My Dream Girl


Udyani1This is a picture I drew with only a pencil  in 1995, when I was 23. She was my dream girl but it happened to be an unreciprocated love. No hard feelings. We just remained friends.

 

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සයිබීරියාවෙන් පෙරදිගට – සුදත් පොඩිරත්න


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මා කුඩා කලම සංචාර ගැන ලියවුණ පොත් කියවීමට කැමැත්තෙමි. මා මුලින්ම කියවූ සංචාර සම්බන්ධ පොත වෝල්ටර් සේනාධීර 1961දී ලියූ “ලස්සන ලංකාව” විය. ඊට පසු සංචාර පොත් කිහිපයක්ම කියවීමට හැකියාව ලැබුණි. මා අන්තිමට කියවූයේ සුදත් පොඩිරත්න “සයිබීරියාවෙන් පෙරදිගට” නමැති සංචාරක ග්‍රන්ථයයි.

සුදත් පොඩිරත්න සහ ඔහුගේ ගමන් සගයන් කණ්ඩායම ට්‍රාන්ස් සයිබීරියන් දුම්රිය මාර්ගයේ දින ගණනාවක් පුරා මොස්කව් සිට මොන්ගෝලියාව දක්වාත් එතැන් පටන් චීනය දක්වාත් ගමන් කළ අයුරුත්, ගමනේදී අත්විඳි සුන්දර සහ අසුන්දර අත්දැකීමුත් දීර්ඝ එමෙන්ම රසවත් විස්තර සහිතව ලිවීමට ලේඛකයා සමත් වී ඇත. ශ්‍රී ලාංකික අප මෙවන් අවදානම් සහගත ගමන් වලට පෙළඹෙන්නේ කලාතුරකිනි. “ඇවිද්ද පැය දහස් වටී” යන අදහස කුඩා කල සිට අපගේ මනසට දැම්මත් අපි සංචාරයේ යෙදෙන්නේ කලාතුරකිනි. සංචාරයන් සඳහා අවශ්‍ය මුදල් සහ කාලය අවැසි වුවත් අප අඩුවෙන් සංචාරයේ යෙදෙන්නේ මුදල් සහ කාලය සොයාගැනීමට ඇති අපහසුව නිසාටත් වඩා අප සංස්කෘතියේ සංචාර සඳහා ඇති වැදගත්කම මඳවීම යයි මට සිතේ.

සුදත් පොඩිරත්න මහතා මේ පොත ලිවීමට පෙළඹවීම සතුටට කරුණකි. මේ චාරිකා විස්තරය මේ මාර්ගයේ සංචාරයේ යෙදෙන්නන්ට මෙන්ම හුදෙක් මෙවැනි චාරිකාවන් ගැන කියවා සතුටු වන්නන්ටත් කදිමය.

මම නම් දුම්රියේ ගමන් කිරීමට ඉතාමත් අකමැත්තෙකි. කොතරම් කාලගුණයෙන් සහ වෙනත් හේතු නිසා කරදරවලට ලක් වූවත් මෙවන් දුරක් ගෙවනවානම් මා ප්‍රිය කරන්නේ මොටර්සයිකලයකින් ඒ ගමන යාමටය.

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Jobs (Movie)


Jobs movie poster

Jobs movie poster

I watched two feature movies and one documentary based on the life of the Founder of Apple Inc., Steve Jobs. The first movie I saw was “Steve Jobs” (2015) and then “Jobs” (2013.) I prefer the latter as Ashton Kutcher looks more similar to Jobs than Jobs himself!!!

I watched the movie “Jobs” several times as I admire the work of this genius of a man, Steve Jobs, the books written about him and the movies made about him. When I first heard that Ashton Kutcher was playing the title role of the movie, I had my doubts if Kutcher was the appropriate man. But within the first few minutes into the movie I understood that he has done more than mere justice to the role.

The opening scene of the movie was of a middle-aged Steve Jobs introducing his iPod at one of the much hyped Apple product launches in 2001.The film ends with Jobs doing the “Think Different” commercial in 1997. Within these two important events of Apple’s journey which became a legend, the movie takes us through Job’s youthful, irresponsible and rebellious days. The movie takes us to Jobs’ Reed College days and how he dropped out in 1974. Jobs meets up with Daniel Kottke, who together travels to India and later becomes part of the Apple team.

Success comes to Jobs after meeting with Steve Wozniak, of course with the former’s incredible marketing talents. Thus, Apple Computer is born at Jobs parents’ garage. But Jobs is devastated when he finds out that his girlfriend is pregnant. He initially denies paternity of the baby, citing that his girlfriend had multiple partners and one of them could possibly be the father of the unborn child.

Jobs strikes gold with his Apple products and becomes a very successful businessman. But due to his constant quarreling, irritating and irrational ways, he loses his friends, colleagues and partners and as a result, finds himself at loggerheads with the management of his own company, which forces him out of the very organization that he built.

I will not go into further details of the rest of the story, as it could affect your curiosity to watch the movie. All I can say is that this is a great movie and Ashton Kutcher’s acting as Jobs is more than entertaining. I know there are several other feature movies and documentaries produced about this legendary inventor called Steve Jobs, but do not miss Ashton Kutcher version of “Jobs”. It is well worth spending your time to watch it.

