The cricketer who ran out of life...
The Nanayakkara family in happier times
(inset) Tharaka -- From the playing
field to a hospital bed
By Ranee Mohamed
He told us that he was going to be the next
Sanath Jayasuriya," said weeping mother
Samantha Malkanthi. "I brought him up in the
most grueling circumstances," she cried
refusing to move away from the bedside of
her 13 year old son Pallage Supun Tharaka
Nanayakkara, the cricketing star who fell on
the very field he was applauded upon by the
We have dreams - every one of us - and young
Supun Tharaka's dream had not been to become
a doctor, lawyer or an engineer. He wanted
to be a cricketer. "My son was the happiest
when I took his cricket bag after school and
handed it over to him," said father Pallage
Ranjan Hemantha Nanayakkara who makes his
living driving a three wheeler.
This helpless duo have suffered much to
bring up their three sons - Supun Tharaka
(13), Udan Tasrutha (7) and Chathuka
About three weeks ago Supun Tharaka, a
student of Lumbini Maha Vidyalaya, Colombo
5, left his home at 36/7H, Sujatha Mawatha,
Pamankade after eating five stringhoppers. "Amma,
I will be back after cricket practice. Have
some hot rice for me," he had shouted on his
way out of the house.
In the afternoon, his father put aside his
hires and set off to Lumbini Maha Vidyalaya
in the evening with a fish bun and a roll.
"Our son ate the food hungrily and then went
to the ground for practice. I was standing
on the side and watching. The coach had not
turned up that day and a father of one of
the children was batting. My son was
bowling. All at once I saw the person bat
and the ball went high up in the air. My son
went running and tried to catch the ball. I
was horrified when all at once I saw the
ball fall on my son's chest. I saw my son
falling down. I ran towards him and several
school boys in the field ran towards him
too. I grabbed a bottle of water from a
nearby student and splashed some water on my
son's face. He opened his eyes and said 'Thaththa'
(father) and then closed his eyes," said
Ranjan crying uncontrollably.
The hard leather ball which was up in the
air had fallen straight on the young boy's
chest, throwing him to the ground almost
"It was October 29 and the time was about
2.50 p.m. I was making tea for my two
younger boys when a neighbour ran into our
house shouting that our older son had been
admitted to hospital after being struck by a
ball. I thought I was losing my mind and ran
along the road all the way to the hospital
in the clothes I was wearing at home,"
recalled the mother in anguish.
Supun Tharaka had been rushed to the
Kalubowila Hospital where the staff had
battled to bring Supun back to
consciousness. Yet it had been days before
he even opened his eyes.
And when he did open his eyes, he did not
know where he was, did not know who his
"Today our son cannot move. They feed him
with a tube. The machines have been taken
off and now our son just stares, his fingers
folded and his legs still. This is our
cricketer - our man in the family, our young
star..." cried his mother.
"We had great hopes for our son. He was so
full of energy. He could not be still even
when he was studying. Besides, at home he
was the cricket coach to my two younger
boys," said his innocent mother.
"A doctor told us that when the ball had
fallen on our son's chest, his heart had
stopped for a few minutes, thereby cutting
off the oxygen to his brain. We have never
been so frightened in our life. We love our
three little boys very much and there are
no words to express how much we love our
elder son," said Ranjan and Malkanthi
The couple stand helpless and alone in the
face of this great sports misadventure that
happened in school
Co-curricular activities are encouraged
today. More and more children are urged, nay
forced to go for sports activities, yet when
tragedy strikes the schools often back out.
And Lumbini Maha Vidyalaya seems to have
forgotten this young boy who now remains
alone and trapped in a hospital.
What is the responsibility of the school and
the school authorities in the face of such a
tragedy? Are there rules and regulations or
a code of conduct in the face of misfortune
laid down in the school curricular? It is
the responsibility of the very same
authorities who urge children to take part
in sports, to look after them when tragedy
and injury befalls.
Questions are being asked by several parents
as to where the coach was and who authorised
another person to take the place of the
coach. If the coach was around, then would
such a tragedy have taken place, asked some
Frame of mind
But the parents of Supun Tharaka are not in
a frame of mind to weigh the injustice of
what has happened. "Please help us to get
our child back home, the way he left home
that evening," they plead.
"We have no money and our greatest wealth
are our children," said these parents,
burning with heartache and pain.
