Friday, December 22, 2006

old water paintings dug up from behind a cupboard..

Art by Chandrika Gadiewasam 1989
this is a water color copy of an absolutely stupendous one by my favourite wildlife art hero , Robert Bateman. However , at 19 I was rrrather happy that I could even produce a copy which somewhat resembles such a master piece. ...then I got married at 20 and never had the time to paint after that.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Seasons Greetings to all my friends!

do take a minute to visit this link - one of my favourite mottos are here-

remember , you are NOT alone , this good earth loves you - treat it right and you will never regret it.

photo © Dananjaya Edirisinghe,2006

Monday, December 18, 2006

a day in the life of the average lankan bus passenger

This morning the bus in front of me, calmly and quietly ran over one if its intended passengers in one of those quiet desperate early morning scuffles , in front of the Maradana halt. I saw a crowd, saw the looks on their faces and as we moved off I saw a half view of someone lying on the ground with his legs broken and his lunch packet scattered around.
That was the saddest part, the lunch packet, some caring mother or wife must have woken early to prepare, the fact that we live in such a rat race that it becomes a part of daily life that you get quietly maimed on your way to work. The fact that in spite of having to dodge prados and jaguars and mercedeses all over the streets of Colombo , we are so poor that we need to pack people in till they fall off and die.
The fact that this is preventable.

It also brings me to the question – what do you do in such a situation ? the already mangled victim is at the mercy of the well meaning efforts of a bunch of o level educated clerks and carpenters from the looks of it – and bad to worse things can happen when you take a casualty like this and fold him in four to get him into a tuk tuk and send it off to the General Hospital (which is something I saw done to a bike accident victim) ….is there at least a National strategy on educating people on basic first aid? is it taught in schools? Is it given sufficient emphasis? Leave aside the clerical class worker population of Colombo , do you and I know what to do in a life and death situation ? or is it left for National Safety Day ?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The bars of my dreams….I think

Can you imagine an odd job johhny who can fix anything around the house,wires, plumbing, masonry yada yada , who gives quotations that do not require you to be resuscitated, and does not ask for more than his initial estimate no matter what unexpected frights he faces in the job? No? neither can I ..but I seem to have picked one up. The kind of man I ve always wanted to meet, (although he has a face that could launch a thousand mortars ) -he even has a celphone –how did I get him you wonder? Well I was in desperate crisis and hung around the nearby hardware kadey whining that my toilets were refluxing and I needed a piyippa bars and there he was.....ah, Al just lucky I guess.

* fingers crossed , next week I may tell you that he ran off with our satelite dish, so stay tuned...I never trust guys who talk too much. Come to think of it I dont trust guys who are quiet either. and so on.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tintin in Tibet?

no its Ally in Kalutara - busy posing and fooling about in the beach when she had set herself the task of reading Chowrya Rajina to find out what all the fuss was about. ..
anyone want to buy my copy ? Im broke and my Superiors at The Kendraya wont fund the copy I bought in the interest of personal capacity building ...(wanted to find out what HRH's secrets were ,of course)
Ill personally autograph it , if it makes any difference ? pwease?and Ill pass on the Vijitha Yapa discount they gave me, a whole whopping 38 /-
I mean it has some interesting photos...better than this here one...

Second Hand copy of Chowrya Rajina Available for Sale ...

the BOOK ,I mean- the BOOK is for Sale.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

at last! a cure for importance!

I was recently going through this frazzled second hand women’s magazine Id bought from a pavement in Bamba, when I found this half page colour advert about a healthy though expensive new vitamin preparation containing some Chinese root or another which is supposed among other things to cure importance. Now that’s the actual spelling they had used, along with a photo of rather obscene looking tuber and a really happy looking couple... I did not have time nor inclination to read thought the whole half page but later on, after a lot of careful thought on the subject I figured it’s a very good idea and long overdue.

Have you noticed what a crippling affliction importance can be in some people? You see it in the way they sit, taking up as much room as they possibly can (ankle crossed on knee to make a little space for pricey Lamborgini Notebook which everyone should notice -), the way they talk (much deep clearing of throats and palpable care with their choice of exact wordings) the cultured accents (mock Oxford or Harvard elocution although they’ve been to third world banana republic schools*) and the generous servings of jargon they introduce into their day to day communications…You wonder if they talk to their dogs like this too? In the first place if a dog could survive around anything as important as this without rolling over and dying of acute inferiority?...words like zeitgeist , raison d’etre (I dont even know how its spelt and Im not apologising) and de facto need to be casually batted too and fro in any gathering of Importants for them to feel, well, important, which is (creek, creek –the echoing of crickets chirping in my comparatively empty head- ) alas actually lost on us lesser mortals and has us groping weakly for our thesauri.

At the Office, the Important cant just meet and talk like normal people, but must brainstorm, rationalise and strategise in hushed tones, then take elaborate minutes of the proceedings, and rework them to about 54 pages of research findings which they distribute to all on their spam lists and which no one spends more than 3 seconds on before junking.

Institutional importance clouds any reading material that originates from the average workplace and results in about 2.5 pages of possibly good ideas being hidden in at least 65 pages of a report in stodgy official jargon, which, lets be honest, no one WANTS to read , even if they had the time. This is not only really bad news for trees , but disturbing for Internet users since it probably grows at the mind boggling rate of billions of gigabytes per day what with people posting stuff on servers for further reference.

Medical and Scientific Importance I wont even go into here, because it would need a whole centre spread to begin on, and the same can be said for shh quietly now- state Importance. The best way to handle incurable individual Importance is to stand back, open your mouth in an awestricken gape and agree reverently with whatever the person says, while at the time coyly gushing “my, my, what a genius you are! Where do you get these ideas? What brilliance! What an amazing intellect!” at regular intervals( And sound as if you mean it!)

Readers or recipients of such Important -cattle waste are just as much to blame for the trend: they consistently continue to be obviously unimpress-able by anything less than a centimetre thick when it comes to documentation, or a speech which has any less than one hundred obscure words. This in spite of, or could it be because of , the fact that it just means they have less time to walk the dog, talk to their parents or spouses or practice Tai Chi, which although everyone agrees is good for you hardly anyone seems to actually provide for. Strange.

I personally envisage,I mean, foresee,(someone hit me with a brick- its rubbing off on me, help!!) a future where people will actually realise the value of keeping things simple(- stupid!) . They will speak and write down what they think in the most basic four or five letter words, accompanying anything written with cartoons and embedded audio clips which get the point across painlessly, with perhaps dormant links to the resource websites they poached it all from. This is so that if you have a lot of spare time and nothing planned for the weekend you can carry out further fact finding to whatever depth you feel you need for your development as a human being with only an average lifespan of 75 years to plan for.

In the meantime I want to find out what that root was and serve it secretly to some people I know- just to find out if it works and they become approachable normal people.

* No offence: They are probably as good as any other ,I’m only referring to the tedious accents.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

the dreaded chocoriano© fever …
...and other serious worries we should be, well, worrying about…

Last week I got a text message from a bloke in office saying to please tell the admin officer that he had got chocoriano fever and wasn’t going to be able to make it …. I spent some time pondering seriously as to what this gruesomely named malady could be, and visions of Mars Bars gone wrong, Cocoa beans taking long overdue revenge on humankind etc clouded my imagination until I figured that the T9 text on his mobile phone had probably spelt chikungunya out like this and he had probably been too delirious to correct the text ( and mind you T9 is one of those other horrors of the modern world I wont even bother to go into here…)chiken what?you ask, hello- don’t we have enough on our plates?

