Pulmoddai is an area close to the sea. The people who lived there were Tamil-speaking Muslims. Thennamaravadi was the adjoining village and Tamil people lived in this village. These two villages formerly belonged to Trincomalee District. Recently both villages were amalgamated with Anuradhapura District. The geographical continuity of Northern and Eastern provinces was broken by this proclamation. The intention of the politicians was to deprive Tamils of statehood by settling Sinhalese in colonies and creating Sinhala villages in between the said two villages. These two villages came under my veterinary division.
A chemical substance called titanium, a rare metal possessing great strength and rust-resisting qualities, was extracted from ilmenite sand taken from Pulmoddai. The extracted chemical substance could withstand immense heat and was used to paint outside surface of airplanes. This substance had great value in the world market.
It was not possible to rare cows in these areas since grass never grew in that soil. But there were enough jungles of shrubs. Gani Mohamed applied for government permission to start a goat farm in the area. After inspecting the land to be allocated for goat farming only, I had to approve this proposal. If I travelled to Pulmoddai, I could return only the next day. so I had to postpone my trip to Pulmoddai.
Later, with my assistant Wickremasinghe I traveled to Pulmoddai in my motorcycle. By traveling with him, I gained some good experience. He had been a bachelor for a long time and got married only recently. In a humorous way, he elaborated his relationships with girls.
Large trees on either side of the road through Padawiya jungle gave excellent shade and was like a frame comprising of running flowers. Glimpses of sunlight could be seen only at some places of the tarred road. The beauty of nature and narration of Wickremasinghe’s experiences gave pleasure to both my eyes and ears. Suddenly an old lady came out of the trees and crossed the road. Just in time, we were able to stop the motorcycle from hitting her, but she fell on the road presumably due to fear or frailty. After parking the motorcycle, we examined the aged lady who remained unconscious. When she fell down on the road, her leg had broken.
“Let us go. Otherwise we will be in trouble”, said Wickremasinghe.
“It is not fair. We, who even treat animals, should not leave an aged lady like this.”
“What shall we do, then?”
“Wait. There may be vehicles passing through this road.”
Within five minutes, a vehicle belonging to the Irrigation Department appeared on the road. We placed her in the vehicle and followed it to the hospital. We admitted the aged-lady to Padaviya government hospital, informed the Police at Padaviya about the incident and continued with our journey to Pulmoddai.
It was dark when we reached Pulmoddai. As there was no one known to us in Pulmoddai, we stayed at the guesthouse of the Ilmenite Department. Even though the bed was comfortable I could not fall sleep. The incident involving the aged lady was haunting my mind. Apart from that Wickremasinghe’s snoring was terrible. I have not heard the growling of a tiger. But I presumed it would be somewhat similar.
I met Gani Mohamed and requested him to show the area of land where he wants to rear goats. The place he showed us had no grass or any green shrubs. It was just a sandy area. I realized that it was just a plan to get land from the Government.
“I will write to you after getting back to Medawachchiya.”- I told him without giving an instant report.
I wanted to blame him for wasting my time trying to get a land permit unlawfully and above all for being indirectly responsible for the accident involving the aged-lady. But I refrained from doing that, calmed down my anger and behaved like a responsible Government officer. The incongruous avarices of Sinhala politicians are destroying the ‘tear drop’ of theIndian Ocean. Every thing is nothing but pillage! It was irritating to find people like Gani Mohamed bargaining in such desperate situations.