Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Old Traditions Revived

- those horrible family activities you thought you had seen the end of…

Photo from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/445786063088678182/

My darling daughter, in answer to that email of yours…

Im 36 years old. that means Im 21 years older than you,. Admittedly its not much but theres a whole two decade of experience that you can draw on from me that you don't have to go through experiencing your self.

this means that you don't have to make the same gruesome mistakes I did. you don't have to get hurt the same ways I did (I mean you can get hurt in new and different ways , I can hardly help you there - but two people in the same family falling in the same pits would be quite disappointing, don't you think?. ) That's why I like to Talk to you at dinner time, at least twice a week and Communicate.

See this thing called Communication is important, or so Ive been led to beleive. It began when apes decided that by making certain patterns of noises they could actually share feelings, experiences, knowledge and affection. ITs not just a monkey thing either - even fishes do it. But humans do it the best, or are supposed to. that's what I'm told.

now why is communication important?

1. we understand each others lives and can provide the correct kind of love and support among family members that we need

2.we draw on each others knowledge and experience and can share information

3 we co ordinate who does what and settle minor family arguments before they become too nasty

4we can recap on what other family members look like, so that we can later recognize them

ok Im only joking in the last one, anyway , basically, as a Mom,  I try my best to bring about the situations in the house where its easier to communicate. That's why once a week I become a really boring drip and insist that all the games, videos and telly dramas are switched off and we have lunch and dinner together, looking at each others faces. Not only do we get the chance to communicate effectively but we can chew our food properly and swallow slowly, for once....I know this is quite tedious but on the bright side,  assure you it wont go on for very long - in about 5 years who knows what can happen to us? you may be off to America for your degree(highly probable), I may have eloped with some hairy biker chap (unlikely), or we could be so poor that we cant afford a sit down dinner but must have one meal a day which is lunch and then have a weak dhal soup for dinner. ...(very likely at the rate the cost of living is going up)....

Now I would like you to put yourself in my shoes for once.

Imagine yourself sometime later, all grown up and you invite me over for the weekend. Youve done your shopping, arranged your house and made nice stuff for dinner and you would like to have me over for lunch....I come in say hello brightly and then go to my room and start reading a book, and only come out for potty breaks and to serve my food and take it to my room and eat. –how would you feel? hopefully you wont be too bothered because you are cool and modern; which brings me to the question of why did I bother to come over in the first place? when I could have just sent you a bright cheerful email from where I was....very trendy and happening isnt it - liberated modern nuclear family very laid back and easy going....why take the difficult path when things are so easy anyway?

well the answer my dear, is that sometimes its just not the same. A bit of concern, and involvement and genuine caring is good for you and its something you should learn to give and not just receive..

and why is home cooking important?

well interestingly I haven't done things the difficult way all my life. I tried those easy and smart things too, freezing, thawing, reconstituting, microwaving all the instant modern short cuts available to the 21st century housewife  and some of them just don't work. There is nothing like "warm chicken soup for the soul" when you are in pain and here I do not mean that you should kill some innocent fowl *somewhere to be happy - I mean that warm home cooked food is therapeutic. Those pizzas and burgers and fries all smell good but try it day after day and it just makes you want to scream. Hotel food is wonderful to look at but try it for a week or two and see how much you will like it . So by rejecting to learn how to prepare food in your own home who do you think you are fooling? Do you seriously think that you can depend on parents and relatives to cook for you for ever? so then why dont you come and involve in the process and discover the joy in actually making something nice in the kitchen- its not half as glamorous as Quantum physics or Java Coding, but when you are lonely, or when you want to make someone happy, when you need to pamper your children someday or help someone sad, it certainly helps to be able to cook something nice and appetizing. And that doesn't come automatically, you need to work at it a bit beforehand and practice, I'm afraid.

And why do we pray?

You know, in a scented corner of the house with lamps or candles, when its such an old fashioned thing to do. Well, I lived some years without doing that and trust me it kills the spirit of a home. If that prayer corner is neglected and no one bothers to keep those little lamps lit, its like a tiny heart being put out. And once it goes somehow its not that easy to bring back, trust me I have tried.

You know, I m a Busy Working Lady who spends about two third of her life in an Office environment, and sometimes I keep on neglecting so many things that could make my house that much homelier. I regret that because I know what things could be like and I miss how they were. Miss being able to wake with the dawn and hang about in the garden doing nothing, miss being able to cook at leisure with no deadlines, miss being able to sit down and read my religious books in peace, when I feel like it, but sometimes when you get caught in this rat race it happens. All I can say, my darling daughter, is if you possibly can try and keep with those traditions that you have the time for. Don't let go of them, because once they go , its so difficult to bring them back…

…most of all, don't forget the family communication.


* and did I mention that I am SO proud of you for becoming a vegetarian! That takes self discipline!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Daily Mews


2009 January 1st

Had a terrible night with all the explosions. I saw Shabby, the mad pooch next door, trying to get inside the filing cabinet -he was practically gibbering with terror at the cracker sounds.

Apparently its human people who actually do this and they consider it fun.

Can you beat this..

January 3rd

Such violent times! I got smacked today for jumping on the Hewmie Feeding Platform. They gather together there and eat their meals from separate plates most of the time without fighting. But they don't let us onto it.

Considering the bosh they write in the animal welfare websites about how they love us and treat us like family members and stuff, this is NOT FAIR, I tell you.

January 5th

Patchy tried to take my eye out for coming within swipe distance of her.

Old bat does not realize that her biological batteries are almost dead. She should be grateful that such a svelte young tom as myself even allows himself to be so much as flea-jump distance of her. I admit I just wanted to get the drumstick that was between us.

