Oh!! Colombo: Of Pumpkin and Jak

Mar 24 2023.

views 185

The conversation at a casual Sunday lunch at Trixie’s segued to an article in the past week’s Daily Mirror where it stated that 59% of the Sri Lankan population either do not have access to or have a wholesome single meal for the day. Trixie’s neighbour, Haughty Katha Petti, callously butted in saying that the information was inaccurate as villagers have access to pumpkin or jak at any given time since both grow in their gardens and, therefore, they cannot be starving. Haughty was airing her opinion whilst her plate was practically overflowing with food.

Trixie was not ready to play the polite host by allowing Haughty to get away with this ridiculous statement.  She pointed out to Haughty that her statement did not hold water and asked her whether she would be able to live only eating pumpkin and jak for all meals every single day.   

I agree with Trixie and cannot imagine anybody being happy eating only pumpkin and jak every day.  People in the cities also eat these two vegetables.  However, there is a huge difference in that these items are cooked in varying ways and eaten with other accompaniments.  The same goes for other vegetables, such as manioc and sweet potatoes, which the elite in Colombo believe villagers are happy eating daily.  Picture going to the market and being unable to afford the cost of a coconut, condiments, cooking oil and other basic necessities that we take for granted.

It is another story when chatting with villagers. They all have tales to relate about their sad existence. The cost of living has affected them all - looking after children, educating, feeding and clothing them is near impossible with what they earn, whatever the job may be. The majority of employers rarely increase wages as they have lost a lot of their businesses.  Bonuses will not be paid to many employees to celebrate Avurudhu next month. Nevertheless, money will be sourced to follow the traditions and rituals, a custom that cannot be taken away from them.

As for the statement that villagers will not be starving owing to what is available in their backyards,  it is all bunkum and typical Colombo chitter chatter of the thoughtless, whilst indulging in a fancy meal, with no empathy for the less fortunate.


Post your comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular