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
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.