Wednesday, November 01, 2017

My Darkest Secret


(Art courtesy Daily Mirror )

Its been up on two years now but the guilt of it has kept me silent so far. Even now I will not tell you who I am, for your author, dear gentle reader, is guilty of having broken the law, violated the penal code and /or acted unconstitutionally to boot and what's worse now intends to crow about it too!

The cause of this was a beady eyed, near comatose bundle of black feathers I found on Greenpath , one Monday evening last July on my way back from work.

This creature was later named Pokey and he * was seriously ill; birds of his feather had gathered around thoughtfully and were noisily discussing their intention of putting him out of his misery.( Hint: this would involve being summarily pecked to death because they do not want to Leave you to the Cats. They obviously give a lot of thought to this sort of thing, crows.) Pocky did not have enough strength to so much as lift a wing but lay abject and lifeless waiting for his fate to be finalized.

Well, you know me,(or you should by now if you have been reading what I write -) I cannot walk past a creature that desperate, with my eyes wide shut- so I called up a passing tuk tuk , demanded a polythene bag from the surprised driver and placing the uncomplaining black mass in it, hired a lift home.

The local Vet and I have an excellent understanding: he maintains a straight face and does not burst out laughing (or screaming hysterically) when I bring the latest case in – and I provide him with lots of useful On the job experience. This was no exception.

Pokey was examined closely , his drooping wings flexed , his rigid, gnarled claws gently but forcefully unclenched, and his throat shed light into with a good torch, after which dear ole Dr Perera decided that the paralysis could be treated by modern day anti-biotics. He showed me how to take a "karala"(capsule) and divide it into eight parts one of which I was supposed to administer at 6 hourly intervals.

So there was I saddled with a limp, dying crow, a 3 day course of tetracycline and a cardboard box which I hastily requisitioned from the nearby supermarket.

The next challenge was to smuggle said refugee into our residence without my father noticing.

My father is the serious, strict, Decision Maker person at home, the king of the Castle so to speak, who gives a lot of thought to possible calamity in life and solidly disapproved of anything with feathers on the basis that "they can have all kinds of dirty germs" and this ,mind you , was in the seventies, decades before bird flu was even invented, and in spite of the fact that he practically grew up on something like a farm.

This therefore had to be a quiet back door entry kind of thing and so it was that I managed to sprint my unresisting secret up to my bedroom before the gate man could even turn around, and shut the door firmly against inquisitive family members to take a deep breath and really think about what I had just done.

Im a working girl, out from 9 to 5, and I have a small carpeted bedroom about 8 by 10, a very peaceful feminine pad furnished in pastel pink décor with lots of stuffed Disney characters- and now I had a large heavy rude black bird convalescing in it. Just how rude he could be I was about to find out.

The first dose of tetracyclin was a breeze because I d found a needle – less syringe and mixed the dust with honey, and Pokey was not expecting this , neither had he enough strength to object. Down the hatch it went, with nary a rustled feather.

And within an hour or two , it was working ! The listless doomed look was replaced by a suspicious calculating look, the head was beginning to stand alert. Even the feathers were glossier, I swear . It was one of those good moments in a pet rescuers life. It was also when the problems really started because Pokey began expressing his opinion, in a harsh and unlovely tone, probably listing his constitutional rights demanding freedom of expression and movement etc …

7 or 8 hours and two doses afterwards, Pokey was visibly transformed :From being a limp bedraggled black heap of feathers with an obvious death wish- he was now walking around in his cardboard box bobbing his head critically up and down like a hygiene inspector, testing his wings for flightworthiness and emitting short , trial croaks, which in the confines of my pad, sounded like background sound effects from Jurassic Park ….

The challenge was now to get him to shut up, because I was just not supposed to harbor crows in my bedroom. Leave aside the penal code and the neighbors, my dad would have a fit. My mother came around as she usually does on her evening -bringing-the-tea-walk, and I opened my door about three inches and had a bright chat with her after which since she knew the funny look on my face was anything but innocent she began pushing very gently at the door and saying sad things like ' is something the matter? I know you are hiding something. Im your mum. You can talk to me, you know," that sort of thing.

Subterfuge had always been pointless with her, so I pulled her into the room and shut the door firmly – subsequent dialog went something like:

"You can't hide a crow in your bedroom, darling.
" I know"

"Puthey, First of all you tell this to dad,"
"No but he will Start Shouting -"

"You are not thinking you can hide a crow in here –its like having a man under the bed, with his shoes sticking out- !"

"He ll be better in a few days and Ill put him out. Do you think Thaththi has to notice??"

(Would he notice all the raucous shrieks, flapping and thumping and the steady build up of guano on the windows –let me think, YES! )

And Pokey chose this moment to burst noisily out of the cardboard incarceration he was supposed to be quietly recuperating in, emit a loud huffy protesting squawk, and go for a preliminary test flight around the room which ended in a loud and negative thump as he connected with the window pane.

