Personal response by Nara Nadesan, developed in workshop/rehearsals in January and February 2013. Incorporated into Ouster Remixed performance in Toronto, March 1, 2013 at A Space Gallery.
It was 1990, the night of November 2nd. I was terrified. I was 5 years old. With my mother and two brothers, we arrived in Muscat, Oman, the city adorned with lights fit for the Sultan. Our arrival marked the beginning of life as a family.
In 1956, the passage of the “Sinhala Only Act” led riots in Sri Lanka. The civil war was a direct result of the escalation of the confrontational politics that followed. Tamils fractured into different houses, scattered out to strange lands.
The Sultan is loved by everyone. He went to Sandhurst, the Royal British Academy. The British get the treatment here. They say, Sultan Qaboos put his father in prison and took over the throne. Look, he created jobs for Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan men. Men like my father. Men lining in queues to remit money by month’s end.
The company provides work quarters for families, labor camps for men, construction sites, factories, big tube pipes, desert dust. Private school on mountain tops, temples on cliffs, and churches, many mosques. It is so hot here. We are a family now. Private Sri Lankan School of Muscat.
blackie, you blackie.
Studying Tamil. Sinhalese classmates. Nice parts of the city, there are big cement bungalows with large windows and closed gates. They can afford it. They are top level advisors to the Sultan. It is free for them.
kya falak, chiku, kitab, shwaya, shwaya, baisa, rial, ice cream, my dark skin, darker than ever under the hot Oman sun.
1997, Toronto-bound. With my mother and two brothers, once again. My father liked the hot Oman sun and the pledge of loyalty he had in the company over the cold, snow, the lack of Canadian work experience, and starting from scratch.
Birthdays, graduations, growing up. Re-fractured for 15 years and counting…