DJ Anoj of R&A Entertainment has been in the DJing field for well over 20 years. His specialty is playing music from the '60s to the '90s with a touch of modern music, and he is fast gaining fame due to his experience and classical selection of songs.
Describing DJing as a hobby, Anoj explains, "I prefer playing original tunes as it creates a charm. Old music is currently remixed but I don't care for it much."
He stressed that more teens in Sri Lanka should be involved in music. This week Now caught up with DJ Anoj for an interview where he talks about love, himself and his biggest complaint in life.
The Q&A follow:
Q: What do you fear?
A: Since I am not much of an animal lover, I hate and fear wild and stray dogs and cats.
Q: Do you believe in Valentines Day?
A: I don't believe in it now but I did believe in it some time ago when I was dating my wife.
During my younger days, Valentines Day was very special to me as I would gather roses, romantic cards, chocolates and what not for my wife and I would make sure that I would deliver it myself.
Today, people have forgotten the true meaning of Valentines Day as it has become too commercialised and for some it is only an easy way of making a quick buck.
Q: What would you never part with?
A: I love my family so I could never part with them.
I would also never part with my best friends as they have taught me what friendship is all about.
Q: Who is your role model and why?
A: Well I would say that my role model is none other than Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as he is the only politician who is smart enough to rule the country.
Although he made a few mistakes in the past, he was the only leader who signed a cease fire agreement after a 20 year civil war and it is a pity that in Sri Lanka people do not understand him and have not identified his true identity.
Q: Have you loved or dated more than two people at the same time?
A: The only woman I have ever loved is my wife. I have never loved any other women and I never will.
I also do not believe in dating more than one person at the same time as it is unfair and cheap.
Q: What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
A: The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is storm into my son's room and see if he is awake. My son is only three years old and he takes at least half an hour to wake up. My day starts off with my son.
Q: Describe your idea of a perfect partner?
A: Although most people would describe his/her perfect partner to be their spouses or their loved ones, for me my perfect partner would be my best friend.
My best friend and I go back many years and we have been with each other through thick and thin.
I trust him with all my life and without him, life would just be an empty shell.
Q: Describe your family?
A: My wife is an excellent chef and she currently works in a five star hotel. She is also a good housewife and she is a partner with who I share all my sorrows and happiness.
Without her life would be impossible. She was also crowned a one time Mrs. Sri Lanka.
My son is a little bundle of joy and words just cannot explain him. He has bought happiness into our lives and our lives revolve around him. He is also a music lover and surprisingly he is the only left hander in our family.
Q: What is your biggest complaint in life?
A: My biggest complaint in life is that I learnt to ride a motor bike.
I met with a horrible accident seven years ago when I was driving my bike following which I was hospitalised for three months. From that day onwards I never drove a bike and my only advice to all the teens is never to drive one either.
Q: If you could give one gift to the person you love, what one gift would you choose and to whom?
A: I have this dream that when my son grows up I am going to buy him a car and a house so that I see him well settled.
Q: What is your advice to teens in Sri Lanka?
A: Not to drink so much because drinking only leads to endless suffering.
When teens start drinking they lose control and end up in trouble or on a hospital bed.
Q: What is your favourite colour and why?
A: I like black because I don't see any dirt in it!
Q: What would you rather do than anything else?
A: I would love to sip a drink and listen to music.
Q: What does it feel like to be you?
A: I love being me because I am a simple person who at times loses his temper.
My friends tell me that I am also very friendly and I build an immediate relationship with whoever I meet.
By Kshanika Argent
For a group of shy and timid guys when they're off stage, the boys of Tantrum really rocked the preliminaries and the finals of TNL Onstage 2005. In fact they rocked the event just enough to walk away with the coveted title of `Best Band.'
With lead singer and bassist Javeen, Soorya on rhythm guitar, James on lead guitar and Heshan on drums, the self-proclaimed 'melodic death metal' band Tantrum really proved what they were made of at this years Onstage finals. Of the many talented contestants, Drummer Heshan lifted the title of 'Best Musician.'
Naming a few of their musical influences, Javeen says that it's mostly bands like Metallica, Arch Enemy, Nevermore, and Iron Maiden. And when it comes to local musicians, they all agree that Stigmata has played a major role in influencing their metal music.
Tantrum has four original songs at the moment: Destroyer, Alone,Purgatory Of Sinners and the fourth one is an instrumental which they still have not named but call "a metal moju" according to Javeen.
