A message from a first-time voter

Originally published on Groundviews.

Two choices, by schelly

In 2005, I didn’t vote. Being 21, I was eligible to vote, but I didn’t – and if you asked me why, I would ashamedly admit I simply didn’t care. I was in University abroad, my mind preoccupied with the Arts, my arms wrapped around my glossy new textbooks, my life an adventure waiting to happen. Voting, politics and presidents didn’t register on my radar: the picture they represented was too big for me to fathom and it all seemed so removed from the microcosm of my life. In 2005, my parents were the presidents of my world and I the rebellious citizen, rioting for my right to certain freedoms.

After my university career, I moved back home and joined a media institution – just in time to get a front row seat to some of the most significant events in Sri Lanka’s history. 2 years and the end of a war later, I find both myself and my country in turmoil. Strange, considering we are supposed to be at peace now. But then again, we are supposed to be many things. We are supposed to be a democracy. We are supposed to be opposed to violence because violence is the way of terrorists – and we are supposed to have defeated terrorism. We are supposed to be a liberated people, with freedom of movement, expression and choice.

But it is election time now and what, of all those things, do we have? Continue reading A message from a first-time voter

Trinco Rising.

Originally published on Perambara.org.

11 years ago, Trincomalee was paradise. I have memories of aquamarine beaches, walking out to sea for miles on shallow sandbanks, spending a morning at Pigeon Island climbing rocks and looking at coral. The only thing that marred our trip was the coral thief we stumbled upon there, who was sternly reprimanded by one of our party for the damage he was doing to the reef. He listened not-so-guiltily to the lecture and scrammed with his hacking knives, leaving the broken coral behind. Even as an innocent 13 year old, I knew he would probably be back for it later.

At 24, I look at Trincomalee with different eyes: not only because I have changed, but because it has too – possibly even more than me. I have lived through the same war, but experienced it predominantly through the news and from a distance . Trinco, on the other hand, has had the war fought at its doorstep and in its back yard. And these waves of violence were only to be followed by another: the tsunami, brought in by the sea that had always been an ally in the past – a source of survival and income for the townsfolk; an omnipresent companion, glinting along the coast. In 2004, that friend turned foe. Continue reading Trinco Rising.

That old feeling…


It’s happening… And yet… Could it?


She giggles. Bites her lip and smiles at herself in the mirror. Checks her hair. Again.


Such a weird mix of feelings. Suddenly strange. Suddenly shy. Suddenly good. Suddenly self conscious. Suddenly happy. Suddenly unsure. Suddenly even a little scared.


The drive is long, the roads are wet. The static on the radio crackles and she remembers with a jolt to put on another song. Quickly sifting through the songs on her iPod, she looks for one to fit her unusual mood. She picks Love and Affection by Joan Armatrading – one of her all-time favourites. She’s listened to it hundreds of times before, but when she sings it now, she mixes up the words. She glances at herself in the rear-view mirror and can’t hold in the laugh that bubbles up into her throat at her own silliness.


A boy on the road catches her eye and smiles despite the rain pelting down on him. It’s a flirtatious smile and she rolls her eyes in exasperation as the car zooms past, leaving him behind. Continue reading That old feeling…