A Scent to life

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

She too aspire to the beauty of life



A Scent to life


M.M. Palitha Mahinda Munasinghe

(Sri Lanka)


I left home at around five in the morning and walked towards Medawachchiya bus terminal. Even then, only the tea shop was open in front of the rest house. Satisfied with the date hoppers for breakfast, I arrived at the bus stop.


Less than half an hour later, I found a seat on the Colombo-bound bus from Vavuniya town. The bus was traveling on the road from Rabewa, Anuradhapura and Melsiripura to Ambepussa town. My heart ached with fresh vitality. After many years, the city of Colombo is poised to sneak into youth. Many more like me will gather there.


I’ve been watching it for the last ten years. This is the thirteenth term of the book fair. In my opinion, it is a great place to buy books and look back. The janitor holding part of the ticket handed me a guide. Following that, I decided to wander among the books. The first hour was not so crowded.


"Are there less stalls this time than last year?" ... ”

"How do you put bang stalls in this? The hall is not finished yet ..."


They must be three university students who pass me by. I felt that way from the look to the conversation. At one point, teenagers are tapping on the book, rubbing it on their shoulders. Those who come with their children carry books in two or three silks and walk around. Trained people stand and read books.


Some peek into media cameras. In the meantime, I skipped the book and scoured the book. The metaphor reminded me that she was also in most of the places where I stayed. Is this her? No, it can't be. Suspicious of her shape, I secretly looked at her again. She is not Dulani but another girl. My mind races in search of past memories. If we can go back to that past, we can fix the wrong places. But it will not be so. That is why a tear can do nothing but look at the past with one eye closed.


“Growing up reading books. ... Is it bad to do housework? .... ”

Her usual voice was heard from the kitchen. Dulani and I only do not spend time in the office on weekends. We are only allowed to work in home garden or backyard at home on those two days. She is now interrupting my habit, which has been going on since I was in school. She imitated me for the first two years after marriage.


"This is a good collection of short stories ..."

"Yeah, so that's not always the case ..."

"A collection of classic Asian short stories, Kamalada's Bird Scent, Mukal Raj Anand's Chicken, Daulat Bikram Bista's Wedding Game ..."

“All you have to do is stop. ... ”


I knew that my silence was a drug that would end Dulani’s lecture. With the push from behind, I pushed from there and headed to the bookstore in front.


The sun has risen and it is now noon. I came out into the open area. The sound of a nearby generator echoes. A branch of a popular restaurant has temporarily opened outdoors. The spicy aroma of temperament, which enlarges the nostrils, permeates the abdomen. I wanted to enjoy a meal including it. But when I went to the cash counter I felt that I could buy another book or two out of the money spent on comfort.


Many people are gathered near the mobile shop near the palm grove. Among those in the crowd are round bowls in the hands of some who are pointing upwards. I could barely see the two of them coming out with smoky food. My lunch was also available for a small fee.


It's the habit of everyone in the office to chat for half an hour after lunch. A few years of addiction cannot be given up. I weighed down a tower in a round porch that was beautifully made of porcelain and re-examined the book I had bought. He took off his glasses and put them in his shirt pocket and smiled as if he knew me.


"Have you finished reading the books?" .... ”

"It's not over ..." "Books are a little expensive, aren't they? ..." He seemed to understand my preference.

“Look, now the novels are published like mushrooms ...”

"Girls and boys have forgotten reality ... Lost in a fantasy world. ... ”

"Now the majority in the field of literature are young people ..."


My idea jumped forward. I realized that it was his attitude that the changes in the eternal experience of the social institution could not be aided in the understanding of life through works that were not accustomed to living unmoved.


"It's like drinking water on the way to a bridge ..."

Before I could answer, he awoke with his arms outstretched.

“The quality of a book is preserved from the point of view of the author. The other is the name that has been left and the cover is now beautiful.... ”I tied up a polymath answer.

"Teacher, where can I get at least two science fiction books ..."


The two teachers, not caring so much about the students' tricks, hurried past us. This is a great opportunity for school libraries to choose a good book for a small fee.


After saying goodbye to him, I went to the stage of the drama and Nurthi songs. Seating facilities were also provided for watching plays and listening to songs. By then, a performance had begun on stage. I was one of those people who enjoyed that wonder. She stretched ten times, looking at me, ready to weigh the seat. The unbelievable has happened.


Next to the seat I chose was the same girl I had met before. It was exactly an hour before he left the theater. During the show, she and I became very close. From there, the two of us chatted in the shade of a pine tree in front of us.


"Isn't it a translation book?" She asked, seeing Apu's world in the silicon. Yes, do you like translation books? ... "This is a short story written in Vanga language”.....

My memory goes back about twenty years. When I was about sixteen, I picked up Chingiz Aytmatov's anthem from the school library. Before reading, Dulani picked it up and ran around the class.


