Saturday, July 26, 2014
The CART of Good Wills: A Travel partner of history ........................
I know that I am a woman of this 1970 – 2014 era (do not be mistaken I am a survived) yet I love the idea of BULL’s CART in particular. I know that there are several types of carts apart from the Bulls carts, the horse carts including. I am not going to compare the two types of carts and trying to mention the other carts of past or of the medieval periods, especially because the cart to jet there is a huge gap, technologically and even logically. The story of human development or the development of ‘thinking of human being’ is not easily discussable or describable because I am not an expert.
There were periods that people carried people keeping them on a carriage by their shoulders. Some of them were traditional carriages that had something to do with customs and traditions. So let me just peep in to the idea of people carrying people. This people who were known as classely lower than just one particular class compared to the other classes, were the people who carried the people of higher classes on their shoulders, back in the eras of colonial and even since before though they carried forward the this activity of moving ahead on the shoulders of others. While this particular class / caste of people who not as a profession but as a servant of these hierarchical class had to use their full strength to carry forward, pushing forward the class of higher levels got nothing basically in the past. But there were very little that understood ‘the cowardness of moving ahead on the shoulders of other people. There are only a few who has the ability to use their own strengths and capacities to move ahead in the journeys of their lives.
Though the idea of carts is attractive the cart moves ahead on the shoulders of a couple of bulls or on the shoulders of just a single bull. Especially when the roads were not tared or carpeted or not even properly cleaned gravel roads the hills and mountains were not smoother to passing through. None of the Bathalagala, Haputhale or Kadugannawa, the mountains was easy to climb. Imagine a cart carrying passengers along with their goods.
The bulls cart is much closer to me than the horse carts that I have seen in the motion picture movies, Columbia, Universal picture movie creations. I can memorize of a scene of the LES MISERABLES, the book, the Sinhalese translation that we had to study as our ordinary level for Sinhala, for the literature part. ‘Manuthapaya ‘- the literal meaning of the title is ‘The sorrows of human beings’ or ‘The sufferings of human beings’
I can’t memorize the entire movie called ‘Mathalan’, a movie that has created years back. But one of the songs of the movie, I still can memorize that is because at least very, very, very often, the FM channels, the radios broadcast the song. I decided to write only the drafted Sinhalese meaning of the song using my unpolished language ability in translate something from Sinhala to English
Hurry up spotted bull ………
Without obeying competently,
Giving the newly wedded, some joy
Hurry up spotted bull lets move towards, the house of in laws.
I will give you my dear menika
Some honey+fully riped jack,
Once we return home
Hurry up spotted bull ……………
The speed of cart travels can not be measured in kmph s. the speed of the cart depends on the strength of the animal (bull) and also it depends on the strength and experience of the captain of the cart. The kewita (small stick uses to motivate bulls to paddle the cart faster) good hearted captains do not like to use this kewita because if the captain hits the animal like punishing them it hurts the animal.
People who knew how to make carts, the carpenters were known as ‘rich in skills’ – groups. It is not as easy as painting a car. Car painters uses the newest technology the cart manufacturers had to use their skills and brains using what so ever tools created by themselves, such as niyana, yaththa, mitiya and kiyatha
The circling wheels or the kerakena riya saka the literal meaning in Sinhala people often like to use as an example to the unending journey of the sancara, in its descriptions.
Sansaare bhawe duka
Sri sesi desu mesi
Duka sepa deka nithi perale riya saka lesa loke
The lord Buddha Preached, sansaaric journey brings sadness (Dukkha). Happiness and sorrow is something that turns and changes constantly like a wheel of a cart.
There are folklores and poems, stories related to the groups of carts that traveled long distances reciting poems to aid the tiredness of long distance travels.
Gaela is the term used to identify or describe/ uses to introduce, ‘the cart’ in the old literature. And the term most familiar to me and the generations after me or little before me is ‘karaththaya’ not the term gaela.
Gael raala is the person who rides the cart. Gael karu is a term used to describe the same. The term Karaththakaaraya is used instead of the term gael karu or gael kaaraya in day to day conversations of people but it is not known as respectable way to address the person. It is not known as a term very insulting either.
I remember when we were constantly changing our residences, renting houses, back in early 1970’s we used a bull cart to move what we owned packing them on a particular box of soap -‘sunlight’. Those days there were no family movers – companies’ but carts or old type Lorries.
Karaththa kawi are famous chapters of books of the literatures of old times.
Mostly they carried goods from place to place ‘karaththa kawi were sang by the groups of cart men mainly to aid their tiredness until they reach their planned destinations, stopping at certain resting places called ‘ambalama’ example; ‘kadugannawa ambalama. You may have noticed a certain building right side of the road, Kadugannawa, if you are travelling from Colombo towards Mawanella, Pilimathalawa or to Peradeniya, Kandy.
‘kalu gal thalalai paarata damanne
Ema gal pegilai gon kura gewenne
Gona nemei harakai bara adinne
Kirgal potta kandai api naginne’
‘Pieces of stones – gravel, what is layered on these paths,
The strengths of the legs of these bulls, are diminishing, aching, because we are traveling on these gravel surfaces,
It is not the bulls who carry the heaviness (of life), the kiri gal potta hill, that is what we are climbing now.’
Duppath kamata gon bengena - dakkanawa
Kantath nethiwa diwa rae api - wehesenawa
Gontath noyek wada dee api - geniyanawa
Denwath dukata dewiyo pihitak – wenawa
Because of poverty, without eating, day & night, giving hazels to the bulls, we proceed, dear God, at least now, ease our sorrows
(Above poems are abastracted from the collection of poems ‘jana kawi muthuhara’- by P.H. Ranasinghe)
The carts of past were not just a mode of passenger movers. There were indescribable stories attached to these lives of people of past. I think the aches and pains of those people who carried ‘people by their shoulders towards their preferred destinations from past to present writes the pages of present not in ink but sweat of past.
Lets respect each and every person of past of all eras for teaching us ‘how to bear what so ever pains during their travels, journeys , short distance or long distance until they reach their desired destinations facing battles of past , fighting against ‘injustice’, insults etc.