Sunday, January 31, 2010

Don't stone me plz!

The following post is just me practising writing, and does not reflect my personal views. Srsly! ;)

Man loves burning stuff. Ever since the earliest days of civilisation, they have held the ability to burn stuff in high esteem. Greek mythology speaks of how the humans stole from the gods this rare treasure called fire. Fire burns. Food on election night, the opponent's offices the day after. But I digress.

Humans have been burning stuff from the beginning of time. Chopping down trees. Burning down cities. Driving entire species into extinction. Some may call this 'destruction'. But *some* may call this 'cultivation', or 'progress'. Humans have evolved, from burning wood on an open fire, to burning coal in a stove, to burning petroleum inside sealed engines. They will progress, in due course, to burning Hydrogen into Helium, in a process known as fusion, but till that process is perfected, we're stuck with oil.

Then, there's our Facebook generation. Discontent with not being able to do anything worthwhile with their lives, they play Farmville instead. The whole anthropogenic climate change debate is like big old Lake Baikal in the middle of their lifeless desert. Hence the activism, and the need to 'make a change'. The generation before them went to the Moon. Now it's their chance to shine. How could anyone claim that climate change isn't happening, or that it isn't caused by human activity?! How unscientific, and even more importantly, how uncool! To dash the dream of an entire generation. A dream to stop humans from progressing and moving on to something more sustainable. Nooooo, don't do it man!

But take my advice son, you can't turn back 500,000 years of 'damage' in one or two decades. And when an issue becomes too big for you to solve, do what we islanders do when things don't go our way. Sit back, relax, and think about how everything is not as bad as it could be as you doze off in the new, improved, and definitely warmer Planet Earth! ;)

And Mr. Hippie, next time you're sitting there smoking some good 'Mother Nature', think about the Carbon emissions man!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Morning After

I look around as I enter Uni. Everywhere I look, people have their sad face on. Hushed discussions between like-minded folk in the canteen speak of various ways in which the election was rigged. Non offer any solid evidence, but they seem convinced, and sad. The Colombo middle class, the UNP's most bankable vote block, has once again been disappointed. There seems to be a silent consensus that we're indeed doomed to 8 (or 6, depending on who you ask) more years of the same corruption and nepotism.

Election night, I was at a friend's OMGWTFBBQ-night. Most of the guys there were leaving the country for higher education in the next month or so. The firm belief that the opposition candidate was going to win evaporated (like the food on the table, earlier in the night) as the results came in, one defeat at a time. My friends were sure glad that they were escaping the hell-hole well before the storm strikes. I on the other hand, thought about what Cerno said, and focused my attention on watching 'Sherlock Holmes' projected onto the wall instead. But it sure sucks being a UNPer these days... these Royalists are like, inherently bad at running it, nuh? ;)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

This Ad...

...actually made me think twice about who I'm going to support at the upcoming presidential election... ;) I just loved, LOVED the tune! :D

Monday, January 18, 2010

Anuradhapura: Part 2

Part 1 can be seen here

Thuparamaya at night



It was about 7 AM the next day when we arrived at Mirisawatiya, and we were greeted by some retired test cricketers! ;)

...and these 3 handsome kingfishers:

...and a family of mynas, looking wet after a bath! :D

We planned to visit Thanthirimale, the Charikaramaya and Isurumuniya afterwards. 

Both Thanthirimale and the Charikaramaya were really really green with trees growing and lakes filled up due to the monsoon rains. They seemed much greener than when Harumi visited last August.


Thanthirimale is believed to be the ancient village of 'Thiwanka Bamunugama', where the party led by King Tissa transporting the Sri Maha Bodhi sapling to Anuradhapura are said to have rested. 


One of the original 8 saplings from the Bodhi in Anuradhapura
is said to have been planted in Thanthirimale


Thanthirimale can only be described as a vast sea of
Granite. Please visit before the sun heats up the rock and makes it impassable.

The new shrine room was completed recently thanks to
donations made by pilgrims who visited Thanthirimale

Some of the footpaths in Thanthirimale had been flooded by the rainwater.