Supun Tharaka needs fresh fruit juice,
special medications and foods that can be
tube fed. This poor couple who were finding
it difficult to give their three children
three meals and an education all at once are
now in an agonising quandary wondering how
on earth they are going to give the best for
their young son. Supun Tharaka not only
excelled in cricket, but in his studies, in
drama and in the reciting of bhakthi gee
"Our son told us that he is a left hander
just like Sanath Jayasuriya. In fact Sanath
Jayasuriya was his greatest hero. He had his
photos all over, he tried to walk like him
and talk like him. and today he cannot talk
at all," said Samantha Malkanthi.
Supun Tharaka played for his school. Playing
against Moratuwa Vidyalaya, in the Astra
Cup tournament, Supun Tharaka had emerged a
star - bowling like a star, grabbing a catch
and of the 14 overs, eight had been maidens
- taking a wicket and allowing only 14 runs.
All this he did for the school. And when he
ran everyone cheered, everyone clapped, the
school was proud of him. But as he lies
bound to bed with tubes at the ICU of the
Colombo South Teaching Hospital today, who
is clapping? who is proud of him? Only two
spectators watch him - day and night, for
Supun Tharaka is a poor player now,
struggling for life.
Let us join together, to give a fair chance
to this fallen young cricketing star.
"We are doing everything possible -
G. Jayaweera Amarajeewa, princi-pal of
Lumbini Maha Vidyalaya when contacted by The
Sunday Leader said that the school is
planning to inform the Tharunyata Hetak
programme about Supun Tharaka.
"I have given a letter to the parents to go
to the Cricket Board, though it is not
within my purview to do so," said the
Principal. He also went on to say that some
of the students are planning to collect some
money for Supun and that the staff had gone
and seen him and given the parents some
Fighting aids with
By Risidra Mendis
He lived a normal, peaceful life and like
most of us had many plans for his future. He
went overseas for better prospects and never
forgot to send money to support his mother
and sister in his native land.
But for Bandula his plans for the future
were soon shattered when he discovered that
he was HIV positive. His life changed; he
lost interest in living and he thought his
only option was to commit suicide and end
But for some reason Bandula decided not to
commit suicide but face the future with this
deadly disease, that has by now killed
thousands of people around the world. His
decision finally bore results that he never
dreamt of. A friend of Bandula gave him the
name and address of Dr. D. D. A.
Hettiarachchi, who succeeded in finding a
cure for Bandula's deadly disease.
Dr. Hettiarachchi is a Sri Lankan ayurvedic
doctor who claims to have found a cure for
the deadly HIV positive virus and has
succeeded in curing some HIV positive
patients and is in the process of treating
Bandula who by now has got a new lease of
life and is in the process of rebuilding his
shattered life shared his story with The
Bandula is a chef by profession. In 1988 he
left for Saudi Arabia to earn a living and
provide a better life for his family. "I was
in Saudi Arabia for five years, six months
and 18 days. I had to quit my job and come
back to Sri Lanka because my mother was not
well. I looked after my mother and worked in
Sri Lanka. I then left for Hong Kong in
2000. From Hong Kong I went to Singapore,"
In 2001 Bandula had to give up his job as an
international chef and return to Sri Lanka
once again as his mother was not well. "When
I came to Sri Lanka my mother was paralysed.
I stayed back to look after her. On May 27,
2001 my mother passed away," Bandula
explained. By this time Bandula had decided
to settle down in Sri Lanka and had got
registered to his fiancee on October 31,
2002. On November 14, 2002 Bandula while on
his way back to his hometown after setting a
date for his wedding got a bad headache.
"I got high fever and started shivering. I
went to a doctor close by and got some
medicine but the fever didn't go down. I
came to Colombo on November 15, 2002 with my
nephew and got medicine from a doctor in
Battaramulla. There was still no improvement
in my condition so I got myself admitted to
the Colombo National Hospital. I was at the
National Hospital for two weeks with high
fever and purging. The doctors said the
purging could be due to something I ate and
said I should get better and sent me home,"
According to Bandula his glandular glands
were swollen but the doctor had told him not
to worry and sent him home. By this time
Bandula's purging problem had settled down
but the fever remained. "I used to get fever
in the nights. I went back to my doctor in
Battaramulla and told him I wanted to take a
blood test. I then got myself admitted to
the Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital," Bandula
Bandula was released from the
Hospital after two weeks and the doctors
told him not to worry as there was nothing
seriously wrong with him. "By this time
Bandula and his wife had decided to get
'officially' married on December 25, 2002.
