Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 28 February 2016





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

 Short Story  

Nature's comeback

In the up-country surrounded by lofty hills there was a palatial mansion known as the Bungalow. The elite in the vicinity gathered in the evenings to play bridge. There were lots of fun and laughter even throughout the night, under a petrol-lamp light. It was Lady Sally's mansion. She entertained her siblings, cousins, friends and well-wishers; even the principals, teachers and adult students in the nearby schools participated.

Lady Sally did not live all alone but was surrounded by her nieces and nephews of her siblings even during the day. Jith was a curly haired seven- year-old-boy, a son of her close cousin Richy Aiya. Lady Sally remained a spinster throughout her life, dedicated to Buddhist spiritual ways of the Dhamma.

She used to pave the way for pirith, bana-preaching, almsgiving to bhikkhus and deities in the mansion. Others in the vicinity too participated whether rich or poor.


Even the domestic aides, Podimenike and Punchi Kira were cordial and loving towards little Jith. Podimenike was so fond of the boy that she used to feed him with milk toffees. Punchi Kira used to take the child to the cowshed to show his favourite Ratti, Thambiliya and Navasiya. Lady Sally presented Navasiya to Jith's younger sister who then was a toddler.

One day Lady Sally asked Jith, 'Putha Jith, do you wish to be a novice monk and stroll with a begging bowl?'

The boy did not utter a word and looked blank, but by sheer destiny he became a lawyer in his adulthood.


Sally Nenda had put up an octagonal shrine room for daily religious observances and offer Buddha-puja to the sacred statue of the Buddha. In the evenings she offered rose, dahlia, jasmine and the temple flower, all plucked from the garden.

The bungalow was situated in a four-acre block and contained jak, mango, kithul with hosts of other trees; even vegetables were planted in beds. The front of the residence was adorned with rose, carnation, dahlia, jasmine and daspethiya. Their fragrance was adorable.The space allotted in front of the residence was occupied by a few vintage cars.


Jith, as he grew older, used the garden shade for his novel and short story reading seated on a sling canvas chair and could listen to the chirps of loving, hummingbirds.

Sally Nenda served the children with fresh cow milk, Kithul jaggery and the meals were purely vegetarian.

After the demise of her cousin Richey, the family of Jith returned to their parental home six miles away. Lady Sally felt their loss very much. All of a sudden one of her brothers' daughters Somie barged in. She did not hesitate to bring about mental trauma and physical agony to some extent to this religious minded lady. The lady did not live long to bear the misery. All of a sudden her younger brother Bindu visited her and she explained to him the agony she was going through. Finally, she left that peaceful abode and left with the brother who resided in the low country modest home. Never had she returned to this peaceful abode alive again.

Thereafter Somie systematically got rid of Lady Sally's friends, relations and well-wishers. Even her own siblings were not permitted to visit the bungalow nor were they entertained. She lived a lonely life. The bungalow was not properly maintained.


As time passed by, the mansion's roof gave way and the rest were exposed to elements. Tall trees grew within the walls. The rest of the building was exposed to the deep blue sky and at times to severe thunder, lightning and torrential showers.

The octagonal shine room was severely left alone, but its roof remained intact. The Buddha statue, brass bowl within the glass enclosure were stealthily removed.

With the passing years, Somie became sickly and feeble. There was no one to look after her. One day, the people around the vicinity became suspicious. Somie was missing for several days. One out of the search-seekers had to break-open the door of the shine-room. There was a decomposed body of a female with unbearable stench but who could not be identified.


What a strange contrast. Jith being an old man happened to go down memory lane. He could faintly recall the manner in which an elderly cousin of Lady Sally had to say: "I am deeply concerned of her plight, she had an unfulfilled motherhood..."

It was too much for Jith to bear that remark, he blurted out "Uncle, at least she was a gentle, ever loving mother to me..."

After dinner, old Jith was dozing off: 'Yes! It was Aunty Sally who got down from a white horse-driven, gold plated chariot. Jasmine pervaded fragrance filled the air. She stood still before him, an angel from heaven. She could communicate with Jith through her mind's eye (Divesin). Jith's thoughts pertaining to the octagonal shrine room, the mutilated female dead body lying on its floor, ran across his mind. This was what she murmured in a gentle sweet voice: 'Son Jith, everything in the human world is impermanent. The uncouth humans with their wicked ways paved the way for utmost contempt of the human world and sober society, thus initiating the nature's revenge to take place.

Thereafter the virtual image of the Angel vanished into the thick, misty air.

[The characters are fictitious].


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