Monday, April 30, 2007


all about the bad side to Cricket
Wait a minute! There is one? Yup, Im afraid there is – just as much as there is a bad side to anything and I actually went deep into thought on the subject last Saturday night.
Have you noticed there is nothing like electricity cut to get one really philosophical? It’s the sudden withdrawal of constant media overload , that abrupt silencing of soap, sausage and posh car adverts and the compulsory return to nature which drags us protesting back to the stone age*, where hairy cavemen sat huddled around wood firelight worrying about what might be lurking beyond it - last Saturday this was excellently simulated in Kolonnawa and the resident mozzies found poor Al sitting in pitch darkness at 3 am in the morning in heavy humid torpor listening in horror to the distant rat a tat of something that just could not have been crackers (duh, we were losing according to sonny boy, whom I consulted for updates from his squeaky portable pocket radio from Pettah) .
Along with vague but serious anxieties that the country was being taken over by armed rebels, SMS-ed rumous that Colombo was under siege and that doomsday was nigh, I was also subconsciously formulating a solid case against cricket, and now that I have my broadband back I can actually put it into words and on line.
For a start, I might as well admit, shockingly, that I am not a cricket fan, and have never been able to sit still long enough to understand what all those guys are trying to achieve running about with little white balls. It looks like something that only mad-dogs and Englishmen would want to do and I cant for the life of me understand why anyone would continue to submit to this torture once the cloying mantle of colonial coercion had been withdrawn.
But they do, and not only the team (bless their cotton socks, they seem like decent enough chaps!) but the spectators-at least in my estimate 65 % of our population who are mad about cricket are willing to put career, family, romance, peace and indeed anything aside just to fixate on this game, not just while its being played but to watch the re runs , spend hours afterwards analyzing it and if that’s not enough they will read about it too in the papers and write home about it just in case anyone has missed a single ball .
Lets start with the effect on the economy:
So for a poor third world country if you do the maths ,the reason we are extremely poor even if we are a happy bunch ,may possibly be traced to the fact that we have more holidays than anyone else, and to the estimated effect of just one fairly interesting game of cricket on the local GDP
The mathematics works out like this 20 million people x 65 % x two working days =Rs 13 Billion (because the average manual laborer can make 500 a day and here I have taken minimums- if you are a doctor who earns 10000/= a day well, do enjoy your holiday because its expensive) Electricity consumed to watch and analyze the game – do get these horrible stats from the CEB but Im sure its nothing less than Rs 2 Billion-so total at a minimum 15 billion loss to the country from one game of cricket. Probably more than our politicians can swindle us out of in a month of corruption and being really immoral! (two working days comes from : 8 hours for the game, 4 hours for the drunken stupor afterwards + 4 hours discussing and anazlysing and another 2 hours writing home about it -like Im doing now . Also note Saturday and Sunday in middle class Sri Lanka, as many of you will accede, are days we often work harder than the weekdays )
Then there’s the effect on Family life.
The average couple returns from work , the guy takes to the tv cos its his day. The kids are running about unwashed, possibly in the process of developing the addiction, ignoring their homework. The mom of the house has enough steam coming out of her ears, to pressure cook a village-chicken. She will need to stay up till 1 am just to get the housework done and the rest of the family is in a trance, where you cant get a coherent response from them. Trust me there will be repercussion. I don’t need to tell you all of this – you see it in your homes often enough haven’t you ?
The effect on romance
Same as above. What was that saying again, when poverty knocks ,love flies out the window? Well , when poverty and cricket knock , homicidal rage sneaks in too. Hence the bashed televisions, women with black eyes and occasional suicides during cricket season-and this even when we are winning!
The effect on peace and camaraderie
Well, until Saturday I thought there was a positive effect on general peace in the country what with everyone gathering if not around the negotiating table, at least around the flat-screen at the same time, cheering in unison for the same multi-ethnic bunch.
This lovely thought used to bring a warm fuzzy feeling to me and a tear to my eye, not to mention an emotional twitch. But alas the effect is now irreversibly spoiled by the realization that there are probably unexploded ordinances in the canal behind our house, and that what happened last Sunday was just not cricket! So apart from the loss to the economy of my estimated 15 billion, the other lesson learned would probably be that one has to be more paranoid than usual during matches, if such is possible**….so cricket simply increases tension , if that is possible , for the already stressed sentinels who guard our perimeters…that’s a truly sobering thought any day.
But what about how happy it makes people?
Yes, indeed, and there you have it , this is probably why Sri Lanka although poor by economic standards may nevertheless be quite high on the unofficial Happiness Index. That is why I have decided to quit being so grinchy about it and try and figure out what its all about so that if I cant beat them, I can at least join them next time and share in the fun!