Tantrum started out just a year ago, with Javeen and Soorya, and after many a line up change, they finally found the right combination.
Their first major gig was a concert in aid of tsunami victims which was held earlier this year, and apart from that, Tantrumhas never really played in front of such a huge crowd.
So after TNL Onstage what next? An EP will be out hopefully in January next year, along with a launch of a massive concert. Also in the pipeline is a website that they are currently working on.
The band plans on coming out with more originals in the future. Says Soorya, "We've definitely come a long way in a very short time, and winning TNL Onstage was a major achievement. The exposure we got was fantastic, and the competition was tough, we're just really happy that we won."
It's good to be home!
Last week I was blissfully asleep until I suddenly heard a series of bangs, crashes and shrieks. I was too sleepy to investigate, until suddenly my door was flung open wide and my mother yelled, "The house is underwater!!!"
Wondering if I was still dreaming, I rushed to the window to find that our garden and garage had turned into a miniature lake. The water was rising rapidly and was soon going to come into the house. When I rushed to the fridge for my morning drink I was astonished to find it mounted on bricks, so that to get anything I would have had to wear stilts.
Within the hour the water was creeping up to our doorstep, a rather unwelcome visitor. Having no inclination to drown in our beds, we promptly began to pack. In blind panic I rushed about throwing clothes into bags, with my maid rushing behind me offering me plastic bags, I have no idea what she thought I could do with them!
Having done this we then had to wade out to the vehicle (feeling as though we were starring in another version of The Day After Tomorrow) and rush to pick my sister up from school. She had stubbornly gone despite the torrential rain.
She looked astonished to find the whole family arriving to pick her up, and then looked in puzzlement at the suitcases piled in the back. As soon as she realized what was happening she demanded, "Did you bring my cell phone?" She also wanted to know what kind of clothes I had packed for her. Nice to see that she's got her priorities right!
We arrived at my cousin's house, and soon made ourselves comfortable. It was a nice way to be stranded, snacks on tap, internet access and TV whenever we wanted it. Everyone should be so lucky! To pass the time, we decided to make a butter cake.
With our aunt directing us, we threw everything into a bowl haphazardly, without measuring, and in no particular order, almost forgetting some ingredients. It was pronounced "tasteless" and we decided to throw in sultanas and macadamia nuts, which we forgot to chop. It turned out quite delicious, if very crumbly!
However it turned out that I had to share a room with my sister, who was determined to take complete possession of the duvet. A mighty struggle ensued. Needless to say, I hardly slept at all!
To make matters worse, I was forced to stumble out of bed early the next morning to wade back to my house and recover my books, which in the excitement I had forgotten to take. I was beginning to miss the comforts of home, such as being able to have an uninterrupted night's sleep!
However luckily the sun shone the next day and the water, slowly but surely, has begun to recede. Our garden is still underwater as I write. Yet, in the end, it's good to be home!
Mrs. Sri Lanka gathers momentum
The entries are trickling in and preliminary interviews have begun where married women with beauty and brains await the doors to open to fulfil their dreams and the glory begins.
The purpose of the Mrs. pageant is to showcase the women of Sri Lanka that they can manage a family, have a career, support their community and have a successful marriage all at the same time.
We are looking for the 'super woman' who can do it all with elegance and grace.
Mrs. Sri Lanka 2005-2006 will see three intelligent, beautiful married women selected to represent the country at Mrs. United Nation, Mrs. Asia Pacific and Mrs. Universe.
If you have the grace and elegance, medium height and sparkling personality, this is your chance to spotlight the aspects of marriage and family.
Look for the entry coupons in the official media promoter - The Sunday Leader - and mail them before it's too late.
This pageant is promoted by The Sunday Leader and The Morning Leader and sponsored by BOTOX, Vision Care Optical Services (Pvt) Ltd., Bonlac and Vitamin E Nat 400.
Existence bags award!
By Risidra Mendis
He is a young director who brought glory to his country when his film won the Audience Award at the Inigo Award Film Festival held in Cologne, Germany. Indrajit Mahawaduge has today proved to the rest of the world that with commitment and dedication you can achieve a great deal in life.
"The idea for my short film Existence came from my own experiences in life. Over the past few years my friends and I would question our lives and the seemingly meaningless process we all were going through in a time of social, economic, and political crisis in our country. We were depressed and angry about the present situation. My response to this experience was to write the plot and the script for this short
film," Mahawaduge said.