But when I went back to my doctor in
Battaramulla he told me that my VDRL was
positive and to go to the STD clinic at De
Saram Place. By this time I had already
distributed the wedding invitations,"
By December 20, Bandula discovered that he
was HIV positive. It was at this point in
his life that Bandula had to take the most
difficult decision - canceling the wedding
ceremony and letting go of who was most
precious to him, his wife. "It was a
difficult decision to make but the doctors
had told me that I have only about two to
three years to live. I had to think of my
wife first and decided to cancel the
wedding. I didn't tell my wife's relatives
that I was HIV positive. I said I was not
well and have to cancel the wedding.
'I hadn't had any sexual relations with my
wife so my mind was clear. However my wife's
relatives' gave me a tough time. They called
the Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital to see what
was wrong with me and when the doctors said
there was nothing wrong with me they tried
to force me to go ahead with the wedding.
But I refused," Bandula explained.
Bandula added that he thinks he contracted
the deadly virus while in Hong Kong or
Singapore and was forced to tell his wife's
younger sister's husband the truth. However
his wife's relative didn't believe him. But
Bandula was determined to save his wife from
this deadly disease and in February, 2003
through his lawyers got a divorce without
telling his wife that he was HIV positive.
"Only my lawyers knew that I was HIV
positive," Bandula explained.
It was in 2007 that Bandula finally met Dr.
Hettiarachchi with the help of a friend and
from then onwards his life changed for the
better. "When I decided to seek treatment
from Dr. Hettiarachchi, HIV positive
patients at the STD clinic told me not to go
for this treatment. The patients said there
are many side effects when taking Sinhala
medicine and the Western medicine won't
agree with the Sinhala medicine.
"Dr. Ananda Wijewickrema at the STD clinic
told me it was my decision to make. But I
took the chance and have never regretted it.
I still go to the STD clinic to get my
vitamins," Bandula said.
He added that he feels much better since he
started the treatment one year and two
months ago. "When I first met Dr.
Hettiarachchi I couldn't talk properly, I
felt very tired and my skin colour was not
the usual brown. Even my eyes were
protruding inward. But today these symptoms
have all gone," Bandula said.
Bandula now has his own catering business
and takes orders. However he takes utmost
precautions when cooking and most often
instructs his assistants to do the cutting
and chopping. "I hope to get married again
someday. I have the confidence that my blood
count will be negative after 10 more months
of medication. There are many NGOs who are
collecting money in the country with the
intention of helping HIV positive patients
but none of this money is coming to the
genuine HIV positive patients," Bandula
HIV has killed 225 people in the country
while 4000 have been recorded HIV positive
Dr. Hettiarachchi uses three main
ingredients, namely animal, plant and
mineral products to cure HIV positive
patients. Speaking to The Sunday Leader Dr.
Hettiarachchi said the cures of ayurvedic
medicine are respected the world over. "It
was our ancestors who discovered these
wonderful remedies that have cured many
people from various ailments. In Sri Lanka
HIV positive patients are treated badly
because the disease is spread through sexual
intercourse. Due to this reason HIV positive
patients keep their condition a secret and
are not willing to talk about it," Dr.
Explaining the stages of HIV Dr.
Hettiarachchi said the first stage of HIV is
when the virus first enters your body.
During the second stage there are no
symptoms to be seen in the patient. In the
third stage the patient's glands get swollen
and in the fourth stage the AIDS related
symptoms can be seen. In the fifth or last
stage the patient is known to have full
blown AIDS," Dr. Hettiarachchi stated.
Dr. Hettiarachchi treats his patients from
his home at Suwa Asapuwa, 98/7, Sisira
Mawatha, Kanda Liyaddapaluwa, Ganemulla. The
doctor administers a two year course that
includes kasaya, guli and karka among others
to his patients. Dr. Hettiarachchi has a
file of confidential documents of all his
patients which he showed to The Sunday
Leader where HIV positive patients whose
blood count was positive, after his
treatment showed a negative report.
More information on this deadly disease can
be obtained from Dr. Hettiarachchi's
Dr. Hettiarachchi's sons, Pradeep
Abeywardene Hettiarachchi and Prageeth
Abeywardene Hettiarachchi help him to treat
his patients. Pradeep is now learning the
ancient art of ayurvedic treatment for snake
bites from his father.
