Colombo Telegraph

Under The Temple Tree

By Marlon Dale Ferreira

Marlon Dale Ferreira

Uncle Douglas, Aunty Mildred, Sana Boy and Titi Girl were all seated under the temple tree in their garden, enjoying mother nature’s beautiful star lit sky and discussing who to vote for come the 8th of January 2015. As with tradition over the years Uncle Dougie and Aunty Milly as they were fondly called and a whole load of Burghers, have always supported the ‘Greens’ and hence cast their votes in support of the United National Party.

“Aiyo child”, Aunty Mildred started off in true Burgher style. “Tell me Dougie” she continued “what to don’t know do to child, with the casting of the vote, beetle leaf or swan to ‘Kathire’ put? She asked him in a quizzical manner and their conversation then began.

For some of those brilliant Burghers who were left behind, perhaps may be pondering as to whom they could render their supportive votes to this time around with all the ‘hullabaloo’ taking place, This is in the hope of having at least the price of bread reduced by a few bucks, leave aside the reduction of the price of their favourite brew, the cost of their bottle of arrack.

Carl Muller the funniest Burgher writer who wrote a hilarious trilogy of books based on the lives of the Burghers such as “Jam Fruit Tree”, “Once Upon a Tender Time” and “Yakada Yaka” and also another good writer Emil Van der poorten, will hail as excellent writers of our era and this writer will self-claim that it will take him yonks to even get close to their fine art of journalism.

With that point out of the way and apple polishing Muller, perhaps he could safely continue to say that casting of the Burgher vote into the ballot boxes this time around will be a very confusing decision to make, so to speak.

Then if Uncle Douglas, Aunty Mildred, Sana Boy and Titi Girl decide to cast their votes for MR and company, rest assured we can brace ourselves for the dynasty of the Rajapaksa rule to continue till thy kingdom come.

“But the good thing then child is, if we vote for MR” answered Uncle Dougie “we will have ‘Ferraris’ on the roads noh, ‘Night Races’ in the city of Colombo and Kandy and rugby football will be our national sport, noh?”

As of now all Burghers will have to take a cue from Titi Girl who made a request to Sana Boy when she said “Sana Boy, mama telling, almyrah top and bottom gotten have for the five cent pieces, banku climb and take”.

“Of course Milliy” he continued , “more civilians will be tied to trees by ministers in power for not doing their jobs right, then drugs may be legalized with a special park assigned for addicts to inject and dispose of their needles thoughtfully. Also Milly, some ministers may take Karate lessons to sharpen their “adi pudi” skills , as when after alcohol they tend to throw their hands about a tad too much, like we saw how Nonis got one slap across his face, knocking him off his ambassadors perch.” Uncle Dougie went on.

“Then what about what about the price of bread and the price of a bottle of arrack being reduced?” he asked his darling wife Mildred.

“Dream on Dougie, the price of essentials will steadily rise because for the rich to stay rich they have to keep us poor. Hand to mouth existence noh Dougie, like we always have been” she said.

She then continued, “Dougie you strum your guitar sweetheart and we will gather around fire place, and hope against all hope that your brother Merryl and wife Barbara will fork out some dosh from Australia. What men? even breudhers were pricy this Festive Season and Perera & Sons also milked us for Rs 550 bucks for one and FAB priced theirs at Rs 890. Even our famous “fowl curry” was a luxury this time with the ‘cockaba’ prices all shooting up.” She lamented with a sigh.

“But on the other hand Mildred” said Dougie “if we vote for the ‘swan’ we would be ideally voting for ‘Mahinda’, who has been our main man who let us down so badly in the past, losing election after election and dashing all our hopes on the ground. In all honesty Mildred you know, that fellow Ranil has finally reached the point of self-belief, that he cannot win an election on his own. He has to find a scape goat to win the election for him this time around too. But Mildred do you know that the entire country is by default voting for the SLFP because ‘Mahinda’ and ‘Maithri’ are both from the same party. How child then if Maitri wins and does not abolish the Presidency? Asked Douglas.

“Apo men we will all be in a fine soup then just like the Muslim three wheeler driver noh, who after he got elected as Mayor of Colombo, remember he refused to give up his seat as planned? Said Uncle Douglas with a worried frown.

“My gosh child, that will be one hell of a bloody paka thing if that happens” said Aunty Mildred complimenting Uncle Dougie with great concern.

“Mildred you know if this time Ranil does not win, and as the famous saying goes ‘failures are the pillars of success’ then he could stake a solid claim to own the rights to that quote. After all Mildred I am fed up of being disappointed by the bugger” he said.

Aunty Mildred jumped in and with great anticipation went on to say “Boy, if the opposition comes into power we are in for one a heck of bloody time”.

“They will crucify the poor ruling fellows and take lots of revenge men and they will also start to rob the country all over again and we will all be sandwiched in the middle like a minced meat toastie. My gosh that Ravi K fellow will surely ask to be the Minister of Trade and Commerce and all hell will break lose economically. Remember the guy sold all of us a dummy in true rugby fashion when the UNP ruled in 2002-2004 and he scored a try under the posts, when he planted the “ Sathosa Deal? I am sure he was inspired then and took a cue from Chandrika who in 1998, also handed over Air Lanka to the Dubai based Emirates Airline on a platter.

So now what to do child and who do the burghers vote for? Asked Aunty Mildred.

“Milly, these days with everyone crossing over I can faintly here the distant sound of horns, like when Joshua blew them and walked around the the walls of Jericho. If Mahinda loses this time it will be like the wall of Jericho all coming crashing down” said Uncle Dougie.

“Mildred, you know what darling? the other day when I was at the Dutch Burgher Union, someone said we have at least 500,000 burghers in the country who have at least one burgher grandparent. My gosh! that must be the numbers of them all put together in Dehiwela, Wattala, Kandana, Ja-Ela, Batticaloa and Jaffna . “Appa ade Mildred, if we all get together then we can also form a political party and name it the “Burgher United Front” and have our guitar as the symbol. What do you say Mildred? He asked in enthusiasm.

“Yes, yes”, she snapped, “ and then what? you want to give each new member a welcome gift of a bottle of arrack as well?, just wait men there knowing you cant put anything past you, even the light bill has come with a ‘red notice’, don’t know when the Electricity Board buggers will come to cut the lights off, and you’re thinking of forming a political party” answered Aunty Milly.

“Mama, mama mutton eating croton” is a very famous quote said by a little Burgher boy running to his mother, when he saw a goat enter their garden and started to eat their famous plants of croton. If then the “Mutton is not to eat the croton”, perhaps the Burghers such as Uncle Douglas, Aunty Mildred, Sana Boy and Titi Girl and the rest will have to settle for ‘salad leaves’ to feed their hunger pangs with the ever rising cost of living escalating rapidly in this country.

As of now all Burghers will have to take a cue from Titi Girl who made a request to Sana Boy when she said “Sana Boy, mama telling, almyrah top and bottom gotten have for the five cent pieces, banku climb and take”.

Yes, yes, collecting all the five cent pieces lying around the house and selling empty bottles and old newspapers will certainly be the call of the day, leading up to the elections for Burghere to “put a syndicate” and buy a bottle of arrack and ponder whom to vote for come the 8th of January 2015.

“So Dougie boy, you have not told me yet darling whom you’re going to be voting for? Asked Aunty Mildred. “Tell, tell soon child otherwise you will be a very sad boy tonight Dougie, and no topple for you then when we are under the duvet tonight, ok?” chuckled Aunty Mildred.

With much respect to all the great Burgher writers before!

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