Posts Tagged ‘ Sri Lanka ’

My last flight

March 31st, 2012

It is an awesome feeling to be in love, to have a partner, to chirp mindlessly to each other and to prepare to bring our kids into this world. In our case it is seasonal. When the spring starts, the feeling of love also blooms within ourselves and we start searching and courting our partners; flying, soaring, finding homes and laying eggs. We were quite late this time; however we decided to build our nest on a yellow wall inside human shelter. It was a flower basket actually, that we chose; but the flower neither smelled, nor withered. But it was dry and warm; just as we needed and we had it right across our entrance window. Earlier there was no one, there in that shelter. A lady and a dog would be there downstairs and at night a man too. Later a girl started coming for night and leaving early morning. Maybe it was her nest too. She never bothered us; she would pretend as if she didn’t notice us flying in and out; but sometimes I could see her putting white cotton balls in our nest and sometimes she would put a plate of grains below our nest. Maybe that was her way of acknowledging us; giving food and keeping us warm. Though we lived in harmony, I could hear a big, buzzing sound whenever she stayed in her shelter, within her section of nest and she always sealed her entrance, when the noise was there.

We laid eggs; 3 pretty brown eggs and I started warming them. I would sit on eggs and my hubby would bring me food. Sometimes, when he got late I would make do with the grains the girl offered; sometimes I would fly inside the shelter and find insects for myself. This particular day, it was very hot. I sat on my eggs the whole day and the girl was also within her section of shelter the whole day, occasionally coming out. Soon, it got dark and my hubby hadn’t arrived. I got restless and hunger was driving me mad. I flew inside the shelter but couldn’t catch a single insect. There was no offering from the girl either. Then, the girl came out of her section and left the door ajar. I perched on the door and peeped inside her section. It was lit, like day. The humming sound was there and something was moving in the center. I hoped I would catch some food, so I decided to check in. As I flapped my wings, something pulled me towards the center. It was like being sucked by a vast air current and I hit the part of the moving thing. I was instantly thrown somewhere and as I was falling I could hear the girl screaming. I was numb; the pain was blinding and I could feel the blood oozing from me. More screaming and then the lady came upstairs. Now, the girl was wailing and so was the lady. I couldn’t move. After what seems like an eon of pain, the man came and held me in his palm. He said something and the females sighed. Then, he slowly touched me, held mu hurting wing, and examined me. It hurt when he lifted it, though he was trying not to hurt me. He then applied some sticky paste on my wounds; while the girl fed me with some sweet, salty liquid. I wet my beak; thirsty as I was, I was scared too. They were humans and yet so close to me. I was broken, helpless so I stayed still. From the corner of my eyes, I could see the two females putting same white fluffy things over my nest. “Don’t hurt my babies,” was all I could think then; as he carried me downstairs and put me in a box.

They had wrapped my broken wing in a white material. After sometime, they left me alone. When all human noises ceased and darkness dominated, I slowly tried to get out from the box; but to no avail. I was broken; I couldn’t fly. Even lifting my wings was tedious.  I slowly dragged myself off the box; my babies…I had to reach them somehow. They would be cold without me. But the hall seemed longer now; it was not so long when I flew in it. But now, it was dawn already by the time I made halfway the hall. Human noises buzzed again and the lady came to me. She scooped me in her hand and kept stroking me gently. Scared, I decided to stay still again. The girl came down a few moments later and both sat there, staring at me. They fed me that liquid again and later the man put me outside, below the sky, in the garden. He would sometimes put me inside the box and sometimes on the cold ground. But they left me alone. Soon, my fellow friends found me and my hubby also came. But they just stared at me. They were helpless too. I was broken, I could never fly and they couldn’t help me. Continue reading

Another super hero-villain story!

5th April 2012

We have all heard about Joker, Venom, Dr. Doom and Penguin, haven’t we? They all have horrible laughs and are always intent on hurting mankind; till the superheroes such as Batman and Spiderman avenge them and save the planet. Similarly we have all loved transformers where, optimus prime and company defeat extra-terrestrial villains like Megatron and his fellow decepticons in a superb hi-fi way! So, this is also another “superhero V/s super villain” story!

