Friday, December 02, 2005

Outboard Motor

Except for the fact that the tobacco I had bought near the Moratawa market tastes bad, everything is fine with my life right now. The rich guy in pressed pants and a golden watch sitting next to me was not very amused at the way I spit out the tobacco last time around so I think I will have to hold the remaining for the next 45 minutes till I reach the bus-stop near my fishing village in South Kalatur. I had gone to Moratawa to see my brother-in-law’s friend Sirithunga who was selling his two year old Honda Outboard Motor. Now I too am a proud owner of a motor boat. Since I have all reasons to be happy, as Pastor Nelson said two days ago on Christmas Eve, I should pass it on. Pastor Nelson is one of the nicest man I know. Maybe I should buy some sweets from Perera’s bakery on the way. I will give it to Johnny’s kids because I have been fighting with Johnny for sometime now and someone should take the initiative to change it.

Now that I too am an owner of a motor boat, I have started thinking of everyone’s ‘uncle’ Victor who has been fighting for the community’s welfare. He never liked the Government allowing big fishing companies to start fishing and he always wondered how Sri Lankan economy is so dependent on US Dollar flow. I do not understand any of this anyway, and I cannot care less. He was part of a very successful struggle which ensured that the government cannot take away land rights from us for ‘development’. But I think he is overly worried about pollution caused by synthetic nets and the large-scale modern fishing depleting the fish breeding pattern. But he is right about the big trawlers spending 30-45 days at sea and bringing back fishes kept in ice. They can never be fresh. He was also always apprehensive of the motorized boat owners because of which the common fishermen could not compete to survive. But now when even I have one of my own, why is it that suddenly even I am not able to agree with him fully? Does having an outboard motor change your whole attitude towards life? But ‘Uncle’ Victor also acknowledges that these changes are inevitable and that we should embrace it gracefully.

There is a traffic block ahead and people on the road are talking of a rise in water level nearby. Don’t know how long I will be stuck in traffic here. Radhi and kids will be near the boat mending the net. The kids don’t know that I have gone to buy a motor. I cannot imagine how excited they will be about that and the sweets.