Northern Life in the Past and Now: Youth’s Perspectives on Reconciliation

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful village and a large group of residents. The villagers’ houses were not built with bricks and stones, but with happiness. There was a short period of time the village was empty of inhabitants and overgrown with weeds, and tree branches reached high towards the sky. I heard that all the villagers had moved to the beach side. I couldn’t think of how hard the village people’s life was during displacement because they had been living in joyfulness and rich resources.

The Hindu temple in that village was always in my mind. People called it Bo-tree Pillayar Kovil. I could remember that there was a big festival held in the temple annually where people enjoyed their meals. This was our culture.

I heard that those youngsters from the village were in jail and I was scared to imagine what was everyone doing at that time. The prisoners were one by one released and at the meantime, the displaced people returned to the village gradually and were living in small tents. I had once walked down the road in that village with my brothers and sisters, but I was all alone finally. I saw unknown people passing me by, and everyone wore masks and talked in a different language. I did not know who they were and couldn’t understand what they were saying.

The temple festival was still celebrated and the villagers did visit the temple, but there was a difference: those who speak another language I met on the road also joined the festival. They came with vehicles and brought fruits and flowers on white cloth. The villagers looked at them suspiciously, but after the unknown people returned them with smiles on their faces, they felt that they should smile back so they did it too. People stuck their heads out of vehicles to watch the villagers’ prayer curiously. While they pointed at the Hindu Gods and discussed, the villagers felt proud of it.

In the next day morning, people went out as usual and everything was normal, until they saw the Pillayar has become completely white with lotuses around it.

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