January 11th

Heard my humies discussing holiday plans which is worrying. Whenever they don't supervise, the kussi woman treats me like dirt. I realize this is probably because my Hewman spends more on me than some families spend on their kids. But what can I do. Pichau just lucky I guess.

January 20th

This is a good day for me. My Hewmie wanted to write about my thoughts to the premier local Sunday newspaper. He sat around for a few hours getting digital visualizations of me chasing my tail and of me sitting under a newspaper. ...crazy I know, but then someone did say that people with too many cats are crazy ...whatever makes him happy- I'm not complaining. A daily supply of saaleyo and a bit of sunshine here and there is all I ask for. 

February 7th

'Patchy is behaving rather odd, running about and catching imaginary hoonas (gecko).She looks "hyper" I wonder whether they will have to take her to the petinary surgeon again. She is a darn old cat whichever way you look at it.

When she first came in, I'm told, she had this episode where she started running around the kitchen floor and putting her lucky paw inside her water bowl to capture movement in it. I'm told this hyperactivity is caused by an odd virus which was cured by antibiotics. Darn odd if you ask me.

February 8th

My Hewmie's sister Hax came home today and raved about how well the local Municipal Council seems to have organized things. She had been pleasantly surprised by how efficiently such a complicated office was working. There were notice boards everywhere telling people where to go for any particular service, and people were polite and helpful. She had taken a total of 15 minutes to check if her rate payments were up to date. Mause said she should definitely blog about it. Whatever that means.

February 14th

`Valentine's Day was good and night was better since the roaches had decided to have a party. We caught four and played with them.

They are so fun, I almost feel guilty, I am doing something I shouldn't be and I automatically ran for the window when Hax stepped in one while trying to get her sandwiches ready.(She did make rather a strangled noise.)

On the telly box I heard David Attenborough referring to these cockroaches as a "Marvel of Evolution "which was there long before the dinosaurs" and probably will be there long after Hewmies ruin the planet and get themselves and all the rest of us obliterated.

This is interesting because if the planet has only got ( radioactive) cockroaches on it , and we might all have to be reborn as cockroaches. Maybe life will be simpler or maybe life will actually be the same but on a smaller scale.

After all who is to say that cockroaches don't have perfectly complicated and interesting lives, with love, marriage and family not to mention death and mortgages, in them. It's all a matter of perspective. Hey; am I being profound or what!"

Feb 15

I hear yesterday was an important day for the humans, something to do with their mating rituals. They are strange creatures and instead of kuppa-mania they have a thing called choklut. Which they produce and give to their females along with flowering red plants and shiny stones.

This makes the females happy and of course the rest is anatomy. I wonder what Patchy would think if I gave her a bit of choklut. I hear that the choklut thing is not good for cats or for pooches.

A large choklut can kill a small dog, and another mistake hewmies keep making is giving us paracetamol. This is dumb and someone should put an end to it. At least the famous paracetamol company should put a small cat skull and crossbones on their pill boxes and say THIS IS TOXIC TO PETS

Memo to Self - somehow spread the word that paracetamol is poisonous to cats.

Feb 17

I understand that it is Patchy's day for Wettinary attention. She doesn't like this and gets rather savage. If you put her in a basket she *caterwauls, *there is no other word for it. Our hewmie madam put her in a small school bag and left the zip open a few inches on both sides.

Then they drove her over to the Wettinary Clinic, keening miserably and making everyone generally depressed. The hewmies are dumb but they are also kind hearted subjects and want the best for us; they did a thing called inoculation to her saying that she would be safe from mad dog disease.

I don't understand why cats would need to be safe from this but it's very serious I hear. It doesn't actually hurt much, the inoculation thing but the table is cold and the lights are really bright and hurt your eyes and the Wet is a very mad man who you have to be careful of.

Patchy tries to hang on the inside of the bag and not come out even when the bag is turned upside down and shaken. I don't know about you but I think this old cougar is pretty darn lively for that age...I mean according to cat years she is something like 65 and I'd like to see any hewmie female of sixty five hanging on by their nails while being shaken about inside a gunny bag.

No wonder the ancient Egyptians worshipped us, we cats are pretty fantastic.

Memo to self: I hate the Wet.


February 21st

Last night things were rather strange. The "KARANT" went according to what my Hewmies were saying. I don't know what kind of thing this is and where it went but it made them behave in a strange way.

My Hewmie could not do his usual cooking. He banged his shin on the coffee table and hopped about. He finally set fire to a small wax pipe and walked about with it while making us dinner. I think this Karant is important to hewmans otherwise they are uncoordinated like toddlers.

Come to think of it they are quite silly vulnerable bipeds although they think they are bosses on this planet. Without their technology they are practically blind, hairless and they can't even smell a rat.

I hate to admit it here but if they didn't have fire sticks and clothes and were a little smaller than we are we would be eating them by the dozen, just by reflex and apologizing later. They do look so helpless. But I admit some of them are kind.

February 27th

I remember when I was a kit, and long before I learned that it is only acceptable to climb my hewman's hind leg if he had trouser -longs on. I used to get unbearably over-excited when he made my salmon and suddenly claw my way up his hairy hind limbs when he was wearing only trouser- shorts.

Man, Goodness, he would howl and stamp about that close to swearing. His kitchen woman is better, she wears a long flapping sail of cloth called a SKERT which is much easier to climb and she doesn't scream much except when I put my head into the "LICK- WIDIZER".

I don't know what that thing is but they put the chicken wings in it and then make a big sound and they produce the most delectable sloppy fishy mush.

And then there are the hewmie cublets. They are strange silly dangerous things and I heard that one of them put Patchy inside a Krisco tin. The boy one. I need another page to write about all the weird things these young life forms get up to.

They like to throw us food though so they are not completely bad.


