Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Maestro is no more

Now that the Maestro Amaradewa is no more having bid farewell to the nation that is to continue mourning for a few more days………let me put here our feelings and encounters from the time of the first announcement of him being hospitalized.

It was Thursday 3rd Nov 2016, morning and I am leaving to Hambantota having put up at my home in Galle. Around 6.45 A.M. the car radio voices out that the Maestro has been admitted to the Sri Jayawardanepura Hospital. I have a cold shiver running down my spine and I call home and give the news to my wife and she is taken a shock and hopes nothing is serious.

Next I call my closest Architect friend working with me who is equally worried. I then text a message to those I feel should be of concern of him being taken ill. Now I am flooded with voice calls asking what is that message that you sent was about. I go read the message again to see what I really wrote to them and start explaining that it is that Pandith Amaradewa is hospitalized and is in the Emergency Treatment Unit at Sri Jayawardanapura.

I now feel that I have overestimated the present clan with regard to the Maestro and his music in our current society. By 11.30 A.M. I get a call from my wife and before I answer her I could feel her trembling hand it was the news of his demise.

Evening I am on my way to Colombo and call her to place a white flag on our ‘Araliya’ tree and discuss of the possibilities of attending the funeral the following day.

Friday 4th Nov 2016…………The flag is on the ‘Araliya’ tree and my wife is at the gate answering the tooting car horns and the bicycle bells….."No it is nothing about the husband but it is as a respect for Maestro Amaradewa". ….it was only this one white flag down our lane. What a pity?

Friday was an auspicious one and I am at a wedding of a office colleague. By late evening my wife joins me to pay our last respects to the Maestro at the Independence Hall. Clad in white we drive to our office in Bagatale road were I park my car and take a ‘tuk tuk ‘ to the Independence Hall; when the tuk tuk driver tells me “wonder if it is possible to go there with so many people …..Jana Gangawa“. I tell him let’s get as close as we could and we will walk the rest……He parks for us right at the foot of the stairs of the Independence Hall.

We are lost to see that Janagangawa that the media blasted over their wave lengths forcing to me park the car at the office.

We join the few heads of bereaved, sorrowed and saddened …… we were pleased to spend as much time we could at the casket of the Maestro. Our hearts would not let us leave this place… We then seat ourselves alongside for over an hour where over a hundred vacant seats were available until the clergy took the seats when we as in tradition stood up for them ready to leave the Maestro.

Now on our way home past 9.30 P.M. in the night both our phones start ringing…………….. "Where have you both been?".... We had been in a news clip in the late night news, queuing up at the Independence Hall………………

You may wonder why I have to tell all this ……..There is reason for me to write this note because…. This was a state funeral in the heart of the City of Colombo. There was hardly any white flag on any of the lamp post that have such a unit for flags by the Colombo Municipal Council [CMC].

 We have seen how the CMC has acted during state visits of dignitaries and during political events.

The CMC may have reasons for this………….leave out any reasoning? It will still be a shame on the part of CMC’s actions during a state funeral where the deceased was the first and could be the only one to be placed inside the Independence Hall. 

Nothing here is fictitious; everything is true and actual

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