Mom was right about this. It wasn't going to be as easy as I thought.

Next week: A crow's got to do what a crow's got to do.

* Neither the vet nor I ever did find out if it was a he or a she , but I prefer to think of most crows as masculine: Compared to other regular birds, they are dark, solid and make a lot of noise so, its obvious they are discussing politics, cricket or the Milanka index.

 

What followed was about 40 hours of wild and total chaos. Pokey's condition improved exponentially and he gorged himself on papaws and salmon, which he naturally had to expel pretty soon; crows either have short digestive tracts or this one was so starved that whatever he ate went right through. Pretty soon my beautiful bedroom was covered with a series of artistic streaks of half digested muck which I did not want to analyze. My bed, carpet and walls, in fact any patch of room I did not cover with newspapers and polythene was liberally decorated with guano. My monitor and keyboard were favorite areas as well as the dressing table where Pokey would land near my deodorant collection and preen in the mirror.

 

At some stage in the proceedings Mom reported on me to Thaththi and he mercifully adopted a "Wait and See" approach since it was a bit late in the day to worry about germs. This meant if anything went wrong (or wronger than it already had) I could probably look forward to  a humbling lecture on how I should be more responsible and not Do Nonsense like this  etc. The rest of the family came by to see things for themselves and were rudely judged by Pokey. The Persian cat gave me a look I wont forget and stayed outside a radius of 30 feet from my bedroom.

 

Within 24 hours Pokey had learned two tricks. To come when he was called, and sit on my mouse pad if I tapped it(perhaps it looked friendly and familiar  like an helicopter launch site?) and the Silly Cotton Bud Trick: Cotton buds were to Pokey what a red flag is to a bull- you showed him one, he would take it as a personal challenge, and grab it from you, yank it angrily out of your fingers and place it on the ground. Then he would give you a beady-eyed look as if challenging you to touch it. If you did try to touch it, he would hold your finger very threateningly in a strong black beak and push your hand away. But there was a glint of mischief in the beady eyes that spoke of smiling insides.

This then is why it has been outlawed to harbor crows, their intelligence is incredible and I believe uncharted, I'm sure if they had opposable digits these little black suited gentlemen would be running the show. This was a wild crow that could not possibly have known a word of human, let alone English and here he was answering to a silly name I had given him within a matter of hours.

 

The worst challenge was catching hold of him for long enough to force-feed the tetracyclin as per the six hourly course. This was an exercise in guerrilla warfare that took about 2 hours for me to win, and helped me lose a lot of weight. Pokey did not want to have a bitter powder shoved down his throat and freely expressed his disgust in no uncertain terms. From the strangled objections it was pretty obvious that I would soon be hauled in by the Wellampitiya Police, not just for harboring a crow but for general breach of peace, environmental pollution, and if Pokey had his say, animal rights violations too.

 

48 hours of this was the giddy limit. SO two days after I had rescued a weak droopy lump of crow on Greenpath, I opened my windows in Wellampitiya and told Pokey he was free to go.

 

The croak he let out was definitely something like "that's more like it" and out he flew like a large black torpedo, but characteristically he did not disappear at once, but sat on a banana leaf outside my window and I swear he looked at me and said a lot of Crowish things which were not totally unflattering.

 

I  safely assume it was something in the lines of  "So long and thanks for all the fruit!" or he could have been warning me about the plots my cats were hatching , or telling me to go easy on the deodorant- I do wish I had confirmation.

Either way, within a minute, he was soaring off into the wild blue yonder and I was sitting smiling in a room which needed cleaning.

 

Pokey may have left me in favor of freedom but I have I have memories, which I treasure, of two days spent hiding a little black suited refugee in my bedroom and I have a 15 minute video clip which I show to my friends and relations when they come to visit.

 

 Now that's something I'm going to take with me to old age!

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Possible tactical uses for well-trained ravens –

·         watch the defense lines/ act as early tsunami warning systems,

·         fix electrical wiring, paint the exteriors of tall buildings and of course spy on locations of cheating spouses—

·         report on traffic snarls  and advise on alternative routes..

·         in well-organised flocks, help in crowd control, break up mass rallies by dropping guano on unruly crowds/boring public speakers



Things we could really ban in Sri Lanka along with or instead of, crows:

  • Wheedling, forging things and perjuring yourself to get your kid into a famous school
  • Making bullocks carry more than 1.5 tons of stuff at a time.
  • Performing horn cantatas in front of Maternity hospitals/funeral parlors
  • Cramming more than 350 people into a 25 seater bus at a time

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Grandma Issabelle

1baf70e8b9ad6b8edb049fea27578fdd.jpg

And so , since all stories must have a beginning , my life story probably starts with this  wonderful ancestor, grandma Isabelle.