The Charikaramaya

The 'Siri Sambuddha Pancha Sathika Shrawaka Charikaramaya' (situated on the Wilachchiya road, which we use to travel to Thanthirimale) had been mostly completed, with only the last few (about 100-50) statues and rock-shaped Shrine room were yet to be completed and painted. When completed the statues will depict The Buddha and 500 disciples travelling on foot. Every statue is unique in the sense that they had taken pains to make small differences to the faces and stances of each disciple.


Some statues and the rock-shaped Shrine room were
yet to be completed.


We visited Isurumuniya (near the Tissa wewa bund) and as traditionally done, threw coins into a carved niche in the rock, which if done successfully, is supposed to grant your wish. Yeah, you're supposed to make a wish before you throw the coin, and I forgot this essential detail in my hurry to somehow impress everyone by throwing a coin in. I overheard someone there saying "I hoped for an overwhelming victory for the President" but yeah, let's not go there! :P

Lucky Niche

Isurumuni rock, as seen above the shrine room

Some say this is the family of King Dutugemunu (erm, no jokes here! lol)

Isurumuni Lovers

Last pic my camera snapped before the battery went boo-hoo! :(


We usually stay at M.R. Tourist Rest on Kurunegala Road, near Wessagiriya complex. It's a good place with tiled bathrooms and good food. The manager, Mr. Dissanayaka, can be contacted on 025-7902255. Yes, I was paid to promote them, envy me! :P

So yeah, that was my long weekend! It was totally worth cutting uni on Friday... ;D

what??!! :P

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Anuradhapura: Part 1

Well, a new year has arrived and I couldn't even write a post yet. So, here's one about a trip that I just returned from!  

Spoiler: It has ECLIPSE photos!!! :D

We arrived in Anuradhapura on the evening of the 14th, passing the beautiful Knuckles range and the city of Matale as we headed there from Kandy. In stark contrast to the last time I visited, around July, everything was green this time, the lakes were overflowing with water, and the flora and fauna were in full celebration, after the much needed North-East monsoon successfully delivered her cargo in the last few weeks.

On the 15th morning, we visited the Sri Maha Bodhi, followed by the Jethawanarama complex (including the museum, which we hadn't visited before) and then Mihinthale in the afternoon.

The Bodhi 

The original sapling is held up by the golden supports. There are 4 saplings
planted around the original sapling in order to protect it.


This was once the tallest stupa in the world, and is still the largest,
with a volume of 233 thousand cubic meters. (Wikipedia)

The Jetavanaramaya shrine room has the old flags of Sri Lanka's provinces depicted
on the ceiling. Being the avid amateur vexillologist that I am, I snapped two photos.

 The Peacock flag is from Walapane.

The Museum

...was a bit anal with their photography rules that didn't let me take any photographs inside the building. But if you ever visit A'pura, this place is a MUST visit. You would be amazed at the stuff that they have on display, including a piece of gold less than a centimetre long, on which the ancients had managed to intricately carve 18 or so flowers! There were also bead-necklaces on display, which to me atleast, proved that the ancients had pretty awesome colour coordination skills, since they had used beautiful turquoise and jade coloured stones. Damn I wish I had pics! :(

I did snap these outside the building though:

Stone used to store semi-precious stones and other 'treasure' in the foundations
of ancient buildings. Somewhat akin to modern day Mulgal or foundation stones.

Our ancestors were really good at plumbing, as Cerno would say! :D

Kuttam Pokuna

The twin ponds, or Kuttam Pokuna (or should that be Pokunu?) seemed to be a really popular photo-op for newly wed couples. We met two such couples during our brief visit... :)


Stupas from Afar

We then visited the Basawakkulama lake bund to catch a glimpse of Anuradhapura's monuments from afar. We saw 4 major stupas from here: Ruwanwelisaya, Abhayagiriya, Jetavanaramaya and Mirisawetiya.

 Ruwanwelisaya over the lake...

...and Abhayagiriya over the paddy fields.