The super villains! They are small, particulate matters but not alien. These villains have been born and bred by the humans and can be seen in fume, hazy shapes. They are worst as they can be colorless too. Though born unintentionally by humans, they have been attacking humans with their toxic nature and making them sick. They have silently killed 750000 people in China alone in 1 year and many more millions sick worldwide. The most dangerous part is no one can finish them totally, their existence can be controlled/ minimized but once they reach the earth, they are invincible. The most prominent ones among these super-pollutant-villains are Hydrocarbo-tron (HC), Nox-ions (Nox), Sox-curs (Sox) , Dr. VOC and Carbonmonoxide-zion and they are emitted from tail pipes of vehicles! Continue reading

While Tossing and Turning..

8th June 2012

Its 12:30 midnight. I switch off my kindle and decide to sleep then. I turn off my lights and climb onto my bed; inside the canopy of mosquito net. I say my prayers and lie down; hug my pillows and turn around. But me eyes are wide awake.

My mind is still somewhere in Lusitania, trapped in faraway galaxy with Pipo and Novinha caught in their fierce argument on Xenobiology. I wonder why Pipo would let Novinha take the test. Pointless, I sigh and try to keep the “Speaker for the dead” thoughts away from my mind. “I will be reading it again tomorrow anyways, I tell myself. I need to sleep now”, I decide. But my sleep probably got lost in the galaxy, fantasized by Orson Scott; because it’s just not coming to me. I turn around and his thoughts barge into my head in a lightspeed manner. Not Orson Scott, of course! “He must be studying, does he have exams tomorrow”, I muse. I check time, its 1 am here.  “So it’s already 1:15 there, he must have gone to bed,” I tell myself. “Could he be awake now, could he be thinking about me” my heart wonders. “Stupid heart always thinking out of the way and getting itself into trouble” I scold myself. But it doesn’t stop there. The train of thoughts links itself to memories from my sub-conscious and I find myself thinking about the things he said, things I wanted him to say but he didn’t say. Expectations announce themselves in my mind, only to be swiftly replaced by deep disappoints. “Should not expect from others,” I remind myself, teary-eyed by now. “Does this ever end?” I ask myself aloud. “It would have if you had let it” adds my over smart brain chastising my stupid heart. And the accusations and defenses go on for some time.

I should think about something else, I decide and turn around sniffing into the darkness, wiping my wet eyes with my blanket.  My mind turns over inevitably then and I find myself going through the skype conversations with my family. The things they said today; I replay all the conversation over and over in my mind.  My father’s usual questions, my mother’s instructions and cautious words , my babu’s  jokes and funny comments with my usual mindless chattering; the usual skype conversation as we try to make up for the miles long distance and 24 hours in the 1 hour video chat. I also ponder over the unsaid things, their expressions and pray to god to keep my family safe. Then, the gnawing feeling is back; the feeling of missing your loved ones.

A few mosquitoes decide to barge in and sing to me then. I curse them and sit up and manage to send one to heaven. A distraction just in time! I flip the pillows. It is always cooler on the other side. The fan is still circulating at full speed. Its 2:30 am by now. I sigh and tell myself that I have only 2 hours to sleep now. That drives my thoughts towards my work. My achievements, my targets and myself assessments take over my thoughts now, as I assess my actions, interactions.  The whole report plays out in my mind in the Microsoft format then. I make plans for the next day and mental notes of the things I should finish. All sorts of bright, promising ideas take shape in the darkness of night then as I keep thinking about my work. Continue reading