        Now if that name makes you think of sweet, genteel colonial ladies with delicate fans, parasols and elbow length white gloves, partaking of "Tiffin" or groping tremulously for their smelling salts, let me bust the bubble because Grandma Isabelle was – different. [1]

        I remember her looking sternly at me over her thick spectacles and saying "are you sure you are wearing decent knickers, child? Otherwise  skirt going up and people will laugh- big shame,  no"

        I remember looking back at her and nodding humbly "yes, nana" ; I dare say your own grandma probably told you stuff like this too, when you were a kid, but the difference here was probably that I was 30 at the time, and had come to visit her, riding a small Indian Yamaha, without a valid license. …(ouch!)

        She boasted of language that could out-swear the hairiest Pettah drunkard and was not afraid to use it. Words like thoe, yakoe, and bung, and rolled off her tongue with as much dubious ease as the lyrics of Edelweiss and old Nat King Cole numbers…

        She was maybe a tad over five foot high and as light as a thistle but ate like a Marine, and knew how to enjoy life to the fullest.  I remember she loved anything packaged in England (peaches, tarts, wheetabix) for the same reason that children do, that its bright , flavorful and generally not locally  available, and she would cheerfully guzzle chocolates, fig biscuits  and apple tarts with a devil may care "to hell with the diabetes" attitude.(Blood sugar, predictably, didn't dare to rear its ugly head and try cramping her style, because I suspect she would have told it to go take a hike)

        My art, writing and sense of esthetics I believe I owe to her side of the family and she taught me, I remember, how to paint ostriches in the African Savannah. I can still mix the exact color of an ostriches butt feathers which are a "bluish greenish black with a slight touch  of yellow in it for depth".

        It was later on that I actually learned that Colombo's"Morotuwa" people are somewhat famous for the arts, (art, music, sculpting and writing ) and that "down south"  people sometimes don't really value this much because they are way more practical in useful talents like cooking and making broods of exemplary offspring…intermarry these two and there will always be gentle disdain from both sides about what the other cant do.

        Grandma Isabel's favorite movie was "Colomba Sanniya " which although I have never seen in my life, I have listened with delight to the detailed accounts of,  since I was 7 and thus can actually picture clearly in my minds eye, right down to the white scratch marks on the movie.

        The hero was played by Freddie or Eddie someone  who won a lottery as the story was repeated to me on torpid tropical Ceylon afternoons, which along with ambul bananas , large Marie biscuits(no longer produced) and good Ceylon tea, makes me now realize how ancient I must be…it is  classic 1940s style comedy about some village godaayaas[2] who get a luxury house in Colombo that they don't know what to do with. Around the point where they start doing their laundry in the commode, grandma falls into numerous microsleeps and I have to start nagging her for the balance.

        By 90 and bordering on Alzhimic, Grandma Isabelle had a distinctly selective and very volatile memory, something computer junkies would have called "Need Only Memory" because she remembered things only if they suited her, and otherwise resorted to a an extremely blank and innocent expression of pleasant non recognition which she had perfected down the years.

        So questions like " would you like another piece of angel cake ?" would be met by a carefully worded and vague " what angel cake ? did I just eat a piece?" which meant of course but don't tell anyone I ll be having two.

        I don't believe Nana worried about death at all, even thought she was past 90 when it got her. Although she sometimes discussed passing concerns like globalisation, deforestation and whether young Tushi was having an unsuitable affair in her office , she accepted inevitable eventualities like illness and mortality with the calm don't care attitude of a tattooed underworld thug.         

        In fact quite predictably she went down singing and joking and her last recorded words where a cracked baila very loosely translated as "shall I tell you of the love I have for you? In the afternoon come to the bathing pipe-and ill tell you" and I know she went laughing all the way.

        Grandma was a rebel in her age, like I am in mine.

        They say that each person will somewhere be duplicated in her ancestry or among her descendants, and if so I wonder if I will someday have a pixie faced, happy go lucky tomboy of  a grand or great grand daughter, who will write about me.

        Just maybe she will be called Isabelle, too.



[1] This sort of explains me, but not fully

[2] Pardon the haughty colonial reference.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

PUPPY LETTER TO SANTA

Dear Santa,

 

Firstly, I would like to thank you for visiting us once a year and giving us presents. That's really sweet of you.

 

In all my early letters, I have asked for things like "elimination of pollution" and "increase of moral values in mankind" and "better treatment towards animals and women" but I think none of it has happened.

 

Men, women, children, animals, plants and earth herself is dying of starvation, wars, abuse and all sorts of nasty things. So I take it that you probably have a lot in your plate and that's why it's still going on. I hear God is pretty busy too. I don't read the news or watch television much but from what I hear Daddy say, the world has become pretty much a poop hole. But not in so many words. Id have to put a penny in the word jar if I said the word he used. That and I probably wont get this years present from you too.

