I was born in 1994. The entirety of my life was spent in the suburbs of Colombo. I don’t remember a childhood of living in fear of terrorists or war, because as a little kid, those words didn’t mean much to me. When a bomb went off somewhere, I never understood what it meant to the people who lost a loved one. I never felt that war could be upon me any day. I knew my parents were constantly worried, but so strong was my feeling of indifference that I never saw the perils. I saw a different side.
I wanted be an army man, fighting in the war. I thought it would be a fun thing to do. I still remember my toy guns. They were made of PVC pipes and splinters of wood tied together. One of my aunts even made me an army uniform. My mother tells me that when we had guests coming to our place, I would walk up to them do the military salute. When it was play time, I ambushed imaginary bad guys and shot them.
But at some point I had to grow up. I saw the carnage. I heard the news. Apathy was for the kid, and I wasn’t a kid anymore. War was a serious business, and people were dying. I slowly learned that a gun was not a plaything, rather how heavy a burden it was to carry one, literally and figuratively. For the same reason I respected the brave men who did. It began to dawn on me that being prepared to die for another was something I was capable of doing.
It was not a matter of child’s play anymore.
This nostalgia was caused by something that I saw online today. Spending a day with the men and women who once stepped forward to protect their countrymen, and lost the best part of their lives and parts of their own bodies in the process, seems like the least thing we could do to be grateful. That, and something more, is happening this month.
When and where?
#RanaviruMeetup will happen on the 25th July at Ranaviru Sevana in Ragama, and a bunch of fellow tweeps are involved in the organising. To help you find the details easier they’ve put up a website here. If you want to join them in Ragama on the 25th, please sign up here.
You can do more.
Don’t worry if you can’t make it on the 25th. You can still help. You can donate stuff, or money, the website has all the details. Head over there and check it out today. Even the smallest contribution matters. And if you still need more details, talk to Gihan the Tweep.