Language Issue – 2011

The lady at the Bank was so friendly

We’d known her a long, long time.

Extremely helpful she was to us

as she was the other day,

giving me a seat, going out of her way,

Helping me out with my work  and then

She handed two forms to a woman

seated by my side.


I saw the woman hesitate,

look askance at the forms in her hands –

I could see she was a Tamil and poor ,

Didn’t know any English, for sure

But the two forms were

in Sinhala and English!

(Why not in Sinhala and Tamil?)


In broken Sinhala she tried to inquire

But my good lady brushed her aside –

she was too busy , she just turned away,

I looked on unbelieving in shock and dismay

And I then filled the forms, myself,

For the woman seated

by my side.