Existence records a conversation between two young men who are seated on a bench outside a church. On is very positive about life and is concerned about his friend's negative dark feelings about his existence. Apart from his music this friend has no real aims in life.
The conversation is profound while being light one minute and serious the next. They explore the spiritual side of relationships and also what is hidden and miserable about their daily living. The two men get to know each other better and with the bond of friendship that develops between them, they strive to take their lives forward.
"The making of the film was a profound learning experience for me. The shoot was only around eight hours. However the pre production took a couple of weeks. I have to thank cameraman Palitha Perera who cancelled a shoot that day to work on Existence with me free of charge," says Mahawaduge.
The music and lyrics for the song used in the film was specially written and performed by one of the actors, Sujith Kumara. "Existence was considered by a large majority to reflect their own anxieties and concerns about modern living and was chosen by the young people for the award. This was a proud moment for me my country and all the people I worked with" Mahawaduge said.
Mahawaduge's interest in films began when he was only four or five years old. "I wanted to become a screen actor but realised my talents lay behind the cameras."
In 1999 Mahawaduge completed his Diploma in Mass Media conducted by the Catholic Media Institute and Aquinas College. Mahawaduge then joined the Tulana Media Unit in Kelaniya where he received theoretical knowledge and practical training n communication studies related to film video and radio productions. Mahawaduge has also acted in
teledramas and worked as an assistant director and as a newspaper journalist.
Mahawaduge's future plans include the making of other films. "I have a lot to learn and the learning process is one I cherish the most. I am on the look out for new actors and actresses for roles in my new films. There is a huge audience for short films in this country."
"I think the government and private media institutions involved in the cinema industry in Sri Lanka should take a positive pro active interest in giving opportunities to young people to make films. This I believe is the only way forward for the film industry in the country."
He added, "I have to thank Father Ernest Poruthota and Father Aloysius Pieris for their support and for helping me attend the Inigo Award festival in Germany. I also have to thank my brother Indika Mahawaduge for raising the funds for the film, the Tulana Media Unit, my parents and friends without whom this film would not have seen the light of day."
By Arthur Wamanan
Jaffna is a place where only Tamil speaking people have been living for many generations. It has a rich culture based on Hinduism and the majority of the people are Hindus.
Entering the Jaffna territory is a very unusual experience especially after the war. Partially and completely damaged houses and buildings decorated with bullet marks greet the visitors to this strange yet beautiful place.
Acres of land with palm trees surround each house. Most of the trees also have suffered the consequences of the civil war.
Damaged houses make the visitor feel that he /she is visiting an ancient city built by a famous king hundreds of years ago.
All the houses are identical and a new person will easily get lost. There is no shortage of water for every house has a well. The water is very hard and has no chlorine mixed in it.
The roads in Jaffna are dominated by bikes used by men and women. Occasionally a car or a van generally from out of town passes by. All the public places in Jaffna are always stacked with rows of bicycles. Each house has at least one bike.
Each region in the north has its unique style of Tamil and word usage.
Billboards and signs written in pure Tamil is a very unusual sight for a person visiting from a different part of the country including a Tamil person living in Colombo. It is like going to another country.
Conductors shouting names of places in Tamil is also a totally new experience. A queer accent in Tamil makes even a Tamil from a different part of the country feel out of place.
People often refer to others as 'aiyaa' (sir) and 'amma' (madam), which is very strange for a person who goes there for the first time.
The most famous Hindu temple in Jaffna is the Nallur Kandaswamy Temple. A festival of this temple is held annually. Hindus from all parts of the north and even from other parts of the country take part in this festival.
This function is more than a mere Hindu function. Tamils belonging to all religions also take part in the celebrations. This is partly due to the majority being Hindus.
The forefathers of almost all the Christians in Jaffna were also Hindus until the country came under the colonial rule. The Muslims also play their part to make this event a memorable one each year. Even now they take part in this celebration which lasts for 18 days.
Devotees from all parts of the north come together in this colourful celebration. Several amusements are also part of this grand celebration.
The kavadi dances of some devotees grab the attention of all the participants. Devotees pierce their bodies with sharp objects and dance. Some even hang on thick ropes with their body pierced in several places.
Several events lead up to the event and prepare the people spiritually to celebrate the occasion. Speakers on every corner of the roads sing Hindu spiritual songs for the people to be ready for the function.