February 21st

Last week Koookie developed some rather disturbing holes in her skin and spent a lot of time itching and licking. Kookie is one of my Hewmie's resident mutts. They had to take her to the local petinerary surgeon.

Mistress Hacketty used a large polythene bag they found wrapping the new fridge and then she kept it in a cupboard for this purpose in future. This whole polythene problem makes me mad.

Hewmans have made a horrible slimey material which makes a horrible high pitched noise like siri siri -, which they throw around everywhere which stays pasted to the ground and trees and things and never goes. Man, you can't even shift the sand a bit to take a dump, there's this clingy stubborn stuff wrapping clumps of sand!!. I hear they say it is so bad for the earth we live in.

I really won't be affected much since the most I will live is 15 years, but don't they care about their own cublets? these hewmans say they love their offspring. They are constantly having babies one at a time and taking them about to clinics and to grandparents' houses and showing them off and all.

But don't they think about their futures, they have to live more than twenty five or fifty years or even seventy five don't they? so why do they keep messing up the earth with this polythene layer? Polythene aught not to just be banned it should be criminalized I tell you and anyone caught smuggling polythene given a pretty long sentence.

February 26th

Today my Hewmie family watched a movie called Slumdog. I wanted to watch it too because I don't know why some dog anywhere should get a lot of prizes but it turned out the film was not about pooches.

It was about people from Indian slums. Well, if you think the people are having a tough time in slums you should try talking to real slum dogs in poor countries like here and see, their lives are living hell.

The best way to continue to survive would seem to be to get some real rotting skin disease where your pelt is practically history and raw bits of skin are falling off you- then you go on and on living (and itching ) forever...

Cats of course don't live in slums .We use our brains and vote with our feet and go somewhere where food is decent. We have standards, again another of the reasons Egyptian nobility treated us like Gods.


March 1st

I remember reading a joke somewhere about how to give a pill to a cat. It said something about 17 steps which always ended in the pill being lost and the administrator being hospitalized, which was not only funny but quite typical.

Cats are tough creatures which is why they have survived for thousands of years among humans and in spite of being quite tiny in comparison to almost anything around, except perhaps rats. And these tough cats don't ever accept that they need medication but they occasionally do.

Our Mistress Hacketty I saw recently has found a solution to this. She merely grinds whatever pill it is and mixes it with bees honey and rubs it on Patchy's pelt. This is gruesome to even watch. Patchy being the clean and self respecting feline she is, cannot so much as sleep until she has licked off the resulting mess and this takes a lot of determination and the occasional grimace of disgust which is hilarious to watch. But at the end of the day the poor cat is clean and shiny and the medicine has been licked off. I guess a cat caught in an oil spill won't last very long, eh.

Unfortunately for us we are a race of animals completely obsessed with our pelts to such an extent that we constantly need to keep licking it spotless.

March 8th

Today is International Women's Day. I find it strange. Hewmies have a day set aside specially for the female of their species. In fact I think, hewmie females are a strangely disadvantaged lot.

Nowhere in any other animal species do you see the female being abused, starved, ill treated, incarcerated and even killed just because she is a female.

Most of the time in the animal world females are welcome as they are the ones who bring fourth young and half the time they are courted lovingly and even respected.

And of course no one wants to mess with an angry mother...but it is strange that with all their power hewmie mothers seem to be very subservient and tolerant.

March 14th

Today mistress Hacketty got a bit annoyed because the baby cublets would not come for dinner. They like to sit near a square light, which makes them keep looking at it and their paws hit the floor in front of it with a lot of tapping. It makes them quiet and crazy a bit like kuppa-mania but it has a much longer effect. Sometimes they sit in front of this thing for hours.

Then when they come to eat they are not very bothered about the food and their mother has to remind them that they are lucky to be in the world's top 5% of the population that can afford dinner. This of course makes me smirk, since, being her cats, we are in the top 1 % that can afford to be picky about dinner. Hee hee...



March 11th

Oh horror of horrors, and may the kind blessings of Bubastis protect me! I went in this morning for the usual spot of salmon and pampering and guess what a horrible sight met my poor shocked eyes! The kussi woman has brought along two filthy little orphaned catletts from somewhere! They look about six to eight weeks old and were tumbling about like little furry meatballs in the living room and I could see Pitchy looking through the balcony windows with that fixed expression he gets when he is getting ready to kill something.

Of course, I don't approve of cattibalism on principle, but in the circumstances I feel it might certainly be the strategic and practical thing to do. Our young master can certainly not afford to feed two more cat gobs with the current recession (poor fellow has already delayed his marriage about three years as he cannot save up enough for a half decent ceremony what with us eating him out of house and home) and these two will certainly result in our salmon being rationed. Misery. What to do!

March 13th

I am seriously worried now, she does not seem to be affected by their inconsiderate pooping and the smell in here.

Pitchy tried to swallow them once or twice but got severely chastised. Instead of getting rid of them, the Mistress makes cooing noises and says "sin, aney" and feeds them out of her plate.

I am so jealous I could claw the sofa to shreds. I think that's what I will do pretty soon. Grrrrrr.

March 15th

I know I should not be so smug , but sometimes the smirking actually aches...the two Precious Darlings have been answering the call of nature, all over the living room and mistress Hacketty was on her STOMACH this evening with the Kussi Woman nearby passing damp newspaper blobs dipped in detergent, trying to reach a spot below the provision cupboard.

This has a crawl space of about two and a half inches and they really could not have picked a worse place to do this in the whole house, except perhaps in the laundry basket.

With any luck she will be heartily fed up of their nonsense and go and keep them near some temple.

I hope I was never a kitten, that's a really horrible thought if any


The story so far : two cute, orphaned kittens have landed in the Hacketty household and Poozer is feeling insecure, neglected and very resentful.