A Tale Of Two Nations

7th June 2012
Sri Lanka, an island country in the midst of Indian Ocean, along with the “South-Asian” tag has many things in common with our Nepal. Buddhism, propagated from Nepal is the major religion here. A SAARC member, SL is also famous for her tea products; like us. We like spice and so do they. I even find Nepali sense of humor similar to Sri Lankans. We laugh at similar jokes and share similar stories. Apart from all these similarities, we have yet another thing in common: Our own Civil wars.
SL has had her share of civil wars. With the Portuguese and Dutch rule in the 16th and 17th century; the island was also colonized by the British in 18th century. In 1948, the country gained its full independence but the leaders tried to please the major ethnicity; massive nationalization program was carried on. In this rage, and amidst all the political instabilities, the minorities Tamils were said to be undermined and with a simple issue of the official language; ethnic tensions brewed within the country. And just after35 years of independence, the country again plunged into yet another brutal and violent civil war. In this war; one Sri Lankan brother was against another and it raged on for 30 years, burning the island. In 2009, the war ended and the country saw a new dawn. Now, 3 years later, SL marked its highest GDP growth rate of 8.5% and Sri Lankans have entered into middle income group. Continue reading

“Green Economy: Does it include YOU?” – The best WED theme ever

5th June 2012

Today, UNEP is celebrating World Environment day with the theme “Green Economy: Does it include YOU?” With Rio +20 just around the corner “Green Economy “ has been hanging on every environment website, related agendas,  news, blogs, programs and proposals for months now and UNEP’s WED theme just drove it home, into our skin.

If we look closely, the words “Green” and “Economy” have been conflicting with each other, ever since mankind woke up from its deep ignorant sleep, one fine morning of industrial age and realized that it has been messing up with earth all the while. Since then, the world has been divided into two schools of thoughts: one who believes in “economic development at all costs” and the other who believes “earth is being trashed up for economy. “  Developers didn’t want to compromise with development and kept on trashing the earth while the latter kept holding placards of “sustainable development” to stop reckless development but helplessly watched the deteriorating tragedy of earth.

And then the recession around the world changed it all. Because the recession made the developers think of the flaws and constraints of the economic model and made them think why the model for reckless economic development failed. And the answer had been there all the while in the placards; the economy failed because it was not sustainable. The economy failed because the environment and sustainable issues had been disregarded from the economic development. Then, the two words which had been conflicting for decades were brought together as “Green Economy”. Continue reading

What I do :)

15th April 2012
During Avrudu, I was lucky enough to observe the Sri Lankan New Year customs and delicacies with Sri Lankan families themselves. During one such gathering, a small girl came to me and asked me what I was doing here. Her bad English and my bad Sinhala were not going very well; nevertheless I was trying to explain what I do here. But one cannot get technical with a 6 year old girl and say all those hi-fi words Air Quality management and Vehicle Emission Testing and stuff now, can we? So, I said that I clean air. “Clean Air?”, she mused, eyes big. I could see her wrinkling her nose. Maybe she was having visions of me taking a broom and dusting off air. “Why?” came the next question. I could have said “You’ll understand when you grow up” a phrase all of us have heard many times while growing up, but I didn’t want to. So, this is how I tried explaining, as simply as I could manage:

“Air is invisible. We cannot see air, but we can fill it. It is like a blanket, wrapping us moving here and there. We breathe it in and we breathe it out from our nose. Even other animals do, some through their skin. Plants also breathe through their leaves. We, humans breathe in about 700,000 cubic inches of air everyday but with Industrialization, transport and rapid motorization and other anthropogenic causes; we are polluting air and pumping more toxic into it; through stacks of industries, through tailpipes and at a certain level through our stoves as well.” There, she winkled her nose again. Then, I had to say “When we cook, smoke comes out, when we ride a car, smoke comes out, when we have big factories smoke comes out. But these smokes remain in our air. They don’t belong in air but they remain there for a long time. These toxics we have added to air, and are still adding will also be breathed by our lungs, processed in our body and will pose serious health hazards to us, humans along with other living beings because they are like small small toxic, poisons, they make you sick in the end and also cause environmental complications; which can effect local air quality as well as contribute in global climate change. So, it’s a bad thing. Not good for you, me or you dog. Bad for your garden and bad for other countries like America too.” “What about Uk? My uncle is there?” she asked. “Yes, bad for UK as well”, I said, trying hard to suppress a smile. Continue reading

Clutching the railing..