After all , cricket may be evil but that certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy it !!!
* Or at least the kerosene age
** and Im not going to even begin to comment about the international signed balls controversy because the gurus have already been there and done that. Do write in and give me al l the good reasons why I should join the leagues of the cricket crazy

Saturday, April 28, 2007

ayyo madam

so Where exactly were these bombs? well, according to the testimoney of local Wellampitiya ear witness Kusumawathi* "ayyo madam honda welaawata api beruney. Light niwwe nisa unta tena hoyaganna barry vela , apey geval pitipasse wela ta vatilane bomba tika."
Losely translated – thank goodness we alive madam lights off so tigers not finding oil corporation and dropping boms on canal behind our house and we scared (to death ?)


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

3000 left, and dwindling....

Is the very move - relocating elephants in the national parks - aimed at protecting these majestic animals killing them? Kumudini Hettiarachchi reports on a visit to the
Lunugamvehera National Park where elephants appear to be dying of starvation.
Are elephants starving to death? Not outside but in the very place they have been driven to in the name of protection and safety - the Lunugamvehera National Park.

Several of the elephants, about 250 herded into the Lunugamvehera Park, under two phases of an elephant drive that began in 2005, may have died for lack of food, resulting in malnourishment and disease, The Sunday Times learns, after a visit to the area this week. What will be the fate of the remaining elephants, considering that the dry season is just starting?

"I saw three elephants dead in the park," says T.A. Ajith Kumara, 18, who lives just outside the
boundary, explaining that their carcasses were by the bund of the Lunugamvehera tank, in the jungle.

Giving a time period of one and a half months, just after the tank reached spill level, he says
others in his village have seen another eight or ten dead elephants.

Recently, the elephants were always near the electric fence, put up at the boundary, but they
are no longer here because wanajeevi (wildlife) people have cut a massive drain, he says,
pointing to a large swathe of earth churned up by bulldozers.

A long stretch of the park off the Wellawaya-Tissamaharama Road is now barricaded not only by the electric fence but also this deep drain. At night, the fence is guarded by wildlife
officials from temporary cadjan-thatched open huts. The fence is also hung with small kerosene
containers which are lit at night to keep the elephants beyond and within the park itself.

Ajith says recently he counted more than 150 maha evun and pataw (big ones and babies) one night, adding that some elephants had wounds and rashes and most of them were godak kettu (very thin).
"Some of them who used to come with babies later came alone, most probably the babies may have died," he says, explaining that wanajeevi people come in regularly to treat the elephants, when informed.

"Even last night, I saw a very big cow elephant with a baby that was thin and weak," says Ajith
while his mother and brother confirm that even wanajeevi people have mentioned that the
elephants do not have enough food in the park.
The elephants also fight each other, with most confrontations occurring between the resident
park elephants and those who have been brought in.

A short walk into the park through an opening in the electric fence left for the fresh-water
fishermen to have access to the Lunugamvehera tank comes as an eye-opener.

The land is already parched and this is only the beginning of the dry season which would extend up to the end of September. The only scrub left without being touched are those that cannot be
eaten by the elephants. The andara (thorny) bushes, the fodder of elephants, have all been stripped to the core.

Several kilometres away, in their home, with the main road on one side and the electric fence of
the Lunugamvehera Park on the other, husband-wife W.K. Anurasiri and H.G. Dayawathie are only too willing to explain the plight of the elephants while also pointing out that Wildlife Department officials are trying to do their best amidst many problems.

"Yes, the elephants don't have anything to eat and we have been feeding them kehel bada through the fence," says Anurasiri, blaming the shortage of food within on the people who are using the area as grazing grounds for large herds of cattle which add up to many thousands.

The cattle eat up all the grass on the tank bed, leaving nothing for the elephants. Then the
elephants attempt to breakthrough the electric fence and forage for food in the villages close
by. That's the problem in this area. When the electric fence is on, the thin and gaunt
elephants walk up and down along the fence looking for food, waiting for whatever we can give them, he says.

"We heard of the deaths of three elephants within about a month very recently. We need elephants. Do you know that in the Maha we cultivators know that it is going to rain in about six-seven days when the elephants get together and keep trumpeting for a while," he says, also pointing a finger at the fishermen who frequent the tanks inside the park for disturbing elephant habitat.

His views are echoed by many in the area including Kusuma Senarath Abeywardena, who runs
the family boutique along the Wellawaya-Tissamaharama Road, close to the park.

All wildlife officials The Sunday Times spoke to declined to confirm or deny whether elephants
were dying of starvation in the park.
What has gone wrong at Lunugmavehera? Is this a problem only at this park or is it reflected
elsewhere in places such as Yala and Wilpattu, where elephants have been driven and imprisoned? Should Sri Lanka continue with elephant drives to collect these animals from areas that are their birthright and then put them into parks where already there is a resident elephant population?

Several wildlife officials told The Sunday Times that the department maybe rethinking its policy about elephant drives in the light of new developments.

"What can we do?" questioned one, explaining that the moment there are one or two incidents with elephants, there is a lot of pressure from people and politicians to "do something" about it, with
strong signals that the elephants should be removed from those areas.

The Sunday Times understands that under the drive conducted last year, elephants from forests around the left bank of the Walawe, mostly Forest department lands, covering more than 350 sq km. were herded to Lunugamvehera Park which is around 250 The park itself may have had about 100 elephants and around 250 have been added to this
number. There is a large number in the park but the spadework necessary to accommodate them had not been done before the drive.

While this may have already resulted in some elephants dying from lack of food, yet another
drive was done two weeks ago into the same park, where another 100 elephants were driven in from state lands around Pelawatte, north of the park.
The Sunday Times learns that another drive is to take place into Wilpattu soon.

The Director-General of the Wildlife Conservation Department, Dayananda Kariyawasam was unavailable for comment as he was in the field, both on Wednesday and Thursday.

The need of the moment is for the department to launch an immediate investigation to ascertain whether elephants are dying of starvation. If these majestic beasts are facing death and
disease for lack or shortage of fodder, urgent steps are essential to save them right now before
the dry season takes its toll on these hapless creatures.

As the guardians of a heritage that belongs to the whole country, the Department of Wildlife
Conservation has a responsibility to find out and inform the public of the wellbeing and fate of
the elephants that have been driven to Lunugamvehera, an operation which cost over Rs. 160 million in public funds.

In the throes of death. A long and belaboured
intake of breath, then an equally shuddering
exhalation. No massive struggle, just the
forelegs pushing the earth and the eye glazing over.

A giant has been felled. We were witness to a
heart-rending death - the death of a majestic
bull elephant surrounded by concerned villagers
on the dried up bed of Tammennawewa in
Lunugamvehera just before noon on Tuesday. The
villagers had covered the dying elephant with
large leafy branches to ward off the noonday heat
while bringing water in small plastic buli (cans)
to wet it and also pour into its mouth.

This was yet another death due to gunshot
injuries, the villagers told The Sunday Times
while a young woman carrying a baby sighed sadly
and said, "We are angry with elephants when they
crash into our chenas or home-gardens but very
sad when we see them drop like this."