March 17th

Its been three days and 14 hours and these little horrors are still here. I was calmly walking towards the fridge for my daily salmon, today, when one of them started coming after me, saying "momee, momee!" the cheek, the sheer disgust of it all! Do I look like their mommy ? I am a TOM CAT for mewing out loud! It was such an embarrassment, not to mention , extremely unnerving. I started to scrabble the hell out of there without looking behind me and before I knew it I was on top of the pantry cupboard and marking

territory near the ceiling just by reflex. Then the mistress poked me with a broom and started screaming and threw me out. Not only was that very bad for my self image, that broom was smelly. Revolting, the things that happen because of these two...

March 22nd

I am pleased to report that although he feeds them till they look like two well stuffed walking samosas, and although the rest of the world is suffering global recession and Soaring oil prices not to mention insecure fishing futures, the master is not scrimping on food for us.

Bless his cotton socks. Burp. (and speaking of cotton socks, Patchy should be ashamed about what she did to them)

March 27th

There they are. I wonder why the hewmies have resorted to putting a food cover on top of them. I hope this doesn't mean they are fattening them up to eat. Silly thought, what must I be thinking.

( In fact that is an evil thought that makes me feel unholy, I think I should wash my whiskers with soap!) Hewmies prefer chicken.

I must say we cats are a very lucky race of animals. Buffaloes have to work, dogs get chained and chickens get eaten every time hewmies feel happy. Cats on the other hand are usually treated quite nicely.


Midnight April 3rd

It worked! Can you believe it! I finally caught a Hik-rat*. I had anyway been thinking for a long time all these days-. With this increased world food prices and the generally high cost of saman tins, I had decided to put my effort into foraging and hunting so as to help Marmar with finding food for us. We do appreciate what he does for us, almost everyday he wears long leggings and gets onto his noisy growling metal chariot and goes somewhere with a green sack which has some writing on it.

When he comes back the sack is full of grain and short metal tubes which when you hit them out comes lovely soft succulent smelly saman fish. This he does for us often.

He must be a very efficient hunter as he never comes home saman-less! This put me to shame at the amount of years a healthy young tom cat like me, supposedly a very efficient predator, has been living off this kind ape descendent, without doing any predating.

Therefore I decided to somehow catch a rat and it worked! The fact that it was a hik-rat and therefore grey and appetizing looking is an even better plus point! I shall keep it near the front door to make him happy the first thing as he steps out in the morning. Its head was kind of squishy but I adjusted it and I warned the other cats not to touch it..

April 4th

Aiyo, look will you. Misstress Hacketty, the dear master's sister came charging out in the morning no doubt thinking about the staff van she was late for and skidded in the hikrat**. She screamed with happiness at the start when seeing my generous present and then - she picked it by the tail and flung it over the wall into the neighbor's garden. I don't know what to think!! She must be jealous or something that's all I can say! But then she normally loves us!

April 7th

I am still sad about what she did. You think you know a person and then they go and do something like that to you. It makes me quite disillusioned. I wish people would be more straightforward. Now take, for example, her Evil Tall Boyfriend who stays the weekends.

He is openly honest about how much he hates cats. He woke her up today by saying he had thrown Patchy off the balcony… then he said it was a joke and had to dodge slippers. He thought it was funny. But, from all of this I gather that Mistress Hacketty must love us anyway in spite of the fact that she threw my hard earned hikrat over the wall into the next door land! I don't know if I can forgive her for that.

* Editor's Note: he probably means Hikk meeya or field mouse. Poozer is obviously not too scientific about the proper names for his food.

* Poozer's Note: I am not sure if this is correct grammar. Maybe it should read "skidded on the hikrat" anyway – she put her foot in it. You get the picture.


April 16th

If you're wondering why I was rather silent the last couple of weeks, it was due to this horrible local festival of explosives. Every April all the hewmis in this country, pale, yellow or dark, brown start at a certain time to throw small explosives into the sky.

The hewmie kidletts especially enjoy this and some of them throw the little blasts at us! And the air becomes very sneezy and dry.

I hate this scary April festival and so do all my furry relatives. Even the blooming mongrel populations spend this time cowering under cars etc. If I am not mistaken the hewmie babies hate it too as I hear a lot of them mewling after the cracking noises...

April 26th

Baby cats, have you noticed, do tend to be disturbingly accident prone. Cats may have nine lives but I think they use up seven or eight as kittens. As for life threatening circumstances I think I've seen it all, beginning when Gingernuts was found swimming inside the commode at No 47- the current two are no exception either.

LG (Little Grey) fell off the balcony this morning literally straight into the clappy jaws of the Kraken below (that's what I have named the cat killing mongrel living in the backyard at Number 47) luckily before it could chomp its trap shut on her, she bounced out and ran for a small hole in the wall where the plumbing pipes are accessed.

There followed, of course, half an hour of hysterical kitterwhauling and marmar had to come out in his jammies and push around all the construction timber and 'tahadu' looking for her.

I saw her standing bravely in the hole encouraging his efforts but he just could not place the high pitched sniveling until he had moved half the masonry. He's a jolly good fellow I must say. May he always have a good salary and access to saman at the local supermarket!



Daily Muse



by pissu poozer


May 7th

Mercy Me! And such a relief, I mean, such a shame! The little mistress finally took the extra kittehs away in a white plastic baby box . The place is much cleaner as the balcony could be arranged again and that reeking poop tray could be done away with ! But of course they will be back next week since they are mobile kittehs.


Now would you believe it what the humans are up to this time? Candles , lamps bulbs lights all over the place! All quite beautiful actually this is a religious festival full of light I think which is celebrated in many lands in the universe. In this festival the Hewmies burn pretty lamps for the birthday of a long ago gentle religious large Person called Buddha, ( who also said not to harm kittehs). Its such a relief that there are no explosives and sky rockets, I don't mind any festival, lights or not and Buddha was after all a very nice kind Person who said to please treat all your pets kindly. Because they are beings too and they feel pain if you hurt them.


