Pearls on the Same String
By Nisansala Dharmasena Bertholameuze
Bound by the culture influenced by Buddhist philosophy Amiththa Sanjaya Weerasinghe comes forward as an author with a collection of short stories named Kankotage Premaya Saha Thawath Katha. Nine different stories written using different techniques fill this collection.
King Coconut Tree is Cut Down( Thambili Gasa Kapa Damana Ladee) starts the story teller’s tale of a man lost between his values and his family. Using a King Coconut tree as a metaphor the author signifies people lost within a changing culture.
All throughout the collection beautiful pencil sketches done by veteran artists S.H. Sarath, T.G.G. Amarajeewa, Ashoka Weerasinghe, and Chanaka Hemantha add scope to the imagination. Each and every story is accompanied by a pre-text which is like a preface for each and every story. This adds significant value to the reader’s mind about the characters to be developed later in the short story.
Moving from the story telling writing style to a Jathaka story writing style is Dharmarajya Jathakaya. Power and greed go hand in hand. The truth of this statement is felt and experienced in these modern times as it was during pre-historic days. The author carries the readers in to a land where a King rules over the general public. A man given the powers of ‘Wasawarthi Maara’ for a particular time period starts to rule over the land by killing the rightful king. As greed and power determines the lives within this land ‘Wasawarthi Maara’ returns to claim what is rightfully his. Showcasing the modern days of a land ruled and tarnished by such rulers Weerasinghe proves himself a unique writer within this short story by itself.
A Neighbours’ Conscience (Asalwasiyage Hardasaakshiya) is the pathway towards a darkened era of this land. Warning the reader with a death certificate as a pre-text, Weerasinghe brings in a story moulded with many twists and turns. Written as extracts from a police report accompanied by names and dates of witnesses this opens its folds on to a murder trial. In the 1980‘s a revolution started within Sri Lanka and it ended with the loss of many in drastic proportions. Weerasinghe pens these moments when the sky was constantly darker.
From the revolution in the South of Sri Lanka Weerasinghe then moves on to the revolution in the North which burned the country for more than thirty years. Racism dividing humanity in to pieces, people lost their families within families. ‘Arjun’ is the backdrop of such a revolution. A son born out of wedlock yet out of love between a Tamil mother and a Sinhalese father, he goes in search of his long lost father only to meet his new family and to be caught up between the riots of a civil war. Arjun is all our conscience as to the love and friendships we all lost within the division between the two races. Weerasinghe questions healing old wounds through his words.
Love knows no boundaries and such is the emotion even in the animal kingdom. Through Kankotage Premaya two dogs of different classes and breeds fall in love. Using animals as metaphors, Weerasinghe showcases the power of love trying to overcome all odds among the hatred and the displeasure of the world. He also shows how conditions like caste and class are broken down within the space of love.
A man goes searching for a three bed-roomed house all his life. He travels overseas to earn money and build such a house. Yet, can a heart be fulfilled within walls without a family or can a heart be blessed with a loving family within broken walls. This concept is questioned time and again through E-mail Short Story ( E-mail Keti Kathawa). A modern family is brought forth to argue on the very fundamentals of present man and the reader is questioned in to finding the true essence of a simple life.
Buddhist philosophy and the culture based on the very same values is the essence of the collection. Sanjaya Epa Senevirathna has done justice through an eye catching cover filled with the essence of the whole novel.
Weerasinghe moves his pen in to questioning the very base of our life, our culture and heritage which we proudly stand upon. He breaks down the facade of our lives by taking them out in to the open and tearing layer upon layer made of pretense.