He was swathed in bandages and lay in bed, groaning in pain. Tears
trickled down his face:he sustained injuries as a result of third degree
beating by the police for a good gesture he had done.
As he lay in bed his mind trailed back to the incident that took
place five days ago.
He was in his three wheeler at the vehicle stand at Mount Lavinia
junction: there were four other three wheelers parked behind his.
It was eight in the morning when a tourist couple hired his three
wheeler:the couple seemed to be British, and old gentleman carrying a
brief case and a lady in her forties.
"Where to sir?" "Fort. How much?" "Rs 700/ sir". "Alright, let's go".
At that time of the day the road was a chock-a-block with traffic and
the red three wheeler weaved through the maze of vehicles, and came to a
halt at the Dehiwala traffic light.
The lady asked the number of the three wheeler and jotted down in her
note book. She also took down the driver's name.
The green light appeared and the three wheeler moved on, and after
some time it reached Galle Face Court.
"You stop here". The lady instructed the driver when she saw Hotel
She got down and told the gentleman , who seemed to be the lady's
husband. "Darling,I won't be too long here. Hope to see you at Mount
Lavinia Hotel for lunch. "I'll be there, honey: I won't be too long
either at Intercom Hotel."
The three wheeler moved on and soon reached Intercom Hotel. The old
gentleman got down and told the driver. "I have a small business here,
I'll be back in half an hour. Wait for me." "Sir, your brief case." The
driver shouted. "Let it be there, I'll be back soon."
The driver was waiting in the three wheeler;he began to read sihnala
magazine to kill the time. Time fleeted and even after one hour the
foreigner did not turn up; the driver became impatient. It was eleven in
the morning an he had waited for more than two hours.
A policeman came there and inquired why he was waiting there so long.
He told the driver that it was not a place to park a three wheeler.
"Sir, I came with a 'sudu mahataya' and he went to Intercom Hotel."
"Your name?" "Rohita" "you take the three wheeler to the other side of
the road, a few yards away from the round about junction."
He waited there for another one hour or so, straining his eyes to see
every white skinned male who walked along the porticoes of hotels and
the streets. he did not come across the 'sudumahataya' who had left his
brief case in his three wheeler. Rohita was worried.
He decided to drive home as he had no other alternative. He reached
home at Dehiwela and narrated the whole story to his wife.
"Rohita, it will be a problem to keep this brief case with us, after
all it belongs to a tourist." His wife said. "Yes Sumana, t may contain
valuables;it's not safe to carry this in my three wheeler. What if some
one lifts it?" "So what're you going to do with it?" "I'll hand it over
to the Lake View press company, so the when they publish the story along
with my photograph, the owner can collect the brief case from the
Before that Rohita opened the brief case which was not locked with
he was surprised to see a load of currencies, both local and foreign,
traveller's cheque book and two passports. the photographs in the
passports resembled the gentleman an the lady who travelled in his three
wheeler that morning.
He went to the three wheeler stand at one in the afternoon. His
colleagues were there.
"Rohita, any problem?" "No. Why do you ask that, Sena?" "That 'sudu
mahataya's wife came here and complained that her husband did not turn
up to the hotel for lunch." "Yes matchan, I waited for hours there. I
didn't get my payment. I returned home." "where is the 'sudu mahataya's'
brief case?" Wilbert queried, another three wheeler driver. "It's in my
house. I want to hand it over to Lake View press." "Rohita, sudu nona
suspects you;she said she is going to the police. She asked us where you
stay. We said we don't know." Camilus said. "Do something quickly before
the police come in search of you." Sena said.
Rohita took the brief case in his three wheeler to the Lake View
press. He narrated the whole story, handed the brief case to the
Editorial Department and also posed for his photograph.
While returning home, at Maradana his three wheeler was hired to
transport a sick man to the General Hospital at Eye Hospital junction.
Having dropped the patient and collected his fare, he was reversing his
three wheeler to go home, when a police jeep intercepted his three
Two police officers got down from the jeep and went to Rohita's three
wheeler. "You're Rohita, no?" The police officer asked him. "Yes,sir."
"This red three wheeler is yours? We have the number with us." "Yes
sir." Rohita was excited. "A 'sudu mahataya' travelled in your three
wheeler this morning with a brief case and the briefcase contained
His wife also travelled with him. What happened to the 'sudu mahataya'?"
Fear took possession of his mind and he could not talk properly.
He was stammering.