May 9th

Our gentle confused mistress was talking about China today at dinner. She said some people eat cats and dogs there. Its true I think on the interweb we saw movie spots of how they do bad things to poor doggs and kittehs and they have no laws preventing this. Poor petts are put in small wire cages about ten at once and later beaten to death and stir fried. It is strange what people will do for them to get a good taste. I heard mistress get very angry and worked up and say she will not buy anything made in China, but Im not sure how that would solve anything…Im thinking, why has not Hewmann, who can be kind and noble too, not spent a big grant of money on scientists inventing some artificial meat which tastes good and feels chewey and makes them happy without having to be cruel to their furry friends? Or at least used this thing called engineering genetix and made some meat which grows by itself without any life with suffers.

I think the good scientists of this kind Buddhist Ceylon island should start this idea!





Daily Muse



by pissu poozer


May 10th

Our mistress wants to volunteer for a nice working group called PETA.  I think that means People Who Treat Kittens Kindly but I'm not sure exactly. Im sitting on the monitor watching her send them her resume by an e-male. ..the monitor is nice and warm so I don't mind where she sends her resume.


May 19th


Here we go again. There is a big happiness or something happening in this hewman world. AGAIN people started making loud cracking noises and showing this happiness. I don't like crackers, none of my fellow felines or even the smelly canines like it, I keep on having to point this out -even the poor baby hewmans hate this. Anyway this time, there were big bundles of hewmies in lorries going around singing and waving lion flags . Quite scarey , the sight and noise made the hairs on my tail stand out! Anyway after I asked all the other street cats they said the Hewmies in this world were happy that a big Tiger cat had been shot and killed with great difficulty after he had been hiding in the jungle.I assume this is a hewman -eating tiger that's why everyone seems relieved. Thank goodness! But there are new problems. .. Now I don't know what to think but I sure get scared when I see hundreds of young male Hewmies in shorts with hairy legs, shouting and singing. Brrr. Im going to stay indoors for a few days that's for sure!

Friday, April 03, 2015

San Michel Idyll

My Ideal Tropical Non Agenda…

I have always wanted to spend a day on an island, in the sun, with nothing, absolutely nothing to do, but laze..No deadlines at all…

by Chandrika6

And so it was last month that one simple happiness I have dreamt of for perhaps years now, came true, for me. Perhaps I'm a person of simple dreams but what I had actually wanted was to take a holiday on an island in the sun, a day, a whole day and a day like none other…. Heck, it was about time!

This rat race, I noted with regret, has captured me.

I remember way back when I was a teenager, I had all that time on my hands, wrote stories, painted pictures, thought poetry and sat meditating under trees…. What happened? Why don't I get this time anymore? Where did it go? I find myself so exhausted that I fall asleep on the sofa when I find fifteen minutes to spare, or I'm cleaning out my phone inbox when I'm in a queue and taking calls when I'm in a traffic jam- all in the name of better time management! My house accumulates, thanks to my fairly bearable income, new and improved gadgetry each month, all designed by technological geniuses in Japan and Germany with the sole aim of saving time. These are electronic wonders so advanced in their capability that they would probably have been bartered for multiple numbers of wives, in the previous century if they had been around…but do these wonders give me more spare time?

Time to lay back and think and take things easy? Not by the long shot, unfortunately. Strange.

I wanted a day on an island in the sun, with time hanging on my hands, with nothing at all on the agenda, the cooking done for me, and my family and friends around me. So this is what I planned.

There is an island close to Colombo and a lovely little resort hotel on it, currently in a somewhat dilapidated condition but some how this only adds to its charm…. Spotless luxury and calm would be rather too predictable for me actually so I was thrilled by the scary boat ride across to the island, in a creaking motorboat, trying not to look into the water which was just the right level of murky, as in, mysteriously dark but not actually dirty… I had stumbled upon this island resort a few years back in the course of a official seminar and promised them that I would come back but not had time to honor this promise till today.

Previously downloaded legends were then recounted for the sake of my extremely imaginative and Game Boy inspired ten year old son, who subsequently treated the moat with serious respect since it was supposed to contain dead creatures, water monsters and random drown victims.( This of course generally made up by us to add spice to the whole adventure ). There was also the Story of the Pre Tsunami Pony which was related to us by hotel staff - apparently this happy creature had swum across the moat and escaped hours before the tsunami; *even though as luck would have it neither the resort nor the island had been seriously affected by the Tsunami anyway…

Our Sunday out began quite horribly for me with major misgivings. Two of my party had opted out, a biker girlfriend saying that she had been involved in a minor motorcycle accident (nothing serious but then these are the types I hang out with …)and my cousin Harry saying that he had just rememebred he needed to do all his laundry** before going to Malaysia on a business trip the day after… these were disapointments enough but the weather was, in a word , disgusting. As grey as London and drizzling to boot. The idea of holidaying on an island was definatly beginning to look like a man made disaster and I was getting a throbbing headache wonderring how I could possibly entertain my friends and two grumpy kids who would much rather have spent this sort of a Sunday tucked into bed and watching DVDs. Apart from the fact that I had forgotton to pack Scrabble or Carrom or even a pack of cards, I confess I harbour a serious phobia for bodies of water anyway and there lurked in the back of my mind , the unfounded fear of water based tragedy creeping up on me ..the only thing that kept me going was the thought of the delicious lunch waiting on the island since I knew that although they were almost closed for business and running on a skeleton staff , said skeleton staff had not forgotton their excellent culinary skills…and this was not fancy gourmet food mind you , just a simple Sunday meal of fried rice and chicken curry with oiled potatoes, wambatu moju, papadams and a wonderful fresh salad…hmm, mouth watering to think about even now!

