Capt. Elmo Jayawardena’s latest book ‘Kakiyan’ is a smashing read. Having flown jumbo jets all his adult life, perhaps it is second nature for Capt. Elmo to have a bird’s eye view of the world. But to weave this into the life of an ubiquitous being such as a crow, is no doubt brilliant.
The book fires the imagination and will certainly make us think twice, whenever we see a crow again. His observations of their behaviour will strike a chord in the psyche of all of us who have grown up with crows. The classic head tilt, their mischievous forays into our kitchens, their tangoing in water pools, their funeral rites and even their baptism with holy crow droppings! All these intermingled with delightful insights and human alter egos, and heroes and villains in the world of crows.
"The book fires the imagination and will certainly make us think twice, whenever we see a crow again"
Thrown in for good measure are little philosophical aphorisms. Whose philosophy it is, though, no one knows. Disconcerting at times, one is led to believe initially that it makes a case for an egalitarian society which the crows supposedly have. But the book is certainly not a recast of the Orwellian Animal Farm and does not push its case. It nevertheless makes a strong case for animal rights in many of its thrusts and should endear itself to those fighting animal cruelty. In this sense, it strikes a similitude to Chris Noonan’s and George Miller’s box office hit, Babe.
Also, noteworthy is the book’s attack on pretense in any form. The ‘Great Ones’ seem to be steeped in this flaw. A theme appropriate to Sri Lankan politics and one wishes it addressed this contemporary issue in more shindig. However, such an adventure could have made the story lose its savour and restrict its reach and readership.
Acceptance and commitment to life, its joys and sorrows, seems to be the underlying thread. Modern psychotherapists would welcome this approach. A simplistic approach to live mindfully as crows do, an uncomplicated life of ups and downs. Whether this is if at all possible is anybody’s guess. This withstanding, Kakiyan is easy and insightful, and a leisurely afternoon read.