Colombo weather and identity politics of exile


Gaya’s intro: Cerno is not exactly a blogger in my opinion but a writer who chews up and spews out down an internet stairway some stuff from the attic of that mind of his. He doesn’t write often but his stuff does not expire as blog posts should cos his writings largely are a mix of ruminations on phenomena that will repeat themselves and resonate with the reader even years later. Thanks for giving us the chance to delve without bothering about the rummaging bit. Send more down the stairway when you got something in the attic and happy 6th year Anniversary Cerno whoever you are !!



I love the Colombo weather — particularly from a non air conditioned car stuck in the blaze of afternoon traffic. The people who cannot venerate such a glorious climate are obviously a bunch of ignorant ungrateful whiners. I say this without sarcasm and despite the risk of being lynched by an enraged mob. Because the many avatars of Colombo weather is a central symbol of my identity and love for this mad, wondrous island. Yes the explanation starts in the next paragraph.

I admit that complaining about the city’s heat, humidity, and rain has a critical social function. It is among the few remaining strands of shared ordeals that unites the city’s — perhaps the country’s — fragmented society. Weather whining is also a safer valve to let off steam than bemoaning another form of communal suffering we cannot change : politics. Consequently only the insane would attack such a fragile pillar propping up social order and public peace.

Yet too many (you know who you are) abuse the social utility of weather whining. I have no sympathy these self proclaimed victims of meteorology. I am unrepentantly deviant in my celebration of Colombo weather. I switch off the blasphemy of air conditioning whenever I can. I leave windows decadently open for the warm, sticky breeze or to share the sweet joy of YFM with fellow road sufferers. Let the ignorant whisper in the corridors about my sanity. I KNOW with almost religious fervour how privileged we are to sweat in the tropics.

I consider myself a tropically bred person. Colombo’s weather – particularly humidty and its associated reeks – is central to my identity. It packages the infinite facets of my sense of home into a single primordial sensation. A sensation that has been sharpened by centuries of exile in other climates. Read more here on Cerno’s blog

Photo credit: Len Theivendra, Colombo Jan 13

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