Are we thankful for what we have?
As I write this article, news networks report that Europe is in the
midst of one of the worst cold weather episodes in history. Sleet
outside your window covering everything in sightÖblocked roads,
dangerously slippery surfaces, the misery of long and dark evenings and
shorter spells of daylight. As delightful as snow is in its first fall,
especially to someone who has not seen snow before, snow can soon turn
into a miserable, long stretched out period of watching nothing but more
I look outside my window and I see dust yes but I see five different
shades of greenery, trees swaying gently in a breeze that drives away
I am glad. Glad that I can call Sri Lanka my home. Glad that I can
walk out of the door if I so choose to get something to eat or to buy
something - without having to dress right for the outdoors. I donít need
to moisturize my skin as I come out of the shower, worried my skin might
dry out, I donít need to layer my clothes so that I am dressed right for
the mean outdoors with its blisteringly cold weather.
I am thankful for the weather I have here, glad even for the dust
that the rains have thankfully temporary broken, glad for the smell of
sunshine on my well dried clothes, the breeze that cools a hot day, the
cup of tea I can carry to the balcony where I can watch the street below
More deaths and disruption from the
big chill in Europe
Too many of us are not thankful enough for the country we call home.
Too many of us see the bad over the good. When the long neglected
environs around the Independence Square were polished up to look the
smartest it has ever looked, a gently winding labyrinth of jogging paths
beautifully alight at night and refreshing for the eyes during the day,
it was good. Very good.
It was the same with the long forgotten former Dutch Hospital which
today is a chic place to shop, eat at or just look around. Colombo is
beginning to acquire its own brand of elegance as a city that has been
exposed to culture and fine living. Colombo the historic blends with
Colombo the trendy, chic address. Now that is good - especially when
visitors exclaim just how dandy the city is looking.
It feels equally good to travel to Galle on the highway. The first in
the country and no matter what anyone might say, it feels great when a
three hour journey is reduced to a mere hour or less. We may never be
the best in the world whether in roads, city building or dengue control,
but this is home and even the smallest improvement should make us feel
good rather than wanting to criticize.
It feels good to see tourists around and hotels booked everywhere; I
remember the time when the bombs used to go off and we used to walk into
empty or dead hotel foyers with little or no entertainment.
I am thankful for the small mercies - when I hear hotel employees
comment how they have to work hard but how they can take home a good
package. Thankful for the country I call home, with its unmatched array
of beauty - coast to coast, greenery on greenery, the arid dry zone with
its own unique charm.
Many of us have chosen to remain here at home and not take the next
flight out because we love Sri Lanka. We are thankful for what we have
and choose not to miss what we donít have or cannot aspire to. Some
things will always be there - the madness, the chaos, the quaint things
that make us quintessentially Sri Lankan.
Itís there in the way we do things. Itís bad when it comes packaged
in the laid back verandah style of laziness that only people of a very
naturally fertile and green country can display. As long as jackfruit
and del trees grow, Sri Lankans will never go hungry.
Among us are those who would rather miss opportunities, even life
changing ones, if thereís hard work and commitment involved. On the
other hand, there are those who braved the circumstances and who went on
to create success stories worthy of being written for MBA curriculums.
That is who we are and some of us are able to change the way we think ,
live and dream so that we could do things better tomorrow than today.
Yet, some will always choose to revert back to how they were and never
miss a beat in doing so.
Some of us are born with a default desire to go abroad - just about
anywhere. Their world view changes only when they cross the seas and
realize just how bad things could be, even in the so called developed
societies where you have to do everything by yourself.
It can turn out to be miserable and defy the very purpose you left
Sri Lanka for. Some return, disappointed, yet thankful they can come
We need to learn to be thankful for everything we have here - even in
the midst of the worst case scenario. We have a network of friends and
family to fall back on. If we are committed and determined, we can
always find the kind of work we would be happy doing.
We need to raise the bar - not be satisfied with pedestrian efforts
which some are capable of delivering. Let us try to see what we can be
thankful for in the land we call home. There is something here indeed -
that makes tourists want to return again and again and inspire visitors
to sometimes come back to settle for good. Letís try to find the good
and focus on it for Sri Lanka defines who we are.