Detailed Summary of part – ‘Tony’ in Bringing Tony Home by Tissa Abesekara – Part I


This detailed summary is recorded in two posts as this is a bit lengthy post. This is the first part of the summary; you can read the second part of the summary using the link at the end. 


The second phase of the novel starts in cohesion with the first part of the novel The Sunset, where Tissa’s family leaves their familiar home at Depanama to Egodawatta due to the economic collapse as a result of world war. The second segment of the novel is mainly about Tissa and Tony and their adventurous journey from Depanama to Egodawatta on foot. The time duration of the segment is about one month. This portion of the novel is important to understand the nature of the relationship between Tissa and Tony as well as the rural setting of Colombo area in 1950’s which anyone can hardly believe. It’s through this mesmerised memory Tissa directed the teledrama ‘Pitagamkaryo.’ This portion of the novel further explains how Tissa adapts to the new life without Tony and how Tony gets adapted to the new life without a proper family to take care of him.

The segment ‘Tony’ starts with Tissa’s family leaving Depanama to Egodawatta leaving Tony behind. Tissa is angry mainly because parents left the dog unceremoniously and he could not do a thing about that:

“I was sad and I was angry. Not because we had left Depanama. Not because we had become poor and were shifting to half a house; I was too young to understand the implications of that, and I was not angry because I was carrying a bag full of smelly onions and milchard rice./I was sad and angry because we had left Tony behind.”

After four days of the settlement Tissa was sent back to Depanama to buy the weekly ration from the COOP Shop:

“I was sent with some specific things to do; buy the weekly rations from the co-op store, collect the new ration books from the Headman’s office, and also if I could feel up to it, collect the dressing table mirror” from Mr. Lawrance Perera’s house.

Having given the opportunity, Tissa plans to practice a plot he had in his mind to bring Tony back home:


Both Tony and Tissa were starving without the lunch. He never reveals his plans to walk all the way to Egodawatta to Mrs. Perara. He starts his adventurous journey with a load of provisions and the mirror. He ties up Tony using a coir rope to one of the buckles in his trouser. He reaches the High Level road by noon and enters ‘Aluth Para’ which leads up to Maharagama. By the time he reaches Rosalin Nona’s boutique, he almost exhausted with tiredness and hunger. However, he evades crowded places and descends to a gravel road run parallel to the road. Due to fatigue he ‘virtually collapsed’ at the 11th mile post where it was still far away from home. As a sick and feverish child he often gets fits. He was afraid that he might get fits, however, lying comfortably with the gunny bag under his head under the cool breeze with the company of Tony’s warm breaths he is able to recover soon.

Though he needs more rest, he starts walking like a sleep-walker thinking about the due nightfall. On the way he meets a house similar to Gira Atha’s house whom brought them milk every day. Both the houses have the welcome note with two rabbits in welcome posture on the wall. Symbolically, people, even strangers were welcome to any houses in the past. Tissa’s small hands has been stiffened with the weight and he was feeling the thirst. So, he relives his weight and sits down on the veranda of the house.

Suddenly, Tissa realizes that he has lost his ration books. Ration books work as an identity card into which the monthly free ration of food received to be marked and distributed to the poor. The sole reason for Tissa’s journey to Egodawatta was to fetch those ration. He is in a frantic situation as he cannot go back and losing the books of ration means one’s identity would be erased from the system making they are non-existed. This felt to him like: “IT CERTAINLY WAS THE END OF THE WORLD.” 

Suddenly he remembers where he has kept them – under his shirt. When he finds them safe, he feels elated and dances like a frantic fellow. The Grey woman and the boy with square face were gazing at him thinking that the boy might have gone crazy.

Having a glass of water, Tissa starts his journey passing Maharagama and Wattegedara. When he describes the salient land marks he passed, the reader can visually experience them as he or she is in midst of the scene. This shows the vigilant and examining gaze of Tissa about his surrounding and how he kept them in his memory even small details in a picture form.

He walks through the High Level road passing the Bo-trees which marked the legendary campaigns of Sri Anagarika Dharmapala. On the way he meets Navinna Railway station. He has a mutual connection with the sound of the trains and his stream of consciousness where he creates a connection between his past memories with Tony and the wonderful moments he had with him. He describes the railway station as:

“the Nawinna railway station – a picturesque little building more like a cottage in a picture card…”

On the left side of the High Level road, he gives the reader an enchanting view of sun setting near a paddy field. He describes the amber light spreading over the paddy field and how the evening sun setting in crimson light. Both steps down to the paddy field smelling the fragrance of the mud and paddy in the field. Tony quenches his thirst at the outflow canal while Tissa is toying with the fish in the canal.     

After climbing Nawinna hill, he sees the first land marks of Wijerama Junction and he feels elated as a boatman sees a land for he knew that he is close to Egodawatta. He was physically and mentally exhausted; the metal clanking of the train sounds disturbs his tired mind. He feels like the train is running over him crushing his bones.  His legs were shivering and knocking against each other to the rhythmic sound of the train. Those were the last clear memories he remembered as he had no idea how he came to the house. When he gets up it has been three days.


Read thesecond part of the detailed summary of the segment Tony here.

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