She had put the human-elephant conflict in a
nutshell, giving voice not only to the situation
the men, women and children in the area are faced
with but also to the plight of elephants.

The dying elephant close to Tammennawewa: Pix by M.A. Pushpa Kumara

During a day's walkabout in the area from which
elephants were driven into Lunugamvehera Park, we
talk to knots of people. Three men about to leave
on their bicycles looking for kuli weda are vociferous about the ali

"We are awake the whole night because the
elephants, especially the young males come to our
doorstep. Last year one elephant charged the wall
of a hut and killed a woman," says A.G. Siripala very critical of the drive.

Adds K.G.A. Nishantha: "Even if a small child
falls ill in the night we are unable to take him
to hospital for fear of elephants."

The consensus is that kisi hevillak, belillak
nethuwa (without checking out), the drive was
carried out. While a majority were herded into
the Lunugmavehera Park, many were left behind and
are creating a bigger problem than what villagers
faced earlier, because now elephants are familiar
with the ali wedi and thunder crackers used to chase them.

According to U.G. Jayalath elephants from other
areas have been brought to the area and this has
caused numerous problems to the villagers
numbering about 70 families. Not only are W.
Gamini and M.A. Sirimawathi willing to talk to us
but also take us around their large plot of land
to show jumbo footprints. "Can't grow a thing
here," says Sirimavathi, adding that she met an
elephant face-to-face in the garden in the
gloaming and was so scared that she rushed into
their tiny hut and shut the door. "I didn't step out until the next
Come walk in the wela and see what destruction
the elephants have caused, suggests H.S.
Dahanayake relating an incident where the
previous night his neighbour had to leave his hut
and hide in the bedda because an elephant very
nearly pushed the hut's wall down.

Most of these villagers have also helped in the
elephant drive. D.J.S. Weerasuriya gives details
of the drive. "The elephants were rounded up from
areas such as Ridiyagama. Madunagala and
Suriyawewa and brought close to Lunugamvehera in
August 2005, when the drive had to be called off
due to heavy rain. Then in August 2006 it was
initiated once again and about 350 elephants were
rounded up and led to the park. But about 175,
among whom are about 45 thaniyas ehe meha vuna
(the loners moved away)," he says giving the
final verdict that the drive was a 99% failure.

While those days the villagers had to contend
with only about four to five elephants now they
have to deal with a large number, he says.

M.K. Gunapala who keeps vigil in his tree hut
high up, protecting his melon crop against
elephants, says after about 6 in the evening
people are frightened to get out of their homes.

All these complaints and grumblings are from the
area elephants were driven from. While it is
crystal clear that the drive has not solved the
problems the villagers had with elephants, it
seems to have aggravated the issue. While most
villagers lay the blame for a "failed" elephant
drive squarely at the door of the Wildlife
Conservation Department, others claim wildlife
officials are doing their best in a difficult situation.

Those in the fifth colony warned us against going
to the next village, the sixth colony, as my
colleague was in khaki slacks. "People may
mistake you for wanajeevi..they are waiting for
them to come," said U.G. Jayalath.

Leaving recriminations aside, what needs to be
done is damage control and implementation of
effective long-term remedies, not only for the
protection of humans but also of elephants.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