Due to his amazing cures for HIV positive
patients Dr. Hettiarachchi has been offered
the opportunity of practicing his medical
cures in Western countries. "I have turned
down these requests because I feel that I
have to first cure my people before I cure
others," Dr. Hettiarachchi said.
But due to a lack of funds Dr.
Hettiarachchi's patients are likely to
suffer a great loss and even pay with their
lives. "I have treated all these HIV
positive patients with my own money. Some
patients can afford to pay me for their
treatment. I use these patients' money to
treat the ones who can't afford to pay. When
I requested for financial assistance from
the government President Mahinda Rajapakse
instructed Minister Tissa Karaliyadde to
look into the matter. The Ayurveda
Commissioner and Minister Karaliyadde's
secretary have given us support and
assistance, and instructed the relevant
authorities to release the money. However
apart from some financial assistance given
to us a few years back we have not received
any funds to continue with our cure. The
Ayurveda Research Centre in Nawinna has
agreed to release the money if we are wiling
to give them information on how the solution
is made. How can we reveal this kind of
information to them," Dr. Hettiarachchi
Hoteliers hoping for
General Manager, Cinnamon Grand, Rohan
General Manager Colombo Continental
General Manager, Galadari Hotel,
By Nirmala Kannangara
With the fes-tive season round the corner
city hotels are embracing the festive mood
and a special place has been given for
decorations that herald the Christmas season
and the dawn of yet another New Year.
Arrangements have been made to celebrate the
birth of Lord Jesus Christ and to welcome
the New Year in grand style but with the
current global and local financial
situation, hoteliers are not certain whether
their festive plans would be something to
Almost all the hotels in the country have
already decorated their buildings with
eye-catching decorations to greet the season
but they cannot help but wonder as to
whether their regular guests would patronise
the special events considering the global
financial crisis and the local security
"With the terrible incidents in Mumbai,
South Asian countries have become unsafe
places to visit and Sri Lanka too would feel
the impact of the Indian situation in the
days to come. As a result most probably we
would no longer be an ideal holiday
destination among the European travelers
mainly during the festive season and the
global financial crisis, which has impacted
the locals indirectly too will have an
impact on us. As a result we can only hope
for the best this time. But since it is a
tradition we will be having the prearranged
programmes for Christmas and New Year's
Eve," some leading hoteliers told The Sunday
New Year dances cancelled
However although most of the city hotels
have cancelled their New Year dances due to
the prevailing financial and security
concerns in the country, Cinnamon Grand,
Continental Hotel and Galadari Hotel as
usual will be in full swing on December 31
and according to General Manager Galadari
Hotel, Sampath Siriwardena the band Aquarius
will provide music for the hotel's New
Year's eve dinner dance.
"December is generally the best month in our
calendar and right on top of all priorities
is entertainment. To enhance the festive
mood we have Aquarius exclusively playing at
Margarita Blue on Fridays and Saturdays and
they will round up their stay with Galadari
with the traditional 31st night celebrations
in the Ballroom," Siriwardena added.
According to Siriwardena although the hotel
has planned a gala dinner buffet still he
was not sure whether the usual guests will
'make it' on December 31 with the present
"We will be laying out a grand dinner buffet
and unless we receive the patronage that we
are expecting, it will be a total loss. The
previous years the hotel received
tremendous support from customers and this
time considering the cost factor and also
the country's situation it is really hard to
say what would happen at the last moment but
up to now we have received many reservations
but still until the tickets are sold we are
not in a position to predict," Siriwardena
Siriwardena further said that the Ballroom
dance is not only for adults but also for
the entire family as parents wish to take
their kids with them for the New Year's
All is set for a sumptuous Christmas lunch
and the children could drop a letter to
Santa with their wish list and receive a
gift from him on Christmas day lunch. Paul
Pereira will provide soothing music during
Christmas Eve and for the Christmas dinner
at California Grill according to GM
Meanwhile Cinnamon Grand Colombo in
association with Soul Sounds will be
presenting Many Moods Of Christmas - an
enchanting musical evening for the entire
family on Christmas Eve. A special
Christmas buffet would be served at all of
the hotel's outlets according to sources.
At Cinnamon Grand
Cinnamon Grand sources meanwhile told The
Sunday Leader that with the curtain coming
down on year 2008 and to welcome the New
Year a host of activities have been planned
to celebrate in style. "Begin the New Year
on the right note with Misty and Sohan & the
X-periments that will present a musical
fiesta to blast through 31st night.
