Unpopular Opinion: Why I despise Avurudu

Journal of an Eccentric

Another Avurudu has come and gone, and with it, a number of “relatives”, an unquenchable tiredness and a sense of impending doom. Don’t get me wrong. As a child, I loved the season. I faithfully followed all customs and threatened ayya with bodily harm if he so much as nibbled at a kokis before the nakath time. I was up at 1am, welcoming avurudu; I was up at 8pm welcoming avurudu.

But since of late, I have started to see the hollowness there is to this festival. You spend days upon days cleaning the house, making sweetmeats (if one does that anymore. Most of the people I know are only too happy to drop into the supermarket and buy them on the 12th), and tiring self out. Then on the actual day itself, you starve yourself (hello, gastritis!) and then binge eat on oil and sugar. And then, the cherry…

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Don’t give up on your self, never!

I’m sure there are so many instance in our live we feel like ” I’m done. I can’t do this anymore, I’m going to give up… ” And you may have given up in so many times listening to that feelings in your head thinking you can’t do it anymore,

I was like that, sometime I still am like that. In some cases when I feel like I can’t do this anymore, when i feel like I can’t make this work anymore I give up, try to find an alternative solution thinking I did my best But I failed, But Did I? Did you ? Have you really did your best before giving up?

Yesterday I found this article on Medium..

How a password changed my life.

 

This article thought me something, something that I wanted to keep in my mind as long as I can, that you don’t have to give up.. You still might have the chance to make it work.

 

 

Because I don’t know what else to do…

Starting to write this entry because I’m trying to understand what else to do, In one night while I’m scrolling  through so-called so connected social media channels I see this image.

 

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Tsk Then I start to think, what the hell we doing. What the hell all the human beings doing. From the day we born we’ve been  trained to achieve something, Something related to our profession. To be a man someday world will recognize as someone decent which measured by money, position etc etc, but why?

 

It’s not like you gonna live forever. It’s not like working is the best thing that makes you happy in your life but still we are bound to do so, we are bound to the system and we don’t have an escape from it. Happiness is something we have forgotten forcefully to achieve these systematical positions, If life was much more simple wouldn’t we be happier?

Change Makers!

“ChangeMakers” , it was the title we came up for our newest project on Stitch. After a long long day full with activities in the midnight while trying to sleep on a bunker bed i felt like writing about this “Change Makers”

Stitch The Exchange Project is a project initiated during end of last year. Here I’m really not going to tell you lot about what this project about, If you click on that link you can find more about The Exchange Project. 

This is the third night I’m spending here at Camp 100 Mundal while helping stitch team to organize this project and it wasn’t comfortable experience. Long long train rides, bus rides , staying away from your home, well mostly sleeping on my bed and junk food items in the city ( At least Kottu) is not easy. But genuinely I can say that it worth the trouble.

Trying to mingle different cultural backgrounds together is new experience to me. And it’s not an easy task as it sound. Obstacles coming through our ways is new and challenging. Language is an obstacle. Culture is an obstacle. But overcoming all these problems we manage to mingle with them so far, but hey long days are not over yet. So many interesting and challenging days to come up with project and I hope our team can go through all these hardships to achieve the target of this project.

Well I think it’s better to sleep now. Tomorrow early morning sessions starting up. Wish us best of luck 🙂

 

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I remember how it was during New year…

I live in a village, we still take water from our well, we still use our well to drink water, wash cloths and have a bath. We still take some stuffs to cook from our garden, we grow plants, for fun and for our day to day meal. But We don’t have the beauty of Sinhala and Tamil new year we used to have few years back.. not anymore.

 

I remember 10 years back , end of the march is the period for bird singing, I remember every morning when I woke up I can hear the song of cuckoo. I remember watching blooming flowers in my garden, cashew trees with full of cashew and squirrels who compete with each other.

Not to forget the smell of sweets my neighbors used to make for New year. Every house was getting ready to celebrate new year, not only by cooking sweets but cleaning houses, painting them with various colours.