As luck would have it my friends put a life of their own into the dismal morning and by the time we had settled down with drinks and eats in a lovely little water surrounded cabana, would you believe this, slowly but surely the sun began to peep from behind clouds and the true beauty of the country became slowly and surely evident…the only thing more wonderful to me than coconut trees in the sun by the water, is rained on dewy glittery coconut trees in the sun by the water….and here they were.

Our day out turned out splendid. In spite of the various worries and phobias I had (of drowning, moat monsters, and whether my ten year old would pick up the dubious language skills of my cheerfully stoned office cronies) failed thankfully to materialise and the food lived up to our expectations. The dismal grey start to the day only contrasted wonderfully with the subsequent dazzle of gentle sunshine that flooded my holdiay and only served to make me appreciated the weather that much more. My island was looking absolutely lovely ,vibrant colours of green vegetation, rich light blue sky, orange for the coconuts and startling red on the occasional kingfisher , a little like a scene setting for Pirates of the Carribean but thankfully without any visible cannibals…

What did I actually do? Nothing much, which is exactly what I did want to not do. I spent a lot of time giggling with friends I hadnt seen for ages, walked around the island with my children discussing Sri Lanka, ate till I could hardly stand, and then sat drowsing under a tree for an unlimited time, floated in the shallow end of the swimming pool enjoying the sunlight through that brilliant cool water with nothing , abslolutely nothing to do but laze and no deadlines…. Ah, the stuff my humble dreams are made of!


* so let that be a warning to you unbelieving people out there :if your horsey ups and leaves you preferring to relocate inland one sunny Sunday morning, it could be a sign of natural disaster on the way. Or even unnatural disaster depending on how intelligent it is..:

* * and I quote: "Ayyo, I forgot to wash my trousers, no"

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Who cares about Marina?

Marina* is our 'Cleaning lady,' an attractive, dark, late thirtyish Muslim woman, with a sweet and humble smile,  who glides around the place keeping things clean and silently goes away dressed in black. She is the only person in office who doesn't have her clique, dosnt eat with us at the lunch table, the usual office rules don't apply perhaps since she is considered  a 'menial', or uneducated...but she's used to that. She never fails to make a delicious wattalappan on Ramzan day, for the whole staff.

She is in her late thirties I imagine, and has a son​, who is the most important person in her life​
. The main people in her life are her son and her sister, who is the only sibling. This sister has a son, and this tiny family have only each other.  14 years ago, her husband and her sister's husband were caught in a train accident, while going in her husbands three-wheeler, to distribute wattalapan on Ramzan day, I assume. Since then they have been widows, and in typical traditional style, they have lived to bring up their sons, without thinking about themselves. They live on two sides of a road, but at dinner time Marinas sister and son come to her dwelling and have dinner and watch TV, and they do their homework together. That wont happen anymore.

Some mahattayas from the government are asking  Marina and her sister to leave their homes and say they are giving them "high rise apartments" instead. This sounds nice on the surface of it. Except that…Marina has to give up her home, for which she has deeds, and go to some strange place, and live on the third floor of a cramped apartment, and pay rent for it- for twenty years. A rent which will be about a fifth of her income. And her sister has to go and live in some other apartment in some other block, with strange neighbors and won't be able to walk over again to meet the only family she has.

And these apartments have rules. You cant hang clothes to dry, you cant keep rubbish outside the door, you cant make noises, you cant put the TV loudly, you cant put your kids outside, they have to be inside. Its not clear what happens if you break those rules. Its not clear what happens if you cant pay the rent
​, they were told they woud have to pay interest.

There are 35 houses to one floor, in the building Marina's sister has been sent to. You have to pay a deposit of 50,000/=  and you have to pay rent for 20 years, and only then will you get the deeds to these flats. Marina along with a number of other residents in her area have objected and filed a case against this.

"Why do we have to pay rent, this house is mine. I worked hard for this, for years in the Middle East. I don't want to go to a flat. I want my son to have a place to stay, what if something happens to me?  20 years is a long time. We have never asked anything from this government, not even a bag of rice, why are they making trouble for us?" asks Marina. Her sister has had to go, because she didn't have clear deeds to her house. She has borrowed the downpayment from loan sharks and has to pay a large interest for that too, on a monthly basis.

​According to Marina, a Chinese national visited the group of her neighbours in behalf of the donors ​and told them that they dont have to pay any money, the new flats have been a gift of a foreign government. However after the man went away, the government mahattayas again returned to talk about the payments. Marina's sister is not only terrified about the large loan she has to take and interest and rent she will have to pay, she worries about losing the only family she has.

"My sister dosnt even live at home, she works till late and she just comes home to sleep only. Now who will look after her son, when she is out?" Marina asks. Marina's sister has spent the last few days with her belongings  packed into cardboard boxes and plastic bags, crying almost continuously. Her teenage son will be torn from his familiar surroundings and left unsupervised in a high rise slum with every potential for trouble in future, while his widowed mother slaves at two jobs daily to pay rent and interest, for almost a third of a life time,  in the name of the beautification of Colombo.

read more about forced evictions here 
​* Not her real name ​

Update February 20th 2015
I spoke to Marina this afternoon.
Unfortunately the change in Government was too late to save her sisters house. They have to live in a high rise building where 4 elevators service almost 400 apartments (the smell in the elevator is terrible she says, what with all the garbage too having to be brought down through it) There is no turning back as her house has been demolished and she did not get any compensation or rights to the land.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Vajira House update

I will never invest in a Sri Lankan company for as long as I live- heres why:

Its been more than 7 years since I bought debentures from Vajira Houses and they failed to return the capital I invested

the COURT ORDER was given in 2009 and yet there is no payment to me
Ive been ​calling practically twice a week since December 2013, to get the money 
General manager Harendra politely gives various dates .one time I was ill and didnt call him for a week or two and when i next called he said " oh you havnt called me for sometime" so I can imagine what a joke we depositors are 

I called the Marketing manager August 4th and told him that im doing every thing i can in my small way to tell people the truth about their company

A small action was taken today, the lawyer Harshani phoned me today (0718688261) and said a deposit would be made 29th August 2014
I will update here what happens 

Heres more of the truth about the case 

Financial Times

Vajira House Builders engages in confidence building with depositors after Court order

By Bandula Sirimanna

In a move to re-build confidence and repay borrowings taken from disgruntled depositors, Vajira House Builders (Pvt) Ltd, a troubled building construction company, has obtained a directive from the Colombo Commercial High Courts to conduct a meeting with depositors and to obtain their consent for a re-payment plan. Colombo High Court Judge Gamini Amarasekera has directed the company to report the progress of these meetings when the case will be taken up for hearing on November 26.

The Court was informed that the company has conducted meetings with 56% of depositors out of the total number of 270 depositors. An official of the company told the Sunday Times FT that 76% of depositors have agreed to their repayment plan and they will repay the money amounting to Rs186 million within two and half years commencing from January next year. He said that the construction industry has taken a huge beating over the past two years and the building sector is at a standstill even now.

However Vajira house Builders (Pvt) Ltd is managing its affairs at a satisfactory level in the face of the adverse impact of the global downturn, especially on the real estate market. Several depositors alleged that the company deceived them by accepting deposits from them as investments for property development projects and issuing them with borrowing certificates.

Depositors have written a letter to the Secretary to the President, the Inspector General of Police and the Governor of the Central Bank informing them that the company has promised to pay 22 to 25 % interest for their deposits taken as investments for house building project at Malabe in 2007 and it has stopped the payment of interest and refused the repayment of their capital as it is facing liquidity problems. Therefore they urged the authorities to intervene and find a redress to their problem.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A complex Asian funeral rite...and death in Sri Lanka


C Gadiewasam.


Death is a great leveller, they do say. Meaning that whether you are rich or poor, ugly or beautiful, good or nasty everyone gets to die at some point in their lives. Oddly enough that's just when people start being honestly religious, including the dying person invariably and their friends, relations and neighbors. Your author just recently got to know the extent of some religosity by analysing the amount of sheer drinking and serious gambling that goes on at latterday Sinhala "Buddhist" funerals in a more  recent development of tradition, but that is just too unsavory to go into here even on this undead page. Instead we will just talk about bodies and spirits and dead things, as per custom with your friendly book-of-the-undead.

In some countries in Asia would you believe it, water buffaloes really get the bad end of the deal,  and depending on how rich the dying person was a lot of buffaloes get sacrificed, so as to help that person go to the after life ie"Puya"– that's what they claim, but Im not sure how that would help me, Id just be uncomfortable with the sheer size of these creatures and prefer if they were allowed to live in peace and muck about, since they seem to enjoy it and harm no one. Plus I hear they are actually quite expensive. This water buffalo slaughter is a practice carried out by about  650,000 members of the "Toraja nation" living in the mountains of south Sulawesi, an island located in Indonesia. The Toraja really know how to make festivities last, and a good sized funeral which begins with a large scale buffalo slaughter, out on the fields, can actually last for MONTHs if not years. I hope Sri Lankans don't get any ideas,  because I know some of my neighbors did try to come close last year, with practically more than a week of noisy overnight chatting, drinking and playing carrom and booruwa, plus they blocked the road to our houses which seems like another of those traditions about death that is calmly accepted. In fact, in most places if you are dead, it appears you really can get away with murder and other general breaches of peace which should need police permission in other cases…

Coming back to the Taroja, they start the dead ceremony in a large field where they have actually arranged camping out, and there the buffaloes are going to be killed, camping makes sense I guess since this ritual is going to take time and its great that they select some far away field to do this in;  unlike my neighbours who have their rituals in the house nextdoor and don't let us sleep for the better part of a week.  The Taroja ritual also involves killing lots of  pigs, not necessarily because they would as in the case of the buffaloe, help the deceased reach a place called puya, but more because they are tasty I suspect. Puya is the ideal place to be for a dead Tarojan, if you don't reach this place and you get lost along the way , tough luck; although I personally wonder how some dumb buffaloes who have their necks sliced can possibly help you get there. Read more about the Taroja at http://www.tourismjournal.net/toraja-land.html or at Wikipedia which says: Torajans believe that the deceased will need the buffalo to make the journey and that they will be quicker to arrive at Puya if they have many buffalo. Slaughtering many waterbuffalo and hundreds of pigs using a machete is the climax of the elaborate death feast, with dancing and music and young boys who catch spurting blood in long bamboo tubes. Some of the slaughtered animals are given by guests as "gifts", which are carefully noted because they will be considered debts of the deceased's family.However, a cockfight, known as bulangan londong, is an integral part of the ceremony.

Well, Im an animal rights supporter and I don't like these ideas one bit.

Oh yes, a final gruesome bit of information I found "the dead are removed from their tombs to replace their clothing each year" just freaky. I wonder how family members get selected to carry out this scary and smelly task. So the next time you feel annoyed at being asked to take out the trash, please think about this ritual.


