A man fully kitted up armed with two rubber tubes prescribes for a child, pill after pill of antibiotics. They are colourful and they just need to be swallowed.
The man sometimes is called “One Shot Doctor”. With one shot of his drugs the sick are cured of their illnesses little knowing that 10 more side effects have entered their bodies.
Of course the patient does not know that many of these men (and women) with two tubes around their neck are backed by the drug mafia and paid high commissions to promote some unknown drug.
The patients do not know that they are guinea pigs for the drug company. The patients do not know that the families of these tube carrying men and women are sent abroad for holidays once a year, all paid by the drug companies.
We revere them as gods and address them as if our lives are in their hands, and all they can actually do is try and prolong our lives a little longer, so that they can earn an extra buck at our expense, live in marble palaces, and more than that, fill our people with antibiotics and other drugs so that when they really need them, the drugs are of no use.
Now, in my opinion, the most important (real) man in the city comes in simple, dirt-stained clothes carrying nothing but a powerful voice calling out Kunu, Kunu. I call them and address them as Environmental Protection Officers. I put away around 50 Rupees in a till each time these officers come around to my house, gladly. And by the end of the year I have a lump sum collected for them without any extra demand on my budget and I offer this at the end of the year after a small talk of appreciation for what they do to keep me alive and well.
For most of us, if they do not visit us at least twice a week, we will fall terribly ill due to the environmental pollution that would be created in their absence. The well-dressed officers I talked about earlier, need them too, unless of course they eat all three meals in 5 star hotels every day!! I have only plastics and other non recyclables to give them since I compost all the food stuff and use this in my garden.
Now, according to the advertisement I hear over the radio, only real men wear real clothes. The advertisement forces upon us an ideology that has ruined this country and there can be no future for our people if we continue to think this; the idea that we can, should and will be judged not by our deeds, but by what we wear.
No wonder, we look down on our most important fellow citizens because of the way they dress. Do we address each person in polite terms, yes even the environmental officers (in your words garbage collectors) as “Oba thuma” a term much more respectful than the term “Me” or ‘Oya’ or do we reserve respect only for the
When I came back to Sri Lanka after some time away, the pharmacy owner asked whether I have seen the Jarawa (dirt) on the roads.
I said yes.
I have seen lots of dog poop on the road and he protested “No, no” he said.
“I meant the Jarawa of the people – they never smile even if you smile at them”
“Certainly”, I said.
“Maybe they don’t smile because of the way I walk on the roads, wearing a pair of shorts in the hot sun. And maybe they would smile back at me if I was a real man wearing real clothes – three piece (or is it five) suits in the hot sun!!”
Of course we also need to think about what Realness means in this transitory life.
The realness of what all major religions, philosophies, world views in existence say about the “Not so real” world. I shall not attempt to write about this here.
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