 

I remember how i used to bother my father to get some fire crackers for New year, I remember how much he insisted saying I would hurt my self but in the end he will buy me some. I remember my two cousin brothers who always come during the new year period to play with me. I remember endless fights with them for silly reasons like dividing cashew-nuts during April.

 

April… Used to be a month full with happiness, laughter all around me. Happy faces, even though they are rich of poor. New year was spring for everyone and everything..

But it’s been a while now.. Things have changed, even in the village. Kids who bother their parents to buy fire crackers is a rare scene now. No one bothered any more on making various type of Sweets anymore. The unique smell that used to come from houses during New year time is not there anymore.

 

Life changed, Village changed and simple happiness people used to have during new year time changed…

Sadness behind the smile – Polonnaruwa

Last week was special to me. For the 1st time I traveled to Polonnaruwa with some friends in Stitch Movement for the initial stages of Stitch Exchange Project. The journey wasn’t comfortable, not due to the luxury of traveling medium ( Train rides are one thing I love)  but because of the view and experience I had on the way to Polonnaruwa. Rail track to Polonnaruwa ran through a series of tropical jungles. Most of the tress seems to be suffering without rain.  I felt like most of the trees were looking at me with sad faces. But the real sad faces were not of the trees, it was of the people who tried to sell vegetable in the train for a very cheap price! After talking with them I realized they are farmers in a nearby village who didn’t want to sell the crops to shops in the town because they pay a very low price for vegetables .  These farmers’ only expectation was to sell a few bags of vegetables so they can find some money to survive the day!

With mixed feelings we got down from Polonnaruwa (Kaduruwela) Railway station. Ina  minute, we were traveling to a village located 37km away from the Polonnaruwa Town. One of our partnering organizations was conducting a two-day workshop for the youth there and we were suppose to do a leadership development session for them.

After traveling another hour in a tuk tuk, we reached our destination. I should say I was surprised when I saw the place (School). It was in the middle of the jungle with no electricity ( Well at least it was powered by a solar panel)

However the workshop was filled with energy, there were participants aged from 14 to 29, but most of them were less than 18.  I have to tell you this workshop was filled with energy. Everyone wanted to share their opinion, everyone had something to say and they were not afraid whether it was right or wrong!

After listening to some of the sessions, I got a chance to have a chat with the Gramasewaka officer in that area. According to him most of the youth/families were suffering from many problems but the main thing was economy! 90% of the families there lived through farming and this time results weren’t so good due to the lack of rain.

He was pointing out that what this society need are “jobs”, and not any other “useless” workshops. It was sad to see an officer like this think that providing some kind of job would solve these problems.

Later on I got sometime to talk with the family planning guys in that area. Well, the work they do is outstanding. They were organizing “Happy Family” Programs for newly married couples educating them about birth controlling methods and giving away free condoms! One interesting thing he said was that many people in that area were willing to buy condoms from anywhere because they were shy or afraid. To prevent this, these guys started mobile health caring centers and anyone can come and get free condoms from them. Pretty interesting.

After talking with the young people who participated in this program, I realized even though they smile and had some genuine fun through these kind of workshops, their real life is filled with poverty and related problems. Schools without electricity , youth without proper jobs but smiles hiding the sadness!

 

Surviving through CHOGM as a random person.

CHOGM wave hits Sri Lanka few days back and let me tell you as a normal person it surviving through it while living in Colombo is not the happiest thing to do.When someone say CHOGM first thing comes to your mind is Traffic. Roads from Katunayake to Colombo closed down whenever our Government feel like doing just to make sure the safety of these important delegates. Flying 10+ security vehicles and 50+ security personals in the closed roads with “One” delegate to ensure his/her safety. Ah yeah to see beautiful Sri Lankan sea view while traveling in E03 highway,Of course they can’t see anything else than beauty because all the other “Stuff” being covered by walls. May be it never hits these delegates mind why some areas being covered with these giant walls ? Oh may be they also just like us who here to do their job and get away from this 3rd world country ( Or so-called paradise/Miracle of the Asia)

 

Daily travel through Katunayake to Colombo made me notice enormous nos of flags displayed in the side lines of roads.Well not only in the Highway that delegates travel also in the normal Negombo-Colombo bus route.But hey why complain its to raise the #CHOGM spirit eh?

