Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Sri Lankanisms - Number 3 in an occasional series

Another of my favourites. I have not heard it used in the same context anywhere in the world as it's used in Sri Lanka. It's a wonderful expression of acceptance. A linguistic way to shrug one's shoulders and move on to something that one can actually have some influence over.

Many of us spend too much time and effort fighting things we cannot change. My Grandmother used to have that old poem thing on her shelf by her phone. You know, the one that says:

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."

It's a nice little poem, or whatever these things are called. A bit deep and meaningful for me, but now and again I can appreciate the deep and meaningful stuff.

Most of us just don't possess bucketloads of serenity to help us in making snap decisions on whether to act or not act. Us normal people blunder our way through life sticking our noses into things where we're not wanted or ignoring stuff when we should actually steam in a give it a major overhaul.

Unless we're someone's Grandmother, always a challenge for the more masculine types amongst us. Grandmothers always have a knack of knowing this kind of stuff. Sadly I no longer have any grandparents, but I remember both my Grandmothers had this serenity and wisdom oozing out of their pores. I never knew either of my Grandfathers but, looking at the ones that I do know, it's clear that their role is to float around in the background and make grandchildren smile and roar with laughter at regular intervals.

As I've got older I've witnessed my parents becoming grandparents. It's quite a challenge to look at my Mum and Dad and think that my kids will think of them as wise old birds full of knowledge and worldly advice.

Actually, my eldest who's 12, already goes to my Mum and asks her for advice about various things. She runs off to her moaning about how strict I am and how I never listen to her and never let her do what she wants. Little does she know that my parents used to treat me exactly the same way, so there's no point in going to them.

I mean, my Dad has got the Pussycat Dolls' latest album and plays gigs in a local wine bar, Mum supports Liverpool and spends half her life wearing an England football shirt. I rest my case. Oh, and my Mother in Law, the other grandparent of my kids', is totally mad too. I don't want to be seen as unfair.

I'm rambling and for that I must apologise. I should tell you the phrase that has come in at number 3. You've probably glanced down and read it already anyway.

"What to do?"

That uniquely Sri Lankan way of accepting and moving on. Lovely!


sach said...

"What to do yaar" and "What to do so" are two phrases I use frequently. It is quite convenient, especially when you want to get out of sticky situations.

About grand parents, your kids are very lucky to have such, what can you call them, funky (?) grand parents. I'm not very close to my grand parents and I have a feeling I might regret it at some point in my life. But the gap becomes smaller with each generation I guess because my (hypothetical) children are going to have a wacky grand father and an extremely eccentric grand mother from my family. All this talk about children and grand parents is making my stomach feel a bit queasy. Lol. Nice post as always.

Indyana said...

Ah twelve is still an innocent age when grandparents seem the better option to your parents.To my going-on-sixteen eldest, we're all the enemy camp!! sigh! but, I do love the "so what to do" phrase.An equivalent to our indian "chalta hai, yaar",i think.Gives you that much needed feeling of release from beating a problem to death!!

Darwin said...

"What to do?" is more often than not followed by a long sigh and a "Karume thamai"!