This short story is based on a true story told by my friend Krishan Thushara Dharshika Wasalage of Audio Visual Centre, Gannoruwa, Peradeniya. His role is represented only by the narrator of this short story. The story is about a school child who commited a crime and jailed for it. He had been rehabilitated in the prison when he had chance to participate for scout event where he confessed his destiny.
The Next Wall
It was a great event. All the scouts from different parts of the country had gathered there to celebrate the jamboree. Cub scouts of 11 – 15 years old, senior scouts of 16 – 18 years old and rover scouts over 18 year consisted in the whole mass. I had been one of the scouts came to make this life long experience one of my great events of life. There was no exception about this to others as well, when I saw their faces with determination.
We had worn violet-blue shirts and dark blue trousers. Some others had worn their uniform according to their ranks. This is mainly associated with scout leaders. Each age group had its kind of leader and his/ her badge is little bit larger and different in colour, compare to other members of that group. But no clothes had revealed what cast or race that they belonged. So uniformity was there that we felt we were in a same family.
Night was so cold, sky was pitch black. Here and there twinkles of a star could be seen. But everyone had been warmed by the heat of their hearts and souls.
However I should be friendly with many as possible. Camp Fire had been set and its flame hinders my vision to the other side of the camp. But the silhouette of a group of persons attracted my attention more than I expected.
I was not alone. There were few friends with me chatting and roaring. I had to go other side of the Camp Fire to explore the others interests. So I went and loitering and waited for sometime until one particular young person that I wanted most got alone.
He was very young that I thought he might be in the age group of my self.
When I went near him I understood why that group of people so attracted to me. Their uniform was little bit different from us.
Normally when we were doing some kind of work we wore outer clothes other than normal scout uniform. Those special clothe carried marks indicating what kind of institution that we belonged.
The young person was actually a prisoner and that group had been formed with prisoners and officers distinguishing only from the sleeves of their shirts. Officers had worn long sleeves while prisoners had worn short sleeves only to distinguish the leaders of the team from normal scouts of that team. That was, they were still scouts and as long as they were in the scout movement they were free and honoured persons in that society.
The story began there. I was so curious about the life of the young prisoner that I never felt that he wasn't one of our kinds.
He was thin, but very upright and tall. The face always born a wry smile showing some hardship had battered him for some time. But the pleasant look of him told somewhat innocence hidden inside him. So the feelings around him were very encouraging that I felt that I could have a chat with him without much trouble.
Although he seemed to be in same age group of me, he talked to me with some respects after I had been introduced to him.
"Sir, I am kasun and studied at a well known school in the town. Our family has father, mother, two sisters and my self. I am the eldest of all the siblings. I had been provided with all the facilities and enjoyed all of the life."
"Did you come to town from your father or mother's home town?" I interrupted him.
"No sir, we all lived there from my infant age. And we have some social status as well in that society. When I was about 14, I had lot of friends. But unfortunately they were not good to the extent as one might expect from them.
One day one of them brought cigarettes and we all smoked. For few days same habit continued with increasing capacity"
"Did you good in your studies?"
"Yes sir, I had 5th or 6th place in my class. Also my parents had lot of hopes about me. Their attention had been so focused on me that I had to do many tricks to dodging their scrutiny"
"So what did happen next?"
"So the life went on and my studies were also steady as before. But one day another friend came with new kind of drug. Really we were not interested in what kind of drug that it was. We just took it. And life began to take new turn. After that I had to steeled money from home to buy those drugs as I felt that I couldn't live without them. I just lost my interest towards my family but I managed somehow to deceive my parents on what had been happening with my life.
No one was able to detect any thing except that I was little lethargy in my studies. They thought that it was due to exam pressure as I was preparing for my O/L s. So exam itself became a blessing in my point of view on that period.
One day all turned upside down. At the gate of the school I was nabbed by a police officer who had been informed about the thing by somehow. So at last I had to be locked inside the prison for two years"
"Didn't your father or mother try to save you from prison?" I asked.
"No sir, I don't know still why or what feelings were with them."
"What do you think of this event?"
"Sir, I'm very much involved with this event. Do you know that I will be free by tomorrow morning as my term has come to end? But I am not set in my mind to leave this place as I feel spell bounded to this place. These people are true friends although I have spent and worked with them for a short time."
"Do you think now that you have been completely rehabilitated and escape from that bad habits and menace?"
"I am quite sure of that, sir, and I have learned to choose good friends from bad, and also I have planned my future life to some extent."
I looked at the darkness of the sky. I peeped into darkness of the surrounding as well. Suddenly I felt long loneliness which I suffered and shared with my unfortunate friend.
"Sir, My school is situated opposite the prison. When I was in my class I could have seen it over the schools huge wall and watched it for about ten years unintentionally. I never thought that one day I had to go there and watch my school over its walls with regrets."
Life is so strange that you have to take the important decision on, at which wall that you should look over to through the life itself. But as the prison officer had mentioned, just before we departed from the site; although you have taken one wrong step in the process of life cycle destiny gives chances, that you can grab by looking into your ability of solving out the chaos with real courage, as happened in this case of young prisoner.
– This short story is based on a true story told by my friend Krishan Thushara Dharshika Wasalage of Audio Visual Centre, Gannoruwa, Peradeniya. His role is represented only by the narrator of this short story –
P. C. Abeysiriwardana, 261, Richmond Hill Road, Galle, Sri Lanka.
I hereby declare that this invention of the short story is purely a creation of myself and assure that it has not been published in any form previously.
P. C. Abeysiriwardana. 2008.02.05