Sunday, February 10, 2013

From north with love...Stories from the other end.



Immense pain throbbed my chest while I watched the movie" Ira handa yata" Under the sun and moon, (some time back in 2010 ). This movie reflected the 30 years of war that ruined the lives of all citizens of this country, while the rest of the world went higher up in the scale with their developments and higher living conditions. The movie touched my heart as I too was a victim if this war since I was born and until I finished my medical degree. The theme it carried not only bears a clear history of the war but also the humanity and its relativity towards the nation. The terrible time period during the war had been reflected in a mind blowing pattern. It bears a lot of courage and kindness to look at one another with love and compassion even when one has lost almost everything he or she owned. "Its so good that it all ended doctor" every single person I meet told me that their lives are so much better, the children are safe and their homes are recovered now since the war ended. 

One year ago only the sounds of guns, bombs and air crafts filled the northern air of  this country. Everything ended for good in 2009 May, having all the civilians saved (from terrorists who used them as a human shield) they are gaining their are gaining the lives back even though most of it had been destroyed by the brutal war.
 The tears of the living dead, the cries of the innocent, had been reflected sharply throughout the film as I witnessed most of it myself during the time I served in an immediate post war area as a doctor.

Every day I come across hundreds of people who come to us with all their illnesses. Billions of fears, tears and pains seem to flock beneath their smiles... even though they greet us with a smile , suppressing all their hardships. Most people I meet, seem to have a slight fading tiredness in their faces. Later I understood that we can’t expect cheerful grins from them as they have lost their happiness on the road to salvation.

Ramya was about 26 weeks pregnant when she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.  we started her on Soluble insulin as her blood sugar levels were rising up on each visit for blood sugar series. As her condition was managed with the Insulin I was explaining her on how to self inject it and the care, she interrupted me "doctor I don't have a refrigerator”
This is a common question we always come across as most of the villages’ don’t even have electricity. "Ok then use the neighbor’s refrigerator” I told her. Her answer to this was "no electricity” ah just as i expected. There were 4 other kids and she was pregnant with he 5th, she had most of the factors that indicated a high risk pregnancy. and still unable to use medications at home due to lack of electricity. the rural hospital seem to be far away from her home that keeping her here was also a challenge as she had 3 months more to go. Asking them to come to a closer residential area is out of the list. They bearly have homes and survives on "Kuli weda " manual labor work which pays about 200 to 300 rs a day. Its not enough at all for a family of 6. Every day we come across these kind of problems and we seem to be the pain hearers and bearers for them but all what we can do is merely help them with unrealistic solutions such as inform about them to the welfare society of the hospital or a helpful NGO. War had hit them really hard. All most all we examined seemed to bear a scar or a wound from the past.  A shell, A bullet or a bomb blast written on every scar. 

On their long run for survival many lost their homes and were taken as a human shield by the terrorists till the final battle from town to town so almost all of them with chronic diseases had lost their clinic books or diagnosed cards from past along with their homes, valuables and family members.
Whenever we ask them what happened and why couldn’t they keep them protected, a river of tears fall out with the war wounded history. Lives of the people have torn, twisted, blasted sometimes but regained as I write this note now, that’s the change we see at present in this end of the country



Life has never been easy for anyone but being a doctor just doubles your stress levels and adds a zero to your social life. During med student days I never realized  that one day I’d be wondering why I chose medicine as a career. I was fascinated by the heaps of stories I heard and the kind, caring doctors I knew . I thought I would definitely help as many people as I can.

Regressions…. well, yes but only during final exams and the internship period due to the heaps of stress and work load.  I was posted to the “other end” of the country for my post intern appointment which is the first proper appointment we get as a doctor in sri lanka (well, you are a doctor during internship but its more like a training period where one learns to be a proper doctor)
I didn't get a good response from everyone who heard that I got posted here, to the far north of the country. But I was really happy that I got my dream post, just like I’ve applied. 

How I began writing …..
It all started while I was working in a government general hospital at the other end of the country , when my seniors and consultants got to know that I do a little bit of blogging and asked me to start writing about the challenging  work load we , doctors live through.  One of our consultant’s even picked interesting cases while doing the ward rounds and told me that I should go ahead with writing down these true  life stories of the people who have survived after a very difficult and devastated era back then, when the terrorist activities peaked in this area and of course to write about us, the doctors dealing with all the hardships in hospitals with less facilities. 
Ethical background to it was discussed with our consultants and seemed to be of no harm if the true names, places and any connections to true incidents were not written. 
First I started writing in sinhala because of my good friends who already had Sinhala blogs. Their writing skills and blogs inspired me to create a sinhala story blog “anith kona” which depicts the day to day life of me and the strangers I run into everyday. “ Anithkona “translates as “the other end”. More than 50 stories were in sinhala so far. 
Wonderful people from all around the world has been reading , commenting and sharing my articles , nearly for 3 years.Some even visited anithkona area and also remembered to help the needy and poor over here.
 Im not a good writer, because most of my higher education was spent reading medicine. I started writing these stories in Sinhala as it’s the language of my heart. Most of my non sinhalese friends wanted me to translate this web page in to english so that the non-sinhala reading community could read this.Finally I gave some time and thought to it.