“What are you thinking? .... ”She inquired about my silence.

"Aren't you looking at the newspapers? ..."

“I also look at newspapers. Most of them are about politicians' slanders, murders, advertisements ... I like to read translated short stories the most.... ”

“Our lives are like a question paper. There are multiple choices, essays, structured questions in our lives too ...” She directed our rhetoric in a new direction.

“The reality is bitter, isn't it? .... ”

"Hmm ..." "Why are you like an owl ...?"

She turned the inside page of the book and typed “Thilothma Dulangani Bediwewa”, Thambuththegama under the author's name. Life is truly a dream. People face unforeseen fortunes. It is a world doctrine. Her home is on my way. That’s why I said she could go with me.


“Look at that. The sun is setting.... ”She directed my eyes to the red sky above the Lord Buddha statue of Aukana. “Life is beautiful in a place like this, isn't it? ... ”

She added a slight smile to her face. As I opened the windows of memory, my body began to blossom with sadness as well as a cold hope for the future.

"If we can, enjoy that beauty."


I saw her eyes widen at my idea. The sun shone through the clouds and darkened the sky. Time is signaling the need to get out of there. We reached Borella town by bus which was provided free travel from the exhibition grounds. It was five minutes past six in the afternoon when passed the Maradana railway station. Before boarding the Vavuniya bus from the Colombo central bus stop, I bought a bottle of water and a packet of biscuits.


She leaned back in her seat, staring at the flashing lights on either side of the road. The occasional neon light falling on the car created an art gallery on the bus. Not everyone is drawn to cassette music, as there was nothing else to hear, even unfavorable. With the passing of Weweldeniya town, it switched to a radio channel.


"I came to my senses ...

The strange secret that you peeked at ...” The poem flowed through it.

"Tilothma do you need water? ..." I broke her meditation.

"I was waiting for you to drink ..."

I handed her the water bottle and the biscuit packet at the same time.

She rested her left thumb and forefinger on the very page where Mikhail Sholokhoff's Fate of a Man begins. I could see the tears glistening in her eyes.

“Why are you scared at night? ... ”

"No ... I remembered Sujeewa. He was in the army. Who was shot dead in Vallipuram village...?”

She turned and handed me the water bottle and the opened biscuit packet.

"Haven't you read Isabel Ayande's love and shadows"

I tried to break the silence for a few minutes.

"No, I heard two people talking about it today." ... She adjusted her hair again.

“People live with hopes and expectations, don't they? ....

“But a lot of hope is dashed, isn't it? ..... ”she replied.

"But when the time comes, there is nothing stopping you from experiencing the uniqueness of life ..."

I was talking to someone else, laughing, annoyed and she also objected to me having lunch with friends.

"Why are you asleep? ....." No ... No ... I looked at her in shock.

"There were books ... but there was not enough money to buy them ..." she opened her mouth again. "So next year you can take ..."

The beam of light from the moon is a flickering light. At the top of Athagala rock, the eyes of the Lord Buddha statue turned to the burning cities. Nine forty-five are marked on the clock tower. The bus only reached Kurunegala town.


"Sobawa De Mepura, Siri Visithuru Balanu Mithuru ..."


I thought it was an opportunistic song to be heard then. She nodded and looked around. The couple got up from their seats in front of us two rows from where we were sitting and got ready to get off the bus with each other's luggage.


"Ruwan, wrap your butt around yourself ..."


Dulani's voice echoed in my ears again. Even though I came one way, I had to ask for a cup of tea when I got home in the evening. Despite the difficulties, I tried to cover my monthly expenses by earning extra income by preparing income tax files for several private companies. That day I went to town and brought home the least I needed.


"Why are books thrown everywhere?”... ”

She resented my questioning.

"Why am I not allowed going to the room?"


I lived like a boarder in a house we both rented at will. She tried to ignore my comments every time except when she needed something or wanted help. Day by day Dulani struggled to get away from me. When I came home one day working overtime, she had taken the baby to her mother.


"Deception is as valid as a common human doctrine ..."

Thilothma said abbey to my face. With a tremor, I hid it and leaned towards her.

"Why do you think so? ..."

"No ... I thought I saw the big cutouts on the side of the road ..."


The roads in Dambulla town are lit up like noon. In the past hour and a half the speed of the bus has managed to drive the two of us away. Leaning her head on my shoulder from time to time and towards the glass window, she called me before reaching the Thabuththegama bus stand. I looked at her and smiled. Her pet stretched out on the road.


"Who are you mine - who am I you’re ...

I will smack my lips and smile ...”I will shed tears all over my eyes...

Hearts beating.... ”The bus slowed down, the better the song could be heard.




Submitted: August 20, 2020

© Copyright 2022 Palitha Mahinda. All rights reserved.

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