There is no city dweller who does not know the garage of the culvert in Angunawala near the University of Peradeniya. Siripala Basunnahe (Siripala the mechanic) and his son were well known among university academics, Doctors and researchers and the officers of the Department of Agriculture because they were the saviours when their vehicles met with some problems.
Mr Siripala, who has been successfully running this garage for forty-one years, had earned a good name among his customers. But the busy garage has been deserted today. Not only Siripala but his beloved wife and capable son also have succumbed to the devil Covid virus.
The tragedy of Mr Siripala’s family was the subject of shocking news that went viral nationwide that three members of the same family had died of the Covid virus.
Mr Siripala’s 71 years old and the house is in Iluktenna Murutalawa. Households were his wife sixty-eight-year-old Chandra and their only son 39-year-old Dhammika Rajapaksa his wife and two kids. All of them lived in Mr Siripala’s garage in Angunawala. As soon as the son left school, he too followed his father’s steps and became a skilled mechanic over 20 years.
The month of June dawned with bad luck for their family. Mr Siripala was admitted to the hospital for the first time in his life. Although he had diabetes for some time, Mr Siripala did not have any other issue. Mr Siripala, who was admitted to the Peradeniya Hospital on the 1st with loss of appetite and back pain. He was diagnosed with Covid. Mr Siripala was well even in the hospital . He had called home and told over the phone that he too feeling well. However, the next phone call from the hospital on the morning of June 2 was that Mr Siripala had passed away, although no one in the family thought it would be just the last words of the deal.
The body of Mr Siripala, who was in close contact with thousands of educated intellectuals, authorities and officials, knowing the true condition of the vehicles of tens of thousands of civilians, was dumped in an ambulance at the Peradeniya Hospital without anyone noticing, adding only one more numerical value to the number of Covid deaths in Sri Lanka.
By this time, the other five members of the household had been diagnosed with Covid 19 infection. At that time Mr Siripala’s wife had undergone heart surgery and was undergoing intensive treatment for a year and a half. As such, she and her son Dhammika were admitted to the Covid Treatment Unit of the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital and were treated very well.
Meanwhile, Covid infected Dhammika’s wife and two children were admitted to the Panideniya Intermediate Treatment Unit. This Siripala’s daughter is Sujeewa Rajapaksa. She lives in Peradeniya with her husband and two children. As she spent time mourning the fate of her home, she could barely bear the pain that neither her parents nor her brother could see in the hospital.
On the 17th of June, Siripala’s wife Chandra too ended her life journey. The two children learned that the hospital staff had taken the mother’s body and burned it, which was recorded as another Covid death.
Only five more days were allowed to pass. Dhammika, who did not show any symptoms, was admitted to the emergency unit on the 18th as medical reports confirmed that he was abnormally deficient in oxygen. Dhammika closed her eyes on the eve of Poson Poya day, thwarting all efforts at the highest level of emergency treatment provided by the highest level of treatment. The strongest pillars of the family collapsed leaving behind a mother and two little children alone.
The life that these three built together, all the vehicles in the house were left in their house in Murutalawa and all three are now gone. I never thought that all the sick people would leave this world as soon as they left it all. Wives and children are left alone today, not just by abandoning loved ones. The only income in the house, the biggest strength in the house .., with all this left.
Although Dhammika’s sister Sujeewa is strong from a distance, Dhammika’s wife is alone today with grief that is unbearable. The month of June plunged her life into darkness. But children must live.
There is another important point to be told here. No matter how much the government boasted about its control of the Covid 19 virus, no health official or official has yet come forward to quarantine or test whether anyone around their home in Murutalawa, where the three died, was infected with the virus.
So how we get rid of this pandemic ??
The arch culvert that is silent, leaving only the memory of death…