is left of their battle-scarred bodies and souls;
They walk, they swim,
Performing all in-between acts and others all the way
To live.

As the shadows fall,
They emerge in a land in the west
Where the wind tastes salty;
A long moment of silence freezes the sea and the earth,
The woman adjusts the saree wound around her head
And counts the notes carefully,
Relief spreads across her face – there is some money left of the allowed,
Enough for tonight to feed the sea-sick children.
It is NOVEMBER 1, 1990 in Puttalam.

 

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  • 3
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    So, this is the day, that the World’s most ruthless terrorist organization was defeated by very brave sri lankan forces.

    Lot of innocent people were librated.

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      jimsofty the dimwit ——————————————-“So, this is the day, that the World’s most ruthless terrorist organization was defeated by very brave sri lankan forces. Lot of innocent people were librated.”

      Of course LTTE was just another terrorist organisation. Please don’t hype LTTE as if it was the only formidable military organisation the world has seen to this day. It was not. By the way it was the combined eefort of VP and Hindia that defeated the LTTE. Your forces were/are either killed innocent people or hid behind their women folks. Nearly 70,000 cowards with guns deserted forces some of whom had taken up contract killing, bank robbery, local Mafia enforcers, kapang karayas, serial rapists, another 30,000 were killed in the war in addition to 30,000 seruiously injured disabled . With all these unnecessary human costs you think as if you fought single-handedly and won the war. ——————————————————————————————–What a pathetic little p***k of an islander you are. Go play with your best mate Willy.

    • 0
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      jimsofty you are not achieving anything by your boring monotonous post

      “So, this is the day, that the World’s most ruthless terrorist organization was defeated by very brave sri lankan forces. Lot of innocent people were librated. “

      The world and the people are more clever than you.

      But please do waste your time and energy by keep posting this rubbish

  • 0
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    “It is NOVEMBER 1, 1990 in Puttalam.”……I like the timely reminder……But the writing lacks the poetic craft to effectively place the tragedies laterally or in tandem..

    • 0
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      What do you mean SJ that the poem lacks poetic craft? and what do you mean by placing tragedies laterally or in tandem.

      I thought the poem was quite shocking in its overturn of expectations.

    • 0
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      SJ, I found your textual criticism a bit strange. What is the kind of poetic craft are you speaking of?
      I found the poem quite shocking in its overturning of expectations.

      • 0
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        If one compared the exit of the Tamils in 1995 with the expulsion os Muslims in 1990, the parallel were exact in many ways. They have been drawn with much impact by several.
        Two events of a large difference in scale are compared with much of the imagery used not applicable to the other.
        Bringing them together requires a little more skill than what the writer has displayed.

        • 0
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          Scale is a subjective criterion.
          Here the metaphors are not about scale, but about the act of fleeing and surviving.
          The focus is on the individual.

          I was brought up short when I got to the last stanza and had to read the poem again, to see where I had gone wrong. It is the unexpected collapsing of the two events, disparate in our nationalist ways of thinking, that makes this poem quite poignant for me.

          • 0
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            My earlier response seems to have got disappeared …..
            *** Episode 1 was forced by the LTTE without justification.
            *** Episode 2 was also forced by the LTTE with weak justification…..
            *** In both instances, people were nor really running to save their lives the way they did in Episode 3…..
            *** The difference is in more than scale; it concerns the character of the events…..
            *** Parallels will seem weak and contrived unless a witty link is created somehow.

            • 0
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              I don’t have a clinical mind like yours. I react to the shuddenness; precisely that quality in the poem you are bemoaning.

              Within the diegesis of the poem, we don’t know anything about the difference in scale. What you say is extra diegetic.
              there is no episode 3. Or episode 3 is people fleeing to Puttalam; and thats’s what matters. As I see it, there is no comparison.

            • 0
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              A scientific outlook need not hurt one’s aesthetic insights: it can help clear vision.
              Language is among the most scientific of human creations.

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                I am not talking of science. I am talking of clinicality, which by itself neither good nor bad. I am talking of an inability to analyze the poem in its totality; a thing in itself and to dismember.
                That dismemberment is a cover, a facade for another kind of analysis: looking at the poem in its totality; in fact, one might even say it is unscientific.
                Why bring in exodus, eviction and episode I, II and III? This is where you falter, misstep, and the clinicality of your analysis wavers, cannot hold itself up.
                In the final analysis, everything is ideological, not in the vulgar fashion, of meaning, but in the aesthete’s sense of form.

