*This is a guest post by Zainab Hudha.
As tiny as this island is, there’s a lot of variety here, like the blend of spices found in the Pol Sambol that we all are so fond of. Or are we?
Let’s talk – 5 things Lankans either love or hate.
Need for Speed vs Need to be Safe
Going by multiple names such as Tuks or Autos, we have all travelled at least once in this go-to mode of transportation. Its availability and accessibility have been a helping hand for people from different walks of life. It’s a memorable aspect of Sri Lanka, from the corny quotes on the exterior to the interesting art inside.
Through journeys, we’ve met several kinds of tuk drivers; there are some who are nice, rude, too chatty, unfairly priced or a death threat! So, the relationship we have with the drivers is like a love-hate one where love means “metered taxi with a friendly driver” and hate, well, translates to the driver thinking “I’m going to hold my cell on one hand and miss the turns the passenger is telling me”.
When It Rains, It Pours
Sri Lanka sits close to the equator which means we don’t see snow. Yes, that’s not okay. But what’s worse than not having seasons is the crazy weather. Weather predictions don’t stand a chance in the face of our country’s unpredictability.
On the sunny days, we have a good 30°c plus a ton of humidity that does a lovely job at making us feel like melted candy – sticky and messy. It would be hot and then you’d feel drops (not of sweat). The rains usually happen without warning and don’t last long. Or last too long leading to floods and clothes that just won’t dry. But astoundingly, us Lankans somehow know just how to rock any weather condition huh?
When politics is brought to the table along with naan and butter chicken, you know it’s going to get messy. The government – the controversies, hard-to-swallow truths, concerned attempts, is interesting nonetheless.
There are days when we are mad at everyone involved because of the processions and closed roads; there are nights when you’re facepalming at the television because the political drama is as amusing as the Sinhala-dubbed Hindi ones; there are moments of cracked voices and tight fists when you’re discussing mental health and environmental awareness; then there are those days you sport a small smile as you watch or hear about how your small country and its good people are trying to progress.
Uncle? Aunty? Akka? Aiyya?
You know in those school essays titled “My Country”, how you would include the point about Sri Lanka is home to four main religions? Multi-Cultural. It’s probably what makes us the 8th most generous country worldwide. It’s what makes us exchange wattalapam, pongal, kokis and Christmas cake among our neighbours. It makes us care. It also brings the “what will they think?!?!?!”.
As much as we are a well-integrated society, we tend to forget the balance and then care too much about what the aunty who lives five houses down the lane will think about our personal decisions and choices. It’s a win-kill situation. You love all the love but sometimes it’s overbearing and you just want a moment of an individualistic culture.
The Slimy Black Jam Kinda Thing
Marmite! This is usually reminiscent of the school days when a friend brought marmite sandwiches to school and during the break, they'd open their lunchbox and you'd smell it. The smell of marmite is distinct, and there’s a clear division between the people who grimace at the thought of this and the people who are now aware of their salivary glands. It’s a 50-50 scenario. Marmite, like the Isso Vade, is one of the delicacies in the memes of 'Are you really Sri Lankan if you don't'.