A while back I happened to change channels and stumble an episode of a foreign TV reality show as they are called, and what do you know, these otherwise brilliant and beautiful young people were agreeing to the most disgusting kinds of torture in order to win a prize.
Some of them had to eat sausages made of living , squealing beetles which sprouted bitter liquid when they were touched, or munch and swallow clumps of furry caterpillars, or huge chunks of four day old rotten fish with the maggots crawling in it. All this to pass through stages of this game which meant higher levels of loathsome torture and a possible grand prize of so many USD -With the amount of retching, vomiting and sheer suffering going on I ended up wondering if I should SMS Amnesty International (-not to mention PETA: after all- how do you think the poor darned caterpillars felt being chewed to death on Candid Camera? ), and would I do this sort of thing even if someone obviously really sick offered me a million dollars to do it?
I figured finally that it wasn’t the money really (you really cant get very far with so many USD in USA-they have a real high COL), these kids had taken on something and wanted to prove themselves, that they can do this , that they would win this – and stubbornly did not want to back out of the series of tortures arranged for them.-because they didn’t want to lose face.
Well , have you ever found yourself going though something really uncomfortable, miserable and downright painful , just because it was the done thing ?because you wanted to prove a point? Or because your loved ones or peers expected this from you ? This all sounds quite Noble and Meaningful and its probably how man got on the moon (big deal) but at the end of the day its also the root cause underlying some less glamourous institutions ranging from FGM, bulimia, body piercing and widow burning, to of course, the taking of ones own life when all else fails…in other words , perhaps sometimes it would be actually safer and less fatal, to say “Heck ,no” if you don’t want to do something, in spite of what the people at office think. …

I hail from a family of non conformists. No, its not a cult, but it does mean we have most of the time lived our lives the way we please, and are often thus inexplicably happy.
We gave up worrying about public opinion a long while back. So our actions and reactions in life are not governed by such worries as “Chee lamayo what will the neighbors say ?”(or for the word neighbors, you can safely substitute: “ relations” “classmates” or “people in the staff van” etc)
Before you get me wrong here, this does not mean that we run naked through the streets *or drive without third party insurance or sit around doing any of the hyper embarrassing things that drunk people do when they lose their inhibitions; it just means we have a family code of not letting world opinion interfere with our decision making and how we find happiness in life.

Its extremely sad to me therefore when I see so many of my lovely friends suffering in life , not because they believe in something , but because they will worry about what the neighbours/relations/co workers or what have you are likely to say to their decisions.

Take local marriages. I know you’ve seen them too, the sad examples of obviously mismatched people dragging through years of misery because they cannot gather the courage to end it decently and face the brief publicity involved . They grasp desperately to the excuse that its “For The Sake of the Kids,” as a stock reason to continue with a gloomy limbo of emotional imprisonment, until the kids themselves turn back in their mid thirties and probably choke with guilty amazement at the prolonged anguish they have unwittingly caused.
I suspect too, that this is again nothing but a stock excuse, because people who live together through years of arguing, screaming and cheating- “for the sake of the kids”- hardly ever take to more constructive ways to stay married, such as marriage counseling, therapy or alternative arrangements (heck – even swinging-) because again even those words have certain stigmas attached to them…
Finally since adultery is fairly well accepted socially (by the guy population anyway who keep it a well guarded secret) this becomes the first and last resort and you don’t need me to tell you there is a heck of a lot of it going on…
There is of course a positive and limiting factor in public opinion: 21st century man doesn’t run round naked, copulate or defecate on the streets and that is good. But in practice has it ever prevented dastardly crime or any of the atrocities that really matter? Have terrorists or dictators or underworld killers ever actually thought twice before they lobbed a hand grenade and killed people, on the lines of “oh goodness what will mallika-anti think if this is traced to me ?” Highly unlikely – but neither probably would they like to be caught picking their noses on State TV – that’s just so not cool.

Perhaps then, its time to non-conform. To take a step back and think – this is your life .You are finally responsible for how happy you are, you can make it happen, you can decide how it goes and since these are not the dark ages there is some measure of freedom of choice.
You wont be burnt at the stake in Town Hall just because you decided to walk away from something that is making you miserable. Quit worrying about the opinions of the people up the road –chances are they have their own problems to sort out and would probably want you to be happy anyway.
Or at least not another messy statistic.

*Not a good idea anyway with all this dust and pollution
Authors note: Non conformity, in general, should not result in damage to self either.-so avoid doing things you see on the Jackass Movies-some of those guys don’t have teeth, and you can imagine how they lost them . One wonders what else they don’t have.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Al’s Diary 2006 April 10th
I confess the idea of a New Year in April has always vaguely befuddled me and no matter how old I grow I somehow seem to live in general ambivalence towards the idea. It doesn’t actually register as a New Year, no matter how much it should. Sure, there’s the heat, the tedious spring cleaning involved, the pilgrimages to visit hoards of obscure relations Down South (although they are lovely people , its tiring and this is supposed to be a holiday). And there’s that horrible raucous bird ….but New Year?