 

I wrote a letter to God asking why he hasn't looked into all these stuff that's happening. I didn't get a reply yet. He's probably busy looking into it. So I thought I'll try you.

 

There is this picture I saw on the internet. It's very sad. I love animals and I even have a rescued kitten . Seeing this doggie like this made me wanted to cry out and hug my poopsy. I don't understand why anyone could do such a thing to a sweet soul like this. I mean, look at those eyes. What wrong has this doggie done to receive such treatment? What moral misconduct has he done to be treated like this? I don't know the whole story behind it but maybe he stole a loaf of bread or something and he was kicked out on to the streets. He has all sorts of wounds in his body and I cant for the life of me imagine what would have made such horrible wound. Doesn't anybody know that it hurts the same way whether they're humans or animals? I hear people throw gasoline at doggie's backside so that they wont get more puppies. Is that true, Santa? Do they really hurt these defenseless animals like that

                                  

After several months of poor treatment like this, someone had come forward to rescue this soul. It had been a group of people who go looking for injured animals who had taken this poor animal to their shelter to try aand help them in any way they can. This would have been difficult as nursing sick animals back to health is quite expensive. ( I should know, Poopsy was bitten by my doggie, Mickey and had to be nursed back into health. Poopsy cant use her right leg now but apart from that she's perfectly fluffy and happy. Daddy paid quite a lot to get her better again)

 

Apart from rescuing puppies they also hold sterilization camps. I think what they want to do is reduce the number of puppies on the road so that poor doggies don't have to starve and suffer a lot. But some people don't like that too. Because apparently it is against God and it is his will that girl doggies have babies without being stopped. I don't think God will mind . Because at the end of it all, they are helping the doggies by eliminating the beginning of suffering. 



 

Some ask them why they do it for animals, and why not human beings, like children in the cancer hospital. Yes humans should be given priority compared with animals but don't animals feel pain and distress just like we do? Don't they also feel hunger like we do? Don't they like to get a decent bone or two to munch once in a while? Don't they feel pain and sadness when pelted with stones when they try to make friends with you? I think love and compassion should be felt towards animals as well as humans because we both feel the same things in the same way although we don't communicate it in the same way.

 

This group of loving and caring people did come forward to help this dog. Not just him, but many many doggies on the road. Some with terrible wounds like these and others who have been dumped on the road by mean people. What's more, these aren't those fancy wooly doggies you on magazines and TV. People dont hesitate to take them home even though they are very expensive in buying as well as maintaining. But what about the street doggies who have no one? They need someone to care for them too.

 

So maybe God does send his angels on and off to help around. And he does show that whatever someone does, may it be a giving a biscuit to a cat whose starving on the road or offer a ride to an old lady, if they do it with a good heart and in the genuine hope of giving someone a helping hand, it makes a difference.

 

Maybe it doesn't have to impact a whole group of people or create a huge announcement in mass media. Maybe it'll just touch one soul in a way that makes that his or life a happier place even if its just for that one day. A small group of thoughtful people can make a difference.

 

It is a fight for them. Money is a major issue. Social opinion is another. But I don't think they are willing to give up just because they don't have any money. They cant help all the sick doggies in this country. But they are trying by beginning somewhere. They know what they do will change the lives of atleast one soul that is need of help and comfort. They cant do it all by themselves. They are called Adopt a Dog in Sri Lanka. And they need your help.

 

I'm sorry if my letter is too long but I needed to tell you everything. And for this year's Christmas  it would be make my wish come true if you could help them out.

 

Whenever you can. With whatever you can. It will make a difference. I promise.  J

 

--visit their page on fb on https://www.facebook.com/adoptadoginsrilanka

and explore how you too can make a difference for a street pup this Christmas.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Vow for Munchi



Its six months since Operation Munchkins, when we ran after a little stray heifer for 4 hours in a tropical thunderstorm, trapped her, jumped her and got vets to cure the hideous nose wound made by a rope that was eating into her flesh.

We didnt know where she was from - there were two theories that she was an escaped slaughter house cow, and the second theory that she had been releasaed in fullfilment of a vow as is done by some Buddhists and Hindus. I personally go with the slaughter house story because the "Vow Cows"in Sri Lanka usually have a little branding saying PINg so that people know they are sacred or whatever. Munchi dosnt have the branding.
 



Thats a psychedelic camera phone image of a photograph of Munch after the rope was cut away.​ Belongs to Zeenath Amanath my partner in crime

 A neighbor of mine named Zeenath and I became the best of friends as we sat in the evenings after work, looking after her, swatting mosquitoes, bringing her kilos of food, dancing about after her trying to spray maggot repellent on her sore nose which she thoroughly resented. 
Then there was the incredible Christmas eve drama of how we had to work around the clock to get the government papers and transport ready to whiz her out of Wellampitiya which was not safe, teaming as it is with druggies and abbatior lorries ready to get hold of a vulnerable walking beef. 

