Streets of Kalutara,
Beautifully lit at 12.03AM— precise,
Few shops opened to serve food,
Travelers stopping by,
to get their fill, for a smoke or rest.
There’s noise amidst serenity,
Evil amidst calm.
Little bokeh lights and laughter,
Filling the cold dark air.
There’s pollution —
A kind of tumult that destroys your composure;
Gossips, orders, and laughter.
The sound of chop knives
Making ‘Koththu‘ for the night,
Turns out to be the only solace.
Walking into that one shop,
She feels belittled;
Fury eyes of stout, tall men,
The stench of Gold Leaf clouding her little self,
Her hands reach the end of her Hijab to mask.
At the counter,
Dirty hands count cash,
While red eyes take measurements
Of the length of her neckline
To how wide her Hijab spread —
She quivers and tussles out of ignominy.
More smokers and rogues,
Send loud whispers,
Commenting on the shape of her body
That the dim lights of the little shop revealed.
Now, rough hands stroke her soft skin
As she collected the Polythene bag.
Demonic gestures of the lout
Send shivers up her spine.
Her steps quicken out the door,
Back on the street, she feels relieved.
Scrupulous minds may denigrate;
‘The girl should not have gone out that night,
If she hadn’t then she wouldn’t have had this plight’,
But Oh, beautiful streets of Kalutara!
And the so-called saintly souls that you guide;
Do you not condemn such hooligans?
Punish them with your influence
The obnoxious souls that feast on innocent lives!
Kalutara – A town in Sri Lanka
Kadé – A Convenience Store
Koththu – A Sri Lankan street food