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And then I remember

June 11, 2011

At twilight, Jaffna changed from a town to a village. Shops closed, offices shut, but front doors opened.  Women stepped outside to chat, feed children and to walk.  Tiny roadside shrines lit oil lamps to attract passing worshippers. My favourite shrine had touch me nots growing  around it. I would stop with my grandmother and spend  minutes touching the tiny petals and watching them furl in the flickering light. Jaffna at twilight was magical, otherworldly.

The curfews drove people indoors, away from the jasmine scents and the cool air. People obeyed. No one wanted trouble with the soldiers patrolling the streets.

They had electric lights and radios, a few lucky ones had televisions. But life changed.  The curfew forced people to enter the modern world, when they just wanted the evening breeze.

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