Home Is Elsewhere

One of Sri Lanka’s most compelling voices plays with ideas of displacement

by Shahnaz Habib, OpentheMagazine.com, February 15, 2015

    In an airplane from Frankfurt to Colombo, as the seat belt sign flickers alive, warning passengers of turbulence, two men sitting next to each other wonder where they have seen each other before. Sitting in the window seat, ‘Chandran’ inventories his memories of the Movement, an unnamed Tamil Eelam militant outfit he belonged to. Sifting through protest rallies and battles against the army, he is overcome with paranoia about the friendly stranger who hands him his cup of airline coffee. As fighter airplanes circle overhead, a young woman in Sri Lanka runs away with her lover, the man who built her a Taj Mahal of a bomb shelter. Years later, her death certificate will be sold in France for 30 euros. While hearing a refugee application, a French judge will finger the embossed lion symbol on top of her death certificate and ascertain that it was indeed a genuine certificate.

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