Well,ok, I’m not really breathlessly looking forward to New Year much; let me be totally honest with you. Its one of those times of the year where my inadequacy as a housewife really shines through, where my non conformity actually embarrasses me and the happy complacent spiders in my mahagedaera loom larger and hairer in their misplaced confidence that I find their intricate traceries of web-design actually esthetic. This is not the case, I don’t. It’s just that finding a broom and covering the furniture with sheets is so tiresome…

IN fact I confess I don’t know how to make perfect boorees in the Kavum or paint those wonderful patterns on the floor, and I haven’t done any shopping, in fact I don’t even have a pot to boil the proverbial milk in. I don’t like coconut milk its difiicult ,whine whine (ok-Very Bad!)
In fact compared to all regular housewives , I think I exist as a benchmark , a role non model against which you can all actually look really good set against! You good readers should be pleased that set besides me you all stand out as paragons of cleanliness, virtue and downright good habits , every last one of you !

All I can hope for then is that this time will pass very quickly and I can sink back into the pleasant idyll of a somewhat musty but homely house and happy but un-bathed pets and my usual hobbies and pastimes…as soon as possible! This is not to say I wont be happy this year…my happiness has never really depended on what season , area or circumstance I may be going through…happiness is not , I figured , something someone out there can bestow on us, or some circumstance can arrange for us.
Happiness is a state of balance and its something you decide you will afford your self regardless of the things you don’t have and the problems you do…its when you realize, not that your bottle is half full or not empty, but when you take it in your hands, hold it to the sunlight and simply marvel at what a gorgeous achievement of aesthetics a glass bottle really is in the first place !

So my friends, in spite of the spiders and the heaps of newspaper and old bottles that I have to lug, the serious expenditure I will have to incur on oily rubbish I cant eat, and the general embarrassment of not being able to afford to paint the old home….in spite of all of this, the traditional New Year will, I know , be a happy one for me because very simply I’ve decided I’m going to be happy.
And I do hope you decide the same too! :-)

Al's New Year Clean Up List 2006

  • all truce agreements with spiders have effectively expired
  • last years stringy underwear goes in a bonfire
  • the first aid drawer needs an overhaul .no matter how life saving they seem , all fungicidal tubes with an expiry date before 2002 need to go
  • only 12 pairs of footwear to be retained for daily purposes, the rest will be bagged and sent under the stairs with reference numbers ….


Last week I got an anonymous SMS, which went as follows:


Well, I know what youre thinking
1) if that were my husband I would use a large pineapple on him, and 2)rotten grammar!

either way it sure got me wondering …what is complete success?

Well, Im a great one for self help books. From “ Men are From Mars” to the “Seven Secrets of Success” and the Unofficial Guide to Corporate Success, you name it, its sitting in my bookshelf gathering dust and acting as a refugee camp for egg carrying ants during the rainy season (and what is it with ants and old books, TV remotes and CD wallets? You turn around for a few weeks and suddenly the little beggars are hauling in a large collection of messy white larvae, and if you disturb them they collectively project a truly self effacing aura of surprise & damp apology and start running around)… … I must have spent an absolute fortune on self improvement books which I havnt read, or like in the case of "MEMORY BOOSTERS -ten tips to a popwerful memory", cant remember who I lent to..