When reaching to Japan-Sri lanka friendship bridge (Aluth Palama) usually it packed with traffic these days and this traffic is unpredictable.Why? Because you never know when the road going to be close. So best option i had these days was get in to a highway bus and sleep until you reach to Colombo.Make you away from getting heat up by looking at CHOGM drama.

 

Before finishing this writeup i must mention my office Lane – Rosmead place which supposedly the hotel that all hail prince Charles gonna stay.Two days before his arrival road was full with cops and all sort of security personal.Seems like government don’t care about residence life style there? (Or its a stupid question to ask when considering what’s going on)

 

Apart from wasting Peoples tax money on useless fireworks,Fake development to wasting Peoples time by road closing to all sort of thing i hope CHOGM will bring in something for this country.

 

 

Highway bus economy!

Wasting nearly 5 hours on the road is  (was) a part of my daily routine. I’m a commuter who travel daily from Katunayake to Colombo. Daily. For 5 years I have continued this routine, and let me tell you, spending 5 hours on the road on a daily basis is not a joy. It was all the same for five years, until last week. But things have changed now. With the highway I can travel to Katunayakae from Peliyagoda within 15 minutes is 27+KMs and in 30 minutes from Peliyagoda to Pettah which is 7 KMs. But wait. I am not complaining. I still save more than 2 hours daily, which I used to spend on traveling.

Colombo-Katunayake-Expressway

Anyway, this post is not about my time or traveling. This is about one part of the society that is majorly affected  by the Highway buses in Katunayake, but everyone ignored. Including Media,Government as well as the people!

For the past 3 years or so I always traveled in normal intercity AC bus service, which operates between Katunayake and Colombo. To be honest, that bus service was a Mafia; especially for Foreign travelers. Let me tell you why. National Transport Board had approved a bus fair of 100 rupees in an AC bus that operates between Katunayake and Colombo. But they never took 100 from foreigners.  The minimum amount they charged from a foreign passenger was 200 rupees, and that was excluding baggage.They charged Rs 100 each for baggage. So yeah. As I said it was a Mafia!

But that’s not the interesting part. The distance from Colombo to Katunayake  is less than 35 kilometers. These guys took more than two hours to travel this distance! Always! Why? Because even though it’s an intercity bus, they load passengers up to foot-board. And yes it’s illegal. Half the time police stop them, and as usual, they bribe the police and get away. This has happened consecutively for the last 3 years.

And now Highway buses are here, which are operated by the Government. Let’s do a comparison:

                      Highway Bus                Intercity AC bus

Duration –   Less than 1 hour                    More than 2 hours

Charge    –     Rs 130                                       Rs 100

Condition    Super luxury                         Old Rosa AC buses.

Do the math. Which one you would go in?

Yes, now my daily routine has changed to highway buses. But this is not only about me. Almost 90% of the people who used to travel by old AC buses have now switched to highway buses. This fact puts the private bus guys in trouble. Recently, I went in normal AC bus because I wanted to get down from Wattala (which i can’t do using a highway bus). The Rosa bus had only 9 people! The bus driver was cursing everyone from the Chinese laborers  who were involved in the Highway construction to Minister of Transportation to Mahinda Rajapaksha.

In conclusion, Katunayake-Colombo normal AC bus owners are in an economic crisis now due to the new highway buses, and I don’t see anyway they are going to find a solution to that.

Yet, after what they have done in the past, I can’t decide whether to be happy or sad!

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