              • 0
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                19th may, 2009

                19th may. you have nothing
                to say? i can only
                falteringly
                mouth, nothing of ….
                nothing begets nothing, a king says, and
                launches a war
                against garrulous daughters and sulking ones*;
                and i think of an
                other daughter, too too loud or too soft,
                of other wars and other deaths, slipped between
                a pillow and its case, a letter, a bomb, a whisper, slipped
                between the familiar and the family, the nation and its engender.

                on 19th may, 1991, sivaramani,
                took her own positive life, her cry strangled
                with that strenuous cord, blazing a trail of blood
                of the nation and its many stories;
                300, 000 slipped between
                a miserable soul-dead wretch, who
                would not take his life and the dark
                of a storm shelling sky, a black and blue sea,
                dotted with doom, a king
                without daughters striking those
                ‘[trojans =delete] crushed between sea and sky’,
                a tale slipped between waiting and waking,
                an impossible 30-years;
                18 years later.

                sumathy

                *sivaramani the poet committed suicide in 1991, after burning to cinders much of her poetry, a few days before dhanu detonated herself to annihilate rajiv gandhi. though translated much and celebrated as an activist and a woman poet, the significance of her incisive and multi faceted critique of the nation is rarely spoken of.

                *the line nothing begets nothing is a reference to king lear and his quarrel with his three daughters.

                *written in may 2010 for the first anniversary commemoration of may 2009, the last phase of the eelam war in which tens of thousands of people died. first published on groundviews.com

                • 0
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                  I see reproducing my poem here similar to Thiruvarangan’s has not worked. I suppose the comments section does not recognize line breaks.

                  • 0
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                    19 may, 2009

                    19 may. you have nothing
                    to say? i can only
                    falteringly
                    mouth, nothing of ….
                    nothing begets nothing, a king says, and
                    launches a war
                    against garrulous daughters and sulking ones*;
                    and i think of an
                    other daughter, too too loud or too soft,
                    of other wars and other deaths, slipped between
                    a pillow and its case, a letter, a bomb, a whisper, slipped
                    between the familiar and the family, the nation and its engender.

                    on 19th may, 1991, sivaramani,
                    took her own positive life, her cry strangled
                    with that strenuous cord, blazing a trail of blood
                    of the nation and its many stories;
                    300, 000 slipped between
                    a miserable soul-dead wretch, who
                    would not take his life and the dark
                    of a storm shelling sky, a black and blue sea,
                    dotted with doom, a king
                    without daughters striking those
                    ‘[trojans =delete] crushed between sea and sky’,
                    a tale slipped between waiting and waking,
                    an impossible 30-years;
                    18 years later.

                    sumathy

                    *sivaramani the poet committed suicide in 1991, after burning to cinders much of her poetry, a few days before dhanu detonated herself to annihilate rajiv gandhi. though translated much and celebrated as an activist and a woman poet, the significance of her incisive and multi faceted critique of the nation is rarely spoken of.

                    *the line nothing begets nothing is a reference to king lear and his quarrel with his three daughters.

                    *written in may 2010 for the first anniversary commemoration of may 2009, the last phase of the eelam war in which tens of thousands of people died. first published on groundviews.com

  • 0
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    Mahendran,

    Thanks.

  • 1
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    A Sinhalese racist and a backstabbing Muslim opportunist commenting

    • 0
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      Who is the backstabbing Muslim opportunist here?

      • 0
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        It could only mean LW, you or me.
        I have not converted. I doubt if LW or you have either.
        A case of mistaken identity as usual.
        Have a sense of humor. Laugh.

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          I can’t laugh when backstabbing and opportunism are linked to Muslims here.
          And it is not a case of mistaken identity. It seems a case of mistaken identification, and I cannot laugh there.

          • 0
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            It is only a suggestion.
            *** If you want to take every other bigot and malicious liar seriously that is your problem.
            *** I think what they cannot stand is being laughed at.

    • 0
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      Pandi kutti the kallathoni:

      Here is what Tamil saints do in the north. Read and see.

      There will come a day when the Tamil-speaking people who are now waging continuous protests for securing their lands from the occupying military and the people who have been seeking answers on the whereabouts of their kith and kin in the hands of the military to start waging a struggle demanding the SL Army, Navy and Air Force to go home, said Justice C.V. Wigneswaran, the chief minister of Northern Provincial Council, in his memorial address on the occasion of 8th year remembrance held at Mu’l’livaaykkaal on Thursday. Hundreds of people, including the ones who had lost their loved ones in the genocidal onslaught, were paying tribute at the emotional event, side by side along with their politicians, who were standing among the crowd as everyone else.

  • 0
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    It is NOVEMBER 1, 1990 in Puttalam.

