Emotional, evoking and empathetic | Daily News


Emotional, evoking and empathetic

Title: Etha Duraka Vana Aranaka

Author: Rajendra Jayasundara Bandara

To review a book written for teen ages approaching young adulthood posed an alien feeling. However, on reading through with quite an interest it awoke memories of a past already somewhat forgotten. Being children of several decades back reading was not so remote for us. We were encouraged to read and did so quite enthusiastically. Reading also opened invitations to a world of imagination and novel experience which was difficult to receive practically in real-life situations.

The imagination, of course, led to creativity and evoking of emotions – of learning to share and sympathize. In other words to understand people in various situations and how they react. This served not only an educative purpose but a maturity of understanding. The entertainment became obvious.

Marginalised emotions

One could never impose on imagination or enforce restrictions. A child that has no option but to remain one’s own room had the opportunity to travel far and experience a lot. Their imagination was not marginalized, nor was the emotions. And he need not have to be restricted by the availability of mechanical machines. These were times away from such devices. The adolescents were not distracted and were free. Most occupied their time in reading.

Psychologically such an age would love exciting experiences- mostly undergone together with friends. The stranger the experiences, the better the excitement. On reading Rajendra’s book one would be reminded of adventure stories written by various authors in English. Then comes adventures like Madol Duwa of our great novelist Martin Wickramasinghe. These books fed a necessary need in youthful minds for adventure and to explore. On reading the book the incidents form themselves as a sequence of visiting relatives. This is with the approval of parents, blessed by all with good wishes.

The experience of getting lost in the jungle leads to various incidents with wild animals, rebellions and air force raids. The way they reacted to these situations is given in detail. But it is also important to note that none of it seems artificially included for entertainment. Nor is their undue heroism that might invoke ‘copy cat’ missions. In the descriptions, a little bit of information regarding the history and natural science are included but not in a way that it would disturb the main story. These were a bunch of normal kids having a normal relationship with adults. The courage they muster and their unity finally brings them back to safety.

The adventure becomes most interesting because it is set in the jungles of Sri Lanka. The incidents, the social, political and individual experiences are Sri Lankan. Not only the vegetation but the climatic and geographical descriptions are related. The animals that the writer brings in the form of our jungles. This is where herds of elephants wade into the ‘villuva’ to drink, wash and play. The deer monkeys all were free in their own habitat. The encounter with the bear chasing the children and them taking refuge on a branch of a tree is quite a possibility.

Preach or instruct

Another fact that should not be overlooked is that many who write for the young are tempted to preach or instruct. The fact becomes obvious and the youngsters are tempted to become defensive and cautious. Even suspicious of intentions. But fortunately, this does not apply to this creative narration. All that is faced by the children are within the realm of possibility and probability

The food they get to consume adds interest because they consisted of available like roasted corn or boiled manioc.

Reviewed by Professor Kamani Jayasekera

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