However General Manager, Trans Asia Hotel,
Neroy Marso said that the hotel would not
hold the traditional 31st night dance this
year but will have a gala dinner party by
the poolside to welcome the New Year and a
special Christmas Eve dinner will be served
in the hotel's food outlets.
Also an extensive buffet to fulfill the
expectations of a traditional Christmas
dinner will be served at Summerfield's Caf‚.
The Royal Thai, Saffron and Long Feng
restaurants invite their clientele for a
specially crafted dinner menu to unfold
"We expect a better crowd for Christmas and
New Year's Eve this year and guests could
join in with the choristers and sing carols.
Children could give a big hug to Santa and
enjoy the delicacies that are awaiting the
guests," according to General Manager Marso.
Marso told The Sunday Leader that a gala
dinner buffet will be laid out at the
Summerfields Caf‚ on 31st night and the gala
poolside party will be packed with
entertainment for everybody - rides and
games for the young and old alike and music
by Ricky Bahar with Legacy and DJ Udi will
keep guests rocking the night away.
"With fireworks and many more entertainment
items on the cards TransAsia will make the
31st a day to remember. We are mostly
expecting our regular clientele and the
expatriates to patronise us this time too to
make New Year's Eve a success," added Marso.
Colombo Continental Hotel sources meanwhile
told The Sunday Leader that they are
expecting a good response for the gala
dinner dance at the Sapphire Ballroom with
the ever-famous Sunil Perera and the Gypsies
"We have already received many reservation
inquiries and we are hopeful that we would
be able to sell out our tickets for the
dinner dance," the sources added.
According to the sources a special Christmas
Eve dinner will be served at Caf‚ Emerald
7pm onwards and the Christmas brunch and the traditional
Christmas dinner too will be served at the
"We are expecting a good crowd for the
dinner dance and a scrumptious dinner by our
master chef will be awaiting our guests.
Even at the Heist Bar a DJ will keep guests
spellbound throughout the last night of
2008," sources said.
At Mt.Lavinia Hotel
Meanwhile Mt. Lavinia Hotel which is yet
another hotspot for entertainment during the
festive season will have its traditional
Christmas Eve dinner with Lazer at the
Governor's Restaurant by the pool side and
the Hut discotheque will come alive with DJ
Rajeeva to keep the guests entertained.
"A Christmas Around The World' lunch will be
served at the Empire Ballroom with Lazer in
attendance and the Christmas day dinner will
be served at Governor's Restaurant with
Chandimal and the Second Connection and
guests could go Mediterranean for dinner at
the Governor's Restaurant on Boxing Day,"
hotel sources told The Sunday Leader.
According to the sources a gala dinner dance
to welcome the New Year under the canopy of
glittering stars with Phase Three and DJ
Pier with fabulous fireworks, a kothu
station and traditional breakfast has been
organised. The Hut and Sea Food Cove too are
ready to welcome year 2009 with DJ Rajeeva
and a scrumptious sea food dinner to blast
through to the New Year.
Justice P. Ramanathan
- a man of principled conduct
Justice P. Ramanathan
"Justum et tenacem propositi Virum"
(A man upright and tenacious of purpose.)
Orate Odes III
Justice P. Ramanathan passed away peacefully
at his home on December 7, 2006. Two close
friends and his dutiful wife Mano, who
always looked after him with great care,
were by his side. It was in the fitness of
things that his death was as peaceful as was
the way he lived all his life - in quiet
dignity. Sunt lacrimae rerum (Virgil) -
Mortal things are suffused with tears" - and
so it had to be with Rama.
He belonged to a well-known family. His
great grandfather was Sir Ponnambalam
Ramanathan, Solicitor-General, King's
Counsel and a distinguished member of the
Legislative Council. His great grand uncle
was Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam, the first
Ceylonese to enter the Ceylon Civil Service
and was Registrar General for several years.
Sir Muthu Coomaraswamy was also a relative
from an earlier generation. The family was
renowned for its philanthrophy, munificence
and service to the people.
Much has already been said and written about
his career as a prosecutor in the Department
of the Attorney-General and the various
judicial positions he held with honour;
first, as a Judge of the High Court,
thereafter as a Judge and President of the
Court of Appeal and finally as a judge of
the Supreme Court. It is therefore
unnecessary for me to advert to his career,
except to say that he possessed in ample
measure the essential attributes of a good
judge, namely, impartiality, integrity, and
a strong sense of justice and fairness.
