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Sailing the monsoon rains

January 14, 2012

I’m shivery and my bones ache. I’ve escaped upstairs with my laptop, water and paracetamol, leaving my husband to settle the children.

I remember waking up once, in Jaffna, with no voice. For some reason I decided that meant I also shouldn’t try to move so lay there, getting more thirsty and hot. It was just before the monsoon, the air was thick and the heat felt immobile. If the world could not be bothered to move, why should I, a voiceless child, even try?

Eventually an aunt came to check on me. I pointed to the immobile ceiling fan. She told me there was a powercut and got me a glass of water.

Later that day, the monsoon broke. We sat on the verandah breathing in the moist air, watching the raindrops crash to the ground, turning the sand in the garden into mud, then burying it all under a sheet of glistening water. We made paper boats and sailed them on our brand new seas, watching as they set off bravely, buffetted by the rain and wind.

The wild weather gave me my voice back.

But SriLanka’s politics got darker and my voice disappeared again. It was too dangerous to speak out, futile to protest and weak to complain.So I stayed silent for years and years, wondering again why, if the world could not be bothered to act, should I even try.

I’m trying now, to speak. One day I’ll have the confidence to build a boat and set sail.

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