Daily News Online

Wednesday, 26 May 2010



Short Story:

Wrongly Punished

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 Oberoi.

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 press."

Before that Rohita opened the brief case which was not locked with secret numbers.

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 wheeler.

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 valuable cash.

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 soon."

"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 work."

"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 down.

"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 passports."

"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 violation."

"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."

Short Story:

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 journey.

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 giving.

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 it away.

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 head down.

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 them.

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 increased.

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 Janaki.

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.


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