"Sir, the 'sudu mahataya' didn't come, though he promised to come
"Oh! 'sudu mahataya' didn't come? Then what happened to his brief
case?" The police questioned angrily.
"I returned it to Lake View press."
"If 'sudu mahataya' didn't come how did you get his brief case?"
"He kept his brief case in the three wheeler and went away on a small
"What work? Don't lie."
"Sir, I'm telling the truth." Rohita said in tears.
"You want us to believe you that 'sudu mahataya' kept his brief case
containing valuables in your three wheeler and went out?
"That's what he did. I reminded about his brief case but he told me
he would come back soon." "Don't lie. What happened to 'sudu mahataya'?
Did you kill him?"
He was taken to the police station. "Tell the truth, otherwise we
will break your bones."
"Sir, I didn't take the brief case. i handed it to the press."
the police contacted the press organisation regarding the brief case
and did not get a favourable reply.
So he was beaten with baton on his head until he bled. rohita shouted
in pain. "Sir, don't beat me, I didn't rob." "What happened to the 'sudu
mahataya'? "Sir, I don't know; he didn't turn up from the hotel." By now
rohita was severely assaulted and tortured to the maximum. And finally
he was admitted to hospital.
He was shaken from his reverie when the nurse spoke to him.
"Today's paper carries your photograph. the story you told the police
is true." the nurse gave the paper to Rohita.
tears of joy welled in his eyes. Later in the day his colleague Sena,
Wilbert, Camilus and Sudath visited him.
"Matchan, we're proud of you.
You have returned so much of money to the press." Sena said. "For
doing such a good act, this is what the police did to me." Rohita broke
"Don't worry Rohita. Today sudu nona came and apologised for lodging
that entry with the police. Her name is Mrs Flora Wilkinson." Said
wilbert "Why didn't the 'sudu mahataya' return from the Intercom Hotel?
What happened to him?" Rohita questioned.
"Sudu nona told her husband had fallen from the staircase in the
hotel and lost his consciousness. He was hospitalised and was in a coma.
Today only he opened his eyes and spoke a few words,"
On the fifth day Rohita had his new dressing for his head injuries,
arms and leg. He was reclining in bed with his face contorted in pain,
when the ward doctor came to him with Mr Wikinson, the 'sudu mahataya'.
"Rohita, you're a great man. Nothing is missing in my brief case. If
it were not for an honest man like you, I wouldn't have got my money or
"Rohita remained silent. Tears rushed to his eyes and it warmed the
cockles of Wilkinson's heart.
"It's a pity that you were beaten like a common criminal by the
police. He rewarded Rohita with a colossal sum of money.
"rohita, you must take action against the police for human right
"Sir, a lot of money is need to fight out a case in the court." He
managed to say in between sobs.
"Don't worry, I'll help you to fight out the case."
Inevitability of fate
Sumudu with his kite in one hand and holding his pair of short
trousers with the other hand ran along the gravel road from his auntís
home. Janaki his sister-in-law also followed him.
Sumudu visited his cousin Janakiís house with his family members to
solve a land dispute with his step-father.
He was delirious at the thought of staying at his auntís home and
being able to enjoy the fascinating scenery and the beauty of nature
around house - the birds Chirping and flying away from him, evading his
attempts to catch them.
While flying the kite he looked around and saw the soft sun beaming
through the gaps in the trees.
ĎShall we go brother, Janaki asked Sumudu.
So Sumuduís uncle had to offer a Dana (alms-giving) to a hermitage in
the jungle area.
Uncle fed his oxen with grass, dried paddy leaves and water. Next day
early in the morning uncle loaded all the utensils and dry rations in to
the Martin Mamaís bullock cart. Janakiís fatherís bullock cart moved on
with the relatives all enjoying themselves singing throughout their
After a few hours they reached the hermitage situated in the middle
of the jungle. They unloaded the goods at the hermitage for the alms
The following day prepared breakfast for the monks. The monks walked
reverently from the jungle very calmly to take part in the Dana.
Ten year old Janaki and Sumudu were inseparable, they always played,
danced and enjoyed themselves together.
Sumudu studies in grade nine at a reputable school in the town.
Janaki also enrolled in the same. They travel together on the same push
bike to school.
Gradually the two of them were growing up, with Janaki developing
with pretty appearance.
There is a daughters puberty and wedding days are the most important
days for her parents. On the day Sumudu had to cover the well with green
coconut leaves. Uncle gave him fifty rupees to bring a cake of bathing
soap. He bought an expensive cake of soap for her. Uncle smiled and took
Janaki looked like a king coconut flower very beautiful to look at.
