It's been a while and, by Mahinda, things have changed! I'm one of the many who share the feelings of optimism and hope for the Motherland. The one thing I never dreamed was that the downfall of the regime would be democracy itself. A coup, an assassination or an invasion seemed far more probable to me, which is kind of sad but true.
Truth be told this post by Cerno inspired me to put finger to keyboard. I know I don't really have any readers anymore but what the hell I figured, let's think of something to write.
And then bang, it hit me, like a bat out of Belgium; an event, well a couple of events, that make me a bit teary to think of even now and I thought I'd tell you about them.
So my Dad has been in hospital lately, In terms of being alive, Cancer and all, it's fair to say he's hanging in there. I think it would be inaccurate to portray him as one of those stoic fighting chaps, the sort you see in films and on TV, but he's still with us.
And he's been in hospital for the last week or so, due out either today or tomorrow. There I was visiting him a few days ago, he's in a chest ward and there's an old Irish chap called John in the bed next to him. Over the last week we've got to know the wife and family of John, as one does in this type of scenario.
As I arrived in the ward the curtains were drawn around John's bed and there were lots of goings on; Doctors, Nurses and family. There was a bit of a hush in the ward also, the kind of atmosphere that you feel and know isn't good. It was weird, knowing something was happening yet talking to my Dad in relatively normal everyday how are you type tones.
But, as I was talking to Dad I heard a voice from John's curtained off section and realised it was a Priest giving him the Last Rites, something I'd only ever heard on Father Ted before, yet I recognised instantly. I felt sad for John and his family and sad at the lack of dignity for what I assumed would follow in a few minutes; the curtain being drawn back and the removal of his body.
I was right. Some minutes later the curtain was drawn back. I glanced casually, trying to be unobtrusive, only to see smiles and laughter all round. Something was clearly not wrong.
John was lying there not dead. By "not dead" I mean he was alive. Totally. He was smiling, laughing, chatting, snoozing and doing all the things that the other dwarves do. His wife turned to me and said rather happily that they thought they were losing him, that he'd given them a "bit of a scare" but something had changed and all was fine and dandy. I was so moved I even touched her arm in that sympathetic happy for you very British way. Evidently it had been a very close shave.
I carried on with talking about things with the Old Man, then left, as one does, feeling somewhat joyous and happy.
As I walked to the lift a young couple did the same. The husband (I assumed he was the husband but for all I know they might have been unmarried, that kind of thing is common here) was carrying a brand spanking new born baby in one of those car seat things.
I said some nice words and they both told me that the little boy was one day old and they were taking him home for the first time. It took me back to when my Girls were born, the hopes I had, the feelings of joy and responsibility, of promise and all those indescribable emotions that only parents can relate to.
Rather more poignantly it also made me think of John, of hospitals and the Circle of Life, which of course brings up thoughts of The Lion King.
One minute I'm witnessing an old chap almost finishing his life, with his grown up children, his wife and his grandchildren there, the next I see a one day old baby going home for the first time. Who knows what that child might achieve in his life, what will happen to him, what he'll make happen?