Summary of Bringing Tony Home by Tissa Abeysekara


The Sun Set

Novel starts in the early March 1996, the narrator, Tissa Abeysekara returning home after the final shooting of his latest teledrama ‘Pitagamkarayo.’ On his way back, he compares and contrasts the changes in the background of the city of Colombo developed since his childhood. He recaps about his past childhood and his adventurous journey to bring Tony, a pet dog back. The teledrama which sets in a village background evokes his childhood memories. Now, at the twilight age as a successful filmmaker, Tissa feels nostalgic about his bygone childhood. His mind craves to go back through the field of time, back to his childhood. However, he understands that it is something not possible. He retrospects upon the final day of leaving their home in Depanama to Egodawatta, leaving Tissa’s only companion behind due to the adverse economic collapse amid of World War in 1950.



Tissa’s family moves from Depanama to Egodawatta. On the day of depature, Tony, their faithful dog has been living with them for about seven years follows them up to the van they leave trusting his masters that he too will find a place on their journey. However, the conductor chases him and Tissa’s father and mother too unceremoniously leave Tony behind. Tissa was too powerless to air a comment on behalf of his only companion so he recoils himself avoiding eye contact with the dog.

Tissa is sad and angry not because they were poor and left home but because they had left Tony behind. Four days later Tissa is sent to Depanma to buy weekly ration from the cooperative shop and collect the new ration books. On this journey, he plans to bring Tony home; walk with him all the way from Depanama to Egodawatta.

When Tissa reaches Depanama, Tony rushes into him overjoyed to see his old master. After his assignments have been finished, they start their adventurous journey from Depanama to Egodawatta on foot. His journey is burdened with the weight he carries along with him. On his one hand clings a gunny bag full of provisions and on his other hand a heavy large mirror, Tony is bound with a rope onto a buckle of his trouser.

As this journey is tiresome, both rest along the way back at time to time. Sometimes they avoid the main road to avoid human contacts and to find shortcuts. As a small child and without a proper lunch, Tissa virtually collapses at the 11th mile post. However, with the time and the blessings of pleasant nature, he starts moving again.

He stops by a house as he feels thirsty and tired. Suddenly he finds that his all four ration books have been missing; that means their only way of receiving subsidies is lost, their entire family is to be wiped out of Ceylon in a snap of a moment as ration books were too considered as ID cards at that time. The kind woman at the house treats him with care. Suddenly he remembers that he has put the ration books inside his shirt. To his utmost pleasure and relief, he finds them securely inside of his shirt.

So, again, he starts his journey home passing Maharagama, Wattegedara through High Level Road where there has been a pastoral outlook-uninvaded by industrial, concreate jungle. He stops at a paddy field as he was at the verge of exhaustion. He and Tony relax there for sometimes and start walking passing Navinna Station. He only remembers he was reaching Wijerama Junction. Then everything goes blurred. When he opens his eyes, he has been bed-ridden for three days. As mother explains, he had collapsed at the door-step and has been suffering from high fever up to now.

While Tissa was talking nonsense under delirium and twisting on bed, Tony had been facing terrible treatments from parents and neighbors. First, he was fortunate to find refuge under Tissa’s bed but his parents did not like a dog’s presence in a sick boy’s room. So he was expelled and tied up in veranda, which was an unaccustomed treatment to him. His barking, whining, moaning and howling broke the nerves of the family and the neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Mendis. They had not only complained but also kicked Tony after cutting him loose.

Tony scampered to the back door in the rain, started scraping the door of the room where Tissa and parents slept. Father got almost mad at this and beat him with a ruler. So, Tony was tied up again in the veranda, to worsen the scenario, Tony had defecated there. Mrs. Mendis started overreacting to this and Tony had been transferred to the back veranda, tied again. When the night fell, he started yelping again; all the dogs in the lane unanimously joined him in chores making a huge commotion. However, Tony was not found in the morning, he had left the house without any acknowledgement. Father’s response to the departure of Tony was that he was an ungrateful dog-but mother consoles Tissa telling that it is better this way as Tony cannot live happily in this kind of hostile environment.   

When the time progresses, Tissa finds the membership of a boys’ gang called Sirisena’s gang courtesy to his collection of marbles. He lavishly spends his marbles to buy the trust of the gang. Sirisena’s gang includes – Munidasa, Ronald (boys called him Ranal), Rathnapala whose nickname was Theliya. Mother who had been aghast when Tissa went outside to play as he was a sick boy, is indifferent to the new behavior of Tissa. So, Tissa plays with the boys and starts roaming freely around the village. His new life reveals about a new leaf of a boy’s of pre-adolescence and emotional growth. He finds himself in a dilemma when he sees a young girl’s bare legs. 

Tissa returns Depanama to handover some money. His only worry during the journey is the risk of meeting Tony again. Making his fear true and fateful, he meets Tony (some critics say that this is not Tony) – but not the Tony he used to know. He meets a stray dog whose coat was gone leaving only small patches of fur, soars all over and bones visible under bare skin. The only trace of Tony was his faithful face over brimming with bubbling love.

Tissa buys Tony a bun. While he is munching it, Tissa turns back, closes his eyes and runs as fast as he can without looking back. After this incident, which has been permanently engraved in his mind, he hardly visits Depanama knowing that there is nothing for him there anymore.    


The Little Train

Though the time passed, the memory of Tony kept haunting the mind of Tissa. His gang of friends dissolved in search of their roads. On his vague mood, while walking – alone, the memory of Tony gushes into his mind: how he came to him like a little puppy, how their bond grew. These memories walk through his mind like a train back and forth. Even after six years, the memory keeps renewing as he travels to school to Pannipitya, where along the way, he can see Depanama and the same route taken by him and Tony long ago. During his bus journey, he withdraws himself to a world of fantasy with the warm memory of Tony.

Story moves to 1996 where Tissa as a director making the tele drama ‘Pitagamkaryo.’ During the end phase of the teledrama, he goes to see his landmarks of childhood at Egodawatta and Depanama. He sees that the cities have been invaded by industrialization leaving only small traces of his childhood. In Depanama also he sees the same transformation. He chances to meet one of his childhood friends Jayasena, however he does not recognize Tissa at all. He feels that he does not belong there and starts his return jouney. His mind keeps haunting with the sound of the train and the painful yapping sound of a dog who was chained-trying desperately to be free.


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