I write because my father handled my first poems with gentleness and saw the spark of a small diamond buried in their four-beat boogie.
I write because my mother read to me as a child, because the whole brood slept on a huge bed under the mosquito netting on the red tiles of Kynsey Road, Colombo 8.
I write because I grew festooned with plantain trees and mangos, and the rambutan seller knocked every season on every door of the house, and, at school, marbles, toffee, and cricket bats whiled away our days. We knew little then of blood hatred, rape, pillage, slaughter, burning of a people’s ola leaf manuscripts.
I write because even grown-up and ignorant and wise I try to shield my children from all of the above scourges, especially ignorance.
I write because I do not wish to retreat to fantasy, or escape into a delicious romantic paradise, but will advocate my fellow man and woman’s pursuit of that kind of happiness.
What’s the harm if we can all eat and have spare time to listen to music and grow pomegranates and bathe our lovers in frankincense?
I write because I refuse to become ironic even in these best of times as icebergs become postcards under a boiling sun.
I write because in the end all writing (and thinking) lead to contradictory states of mind: do I dare to eat that peach?
How shall I greet the strongman? Praise him for the order of the streets or the broken skulls brushed off in the gutters?
Why do we have to destroy to create?
—Indran Amirthanayagam, BOMB 103, 2008