The people follow the necessary rituals to be spiritually prepared for this event. They fast in the mornings leading upto the festival and do not eat meat until the end of the festival. The festival ends with the ther (holy cart) going round the town to bless the people.
The most popular mode of transport in Jaffna next to the bus is the bike. Bikes are used by people of all walks of life and of all ages. Almost all children go to school on bicycles. This helps them balance their travelling expenses amidst the rising cost the essential items.
There are no luxury five start hotels in Jaffna. All the people prepare their meals with the help of wood and some times with kerosene. But, for others, they always go to the nearby hotels where they are sure of clean food.
Food in Jaffna is always fresh and healthy since most of the items are produced in Jaffna itself.
The Jaffna library was once a world famous educational centre. Now it stands in the middle of devastated areas in the town. It is the only building which has been completed. It is still being used by students and adults despite losing most of its precious books.
This land, which was torn apart by the war, still has the same rich culture and is untouched by the influences of other communities.
Almost an island!
Jaffna District, the northernmost region of the Island of Sri Lanka, is one of the oldest habitation sites in Lower South Asia, populated by Tamil speaking people. Jaffna is situated within ten degrees of latitude to the north of the equator. It is in close proximity to the sub-continent of India and separated from it by the Palk Strait and the Bay of Bengal.
The peninsula is actually almost an island; only the narrow causeway known as Elephant Pass - for once elephants did wade across the shallow lagoon here connects Jaffna with the rest of Sri Lanka.
Jaffna is low lying; much of it covered by shallow lagoons. With just under 900,000 inhabitants, the district of Jaffna is one of the most densely populated areas of Sri Lanka, second only to Greater Colombo.
Most of the area is dry and sandy, and the most common tree is the palmyra palm with its elegant fan-like fronds.
The flat Jaffna Peninsula is made of limestone, unlike most other parts of Sri Lanka. The porous stone absorbs the rain very quickly and conveys it to the water table. Open tanks are not practicable here, and fresh water has to be obtained from wells.
Festivals in Jaffna
In a society in which all spheres of life are stamped by a deep sense of religiosity, it is to be expected that the dividing line between religious and secular festivals remains blurred. Since most of the Tamils of Jaffna are Hindus, their festivals have been interpreted in the light of Hindu myths and traditions. In addition, at least some of their festivals are nature-related.
The New Year begins on the day the sun is said to enter the Zodiacal house Aries in the month of Chithirai (April-May) after the vernal nor. Since this feast is based on the solar calendar, the date never changes.
On the previous day, the house and compound are cleaned and ceremonially sprinkled with water mixed with cowdung (or with saffron). Pots and pans are polished and incense is burned.
People get up early and as the first thing are expected to set their eyes on auspicious objects. All wear new clothes. Men wear white veddis and shawls and women wear sarees in colours prescribed in the Hindu Almanac.
All members of the family visit the temple to worship and to offer gifts. The first fire is lit usually by the lady of the house facing the direction indicated by the astrologers. The first meal, customarily milk rice, is cooked and eaten at an auspicious time.
The ceremony of kaivispsham, namely the gift or exchange of coins wrapped in betel leaves, takes place after the meal. The first bath takes place at an auspicious time after having applied oil and medicament prepared from certain leaves, flowers, saffron and milk. Visits are made and the poor are fed and given alms.
The full-moon day in Chithirai is called Chithiraippaurnami and is a special day of fast and penitence. It is believed that the observances Oh this day seek to propitiate Chandragupta, the record-keeper of Yama, the god of death,, who passes judgement on the future of a person on the basis of statistical record of good and bad deeds kept by Chandragupta This day is observed in remembrance of departed mothers.
Feast for fathers
On the darkest night of the month of Adi (July - August) called Adi Amavasai a fast is undertaken in remembrance of departed fathers. It is a day of worship and of abstinence from meat and fish.
Feast for Pillaiyar
The festival of Vinayaga Sathurthi occurs on the fortnight of Avani (August - September) and is sacred to Pillaiyar, the elder son of Siva and Parvathi. It is in remembrance of the day Parvati created him in order to guard her personal living quarters. It is observed by making clay figures of Pillaiyar and offering pujas.
