Humanity Shines

Thakshila Jayasinghe


My husband Indika and I had the most amazing and pure experience yesterday. Of the 3 people huddled here, I am on the right in the red cap, and the other 2 guys were complete strangers to us and to eachother. Ensconced in the middle of this huddle is my father in law. During the protests yesterday night, down came heavy showers. Indika and I tried to shield Dad as best as we could between ourselves but the wind was still blowing some rain his way. Out of nowhere a man suddenly came up and covered Dad from one side with his jacket spread out. Then after a few minutes another man also came up and spread out his jacket as well. And so the 4 of us huddled in a semi circle protecting Dad so completely that the rain couldn’t get to him at all.

This rain continued pouring down for about half an hour. The 4 of us easily fell into conversation as if we were old friends. When people are in situations like this, I guess our souls open up beautifully. Usual social barricades like shyness or engaging in small talk have no place in soulful moments like this. We immediately embarked on a deep discussion about religion, humanity and philosophy. Indika and I both identify as Buddhists although we are not particularly religious. One man said he is Muslim but like us, he is not particularly religious. The other said he grew up as a Buddhist but is now non religious and that he and his wife decided not to impose a religion on their daughter either- she can choose whatever she wants when she grows up. He railed against people who use race and religion to divide the country. One thing we all agreed on was that sadly, people focus on the few differences between religions to divide communities up rather than focus on commonalities in order to build bridges between communities. Once the rain stopped finally, they both literally touched Dad’s feet and worshipped him before taking their leave. Not out of any religious or social obligation, but simple respect towards an older gentleman. They left and then I realised, none of us 4 had even exchanged names! And yet, this will forever be in my memory as an instance of pure shining humanity. Of sheer Sri Lankanness. ❤