Yoga , Karate and Belly Dance CDs sit gathering dust in my CD Racks and my daughter has warned me against any more meditation books ,sternly pointing out that if I invested that much in X FILES SEASON NINE , at least SOME ONE would find happiness…

If that’s not enough guidance, there’ s free advise, unloaded on the unresisting computer user daily :My email inboxes , for example are permanent repositories for such newsletters as “The Weight Loss Game Plan” “How to Catch and Keep Your Man” and “Size does matter, increase yours!”which promise you happinss around the corner ,if you just could possibly reach that ideal level…

With all this good advice, tips tricks and guidelines all over the place ,you wonder how people can be as disgruntled , dissatisfied and downright disturbed as they are in this modern age and indeed I too have given this a lot of thought. If statistics are anything to go by, it would appear that some Sri Lankan’s actually find lasting happiness by uncomplicated straightforward means such as being regularly drunk, beating women or animals and giving into road rage. Or adultery:

Personally I don’t “have” a lot of things that are perceived as success in society. I don’t have a house, a car, a man or even a steady dog (two of them left because they got tastier stuff nearby and one got rabies)…I have beautiful children but because I could not afford a committed lawyer , I did not get custody of them. I do have a cool job but most of the time Im crippled by inexplicable insecurity about if I deserve it..and so go through life apologising for myself, it is a thought provoking list.

So am I successful? Has something stuck from reading all the gigabytes of good advice Im exposed to ?Am I happy? the answers are worth examining.

Im a whole lot happier than the bloke who sent me that message, and I have never been happier in my life, not even when I had all those things viewed as critical Success Factors.- I was comparatively miserable then because I never appreciated their value, took them for granted and generally didn’t even notice anything remarkable about them. I know, I now value what I do have. For example:

I have wonderful children…all around me ,not just mine, but every where I look, small eager ,powdered , dusty kneed, pop eyed, bursting with curiosity and potential , those sweet miracles of the universe.Like puppies and kittens,they represent years of potential happiness in watching them grow.

I still have some of my teeth, in spite of the fact that maintaining them is taking a sizeable chunk of my salary monthly. I look down at my toes and think “ gosh those appendages are thirty five years old – they don’t look that BAD!” I mean imagine gloves or socks you have used for thirty five years around the clock. The human body is miracle and a evolutionary success fine tuned over millions of years- and we just never notice.

I have sunlight, each morning I wake up and marvel at the beauty of this country, things that we usually just don’t seem to notice or appreciate. Waiting for the bus last Wednsday I watched the local troupe of languars dash cheekily across power lines, clowning furry black bodies against a haunting back drop of a totally amazing giant orange globe of rising sun, and this mind you was in Wellampitiya twenty minutes away from Central Colombo. No one saw them, I guess everyone else was concentrating on how to be a success that day….for me if the sun shines the day cannot be bad .

There are thirty six million colours around me. :As Im writing this article Ive had a long tiring day and Im enjoying a small square box of pineapple juice the kind you can get in any grocery for 22 rupees. It’s a lovely bright yellow and red marvel of modern packaging and there are luscious looking beads of dew on the outsides. Have you never looked at one of those packages closely? True they are the products of commercial strategizing but are they not beautiful all the same ? Would not ancient man have stopped in his tracks if confronted with such art , but don’t we take it for granted like all the other beautiful things in life we don’t bother to notice?

So I have to admit (touch wood) at last and at the ripe old age of thirty six, I have finally got what I want in life. And incidentally I have not clawed my way up some symbolic co orporate ladder, back stabbing hapless fellow humans along the way, married into a rich dynasty or won any thing larger than a 50/- sweep ticket , in my life.

I have in fact , as my good friends know, been steadily creeping my way down the proverbial corporate ladder, and yet, I have what I want, or maybe its just that I want what I have and that’s what makes all the difference…Perhaps someday I will write my own book to tell people how it was done but for now there are three lines I have always lived by and probably always will:

“ Everything can be taken from man, but his power to chose his reaction.”
By Victor Franknyl, a survivor of Auschwitz
“You cannot give someone happiness without having some of it rub off on yourself ,”
Mother Theresa (I think)
And of course, from the sunscreen song –
“DANCE – even if you have no where to do it but in your living room!”
The author recognises that she owes her happiness to a wonderful and supportive family & ex-in laws and a few good friends. She is no expert and the above are simply personal observations and in no way actually guarantee to bring success into readers lives. But do give them a try…