Nine nights feast
The feast of Navarattiri, namely " nine nights", which is special to women, falls in Puraddasi (September - October) and is celebrated in honour of the three saktis or energies of God, personified as Parvati, Lakshmi and Sarasvati. Three nights are assigned to each goddess. It is terminated with Saraswathipucai and Vijayadasami, the tenth day after the full moon.
Deepavali, meaning literally "rows of lamps", is the festival of lights and is celebrated to mark the triumph of Light or Good over darkness or evil. It falls on the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight in Aipasi (October - November). The day is marked by a ritual bath at sunrise, which is equivalent to bathing in the sacred river Ganges, offering sweet meats to deities, wearing new clothes, visiting
friends, and at night lighting houses with rows of little oil lamps.
The festival of Suran For falls twelve days after Deepavali-hence in the bright fortnight of Aipasi - and at the end of a six-day fasting called Kantha Shashti, namely the sixth (shashti) day in honour of Murugan (Skanda).
Festival of lights
Kartikai Vilakkidu or lighting of lamps is another festival of lights celebrated on the full-moon day of Kartikai (October - November). It is celebrated on the mythical level, in remembrance of Siva assuming the form of a burning mountain with no beginning and no end in order to settle a dispute as to who was superior between two of his subordinates, Brahma and Vishnu; and on the profane or secular level, this feast
is said to have originated among the Tamils of South India as a celebration of lights related to the weather conditions of nature.
Tiruvempavai is celebrated in Markazhi (December-January) lasting for twenty days, to honour the mystic and Saint Manikkavasagar, the author of the popular anthology of hymns called Tiruvacakam, verses from this sacred work are recited in the temples during this period.
Markazhippillaiyar is a festival in honour of Pillaiyar celebrated in December-January. In the mornings, a figure or representation of this deity is fashioned out of cowdung, placed in the middle of an open space and worshipped. In the evenings, the figure is brought into the house and kept in a vessel. At the end of the festival, all the figures are burnt and the ashes are used as viputi by the members of the
Thai Ponkal festival falls in the beginning of Thai (January- February). The dawn of Thai bids farewell to the "unlucky" month of Markazhi and the season of rains. The sun starts its northbound journey from the Tropic of Capricorn. House is repaired, new pots and pans are bought, and new clothes, jewelleries, grains and fruits are purchased.
The day prior to Thai Ponkal is called Bhogi Ponkal and is marked by huge fires made at dawn by young boys with sticks and straw. This is followed by the beating of tomtoms.
On the day of Thai Ponkal, the place where newly harvested rice is to be cooked is washed with water mixed with cowdung and decorated with kolam, which is a red and white pattern drawn out of powdered rice.
Early morning, new rice is put in new earthen vessels placed on three round heaps of fire. There is a fourth hearth on which rice, milk, sugar, ghee and dhal are placed. The fire is kindled at an auspicious time and everyone gathers round the fire to see rice boil.
When the rice has boiled, the vessels are removed and a portion of the cooked rice called pukkai is offered to the sun on a plantain leaf. Afterwards the entire family and the visitors eat ponkal.
Festival of cattle
The following day is the festival of cattle. They are bathed, decorated, at times incensed, and are led into the streets accompanied by drums.
Maha Sivaratri, meaning "great night of Siva", is celebrated in Masi (February - March) on the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight (i.e. the night previous to the new-moon day ). Devotees bathe in the morning and fast during the day. An all night vigil is observed. The night, divided into four yamas or quarters, is devoted to the devotional worship of Siva.
Christmas has become a feast celebrated by almost all Tamils in Jaffna. Hindus celebrate it by organizing oli vilas or festivals of light. Christians have a midnight Mass and continue their festivities till the first week of January with Christmas Carols, Nativity plays and Christmas parties for children. New Year is celebrated by Christians on the first of January.
The season of Lent is a holy period for Christians. They start the season by attending Holy Mass on Ash Wednesday. A pious act of devotion called the Way of the Cross is made either in private or with the congregation every Friday.
It has also become a custom to have lenten "Retreats" lasting for at least a week in each parish.
In addition to singing the lamentation of the passion of Jesus called pasam, a Passion Play is also staged shortly before or on Palm Sunday to help the faithful meditate on the sufferings of Christ.
The Muslims of Jaffna celebrate the following festivals on a grand scale: Id-UI-Fitr(Ramazan Festival ), Id-UI-Alha(Hadji Festival), and Milad-Un-Nabi (Holy Prophet's birthday).