We spent another tense couple of weeks watching over her as we tried to integrate her into the rural environment more suited to a lady of her vegetarian requirements...and she very literally dragged a number of strong men over drains and ditches in her stubborn attempts at escape. Our ideas of her gently grazing while tied to local trees were rudely shattered by a stubborn little barrel of bovine determination who insisted that she would not be tied, would not live in anyone's backyard and damn well wanted to go whereever she wanted.

So for the next three months as we trailed uselessly in the background biting our nails
​, falling in ditches and getting lost in the jungle (me mostly, and thats when my husband said, "the cow I can find, but where the blazes did you go!")​
 ​
and whatsapping photos of her latest exploits, she managed to integrate herself with a little herd of fellow 
​bovines, in a small community of newly developing houses, there to retire gracefully... or so we hoped.


​This month July was incredibly difficult for me. Not only did my beloved mother in law pass away,(peacefully and gracefully as was her way) marking the end of a chapter in my life, and bringing me closer to my mortality...but an incident of wanton cruelty resulted in my favorite cat dying a gruesome, ghastly ​death after prolonged suffering due to someone having thrown boiling water on it. Biscuit suffered for days and his dying took hours, and hours of agony. 
I was with Biscuit all along and the worst part is not every one will understand the pain this process caused me, as after all, Biscuit was a cat. 



the adorable chubby Biscuit so named because he liked eating said confectionery 

IN the midst of trying to recover from this difficulty came the news that Munchi was missing, and, when we followed up, some of our more smart ass young neighbours insisted that she must have been "taken"
Now you know what I mean, "taken" as in kidnapped by a passing lorry of cattle smugglers, to be sold at the nearest abattoir for a quick buck and some beef. My mind imagined ways in which parts of Munchi would be roasted, grilled, boiled, fried...for the alcoholic evening enjoyment of groups of loud local three-wheel drivers (you have probably picked up that I hate this entire sub section of society.) It was like imagining gang rape. 
I could not stay calm.
I went blind with rage at the whole idea.
There were seven cows in just the herd she belonged to, and there were about twenty cows i personally recognised in my neighbourhood, black ones, brown ones, white ones, spotty ones, grainy ones etc and who the HELL were these people (including my husband) to stand there and calmly suggest that Munchi alone had been taken ?? for that is what they did, as if they knew it all. There was supposed to be a white van of all things, taking cows. 
But why Munchi? 
Because she was fat looking? gingerly suggested my cowboy husband, and got a truly poisonous look from me...
I didnt know what to do. 
Spent some time actually crying.

I had been playing with being a vegetarian for a couple of months, but this time I decided to put my foot down on it and reject any temptation this filthy universe sent my way. No I would not be part of a system which tormented innocent beings the way this world did. No I would not put innocent misery in my stomach again.

I hated the world, hated nature, hated the whole of Godforsaken Hanwella including my husband who I insulted and bullied as much as I could, implying that his manhood itself was to be doubted if in the whole of his hometown,where he was such a figure, only his cow got lifted out of the dozens I could see. 

He refused to be insulted but was genuinely sad about the lost Munchkin. 

the kovil inside- not sure if its allowed to take photos though

Then some village woman suggested we make a vow at the local Hindu Kovil, which was actually a place with a large stone cow kept as an effigy- supposedly a vehicle of the Gods, or a favorite of the Hindus or some such thing. I liked the idea. I loved the kovil as i had earlier visited out of curiosity, and this time I was here on business.
Making a vow (not to be confused here with the original vow made by the people supposedly releasing Munchi from a slaughterhouse death) means you promise to do something that the Gods want, and ask them to grant you a favour.  
I had to resist the impulse to ask for uncounted riches and fame, helicopters and a yacht as well as food for every starving cat and dog in the world,- and instead tied a modest 5 /= coin and lit some lamps and joss sticks and reasonably asked instead that the Gods please please look after this stubborn BITCH of a cow and keep her safe into her old age, and also send us a sign soon that she was ok. 
My promise was that I would bring them a fruit basket (big deal?) and also incidentally, by the way, if anyone cared, that I would be vegetarian for the rest of my life. (apparently this could mean something)


Pretty colorful pooja items, fruits, and coconuts, innocent stuff that Hindu Gods seem to like


I loved the camphor and the joss sticks, and the Swami was actually a rather dishy young dude though very full of himself, and principled I understand as he had put up a board saying he would not do magic and curses, but for other matters to contact him ( I guess he would do the vows thing) He made us buy a ticket for the upkeep of the kovil, and also told us to walk three times around the place with the burning coconut and wish hard in our minds for what we wanted while he also said something very iconic in some other language, which is presumably how he communicated with the deities...and I was supposed to break the coconut and make the wish.
I did, and the coconut broke at once, meaning that the wish would be successful.
I hoped so and I felt good.
I dont know.
I didnt know what to think 

And yet, just a day afterwards, just this morning the message reached us from the village that Munchi had been spotted and was fine.