28th February 2012
On this particular evening, I was returning back from work; with my friend in this wonderful city called Colombo; I am falling more and more in love with. We got off from the bus, and were waiting in the Dehiwala halt to get into another. There was a man , standing right in front of me; clutching to the railing nearby. It was a usual evening until the clouds started to shift and play thunder rolls.
My friend seemed to ask something to the guy in Sinhala. Even after 4 months its difficult for me to understand Sinhala in native conversation, when they speak fast its all “dot-dot-dot” at break -neck speed . I wasn’t paying attention either, I was already occupied with the thoughts of rain. I love rain; the very idea of rain is so romantic. I love it when the sky decides to be generous and summons clouds from faraway places. The clouds then merge up in the sky; with amazing thunder rolls and fall down graciously to bless the thirsty earth. Rain makes me happy; the sight, the feel, the smell of rain lights up a smile in my face; anywhere and anytime.
I moved further towards the railing, obsessively occupied with thoughts of upcoming rain , towards his side when he turned his head sideways. He was blind; visually impaired. I looked down abruptly, uncomfortable and ashamed, as if he could see the pity that was surging inside me for him. I didn’t look up until I convinced myself that this guy didn’t need my pity; he was still able, even more than me probably and had made his way in this world of people with eyesight.
Buses came, buses went. People got in, people got off. Thunders roared beyond the clouds. Our bus hadn’t come; and his also didn’t seem to come; and he was still clutching the railing. Then, it occurred to me that maybe his bus had come and gone but he must have missed his conductor shouting the destination. We couldn’t hear either. We had to look for the bus number. It occurred to my friend as well; and thank god for that! They started conversing in Sinhala again; the same “dot-dot-dot”; but this time I was desperate to understand it. Pointless, even if I understood it, I wouldn’t know where the place was. Foreign place, foreign person, foreign language; yet the desire to be of some use to this person were so homegrown; so from the heart.
Then, it rained. Like British people would have said , it rained cats and dogs. We were about to run to some cover; but he didn’t budge. I had but one small umbrella. My friend went to find cover so at least two of us could accommodate and there we stood, I clutching my umbrella and he still clutching the railing. Continue reading

A thursday!

4th November 2011.
Death is powerful. It always strikes us, all mortals alike, with a huge blow; no matter how we defend ourselves, line ourselves up with wealth and power. It renders us helpless in the end, and ultimately wins every battle. It is shocking, even more so, when it happens to someone close; someone unexpected; someone out of blue; someone, who is young and dynamic; someone whom you had just chatted two days ago in face book. But this article is not on death or for death; because death is like a big black hole; a swallowing emptiness; no one knows for sure what it is or what happens when a person dies.
3rd November. It was a regular Thursday. I went to University, as always. I was out of internet access as it was a public holiday, the previous day. I went and logged onto my account. I had a message from my friend and she was asking me if the news was true, if Mukesh Dai died. Shocked and confused, I scolded her in reply for being so senseless and silly. Then as I logged into my face book, I saw my seniors’ status updates all wishing Mukesh daii would rest in peace. Bewildered, utterly confused I checked his wall. And there it was: more than 100 posts written. Some had posted how shocked they were; some were complaining about god’s injustice; some just grieved at the loss of their dear friend; some were saying how important he was for them; some still unable to believe the tragedy, were asking him to reply back on face book that he was ok. I was already crying. As I scrolled down his wall, the reality punched into my guts harder and harder. There was a car accident two nights ago, and he had passed away in the crash; away from home in Ohio. Continue reading