On this occasion, I would like to refer
briefly to his personal qualities which
permeated and vitalised his entire being.
These were the mainspring of his life. It is
precisely these qualities which endeared
him, in a special way, to a very wide circle
It is a little known fact that he had an
impish sense of humour, and a very rare
capacity to laugh at himself! Many years
ago, we went on a holiday to Anuradhapura.
Rama was then the judge of the High Court at
We dropped in at the court-house and our
younger daughter, Swanthri, asked him,
"Uncle, where does the 'rogue' sit?" He
unhesitatingly pointed to the Bench and said
"As far as I know, the 'rogue' sits there!"
The spontaneous reply to a question asked by
a child revealed a heart and mind as big as
his physique. High office sat lightly on
His personal qualities and attributes were
unique. He was blessed with a nature devoid
of meanness, pettiness, malice, envy,
ill-will and arrogance. On the contrary, he
was richly endowed with positive qualities
such as generosity, hospitality,
magnanimity, moral integrity, compassion and
an abundance of good-will to all, including
the few who disliked him!
He was never self-righteous nor
'moralistic.' He was unassuming to a fault.
It is but rarely that one meets with a
person so loyal in friendship, and so
resolute and unswerving in principled
conduct. He certainly measured up to the
Roman ideal, "Honeste vivere neminem laedere"
(I have lived honourably, I have never
His journey came to an end two years ago.
Ours may continue for a short while longer,
but the fragrance of his memory will remain
undimmed and undiminished in the hearts and
minds of all those who had the good fortune
to have known him. I consider it a privilege
to have associated with him closely and to
have worked with him. The oft quoted lines
from Hamlet epitomise his life and work.
"He was a man, take him for all in all. [We]
shall not look upon his like again."
- G.P.S. de Silva
Living in Wellawatte
By Thilaka Vivekanandan Wijeratnam
Come evening all along the byroads of
Wellawatte are groups of housewives, many of
them in housecoats and yet others in 'maxies,'
lamenting about the high cost of living and
how to cope with the house rents and the
herculean task of feeding several mouths
with three meals a day.
Invariably the topic is the high cost of
living. It is a sound reason for the
landlords to raise the rents. The poor
tenants are at their wits end trying to find
the money for the advance payments and the
monthly rent thereafter.
The seemingly inhuman house-owners are like
heartless predators hunting for money all
the time. The worst fact is that some of
them are so wealthy that they have enough
money for the next two generations of theirs
to live in comfort.
Yet they continue to eye prospective tenants
especially the lone widows who get foreign
currency, or parents with children overseas.
In fact one landlord told the writer, "You
have children living abroad, you can easily
give two years advance." He recoiled and
made a hasty retreat when he got the answer:
"My children are walking in the snow to work
and I will never fatten the purse of a
greedy third person with their hard earned
money, whatever physical discomforts I have
He was probably thinking of the two years
interest he would lose.
Fine for living in Wellawatte
This is in addition to the cost of fish,
meat and vegetables which have 'special'
prices in the city of
The residents of Wellawatte pay the highest
prices for vegetables, fruits and fish in
the city of Colombo. Never are vegetables
and fruits sold at reasonable prices, be
they in season or not. To the vendors too
the people of Wellawatte have to 'pay up'
whether they like it or not.
It is more like paying a fine for living in
Wellawatte. But who are we going to complain
In addition to the high cost of fruits and
vegetables comes the monthly bills - water,
electricity and telephone bills.
People of Wellawatte have always been
generous to beggars on the wayside. But now
they hardly notice the hungry, the old and
the infirm, the figures in rags crouching on
the pavement, because the residents
themselves are fast getting there.
The clusters of women chatting in the
evening talk only about the cost of living
and the house rent. "Won't the government
put a ceiling on these exorbitant rents?"
"Our people are so crafty they will give a
receipt for a much lesser amount to hoodwink
the authorities and exhort the money somehow
or other. "You can't beat them," said one
"Well, the house-owners also have to cope
with the cost of living," said one
"You can afford to give high rent because
you get the money from abroad," retorts
"People like you spoil the greedy dogs,"
said another while the others nodded their
heads in approval.
"Leave that alone, do you know the price of
250 grams of leeks, carrots or any other
vegetables?" asked another housewife.