I like to think it was my vow and my prayers, but  I also feel it was the luck of one very blessed little street cow.
Ive decided Im not going to look for her any more, but I will trust in the Gods, the goodness of the universe, and her own powerful destiny to keep her happy wherever she is until the end of her time and mine. 

A Vow for Munchi



Its six months since Operation Munchkins, when we ran after a little stray heifer for 4 hours in a tropical thunderstorm, trapped her, jumped her and got vets to cure the hideous nose wound made by a rope that was eating into her flesh.

We didnt know where she was from - there were two theories that she was an escaped slaughter house cow, and the second theory that she had been releasaed in fullfilment of a vow as is done by some Buddhists and Hindus. I personally go with the slaughter house story because the "Vow Cows"in Sri Lanka usually have a little branding saying PINg so that people know they are sacred or whatever. Munchi dosnt have the branding.
 


Thats a psychedelic camera phone image of a photograph of Munch after the rope was cut away.​ Belongs to Zeenath Amanath my partner in crime

 A neighbor of mine named Zeenath and I became the best of friends as we sat in the evenings after work, looking after her, swatting mosquitoes, bringing her kilos of food, dancing about after her trying to spray maggot repellent on her sore nose which she thoroughly resented. 
Then there was the incredible Christmas eve drama of how we had to work around the clock to get the government papers and transport ready to whiz her out of Wellampitiya which was not safe, teaming as it is with druggies and abbatior lorries ready to get hold of a vulnerable walking beef. 

We spent another tense couple of weeks watching over her as we tried to integrate her into the rural environment more suited to a lady of her vegetarian requirements...and she very literally dragged a number of strong men over drains and ditches in her stubborn attempts at escape. Our ideas of her gently grazing while tied to local trees were rudely shattered by a stubborn little barrel of bovine determination who insisted that she would not be tied, would not live in anyone's backyard and damn well wanted to go whereever she wanted.

So for the next three months as we trailed uselessly in the background biting our nails
​, falling in ditches and getting lost in the jungle (me mostly, and thats when my husband said, "the cow I can find, but where the blazes did you go!")​
 ​
and whatsapping photos of her latest exploits, she managed to integrate herself with a little herd of fellow 
​bovines, in a small community of newly developing houses, there to retire gracefully... or so we hoped.


​This month July was incredibly difficult for me. Not only did my beloved mother in law pass away,(peacefully and gracefully as was her way) marking the end of a chapter in my life, and bringing me closer to my mortality...but an incident of wanton cruelty resulted in my favorite cat dying a gruesome, ghastly ​death after prolonged suffering due to someone having thrown boiling water on it. 
I was with Biscuit all along and the worst part is not every one will understand the pain this process caused me, as I tried everything I could to save this cat. 



the adorable chubby Biscuit so named because he liked eating confectionery 

IN the midst of trying to recover from this difficulty came the news that Munchi was missing, and, when we followed up, some of our more smart ass young neighbours insisted that she must have been "taken"
Now you know what I mean, "taken" as in kidnapped by a passing lorry of cattle smugglers, to be sold at the nearest abattoir for a quick buck and some beef. My mind imagined ways in which parts of Munchi would be roasted, grilled, boiled, fried...for the alcoholic evening enjoyment of groups of loud local three-wheel drivers (you have probably picked up that I hate this entire sub section of society.) It was like imagining gang rape. 
I could not stay calm.
I went blind with rage at the whole idea.
There were seven cows in just the herd she belonged to, and there were about twenty cows i personally recognised in my neighbourhood, black ones, brown ones, white ones, spotty ones, grainy ones etc and who the HELL were these people (including my husband) to stand there and calmly suggest that Munchi alone had been taken ?? for that is what they did, as if they knew it all. There was supposed to be a white van of all things, taking cows. 
But why Munchi? 
Because she was fat looking? gingerly suggested my cowboy husband, and got a truly poisonous look from me...
I didnt know what to do. 
Spent some time actually crying.

I had been playing with being a vegetarian for a couple of months, but this time I decided to put my foot down on it and reject any temptation this filthy universe sent my way. No I would not be part of a system which tormented innocent beings the way this world did. No I would not put innocent misery in my stomach again.

I hated the world, hated nature, hated the whole of Godforsaken Hanwella including my husband who I insulted and bullied as much as I could, implying that his manhood itself was to be doubted if in the whole of his hometown,where he was such a figure, only his cow got lifted out of the dozens I could see. 