Me, a sinhalese , working as a doctor in a tamil speaking community was a challenge, as we were not taught tamil as a language at school. 
We knew only wanga ponga - come , go. and counted upto 3 .
Now I can speak and understand tamil language, thanks to my patients and the staff who taught us tamil whilst daily work and thus made it so easy to work here and also to fit into the local community.


Here are the stories from the other end , work, stress and life from the other end of the country as I worked as a junior doctor at the start of my medical career.Please bear any mishaps of grammatical errors as I'm not good in comprehension.

Related links in sinhala : 

ඉර හඳ යටදී ආදරේ විඳින්න...

17 comments:

  1. First I like to wish you all the best in this endeavor.
    Being working in a western country for the last 1 year or so it was so disheartening to find the way these people ( only a minority of course since most of them do not know where Sri Lanka is )think of what happened in our country.
    To them sinhalese are a group of people always ready to kill/harm innocent tamils.
    After all it is not their fault since they only get to know about it through Channel 4 !!!
    They should understand that our communities were so closely bound for a long time in harmony apart from the gloomiest period of our history.
    You may not be able to enlighten all but this will surely be a beginning !!!

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    1. thanks rajeev, your encouraging words value alot ! will try to keep up with the writing while updating the sinhala stories as well.
      what u said is right , the world never see the right side of it. some media and other various kinds of teams who made money from this war keep wrecking the harmony among ppl at present while hiding the truth. Only those who live here know what happened. As a doctor serving the in one of the main hospitals we always come across people and incidents that shows us the true situation in this post war area. keep reading !

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  2. It is a good idea to write English articles because then the people around the world also can see the efforts taken to make a real difference in the Other End. I have also come across many people in other end still living with bullets & shrapnel inside the body which cant be removed. They usually present with multiple aches & pains in body & depression which is a result of not only the physical trauma but also mental mental trauma they had during that time of terror.
    Akki,are you completely changing the blog to English? But I think it's better to maintain two blogs in both languages like Dude doing because you already got a group of sinhala readers as well. Its very worthy even though it takes some considerable time.

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    1. I'll have one blog with articles written in sinhala and english.... I'll translate the old ones for the friends and readers who requested to do so meanwhile write new ones in sinhala.

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  3. I'd be one of the happiest people to hear that you are going to blog in English, specially because I've been feeling a kind of lonely writing HeyDude.

    There are very few others except Blue Lotus, JP, Chams, Red Riding Hood, David Blacker, Bimal and Jeevithei Mal, who blog in English language with a Sri Lankan origin.

    But my opinion is, as Thotiyaa said, to write two separate blogs like I do or make this bilingual.

    I think writing this blog in both the languages is the best thing for you to do at the moment. You can write one article in English and the next in Sinhala.

    I'm telling you this based on the experience I have blogging in two languages. If you don't mind please check the same post in my English blog and one of the Sinhala blogs, you'd be amazed to see the difference in comment count. Actually Anith Kona I first write in English as it comes to me more naturally and the translate into English. Still the Sinhala translations turn out to blockbusters while original English one gets only a fraction of that. hit count.

    And the other thing is. you have earned a large fan base in Sinhala and please don't let them down. I would always visit your blog and comment whatever the language you write in but don't expect the other bloggers to do that. Even if some of them would, most of them are shy to comment in English.

    So my advice is to blog in both the languages.

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    1. thanks dude... this doesnt mean that I'm gonna stop writing in sinhala. I'll jst have one blog written in both languages .. I really dont have time to create another and maintain 2 blogs. I'll find time to translate the old posts to english.. meanwhile write new stories in sinhala. anyway its all coz of my tamil friends in ppl other countries who wants to read them. I'll keep up writing new stories in sinhala. for sure dont worry about that. Im more familiar to write in sinhala than english.t

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    2. Okay, dear. Thanks. Nice to hear that.

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  4. You are doing good with your writings, But I still enjoy reading your articles in Sinhala :)

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    1. thanks sabith malli... I'm writing the new articles in sinhala while translating old into english.. so no worries..!

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  5. Nice effort akka! Because then whole world can read and feel "who is a real Sri Lankan doctor!"
    But as mentioned above try to keep two separate blogs.

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    1. I cant maintain 2 blogs nangs.. Im sure It'll be a mess and one will be ignored... so I will post new stories in sinhala while translating the old ones into english. thanks sidu.. its good to see u around

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  6. You are a wonderful writer AK.

    It is a truly excellent post written in the most beautiful language.

    don’t u ever stop writing in Sinhala …...:-)

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    1. thanks poddi... Will do in both languages as the time permits...

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  7. Your blog was always an inspiration to me. No doubt it is so for others too. I am happy to see you writing in English too. This will give you a wider audience and your message will be seen by many..

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    1. thanks aiya.. for ur encouraging words as always !

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  8. I think this is a great idea... please keep blogging in both languages! Much love!

    A

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    1. thanks angel.. found some time to write... still dont know for how long. ur comment is an inspiration to me... I admire you blog so much and reading it encouraged me to write this...even when I didnt knw much about blogs..

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ඔබ මෙහි ආ බව දැනුනොත් සතුටක් ! It would be great to know that you were here !