August 9, 2005
Make a day of it
I don’t know whether it was the air heavy with mositure and a thousand Sri Lankan voices, the tidy work of, so I’m told, one of the greatest spin bowlers of our time, or the warm coke for 25 rupees a cup mixed with smuggled-in lemon flavoured gin - but sitting in the stands of the Premadersa Cricket Grounds today I learnt to love cricket.
In Australia you would never say I’m a lover of cricket, in fact I would even go as far as to say hating cricket and sport in general is even part of my personality but watching Sri Lanka slowly take victory from Indian in the tri-series final I got it. I totally understood the appeal of cricket for the first time in my life. It’s a game that suits Sri Lanka - as a country that like to take its time and let things happen at their own pace, a game that takes a whole day is just perfect (though I susspect they would love a test match even better). You get to gather all your friends around, pack some short eats into a bag, pile into a stadium teeming with your fellow country men and make a good old fashioned day of it.
It didnt matter that I had to ask questions like “how many balls in an over” and “do they all get a turn at bowling”, because I know the important things. I know that getting a four is excellent and a six is even better. I know that when someone from the other team gets out “Back to the stadium!” is the right thing to yell. I know that discussions about Murali being a chucker and Shane Warne being a sex addict will always win you friends. I have the basics, I am Australian after all. You can’t live in a country where cricket is on every television screen and in every back yard every summer without picking something up.
one little letter, one big mistake
Asking if you are married comes straight after asking someone how they are in Sri Lanka, especially if you are a young white female. So, having faced this question nearly everyday for the last year I have my basic answer well rehearsed. I tell who ever asks me if I am married, “no, boys are no good” - Koluu honai nee.
And so the other day, after a year of saying this to nearly every person who has asked me if I’m married, I discover, quiet by accident, that I have in fact been saying blacks (Koluu) are no good, when I should have been saying Kolaa (boys) are no good.
Not the kind of comment I imagine would be appreciated in a country full of people with dark skin…