A purohita from the South recently set out on a visit to Rajarata on official business well ahead of the crack of dawn.
The motorcade was cruising along the Puttalam-Anuradhapura road when the chief purohita began feeling the pangs of hunger. While watching out for a wayside tea kiosk to have some bites, the chief one spotted a ‘kola-kenda’ spot and asked his security guards to stop.
The purohita and his escorts, who entered the booth, found a few peasants seated inside sipping the popular herbal broth. The ‘kola-kenda’ available for serving was hardly sufficient for the new crowd and the politico and his escorts had to wait for a fresh supply from a pot already boiling on the hearth. The politico was impatiently waiting for the broth, when a talkative one from among the peasants addressed him. “How do you size up the current political situation, Sir?”
“Yahapalanaya government is running smoothly!” the politico replied.
“Then, why is the pro-government groups lose at all elections to co-operatives. Didn’t your group lose at the election held in your own village?” the talkative one asked again.
Taken aback by this question, the purohita could not give an immediate reply.
And the talkative peasant continued to hold forth: “Sir, high-ups in politics like you do not appear to feel the pulse of people like us. That accounts for your complacency.”
The peasant who appeared to be in his element proceeded with a commentary on the difficulties the ordinary people were going through. Irked by the critical remarks being made by the peasant, the politico decided that it was more conducive for his political health to leave the place immediately rather than get into an argument with the man. He addressed the kola-kenda booth owner. “I have to rush to Anuradhapura to keep an appointment. So I am sorry that we have to miss your kola-kenda.”
And as he left the booth with his escorts to the waiting vehicle, the talkative peasant spoke up again: “Sir, it’s a pity you can’t wait for kola-kenda. Please also remember, Sir, that we too cannot wait too long for solutions to our urgent problems.”