    Enough for tonight to feed the sea-sick children.
    Relief spreads across her face – there is some money left of the allowed,
    And counts the notes carefully,
    The woman adjusts the saree wound around her head
    A long moment of silence freezes the sea and the earth,
    Where the wind tastes salty;
    They emerge in a land in the west
    As the shadows fall,
    ……………….
    from Western Salty water to eastern Sweetwater
    …………………………….
    The mind-camera travels back in time,
    MAY 18.

    Confused? Trying to guess what it is?

    Thiruvarangan’s middle path always travel through Tamils hardships and ends in Muslims evacuation. If Tamils have a complain, he has been too good in fishing something so that he can go through his middle path and make “an elephant = a cat.” Our Talaiyaddi SJ is always there to say Amen to it. By this one sided eye, he failed to write in last November 1st, to write this poem the other way around, So that he can go through this middle path, that equalizing the cat to the elephant. Neither SJ reminded him in November 1st, 2016 too. That is why I did it for them this time. So now, for had not written this the other way in last November 1st is balanced to middle path, or SJ failing to remind Muslims leaders that their UNHRC witness had destroyed Tamils seeking justice even from there too.

    • 0
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      Mallum…..
      ***Suggetion: I think that you can do with a moderately good translator next to you……
      ***Warning: I am not offering my services.

      • 0
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        Are you assuming, SJ, that Mallai actually has some useful thought in one language which a translator can usefully convert to another?

        • 0
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          Kiruba and SJ,

          Please do not underestimate the lengthy comments of Malla. According to anonymous reliable sources in the international intelligence services the comments have been flagged as highly suspicious by the most powerful computers and the best analysts available. Instead of being harmless gibberish the comments are encrypted instructions for an international terrorist organization. A special reward has been promised for the person who manages to decrypt the comments.

          • 0
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            LW * * * *
            I realize my folly. * * * *
            Thank you for enlightening me. * * * *
            Please tell me, is it safe to respond to Mallum?

          • 0
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            LW, you can’t scare our brave lion SJ from Stalin shool of thought. You remember last time when a Black Tiger spotted, he kept watching CT without blinking eyes for days. Then somebody told him “it is not sighted anymore, you go and catch some sleep”; then he went to sleep.

            Bharathi said:
            சொந்த சகோதரர்கள் துன்பத்தில் சாதல் கண்டும் சிந்தை இரங்காரடி கிளியே , இவர்கள் வெறும் சோற்றுப் பிண்டங்களடி
            Their heart never thawed seeing
            Own blood brethren burning in pain
            O hear me my dear pet Parrot
            These are statues out of rice.

            ………………….

            We still may be immature to Bharathi’s words, But let us listen to Kulanthai Kavi Valliappa Pillai. He has invented a new train for babies.
            …………………………

            நின்னு நின்னு போகாது
            நிமிசம் லேட்டா போகாது,
            தண்ணிக்கு வாயை திறக்காது
            டன் கணக்கா கரியை முழுங்காது
            ……………..
            ……………….
            ஆசைப்பட்டவர் ஏறுங்கோ
            அவரவர் காலை சுழட்டுங்கோ

            Stop to stop nowhere stops,
            Not a minute ever was late
            Neither widens mouth for water
            Nor eats the coal loads of tons
            …………………
            Those who fancied get on board
            Start to swing thy- own shank.

            …………………………………….

            Can we swing out legs?

            • 0
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              Bharathi NEVER said: ….இவர்கள் வெறும் சோற்றுப் பிண்டங்களடி.
              ****
              Whatever he said, those who defend the ones who caused most misery to their own siblings are wailing aloud to conceal their share in the crime.

              But dear Mallungs is a bit of a clown among them.

        • 0
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          I assume nothing like that.
          I only suggest need for help for the needy.

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        “Warning: I am not offering my services.” Thanks SJ. I am still not at any great losses. I hear President Trump also translates Russian very well. They day when I want to have your Stalinist satire translated, he might have retired from White House. Not at all. I am not losing anything my side by your withholding of your mockery.

        • 0
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          No. No. No. . . .
          ***You need help very badly…..
          ***
          It is simply that I am busy otherwise.

          • 0
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            I said I may need help to translate your “Stalinist satire”. I Know you are too busy to read that, So I am repeating.

            But you won’t help me, is that because I might be a double citizen or you are too busy helping the ones certified by Parment as single citizens like Deva?

            Hopefully next time can you me and Dr.Thiyagalingam?

  • 0
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    Is he talking about the day the TAMIL TIGERS chased out 95,000 Muslim families from the North? Sounds like the poem is about the ethnic cleansing of our fellow Muslims.

    • 0
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      Thassim; Yes. In the last stanza.

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