Sri Lankan death rituals involve, thankfully, no obvious slaughter (and no fraternizing with dead bodies after they are hygenically disposed of). High ranking Buddhist monks are invited and given meals, and clothing, and are supposed to chant a lot of prayers so that the deceased can feel comforted and everyone else can meditate on how impermanent life is. The dead body, or person, is not left alone but someone has to sit with the corpse throughout the night every day, until it is buried or more likely cremated. All the photographs of people on the walls are turned away from us and made to face the wall so that the dead persons spirit cant posses anyone. The body or dead person is also called kili which means unclean. Well, I agree since it is decomposing. Kili attracts more undead spirits[1] who hang around making a funeral house a really undead-infested place to stay. Im not sure how that last corpse-minding person feels like in this case, but at the same time hardly ever are any real manifestations of ghosts or undead noticed at funeral houses. This could be because there are crowds of people anyway and holman don't manifest in crowds.

Finally another rather odd bit of ceremony is when, just at the end of the vigil, and before they take the dead body away to be dealt with, the entire house is closed up with the corpse inside. This is supposedly so that all the various spirits and undead things can actually swarm around the corpse and hang on to it when it is taken out, without remaining inside the house. Nasty and selfish if you ask me! That being done the deceased is carried out head first (or backwards) so that s/he cannot remember the way back into the house. This is extremely silly if you ask me because even if one was carried out upside down with ones head in a paperbag they would still likely remember their way home, if that was the last thing they did remember. (Comeon, have you thought about it ?)

Anyway these delightful practices are rituals that have gone on for hundreds of years and don't look like they will fade for a hundred more so lets have a moment of silence for the dead in Sri Lanka.

[1] This is apart from the distilled spirits which are imbibed practically by the barrel in time with the illegal gambling that goes on behind doors but Im not supposed to talk about this as it's a bad example to young people. I m not supposed to talk about it but some people keep doing it, which is called "hypocrisy." If you feel that my talking about it has made you interested in this subject please visit the website of exemplary organisations like ADIC (http://www.adicsrilanka.org/)  which are trying to fight this useless, destructive and anti Buddhist habit. 

Friday, April 04, 2014

ALIENS VS PARASITES: Fiery Serpents from Hell

If you think that vampires, ghouls and slithery things are creepy and scary this story is going to give you the shivers for some time to come, mostly because it’s not a legend but factually correct! Today’s narrative is about a creature called the guinea worm, which though that name sounds quite tame, is in fact one of the most horrible ways to suffer and sometimes die, in the tropics. See, from ghouls and vampires you can run, but this creature, much like those hideous internal parasites in Aliens Vs Predators, actually lives inside your body and moves around like a flesh eating train inside your system! And there is no way of getting it out, not even extensive surgery, because if you damage the worm and it dies it becomes septic and poisons you! The pain of the worm travelling around has been described as similar to being on fire, which is why the ancient Israelites called it a Fiery Serpent from Hell, although it is known by scientists as Dracunculus medinensis. The name dracunculiasis is from Latin and actually means  "afflicted with little dragons” and this disease has been known since ancient times and is mentioned in a very old Egyptian papyrus called the Ebers Papyrus as long ago  as around 1550 BC.

Out of all the animals in the world, guinea worms only infect humans. The worms are small, about one to two mm wide but quite long, maybe 60 – 100 centimetres long, and outside humans the eggs can only survive up to three weeks without a human host! They have to be eaten by water fleas (microscopic anthropods)  before they get into a human body and then they can survive inside the water flea for about four months.

Unfortunately in poor areas of Africa, local people have a tendency of unsuspectingly drinking water from streams and rivers without boiling or filtering it; the water fleas are so tiny and microscopic that people swallow them too. Once they reach the stomach, our stomach acids dissolve the water-fleas but not the guniea worm larvae because those are so tough, they can survive fine inside human beings, even in our acidic tummies.  These worm larvae are fine and grow in size for about three months, and even mate inside the human body, after which the female grows even bigger and starts to eat and tunnel her way through the persons flesh, towards his/her legs. What happens next is quite gruesome. The worm eats a hole in your leg, which is basically a rotting wound which becomes a very painful ulcer, so that she can stick her back out and lay eggs  whenever the ulcer is placed in water. Meanwhile the pain is so unbearable, like being on fire, that people by instinct want to put their legs in water, and then, with the drop in temperature the worm  quickly releases a cloud of her young contaminating the drinking water. The wound which does not heal due to the secretions from the worm, allows bacteria into the body and can result in death if left  untreated due to a condition called septicemia, which happens if decaying matter is kept within the human body.

Now guinea worms just tend to head for the legs, but not always. There is no gurantee that one might not migrate to your eye, or your face or even your private parts. Either way the common agreement is that the pain is incredible. Not just because something is eating its way through your flesh, but it secretes acidic fluids that cause ulceration and necrosis of human tissue. Just imagine a claustrophobic hell when something is eating you like this from inside and you cant get rid of it ! Surely this is a punishment straight out of hell!

Now the only way to even begin to treat this is to actually grab the female while she is extended out of the ulcer under water (ugh!!). You then have to very slowly pull at it,  being very careful not to break the worm which would result in all hell breaking lose, literally as it would poison you inside! So while gently easing the worm out, you rolled onto a small stick, which could be the basis for the coiled ‘serpent.'symbol. Remember that the whole process hurts terribly and there is no way to escape from it!

You have to have patience, and you can only pull the out the worm at the rate of  a few excruciating centimeters per day. This may take weeks or even months. During this whole time, the person is not able to work or take care of their children and can hardly walk or talk but must spend their time in hellish pain.

There is only one good point to this whole story and that is to note that the World Health Organisation has been valiantly fighting Guinea Worm Disease for years by creating awareness in affected regions on the importance of boiling or filtering water, and therefore this may be the first parasitic disease that is eradicated in the world: numbers of suffers have declined from millions in 1986 to only about 148 people last year, and it is expected that 2015 will see a complete eradication of this parasite from hell.

So now you know ! And, even if we don’t live in areas where such a freak does, isn’t that something we should be thankful for?