The Island of a Thousand Mirrors

Over years I have embarked on many projects that have dissipated into trite oblivion. I was a vegan for two years. I broke down after I tasted mayonnaise in a moment of weakness. Then for some time I was a flagbearer for literacy. Very soon I realized it is different from empathy.

Nowadays I just listen in real life (not in cyberspace). It is a win-win situation because everyone seems to have a lot to say.

Every fact, event, and decision seem to have a point, a counterpoint and a strongly held opinion buttressing it. I am no exception. Part of my “mellowness project” stems from a recognition that I was becoming overly hung up on my tastes to the exception of appreciating others’.

One day I hope to react to “I love Rajmah” with a calm “Oh nice”.

In pursuance of this goal shamefully I did a Cosmopolitan-magazine like move. Something like “10 Throwback sex tips you could use tonight” or “8 sex tips inspired by Shakira”.

I cleaned up my facebook friends list last year.

Suddenly it was easier to hold my peace because I was not exposed to bigotry and homophobia. I did this to people who even genuinely considered me a friend. Rather than compartmentalize and “accept that humans are of varying colors” I chose to act on the belief that educated 30-and-upward-somethings ought by now to have thought things through and arrived at a more pleasant stance.

These are the type of mildly curious changes that affect my everyday life.

While a thread of Munaweera’s “The Island of a Thousand Mirrors” follows a similar story thread, it bifurcates halfway through its narrative to another plot that is far more consuming with substantially higher stakes. Ethnic strifes in Sri Lanka, civil wars and writing through trauma.

There are some stories that need to be told before they start festering within and paralyzing those harboring them. I have seen some very nice people weighed down by stories they have built up within themselves. They feed the narrative with selective perceptions and before they know it their lives reflect their thoughts.

I go through similar stages too and in cutting myself off from varying discourses am as guilty in trying to curate information filtering to me that does not upset me. I think that by not engaging with them I am not held guilty by association. It is very exhausting to have to clarify and outrage all the time. Not just that. I am also hoping the line of reasoning they took to arrive at their stances will be representative of which side of an issue they will find themselves in the future too.It is almost like there are a thousand mirrors and simultaneously they all are reflecting different images of me.  With my two hands I am vainly trying to hide and highlight those that fit into my perception of self.

The more I find myself doing this the more easily I find myself able to stomach people’s love for Rajmah.

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