Life in this day and age is full of worries. The average Colombo housewife like me has so many diverse concerns at any one point in time to worry about - leave aside the obvious ones like possible bomb explosions, kidnappings, paedophiles stalking our kids and escalating fuel prices, floods and power cuts , I can worry whether I will get diabetes because I don’t eat enough fruits, whether I’m using enough moisturiser or sunscreen or breast cancer is silently creeping up on me, and now, when not if chikunguniya will strike me and my loved ones. Thanks to regular blasts of well presented paranoia from local TV adverts we can add osteoporosis, cholesterol, MSG, bird flu and a whole gamut of oddly named diseases and conditions to this list- both regular and obscure. The film industry with its serial defamation of innocent dumb fauna adds to our subliminal anxieties about roving Sharks(Jaws), fish (Piranha) Dogs(Gujo), Snakes( Cobra, Anaconda, Anaconda two, Snakes on a Plane, Snakes on a Train, whatever next? Snakes on a bus? Yikes- ) and even Rats (poor persecuted vermin!)- plus the Bollywood spin offs to all of these.

Time not spent worrying about these identifiable worries can be filled by the vague worry that we may actually be missing out on certain worries just by not being actually informed about them so the key is to spread the word – usually in the form of urgent bulk emails which greet you in the morning when you stagger dazedly into the office (with the top priority ^ symbol of course) about such horrors as what could happen to you if you let your defences down for even a moment by letting your credit card out of sight , sitting on chairs in theatres without checking them and getting a particular unpronounceable worm in your computer. These emails are usually forwarded by someone who personally knows someone to whom this terrible thing has actually happened.
Awareness raising is therefore the keyword and apparently what you don’t know can kill you, so you make an effort to be informed ,sadly ignoring the fact that even if you know it , it will still kill you, the only difference being that instead of breezing through the life you do have , you would have faced it cringing cravenly and guiltily convinced that it was somehow, something you could have avoided if you had just been a step quicker…

It’s the price of civilisation, you see: those days worries were tangible uncomplicated things – the risk of invading Mongolian armies*kidnapping you , rampaging herds of wild mammoths , drought ,famine and the bubonic plague (read the totally yukky description in Wikipedia)are now a thing of the “savage" and “stressful” past . Modern man has organised his environment so well as to take all dangers and discomforts out of it –you forage for food at Cargils, and you usually don’t see saber toothed tigers ,dinosaurs or invading Cholas ploughing through Colombo on your way home - but hey have you noticed that worries are a strangely self perpetuating species – and were designed to never actually become extinct, but, rather like amoebas, simply break in half and mutate into newer and funkier versions…so the next thing you should be worrying about is credit card fraud, ozone depletion and the effect of UV rays, not to mention of course, the curse of that obscure chocoriano virus…

This is, you may say to me, dear gentle reader, exactly why civilised man invented the concept of “Insuarance” – to let us have some measure of relaxation in life and handle some of our more tangible worries for a fee. Seriously have you read through the fine print in any of those policies lately ? the one I have promises 2 million in damages if I lose an arm and a leg on THE SAME SIDE of the body! Try remembering that when you are next involved in a bus collision! (The same side, man- you need to turn with the agility of Catwoman to co ordinate that at a crisis moment -) and if an accident results in death WITHIN 60 days of the event your next of kin gets 2 million smackers . Can you possibly imagine the bated breath and hushed whispers that will surround your bedside on day 59?
Loss of a finger gets you a paltry 5,000/= each which of course means you are more valuable than 50k (SLRs which works out to about 25 GBP)but the next worry is whether someone related will notice this and relieve you of your digits, when they need to pay an instalment on the new home theatre system. Or if you have actually remembered to pay the premium on time , since it would be kind of embarrassing to turn up fingerless and find that the policy had lapsed. And so this list goes on. ..;

* this was of course before cable TV , and Need for Speed 2, they were bored and had nothing in the way of recreation besides plotting to invade neighbouring territories and increase the content and diversity of their harems.