"What vegetables! What about fish and
chicken? We will soon have to use some
essence for the taste of chicken. If we
cannot cook at home, we will have to eat a
packet of rice sold outside - that is also
double the price now," they lamented.
"What about bread?" queried another.
"Whoever thought about paying Rs.40 for a
loaf of bread," was the pathetic question.
"What can we do, we have to live no. Tighten
our belts to feed the brutes," sighed the
"Well, we have to be sensible now and forget
about other things like clothing, shoes and
accessories," they all agreed.
"We have to stop going for films, picnics,
buying jewellery, fashionable slippers, hand
bags etc. and spend whatever money we have
only on food items," they rationalised.
"Quite right. We cannot do all that now, we
will have to merely exist. Now only we are
beginning to understand the difference
between living and existing," they agreed.
"We cannot stop this discussion without our
curry leaves. Now carrying a bunch of curry
leaves has become as expensive as carrying a
bouquet - Rs.20 for a bunch of curry leaves.
"Look at us in our old, faded housecoats
discussing curry leaves when we actually
should be discussing clothes. We are
drinking plain tea or black tea or whatever
you call it. How to buy milk powder? I keep
one box in case we have visitors. My
children grumble when they see black tea.
They tell me do not be a miser amma," said
one lady sadly.
"Oh, I serve plain tea to visitors too. Now
even at our committee meeting, we have no
bites or shorts eats. Just plain tea. I
don't want to be a member. You can't blame
them, even a vadai is Rs.20. How can they
spend over Rs.1000 for shorts eats,"
lamented an active lady in our midst.
"Well, let us learn to look at the brighter
side. We will now lessen our sugar and
cholesterol levels. No milk powder, no
coconut milk, no fleshy stuff, just some
measly vegetables," said a wise one.
As the sun set, we dispersed and walked into
our dimly lit houses. Life continues in
Wellawatte, amidst tears, heartbreak and
Weather - the safest of topics
Although it is a bit windy at the moment, we
are all right unless we wear flared skirts
or carry umbrellas that have a tendency to
turn inside out. I remember this boy who
made a parachute out of a bed sheet and was
contemplating jumping from the balcony of
his house, on a windy day. Luckily, his mum
who was out, called, and she alerted the
next door neighbour to stop him before he
It was a nightmare when we had to go to
school on a windy day, as our knife pleated
uniforms would rise up and expose our
underskirts or petticoats. Since it was not
the done thing to carry schoolbags, we
carried our books by hand, so we were left
with just one hand to battle it out. Of
course, you could just fling all your books
and stuff on the pavement, but that meant
trouble too. And when you pulled the front
of your skirt down, the back would be
merrily flying high up overhead!
One of the nicer things about windy days was
that everyone would start flying kites.
Mostly it would be boys, but some girls too
did engage in this activity. Sometimes there
would be a kind of a game where you tried to
bring down someone else's kite by getting
the string attached tangled up in yours.
The Galle Face Green would be full of kite
flyers, since there was uninterrupted space
as well as a strong breeze. There would also
be vendors trying to sell colourful paper
windmills and other toys which were wind
operated. Of course, every little kid who
spotted these would want one.
We would also make paper rockets that would
whizz around the classroom, a welcome
distraction to a dull and dreary subject. Of
course, the teacher would not be amused and
ask us if we thought we were boys instead of
ladylike girls! I love wind chimes, and I
have hung several up at home since we have
open space with plenty of wind whistling
through. The tinkling sound of bells is
always so very pleasant and soothing to the
What I didn't like, was the moaning sound
the wind would make in the night, with
ominous creaks accompanying it. It was
really eerie, and once when we were in the
hill country, it moaned so loud it sounded
like a human being wailing and groaning. We
were up most of that night!
Sometimes, we would drape a white bed sheet
over ourselves and make ghostly sounding
noises and scare each other. We would sneak
down to the sea and be drenched by the spray
from the enormous waves. Our parents would
be none the wiser! We even had a sort of
tornado recently in a coastal area, that had
left considerable destruction in its wake.
Once, in a well-known restaurant famed for
its alfresco dining, on a windy night a part
of the roof landed amongst us!
Luckily no one was hurt, but most of the
patrons weren't amused at all. The other
thing I don't like is that beautiful flowers
are ruined. What a waste! But the good thing
is all the dried leaves and twigs fall off
the trees, though not for the person who
sweeps up. Lots of flying objects have to be
avoided and grit gets in your eyes.