She wore a gold colour silk frock. Her long hair was wet as she had
bathed. Her face like a full moon.
Afterwards Aunti prohibited Sumudu riding with Janaki on the bicycle.
Sumudu always helped Janaki in her studies. When Janaki was preparing
for the O/L examination Sumudu was in the A/L class. He was a bright
student and a prefect in the school.
One day Sumudu climbed the mango tree, plucked ripe mangoes and
passed some to Janaki. She cut the mango while Sumudu was still climbing
on the mango tree and accidently cut one of her fingers.
Sumudu came down very quickly held her tiny finger firmly and stopped
the bleeding. He plucked a tender coffee leave tore a piece of cloth
from his sarong and tied it the wound. Janaki glanced at him with love
in her eyes. Sumudu could not bear to look at Janakiís eyes and put his
When the annual house sports meet, students were grouped in to four
houses as Neetha, Vineetha, Suwineetha and Suguna. Janaki and Priyanthi
both of Neetha house took part in the under 17-400 metre race, with
Janaki coming first and Priyanthi second. Inspired by Sumuduís cheering
Janaki ran like a rocket. Sumudu waving the house flag went on shouting
Next Janaki, Priyanthi, Visaka, Malanee, Sumana and Sriyanee were
called upon to the starting point to participate in the 200 metre race.
Janaki again who was leading fell down, sprang her left ankle. Sumudu
who was also the school prefect rushed up to Janaki to help her.
Sumudu concern for Janakiís recovery was astounding, he collected the
medicinal leaves for her treatment and Janakiís feeling for Sumudu
Janaki passed the O/L with seven Dís.
At the end of the December vacation the school welfare association
organised an educational trip. Sumudu and Janaki got her parents
permission and joined in the trip.
One day they have decided to clean the garden together. As it was
Sunday, they worked together till Janaki was tired.
ĎJanaki, show me your handí! said Sumudu. She showed her hands. He
felt sorry for her and was asked not to continue working.
ĎMother I am suffering with a severe headache again, lamented Janaki
to her mother.
ĎMany times, I have told you not to work in hot sun. Come! I will
apply some oil on your headí said her mother.
Janaki had suffered from regular headache for three months and
consulted specialists. But to no avail causing Sumudu to suffer in
silence and stop working.
Janakiís beauty was blooming and Sumuduís entry to Medical College
was a day of joy to the family. Janaki meantime packed Sumuduís bag with
two pillows she embroidered with two rose flowers on them and with the
words Ďsweet dreamsí.
Sumudu carried his travelling bag towards the taxi, worshipped his
parents, aunt and uncle and moved towards Janaki who hugged him and
wept. Janakiís parents glanced at Sumuduís parents.
The parents understood the outbursts of Janakiís emotions.
Sumudu excelled in his medical studies earning a scholarship to study
surgery in England.
During this period Janaki faced many difficulties and failed the
University Examination for the second time. Meanwhile Sumudu and Janaki
phoned each other. Distance making the heart grow fonder.
Successfully completing his PhD in England he returned to Sri Lanka
and was happy to learn whilst at his auntís house.
Sumudu was appointed to the Cancer Hospital as the Chief of the
Surgeons Board. Janaki was continuing her higher studies. Sumuduís
parents suddenly opposed the affairs between Sumudu & Janaki.
Unfortunately Janakiís headache was acute and painful. She was
admitted to the General Hospital in Colombo. When he heard this news he
visited the hospital and discussed with the doctors about her condition.
Finally, they understood it was cancer in the brain. They decided on an
operation for her and she was transferred to the Cancer Hospital where
Sumudu performed surgery.
Prior to the operation Janakiís long curley hair was cut and head was
shaved of her hair. Sumudu looked at Janakiís face.
He could not control his feelings but managed to hide them from
Sumudu performed a six hour operation on Janaki but all Sumuduís
medical effort was in vain for Janaki died in the operations room.
Dr. Sumudu felt remorse and began to cry. His colleagues consoled
him. So he went to the car and went to his quarters to get a few minutes
rest. He heard a Sinhalese song from a radio in a nearby house.
ĎPipunu kusuma parauwa
Bambara kikini goluuna
Muthuketa suda sangauna
Hasareli viyekee giya
He opened the cupboard and took away all the things meant for Janaki
kept them to his chest kissed them and pacing up and down in his room
like a person in a disturbed mind.