trip to kovil

5th November 2011.
“So, you are a Hindu?” my supervisor had asked. “I am a Hindu-Buddhist”, I had replied. “But you go to a Kovil, don’t you?”I was bewildered. “Kovil? No, I go to a temple”. “We call it Kovil there, the Hindu temple, where Tamils go?” he had added with a smile. This conversation was almost a month ago, during our first meeting in Thailand. He had said that there were many Kovil, less than Buddhist temples of course, but quite many. The nearest one was in Welawatta and it was the most famous one in Colombo. “But I don’t want you to go alone,” he had added,”It’s not safe for girls to go around alone, especially the foreign girls”.
This was the cautionary statement that he added in our every conversation about Sri Lanka. He is scared; concerned for me. I wondered if he is worried so much because I act too immature for my age or just because of the fact that I am a foreign girl. I am after all his responsibility in Sri Lanka. Humph!
Anyways, I had a long weekend and there was no one to take me around Colombo. I had wasted my previous weekend too due to the similar reason. So, I decided to go alone at least to the Kovil, despite my supervisor’s concerns. My supervisor is a nice guy; a wonderful guardian and a good-hearted fellow. I didn’t want to lie to him, so instead I talked to my co-supervisor, convinced her (in a way) and then went around. I had searched for the place in Google map, learnt the routes by heart and written all the place names in my book (the names are pretty hard, I must say). My flat-mate had suggested that I take an AC bus. But I wouldn’t exactly be feeling Colombo, with the AC around me now, would I? She still warned me that I should not go alone, but I didn’t listen. In fact everyone whom I told of my plan had said “Oh! So you are going? Alone? Do you know the way? Don’t talk to anyone. Take an AC bus and come back soon.” So many warnings, as if I was on to find another America! So, I got out of the flat at 3:30 pm, with all the warnings and cautions, and waited for the bus. But no bus came. So, I walked to Katubedda junction and got on the bus to Colombo. It wasn’t an AC bus and though it was hot, I kind of enjoyed it. Luckily, the bus conductor could reply in English as well. So, I get off at Wellawatta but the conductor said that the Kovil was still a stop away. The Kovil was actually in Welawatta- Bambalapitiya border. So, I got on the bus again, people were nice. They smiled at me and asked me if I was a tourist. Some of them even drew maps for me voluntarily to show me the directions. I got off the bus, at the correct stop this time, and across the road I could see the Kovil, Sri Manika Binayakaga Kovil. Continue reading

Homesick During Tihar!!:/

26th October 2011
It was Tihar today, my favorite festival. And I happen to be posted in Sri Lanka, from Nepal, in a Fredkorpset Norway Exchange Program! As much as I am beginning to love my new home, Sri Lanka with all its serenity and contrasts; with its warm beaches, its coyness; its spices and coconuts; the long names; twisty dialects; the artistic script , which I am yet to learn and the tyrannical heat; being away from one’s family is always hard. Especially for a girl like me who has never been away from home, it is painfully difficult. I was in Bangkok during Dasain as well, for the 19th Fk exchange preparatory course, but there were many others like me, my country people; who were also away from their homes; and it’s amazing how nationalities and commonness can bring people together. Though I missed home then, there were many of us missing our homes, so we celebrated Dasain together along with others and it ended quite well.
It’s not that people here don’t have Tihar. Actually today was a holiday for Diwali here. The Tamil community celebrates Diwali here. So, almost everyone knows what it is about. People were wishing me Happy Diwali and asking me about it. But since this is my fourth day in a new country, all alone, I decided not to try and celebrate Tihar here. I did try to find a temple here, but I couldn’t go by myself and others, who could accompany me to the temple; either didn’t know where it was or were too busy to take me there. Disheartened, I just tried to carry on as I would on any other Saturday. “Ra.one” – an SRK movie released today. Senali Akki suggested we go watch a movie and since it’s an SRK movie, I thought it would be a good distraction, if I again felt homesick. Just in case! So we went to watch it; first day, first show. It was a good movie, we had lots of fun. After that we went to have pizza and choco-sundae and then went shopping. So, the morning ended just like any other holiday.
Later, she had to attend a funeral. So, I stayed back and then did my laundry; did some for her too. And guess what? While doing laundry, my mind would automatically race back to Nepal, to my home. I would wonder, “my mom must be preparing Laxmi Bhog now”; “my daddy must be fixing the electric lights now”. I would force myself back to reality, try to focus on the laundry but then again my mind would wander around and I would think- “Dad must be tired now after shopping so much” or else, “I would be doing this now” and then again “I hope Babu is helping them, how can my mother do it alone without me??” And PANG!!! It struck there, right in the left chest and the pain, the agony; is so hard and so sharp that tears well down my eyes. The so called “Homesickness”! Not for the first time; but strong and increasingly painful every time. Continue reading