We had our lunch, but totally forgot about the whole annular eclipse taking place, till some guys turned up at the place we were staying with an x-ray and started looking at the sun. The environment grew really dark, and it felt as if you were looking at the world through a tinted glass! I managed to capture the eclipse using the x-ray. Yeah, I know it's not safe to do that, but this could be the last annular eclipse any of us get to see, so I took that risk regardless! :)




Ambastala Stupa

We visited the cradle of Buddhist civilization in Sri Lanka in the evening, when the rock would cool down enough so that we could make the climb. The panoramic views were breathtaking. I simply love being on high, windy places, as long as there's a railing to cling onto! :D (I have a semi- fear of heights I guess!)

We first climbed to the Mihinthale Maha Stupa, which is a very easy climb with good cement steps:

Mihinthale Maha Stupa

 above and below: view from Maha Stupa

We then climbed the 'Aradana gala', where the Arahath Mahinda landed and is said to have made first contact with Tissa, King of Lanka.

Aradana gala (which translates to 'Rock of Invitation')

I'm particularly happy with this one handed snap I took from the top
of 'Aradana gala', looking at the Maha Stupa. I was (predictably)
clinging on for dear life with my other hand! :D

Ok, 20 photos on a single post is stretching it, so I'll have to break this post into two pieces. I've written the post and scheduled it for tomorrow... :)

And please don't forget to check out Harumi's photoblog for a beautifully written and very detailed account of the historic and religious sites in Anuradhapura... :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

මේ ගසේ බොහෝ...

ඉස්ඉස්සෙල්ලාම ලැබුවාවූ 2010 නව වසර කිරියෙන් පැණියෙන් (දෙජාතියේම පැණි හොඳේ! හික්ස්!) පිරුණු සෞභාග්‍යමත් වසරක් වේවායැයි පතනවා! :D

මට අනාදිමත් කාලෙක ඉඳල සිංහලෙන් බ්ලොග් එකක් ලියන්න ලොකු ආසාවක් තිබුන, ඒත් කරුමෙට වගෙ මට විජේසේකර යතුරු පුවරුව අල්ලගන්න පොඩ්ඩක් අමාරු වෙලා තමයි හිටියෙ... මගේ හොඳ මිත්‍ර චතුර සහොදරයා ඕකට හොඳ විසඳුමකුත් දුන්න, ඒත් ඉතින් මම කම්මලියානෙ! වැඩේ වුනේ නෑ කොහොම හරි... හික්ස්! ;)

කොහොම කොහොම හරි ඉතින් මට දැනගන්න ලැබුනා මේ qsFOX කියන ගිණිනරියා extension එක ගැන... මමත් ඕක දාන්නෙ නතුව අදි මදි කරා නරියා තවත් ස්ලෝ වෙයි කියල බයට. එත් මේක දැම්මට පස්සෙ කිසිම ප්‍රශ්නයක් නැතුව වැඩ! මේකෙ නිර්මාතෲවරු දෙදෙනාට මාගෙ ප්‍රණාමය!

හ්ම්ම්ම් තව මොනාද කියන්න තියෙන්නෙ? මම ඊයෙ පෙරුම් පුරල පෙරුම් පුරල අන්තිමේට ස්ටැන්ලි ක්‍යූබ්‍රික් සහ ආතර් සී. ක්ලාක් ගෙ 2001: A Space Odyssey චිත්‍රපටය බැලුවා! 21වන සතවර්ෂයේ ජීවත් වුනත් 1968 නිමවුන මේ සිනමා කෘතියේ එන විශේෂ ප්‍රයෝග දැක්කහම පුදුම හිතෙනව! ඒව එච්චරට අනර්ඝයි!

හරි, මගේ පළමු සිංහල සටහන අහවර කරන්නයි දැන් යන්නෙ. ව්‍යාකරණ දෝශ එහෙම තියෙනවනම්  සමාවෙන්නැයි ඉල්ලා ඉන්නවා! ඒව මගේ හොඳ සාමන්‍ය පෙළ මිස්ටවත් හදන්න බැරි වුනානෙ! :(