Kurunegala Letter 213



My brother joined the Army. He was 20 then. He had passed the exam. But because of the financial problems of the family, he joined the Army. He said he wanted to support parents. It was during the JVP terror period that he joined the Army. He worked in the office. An additional Rs. 300 was given to those who consented to serve in the North. So, he went to the North in order to get this extra Rs. 300.


He said that he didn’t want to send younger sisters to garment jobs, given the situation prevailed in the country. He said that it is only us who knew  about our poverty. He told us to live with the salary he sent. He wanted to help the family. He didn’t think about his own comfort. My parents did carpentry.


On the 29th January 1991, he came home. He promised to bring an almyrah made of ebony next time.  He said that the war was much intensified and it was uncertain when he would be able to come home next time. He bade farewell to everybody. He had written a letter to us, from the camp. But, by the time the letter was delivered home, he came home in a coffin. We called our brother Chooty. We were told by the Army that the body would be brought by 9 in the morning. The previous night, my father had dreamt my brother coming home with white clothes. Because of this dream we gave an almsgiving in his name.  When we returned home after the almsgiving, my brother’s body was brought home. It was not a scheduled trip that my brother had taken on that fatal day.  The one who usually delivered  the meals had  fallen sick with fever and my brother have had to leave the office and gone to Padawiya carrying the food. On his way he had been shot.


My mother didn’t know of his death till the body was brought home. Everybody told he was not dead, and would be coming home safe. Neighbors brought food. The photos hanging on the walls were turned. We were not told till then. Then we saw a black car coming. I can’t recall anything  that  happened after that moment. He was 21 years old at the time of death.  He was a very good person. His life was lost in vain. My brother…


My mother gets his salary. He always thought about us. We are sad about the war. My daughter is very good at her studies. I wish she will pass her exams well and gain a good education. I live in my brother’s house. In Ranawiru village. This house is precious to us. We have the blood of my brother. Whatever said by whomever, my brother attains merit. Although he is dead, he looks after  us. My mother’s surgery was also done using his money. He may attain merit. His story should be written in golden letters. It is because of my brother that my children study now.