• Seravi Harris

How to be human; Lessons from my grandfather

සීයා* told us to live like every day is a constant rising action.

Backgrounds are unnecessary,

Our introductions should be unapologetically brief,

And our stories are all that matter.

Collect them,

Like bricks for your walls;

Pile them up along with all your sorrows and smiles,

The infinite collections of grammar books, lottery tickets and prayers.

Decorate them,

With all the silly rhymes and the private smiles,

With the embarrassing memories that haunt you at 2am,

The old friends and nicknames you’ve almost forgotten.

Add them all up,

like sums and “Small Kindnesses”;

Blessing a stranger’s sneeze, picking up spilled lemons,

Or buying මාළු පාන්s** for the beggars and nuns.

Delight in them,

In the mistakes, the growth and the little inside jokes.

The mischievous laughter that follows your friend’s unfortunate fall,

Or that bright yellow dress you bought to remember the mangoes back home.

Think eternity but move slowly through time.”

Enough time to enjoy cold soup, dusty bottles of flat ginger-beer,

Boxes of ‘After-Eights’ and dancing in the monsoon rains.

Life is reveling in the stories, the humility, the beauty, and the chaos.

The peak is just another word for perfection,

Reach it too early and your days will be stuck in falling action.


* සීයා [seeya]- grandfather

**මාළු පාන් [malu paan]- fish bun