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Too many hands on creative fire!

A hospital. A young Sinhala nurse. A qualified young Tamil doctor. Ward rounds. Operation theatre. Poverty. Riches. Intimacies. Love. Tuition culture. Rapes. Pregnancies. Caste mindedness. Reluctance to accept on the part of payments. Trips abroad. Terrorism. Torture and many more factors go into the making of a long winded saga like Sinhala novel titled as Ginisiluwaka Sanda Eliya written by the State Award Winning writer, the well known man of letters, Ranjit Dharmakirthi.

The narrative which covers 240 pages is really page moving. But the fact remains that the writer is predominantly a storyteller or a maker of a present day chronicle of some of the social events interspersed in politics and upheavals. It looks as if the writer is much concerned about the spinning of a circuitous saga instead of a clinical dissection into human encumbrances, at times disarrayed by circumstantial factors beyond their grasp. The writer is too fond of building up a dialogue that ensues between two or three fused with high flown discourse of material that flows into such areas a literature, politics, science, medicine, law and nature etc. The names like Martin Wickramasinghe, Maxim Gorky, and Anton Chekhov have become spirit like elements in that flood of worlds at times leaving allowances for harangues that could have been edited. The tradition bound storyline I presume, had been one of the pet areas among the Sinhala writers over the years. There is one more predominant factor which I discerned as tradition bound. That is the segmentation of the two families of the doctor named Ananda and his dream girl the nurse whom he yearned to possess, Nandani. When one chapter discusses the situation that encircles the former family the next chapter is devoted to the segmentation of the latter. In this manner, the novel is rather episodic like the teleplay, but at times leaves no room for the reader to rethink of the situations.

Ranjith states everything in minute details and goes even to the extent of recording the reflections of the mind, devoid of the use of narrative technique like stream of consciousness. In the manner the readable work is more akin to a well made story rather than a complex web of humanism. This may be granted as perhaps an excuse for one to select at liberty what the writer wants and how express in the way that is closer to his heart and feelings with all these factors the reader too comes across several worldly and threshold subjects like the life in a day of a tuition teacher, the seducer of Nandani’s own sister and makes her pregnant. This makes the reader feel that the central experience is made to be detoured purposely like an interlude. The ignominious image of the tuition teacher who earns a mint out of poor A/L and O/L students is like substory to the central experience of the work. But I don’t want to blame the writer. All I want to say is that such ominous happenings may not throw much light on the central theme which he intends to express. The tragedy that befalls on Ramyalatha the youngest sister of nurse Nandani, becomes the suplot in the main narrative. For me, though the event is commonplace and observable in newspaper reports about the sex acts of cunning tuition teacher and their feminine partners have gone into the making of a number of Sinhala sentimental works. Ranjith uses the same material to uncover more and compare types of feminine nature. The major turning point and the high point in the narrative is the event when Dr. Anandan, the Tamil medical doctor is attached by terrorist of an opponent coup, whose identity is not revealed.

He gets treatment and gets into a highly tortured mental aberration. He is being looked after by the fellow practitioners and especially by Nandani the nurse. She brings a lunch packet specially prepared for him. But the event gradually shifts from Kurunegala hospital. The father of doctor Anandan makes arrangements to guard his son from all the would be impediments. Most of the terrorist happenings in July, 83 are brought to the forefront in document form, displaying the author’s knowledge in informational factors. What happens in the end to me was predictable. Nurse Nandani obtains help from his beloved doctor Anandan to get another private doctor for a womb wash on a medical pretext. Meanwhile the victimized sister Ramyalatha gets Rs. 50,000 from her seducer the tuition teacher. I don’t mean to re-narrate what is written by Ranjith. But my intention is to visualize the ‘saga style’ that is overshadowing the complexities of human nature. What happened in the end too is also predictable. In a concocted manner everything sounds well, for the moment is made by Ranjith to make the girl meet boy (here the doctor meets the nurse) in a foreign strand, Australia.

A reader of Ranjith’s novel may find a certain degree of commonplace enchantment, which I cannot drastically reject nor do I accept in the name of ultimate analysis of the present day human predicament. Ranjith remains a superb storyteller, a user of a refined language in a propagation mission with a symbolic utterance, which emerges in the end: how good it would be to live in peace. With lots of racial affinities, devoid of caste, creed, religion and racial discrimination, basically the work is intentionally at an attempt to undermine the racial prejudices. This indirectly is an attempt of address mass appeal with a preconceived notion. As Dr. Ananda says ‘come what may’.

So am I supposed to pass any literary judgment on the book? No. I don’t wish to do that. I have given up passing judgments at random. All I want to state is that the writer Ranjith has over shadowed his sensitively by certain chunks of political innuendoes. Perhaps he may have done it purposely to win the goodwill of the masses, who so wish to see that the creator is in their line of thinking. As for me that last four chapters are an attempt to do so in the name of authorial commentary. The plus signs in the commencing episode gradually diminish as it comes to a close.


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