It’s been a week since the Easter Sunday Attacks. People ask me how things are. I usually tell out of reflect, “we are trying to regain normalcy”. The next moment I wonder what normalcy is. Anymore.
On Saturday, I had been working on assignments focusing on peace building till quite late, to wake up to calls from those checking if I had gone to church. Those who know me would know how strange that question would ring in my ears, even when wide awake. But, it was only a few minutes later that reality shook me awake with the violence that had spread across Colombo.
The first thought to cross my mind: “It could have been us”.
I had slept hoping to take my family out on Sunday for breakfast. Then true to myself, overslept due to sleep-deprivation caused by writing for hours on peace-building , until 6am to be precise. The previous night, my curious mind had wondered to anlayse the potential conflicts which Sri Lanka could face, mostly related to resource management, and whether we are ready to address these situations. I also wondered how we as a community would react if we were to face a conflict again. Later at work, my colleague tells me “Vosi, you should not hypothesize!”
Last few weeks have been probably the scariest days of my whole life, even though I had lived through a few memories that haunt me. As a child my first memories are of dead bodies floating in a river. I must have been 4 or 5 at that time. I am not entirely sure. Then, I have memories of the war, the constant security checks. But those images seem distant, I think I had blurred them out of my mind.
I also remember the tsunami, and the many loved ones taken away, our usual Sunday market washed away, my favourite aunt growing up, getting washed away with it as well.
But the memory the memory that I hold close is how Sri Lanka came together during the hard times. Rebuilding and helping in solidarity.
21st April was different. It was difficult to focus. It was hard to think straight. I blamed it on my sleep deprived brain, or maybe the slightly old brain. We all closed down for a week, maybe even longer. I read stories of those affected, the children left alone, families dead and many in need of support.
I also read posters on guidance to boycott shops, the general hatred towards certain groups in our communities, reminding me of the 2nd World War. Do we truly believe what we are messaging?
Tomorrow, we will all wake up and try to go about our daily lives. And I shall return to my question “what is normalcy?”