The Jam Fruit Tree
Carl Muller took up journalism and writing in the early1960s and has worked in leading newspapers in Sri Lanka and the Middle East. He is well-known for his trilogy on the Burghers and the winner of the State Award for his historical novel, Children of the Lion.
The Wind Blows Over The Hills
Lalitha K. Witanachchi
Lalitha K. Witanachchi is a perspicuous writer of feature articles, short stories and poems. She was awarded first prize in the Short Story Contest of New Writing 1984, organised by Macquarie University, Sydney. Sha has also been awarded second prize in The Esmond Wickremesinghe Award for outstanding journalistic writing in English.
It’s hard to find a ‘true’ Burgher today. The type this story deals with are very much the real McCoy. They hailed from Mutwal and Modera, Chilaw and Negombo, Galle and Batticaloa. But they were as adaptable and as hardy as the cockroach (maybe that’s what earned them the derisive) and they believed in living life to the full. Old sayings are still heard around the country. One insists that ‘Burgher buggers became beggars by buying brandy bottles’ while a Sinhalese doggerel goes:
Kaapalla, beepalla, jollikarapalla,
Heta marunnoth hithata sapai
Which, in homespun Sinhala mean: “Eat, drink and be merry and even if we must die tomorrow, don’t let it worry you because you’re having a good time today.’ (Who said Shakespeare had no Sinhalese blood in him?)
Senaka beamed as he stepped into the house.
‘Good news!’ he said thrusting a letter into Manil’s hand. ‘I’ve been transferred to Badulla’.
Manil was delighted. She could now live in Bandarawela, in Kabillawela, to be exact, the village where she was born. No more need she worry about the het and drought of the dry zone, the mosquitoes and the red ants, in the parched and treeless New Town of Anuradhapura that was in the process of construction.
Nor need she be afraid that her daughter would tread on snakes that hid in the most unexpected places. Above all she would have peace, away from the incessant drone of the caterpillar tractors that so heartlessly felled the magnificent trees around.