He refused to be insulted but was genuinely sad about the lost Munchkin. 
the kovil inside- not sure if its allowed to take photos though

Then some village woman suggested we make a vow at the local Hindu Kovil, which was actually a place with a large stone cow kept as an effigy- supposedly a vehicle of the Gods, or a favorite of the Hindus or some such thing. I liked the idea. I loved the kovil as i had earlier visited out of curiosity, and this time I was here on business.
Making a vow (not to be confused here with the original vow made by the people supposedly releasing Munchi from a slaughterhouse death) means you promise to do something that the Gods want, and ask them to grant you a favour.  
I had to resist the impulse to ask for uncounted riches and fame, helicopters and a yacht as well as food for every starving cat and dog in the world,- and instead tied a modest 5 /= coin and lit some lamps and joss sticks and reasonably asked instead that the Gods please please look after this stubborn BITCH of a cow and keep her safe into her old age, and also send us a sign soon that she was ok. 
My promise was that I would bring them a fruit basket (big deal?) and also incidentally, by the way, if anyone cared, that I would be vegetarian for the rest of my life. (apparently this could mean something)

pooja items, fruits, and coconuts, innocent stuff that Hindu Gods seem to like


I loved the camphor and the joss sticks, and the Swami was actually a rather dishy young dude though very full of himself, and principled I understand as he had put up a board saying he would not do magic and curses, but for other matters to contact him ( I guess he would do the vows thing) He made us buy a ticket for the upkeep of the kovil, and also told us to walk three times around the place with the burning coconut and wish hard in our minds for what we wanted while he also said something very iconic in some other language, which is presumably how he communicated with the deities...and I was supposed to break the coconut and make the wish.
I did, and the coconut broke at once, meaning that the wish would be successful.
I hoped so and I felt good.
I dont know.
THe last I heard this morning was that Munchi had been spotted and was fine.
I like to think it was my vow and my prayers, but  I also feel it was the luck of one very blessed little street cow.
Ive decided Im not going to look for her any more, but I will trust in the Gods, the goodness of the universe, and her own powerful destiny to keep her happy wherever she is until the end of her time and mine. 

Stay safe stubborn willful Munchi and may you be blessed like we are to have known you! 


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Vajira House Builders: Cheating the public for Seven Years and Counting

It is now more than seven years after taking 189 million rupees in debenture funds from members of the public, but Vajira House Builders (Pvt) Ltd has not repaid these in spite of a court order to do so in 2009. In 2007 the company issued debentures promising to pay 22 to 25 % interest for public deposits taken as investments for house building project at Malabe but within six months stopped the payment of interest and refused the repayment of their capital saying that it faced liquidity problems.. Although Vajira House construction has not returned the funds to investors, it continues to advertise expansively in major local newspapers inviting customers to place contract orders.  Numbers of disillusioned customers also allege that the houses are far below standards and that advances of lakhs have been given but work not carried out . 

Various items of customer testimony available on the internet include:

Testimony 1 සහතික ඇත්ත මගෙත් ලක්ෂ 33ක් අරගෙන අවුරුදු 2යි.තාම බිත්ති ටිකවත් නැ.දුන්න සල්ලි වලින් පරණ ණය ගෙව්වලු.හදපු ටිකත් බාලම බදු වලින් හදල තියෙන්නේ.මුහුදු වැලි ගෙනල්ල මම පන්න ගත්ත

in 2009 they sent letters to their debenture investors saying they were in difficulty and could not return the invested money, as promised but they had a plan for returning it .they also told their investors not to tell anyone about this.when asked for their accounts they would not disclose these to investors, and said to get them through court.when asked for a plan they said they would return the money over 36 months , but they did not give dates or gurantees that they would return this. when asked for the contacts of the other debenture holders, who had invested, they refused to disclose these.

Testimony 2  Vajira house claims they have 90 years experiance in sri lankan construction history. Luckily with much effort I finished my house but it was not up to standard. poor Plumbing, low quality finishing. My advise to customers not to go to vajira house for any construction.

Testimony3 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 I'm doing every thing i can in my small way to tell people the truth about their company.

Vajira house builders borrowed money from people, which they don't pay, They take money from people to build houses, which they dont build, they even don't pay the contractors who work for them.

How they operate is they take your money, and give the work to a subcontractor. The work will continue fine for the first couple of months. Then the work stops. Turn out vaj**a havn't paid the subcontractor so they stop work. They delay after delay. Seems like they have spent the money paid by the client for some other thing and have no way to pay the sub contractor until they get another client. So huge delay. Before signing the contract they are really nice and answer all queries ad phone calls promptly. After contract is signed and they get your money, most times you call they they go unanswered, and when they do get through usually they get a stalling reply like "i'll call you back", they apparently don't call, and once again the phone is not unanswered. 