Across the world, my friend in Switzerland
says her bottom is frozen to her chair, and
she might have to thaw it out before
attempting to get up. It's snowing and
getting colder and colder. We are luckier in
that sense. She's addicted to Hagen Das ice
cream, which she moodily spoons into her
mouth in a trance like state, whilst
contemplating life. She kicked up a huge row
at her regular ice cream outlet as they
wouldn't stock her favourite, Double
Chocolate Chip, during winter.
"Imagine," she said indignantly, "how can I
wait until summer to eat it again?" They
tried patiently to explain to her that ice
cream sales were down in winter, normal
people ate it only in warmer weather. So she
had to resign herself to another flavour. My
other pal who returned from there says her
son enjoyed sledding and skiing on the snowy
mountain slopes. Another friend in the Saudi
desert says it's very pleasant and cool
there now. A most safe and non controversial
topic, the weather! Keeps conversation
flowing smoothly, doesn't it, when there are
gaps and lulls?
- Honky Tonk Woman
At a local coffee bar, a young woman was
expounding on her idea of a perfect mate to
some of her friends. "The man I marry must
be a shining light amongst company. He must
be musical. Tell jokes. Sing. Entertain. And
stay home at night!"
An old granny overheard and spoke up, "Girl,
if that's all you want, get a TV!"
A small, uncertain, and nervous witness was
being cross-examined. The lawyer thundered
at him: "Have you ever been married?"
"Yes, sir," said the witness in a low voice.
"Whom did you marry?"
"Well, a woman."
The lawyer said angrily, "Of course you
married a woman. Did you ever hear of anyone
marrying a man?"
And the witness said meekly, "My sister
A gentleman goes to an estate sale and
notices that one of the items for sale is a
large parrot. He's always wanted a talking
bird, so when it comes up for bidding he
The bidding proceeds hot and heavy with
someone always bidding ten dollars more than
he until the parrot is finally sold to him
When he goes to get the bird, he asks the
auctioneer, "Can the bird talk?"
The auctioneer replied, "Who do you think
was bidding against you?
For his wife's birthday party, George
ordered a cake with this inscription:
"You are not getting older. You are just
Asked how he wanted the message arranged, he
said, "Just put 'You are not getting older'
at the top and 'You are just getting better'
at the bottom."
It wasn't until the maid served the cake
that he discovered, that the cake read:
"You are not getting older at the top. You
are just getting better at the bottom."
A man was telling his neighbour, "I just
bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four
thousand dollars, but it's state of the art
and the best I could find."
"Really," answered the neighbour. "What kind
One Sunday a priest announced he was passing
out miniature crosses made of palm leaves.
"Put this cross in the room where your
family argues most," he advised. "When you
look at it, the cross will remind you that
God is watching."
When the parishioners were leaving church, a
woman walked up to the priest, shook his
hand and said, "I'll take five."
Ira and Esther Goldberg had a large family
of seven healthy children. They moved to
America from Europe and were having a
difficult time finding an apartment to live
Many apartments were large enough, but the
landlords objected to such a large family.
After several days of unsuccessful
searching, Ira asked Esther to take the four
younger children to visit the cemetery,
while he took the older three to find an
apartment. After they had looked most of the
morning, they found a place that was just
right. The landlord asked the usual
question: "How many children do you have?"
Ira answered with a deep sigh, "Seven...but
four are with their dear mother in the
He got the apartment!
Birth of the dictionary
Like a lot of husbands throughout history,
Webster would sit down and try to talk to
his wife. But as soon as he would start to
say something, his wife said, "And what's
that supposed to mean?"
Thus, Webster's Dictionary was born.
The young couple invited their aged pastor
for Sunday dinner. While they were in the
kitchen preparing the meal, the minister
asked their son what they were having.
"Goat," the little boy replied.
"Goat?" replied the startled man of the
cloth, "Are you sure about that?"
"Yep," said the youngster. "I heard Pa say
to Ma, 'Might as well have the old goat for
An applicant was filling out a job
application. When he came to the question,
"Have you ever been arrested?" he wrote,
The next question, intended for people who
had answered in the affirmative to the
previous question, was "Why?"
The applicant answered it anyway: "Never got
Woman to husband: "You know, somebody
actually complemented me on my driving
today. They left a little note on the
windscreen, it said 'Parking Fine.' So that