In memory of Nandakka!


180072_499196102580_2336557_nA little remembrance on this day for Nandakka.

For some, she might have been a servant, but to us she was family. That’s why we called her Nanda-akka (Nanda-big sister). She carried my dad when he was a baby and she looked after us. Cooked like a demon and was a friend to our late aunty who never married (like herself). Feisty as a chili on fire, but she was a good sort.

KasuniOnce you asked me what I would do if you died. I said ‘I’ll cry so hard’. When I heard that you passed away, I did sit under a tree in the backyard and cried. I miss your funny laugh, you tiny hair bun, and walking to the market holding your hand.

Hope you rest in peace.

Nandakka passed away on 14.02.2011



Gaya’s note: First in a series of posts on undomesticated domestics! In the Wild West, when we say we had domestics, people don’t know what to think. But those relationships just widen your circle of reference as a child, reveal the bold and ugliness of life and the sweet indulgences one takes as the privilege of the Baba in the house. It won’t hold up well through the lens of social science perhaps, or ethics, but where all things raw and beautiful thrived in Sri Lanka, the steps, the back verandahs and rattan chairs where they sat, the mats they laid on and the stories and yarns they spun, with many an advice and sarky retort from a beetle-chewing gum or rasping throaty voice- dulcet tones, they had not. Thank God for them! RIP all!

Sorrow passes and we remain by Henry James : A good-read on FB

Gaya’s intro:
Do you write Letters anymore...

Correspondence as in writing well-thought out letters is a thing of the past. Today its more about publication on the digital media which is instantaneous, emotive and as quickly as it reaches us, is it swallowed up in the continuous ticker of a newsfeed.

My father had a Burma-teak study desk at which he did his correspondence; the same at which I sit now in Italy having preserved it through changing landscapes and relationships. At this table he wrote letters regularly to friends and loved ones, some in faraway countries, especially in times of personal sorrow and grief. These letters were treasured by his friends and spoken of later after his death.

The thought and awareness of writing to appease another person I guess is a very enlightened human action.

I do remember my helpessness and anguish when the JVP killed my neighbour just because he refused to shut down the Anglo-Asian factory when they ordered him to. They were new neighbours and we were not friends as yet. I wrote to his wife and she came over to my mother and showed her the letter sobbing; I was seventeen. [Read more…]