In 2011 NEth FMs Balumgala investigative journalism programme recorded an investigation of the Vajira Houses but this has been removed from YouTube. However soundcloud has the documentary recorded at this location https://soundcloud.com/gossip9news/balumgala-2011-11-08-vajira

ලක්ෂ ගනන් වියදම් කර ගෙයක් හදන්නේ ජීවිත කාලයටමය.එහෙත් අපේ ගේ හදාදෙන්නට භාරගෙන අපේ ලක්ෂ ගාන වතුරේ ගියොත් මොනව වෙයිද? වජිර හවුස් බිල්ඩර්ස් වෙතින් නිවාස හදාගන්නට ගිය මේ අහිංසක මිනිසුන්ට අත්වූ ඉරණම දැනගන්න.පරිස්සම් වෙන්න

The serious defects in the house

We contracted Vajira House Builders (pvt) Ltd http://vajirahouse.net http://vajirahouse.info/ Colombo Sri Lanka to build a house in Nadimala Dehiwela, in December 2007 by signing a formal agreement. As per the agreement they promised to complete the house in 12 months. However, it took nearly two years to complete the construction of the house and this was done after logging several complaints at the bamabalapitiya police, fraud bureau, the CID and Consumer Affairs Authority. During this period we found that the construction site completely abandoned on many occasions and construction was completely halted for very long periods. Vajira House Builders promised in writing to the bambalapitya police several times saying that they will finish construction few months from the date of the written promise. Every written promise to the police was broken.

When we occupied the house we found many serious defects and there was no water connection or a permanent electricity connection. Varija said that they have arranged with the next door house to provide water via a hose in order to fill a water tank on the ground. Only a single phase temporary electricity connection was provided which was really intended for construction purposes only. They promised us, the police and the Consumer Affairs Authority that a permanent water connection and a permanent three phase electricity connection will be provided after a few months from the time we started to occupy the house. We were given a water connection only after 2 year of getting water every day from the next door house. We faced a lot of problems during this time as the next door house refused the give water on certain days. However, still they haven't provided the 3 phase permanent electricity connection they promised. We still used the temporary electricity connection which was given for construction purposes.

They also promised to provide and install a set of pantry cupboards when they were contracted and even promised us that it will be provided after 3 months of occupation. Still they haven't honored their promise.

The serious defects we discovered when we occupied the house at the end of 2009 are given below. NONE have been fixed up to today and it has been nearly two years!

1.The sewage pipe which takes swage from 3 bathrooms to the cesspit has been leaking for the past two years! The outside wall and the inside of one wall and the swage pipe is continuously wet as a result of the leak.

2.The roof is leaking when it rains and room bed rooms are getting wet. One bedroom wall is has mold and algae growth because of the roof leak.

3.Trips and circuit breakers in 3 breaker/trip boxes have NOT BEEN EARTHED!

4.The outside wall of one bathroom is continuously wet and the paint and plaster has peeled off due to a water leak.

5.The top floor bathroom has very low water pressure and the hot water showers cannot be used because of this. This was due a design error made by vajirabuilders  as the water tank is much less than the minimum height above the shower head which is about 7 feet.

We keep complaining the Consumer Affairs Authority and the Police and the case is still pending against Vajira. Vajira House Builders keeps informing us they will send workers on specific days and we take leave from work on those days but they never turn up. When we call them on those days they don'tpick up their mobiles. On some occasions they claim that the workers were ill and on other occasions they claim that they claim that they came to our house and no one was there, which are untrue. Once several employees came and just examined the house and left promising to fix all defects. But NONE of the DEFECTS HAVE BEEN FIXED.

 

A number of investors and clients have also been threatened by reference to a "Colonel Sir" and occasional armed thugs called up at times and a man named  Nalin Kumara Rohana a retired army person who throws his weight around when clients or investors try to get their just dues.

In spite

 

 

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.

http://www.sundaytimes.lk/090927/FinancialTimes/ft22.html

 

 

removed

http://lankanstuff.blogspot.com/2011/11/truth-about-vajira-house-be-carefull.html

https://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/vajira-house-builders-pvt-ltd-c476252.html

http://sritvlive.com/video/50896-balumgala-07-04-2014

http://www.sasrutha.com/article/2244040/our-lanka-truth-about-vajira-house-be-careful/

https://plus.google.com/116505105547509256486/posts/46ns1mJsJo5

http://stafaband.zone/mp3/download/balumgala_2011_11_07_vajira_house_builders_youtube.html

 

androlanka 

Senior Member

 

Posts: 466

Join Date: Aug 2014

08-11-2015, 09:46 AM

machan,geyak hadana eka bala bala karanna time nathi kenekuta use akranna puluwan trusted house building company monawada?
Oya vajira house aya num charter kiyala ahala thiyenawa..balumgala eke program ekakuth kala un gana