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World Affairs








Innovative cloth bags to beat the polythene habit

Menu Princy

By Risidra Mendis

She is a designer with creative  ideas. A designer whose policy is  to at all times protect the environment, by producing environment friendly products out of raw materials.

For Menu Princy, her love for the environment begun from her childhood days. Her love for nature and animals made her think of ways and means where she could take on the responsibility to do what she can to protect the environment.

Speaking to The Sunday Leader Princy said she was horrified when she saw the large amount of polythene being used in the country.

"Everywhere you look there is polythene. The roads are polluted with polythene the drains are blocked with polythene and even the national parks and many beautiful places in the country are polluted with this deadly material," Princy said.

Polythene menace

She added that when she saw the destruction created by the polythene menace she wanted to create a change in the minds of the people. "People are not aware that instead of using polythene bags and polluting the environment they can use beautiful cloth bags made out of handloom and jute material. If you love your country you can take the effort to create that difference among the people which is what I did," Princy explained. 

Princy initially had no idea what she wanted to do and how she could design her cloth bags. But the more she thought about it the ideas begun to flow and Princy was soon on her way to producing unique and innovative cloth bags made out of jute and handloom materials. 

She then went on to designing jewellery made out of beads and flowers made out of raw materials and the barks of trees. Her latest innovation however are colourful soft toys made out of handloom materials. Soft toys of animals and birds made out of cloth are her speciality.

Inborn talent

Today Princy has created a name for herself by the inborn talent that she has put to good use. She is now planning to conduct classes in outstation areas for those hoping to start their own businesses.

She is presently conducting classes on Sirasa TV's Jeevithayata Ida Denna every Thursday where she encourages housewives and anybody interested, to learn the art of sewing environment friendly bags and engage in self employment.

From lawyer to professional opera singer

The recital by Kishani Jayasinghe Wijayasekara was an overwhelming success both for Kishani and I, believe the organisers as it was a packed house and all tickets sold one week before the concert. Kishani and all who helped in the concert I believe performed their services for the worthy cause of a charity with no charge.

Her performance was one which can never be erased in the minds of our local classical music lovers and those foreigners who graced the occasion. I sing her praises because I had the opportunity of listening to her singing at her parent's home on odd occasions. At one of our Christmas parties when she sang she was hitting the high "C" effortlessly.

 This was about six or seven years ago. Even at this stage this young lady exhibited a quality of well-balanced highs and lows. Though at the time - about 1998- her voice required refinement. I knew she would go places with a little guidance and training.

 Thank God, a few months later she left these shores to read for a degree in law. Whilst studying for her LLM at Nottingham University fate had her meet up with a music professor, Pamela Cook MBE who I am sure was quick to observe the quality of voice and as fate had it change the course of destiny for Kishani from a lawyer into a professional opera singer, a career her musical family accepted with great joy.

From 2006 when she was offered a place as the only soprano out of a list of several international applicants on the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House her career in music took a meteoric rise.

Those who heard Kishani at the Lionel Wendt on January  9 will, I am sure, never forget her well formed silky voice flowing in a light breeze and her comic and perfect expressions delightful and a treat to watch. At times she appeared as a mature, compelling and irresistible artiste to her listeners. I can without doubt pitch her with the divas of the lyrical and coloratura sopranos.

Her choice of Christopher Glynn could not have been any better. He followed the artiste and never did try to exhibit his great artistry.  Kishani's rendition of Temerari from Mozart's  Cosi  Fam Tutte closely resembles the rendition of  Elizabeth Schwarzkopf  -  a great soprano in my book and whose voice is an elixir to a tired mind and we in Sri Lanka are blessed with one of our own who can do likewise to  any musically powerful and  a dramatically demanding  role.

Of Puccini's operas  La boheme is renowned for its melodic charm and freshness and perfect balance between comedy and sadness. Kishani was best in all her renditions and  her Quando men'vo as  Mademoiselle Musette in Puccini's La Boheme as a fine and beautiful girl was the true Kishani for us. Kishani, affectionate and humble and simple, you will undoubtedly make us really proud of you, so God bless you.

Top of Form

Miss India Beauty queen of yesteryear who left behind a vibrant trail of glamour. Her beauty peered out at a time when beauty was not in business. Beauty shows were not in order then - infact it was more an exception than a rule for a beautiful girl to emerge this way.

But the beauty of Pramila could not be masked. And this glamour girl of yesteryear made history - with  a special look and a special daring. Pramila is the winner of the  first Miss India title (held in the year 1949). The  senior lady on a chair is a more recent Pramila in her '90s. Pramila is Esther Victoria Abraham of Jewish origin from Kerala.

Pramila was  the first Miss India in 1949. She hailed from Kerala. Pramila passed away recently at the ripe old age of 90 years, but there is no doubt that with her beauty and her acclaimed title in the early years, she did make history.

Born Esther Victoria Abraham,  she was a great-grandmother when she died. Sheled a long career as a stunt film star. Her daughter, Naqi Jahan, too  became a beauty queen in 1967. Pramila was elected through a special press vote as the most beautiful woman of India. The saga of independent India's first-ever beauty queen came to a close on August 6, when Esther Abraham, screen named Pramila, faded into an eternal dissolve.

A born rebel, she walked out of her conservative Baghdadi Jewish home in Kolkata at 17 to join a theatre company. She went on to realise her real dream and blazed across the Indian screen as a vamp and a fearless stunt star in 30 films, including Ulti Ganga, Bijli, Basant and Jungle King. She became the first major female film producer, with 16 films under her Silver Productions banner.

D. M. Madhok wrote Choli Ke Andar lyrics for her, years before Madhuri Dixit was born and then Bombay Chief Minister Morarji Desai had her wrongly arrested as a Pakistani spy because of her visits to that country to distribute films.

In a big bad man's world, she wore the pants and led an interesting personal life. As a teenager, she eloped with Marwari theatre director Manicklal Dangi. She later married actor Kumar (who appeared in Mughal-e-Azam and Shri 420) before settling down to live with Parsi filmmaker Nari Gadhali for four decades after Kumar migrated to Pakistan.

Book launch

Manaranjana Mithya Katha, a book by journalist Thilak Senasinghe will be launched on February 27 at 4 p.m at 65/4 Guru Meduru Auditorium at J.M.C Road off Chittampalam A Gardiner Mawatha, Colombo.

Manaranjana Mithya Katha will be available at Sarasavi Bookshop Nugegoda.

Loyal metal heads are once again summoned to the first official underground gathering for 2009 featuring the critically acclaimed Sri-Metal band Whirlwind.

The band is back to storm and bring down the hills of Kandy with a new breed of followers!

Be a part of the official underground movement - supporting the quest of Sri Metal at Garden Club, Kandy on February 28 from 5pm onwards as one of Sri Lanka's best metal bands takes centre stage in a much anticipated gig called 'The Summoning.'

The event will also feature a guest performance by Maria, a talented solo vocalist and the country's first female drummer.

For information on tickets, contact 0722123216 or email whirlwindrocks@gmail.com.


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