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jobs-the-movie2jobs-the-movie3jobs-the-movie4jobs-the-movie5jobs-the-movie6jobs-the-movie7jobs-the-movie8jobs-the-movie9**EXCLUSIVE** Ashton Kutcher looks the spitting image of a young Steve Jobs as he grabs a coffee ahead of the start of filming his upcoming biopic on the late Apple honchojobs-the-movie11jobs-the-movie12jobs-the-movie13jobs-the-movie14

බින්තැන්නේ විත්ති – පියසේන කහඳගමගේ


binthenne-withthi-cover

binthenne-withthi

පියසේන කහඳගමගේ ලියූ “බින්තැන්නේ විත්ති” මම ඉතා ආශාවෙන් කියවූ කෘතියකි. මම කිහිප වතාවක්ම දඹානට ගොස් වැදි ජනතාව සහ වැදි නායක ඌරුවරිගේ වන්නියා නායක ඇත්තන්ව හමුවී ඇති නිසා මෙම පොතේ තිබූ කරුණු වඩාත් ලෙහෙසියෙන් අවබෝධ කර ගැනීමට පහසු විය. එසේ වූයේ කාලයත් සමග වැදි ජනතාව භෞතික වශයෙන් කොපමණ වෙනස් වුවත් ඔවුන් අධ්‍යාත්මික වශයෙන් ඔවුන්ගේ ඇදහිලි ක්‍රම සහ සංස්කෘතිය තවමත් පවත්වාගෙන යන හෙයිනැයි මට සිතේ.

මේ පොතේ කතුවරයා වන කහඳගමගේ මහතා 1968 සිට 1983 දක්වා අවුරුදු 15ක් ම වැදි ගෝත්‍ර සහිත ප්‍රදේශවල ගුරු වෘත්තියේ යෙදෙමින් ලද අත්දැකීම් වලින් ලැබුණ පන්නරය මත පොත ලියවී ඇත. වැද්දන්ගේ යාදිනි, මන්තර, කවි හා වැදි ගී මෙම කෘතියට අයත්ය. එමෙන්ම වැද්දන් වීම නිසාම ඔවුන්ට මුහණ පෑමට සිදුවූ අනේකවිධ අතවරයන් සහ අසාධාරණයන් ගැනද කතුවරයාගේ අනුකම්පාව මොනවට පෙන්නුම් කරයි.

වරෙක නවකතාවක් මෙන් රසවත් මෙම කෘතිය තවත් වරෙක පර්යේෂණ ග්‍රන්ථයකි. තවත් වරෙක එය ඉතිහාස කතාවකි. එමෙන්ම එය මානව විද්‍යා (anthropology) ග්‍රන්ථයකි.

වැදි ජනතාව දකිනවිට ඔබට සිතෙන්නේ ඔවුන් ඉතාම ගොරහැඩි රෞද්‍ර ගෝත්‍රිකයන් පිරිසක් ලෙසය. එහෙත් ඔබ ඔවුන් සමග මද වෙලාවක් ගතකරන විට ඔවුන්ගේ භයංකර කෙස්වැටි වලට සහ රවුල්වලට යටින් ඔබ කෙරෙහි ඔවුන්ගේ ඇති ලෙන්ගතුකම මතුවෙයි. කහඳගමගේ මහතා බොහෝ කාලයක් පුරා වැද්දන් නිරීක්ෂණය කළ වැද්දන්ගේ සැබෑ මිතුරෙකි.

ශීඝ්‍ර වෙනසකට භාජනය වන මානව හැසිරීම සහ සිතුම් පැතුම් වැදි ජනතාවට ඒ වේගයෙන්ම නොපැමිණේ. ඔවුන්ගේ වෙනස ඉතා සෙමින්ය. එහෙත් සෙමින් වුණත් ඔවුන් වෙනස් වෙමින් සිටින්නේ වෙනසට සංවේදී නොවන ජීවීන් සොබාදහම විසින් ප්‍රතික්ෂේප කරන බව ඔවුන්ට වැටහී ඇති නිසා විය හැක. දඹානේ ගුරුකුඹුර ප්‍රාථමික විදුහල සහ දඹාන මහ විදුහල මේ වෙනසේ පෙරගමන්කරුවන් කරුවන් වී ඇතිවාට කිසිම සැකයක් නැත. නාගරීකරණය සහ වැදිගම්මාණය සංචාරක ආකර්ෂණයට ලක්වීමද මේ වෙනසට දායක වී ඇත. ඒ සියලුම වෙනස්කම් මධ්‍යයේ අතීතයේ වැද්දන් ජීවත් වූ අයුරු කහඳගමගේ විසින් මෙසේ වාර්තාගත කිරීම ගැන අපි සැවොම ඔහුට කෘතඥ විය යුතුය.

Who Is Bill Gates? – Patricia Brennan Demuth


Who Is Bill Gates

I was looking for a good biography about Bill Gates, the Founder of Microsoft for a long time. But I could not get hold of one except what I read about him on Wikipedia and other sources. But luckily, I had the pleasure of reading Patricia Brennan Demuth’s “Who Is Bill Gates?” last week. Though the book is very short – I think this book is meant mostly for children and young adults – it summarizes a good deal of Gates’ life in to shorter chapters. This was enough information for me till I find a comprehensive biography or an autobiography of Gates someday.

Though some people dislike Bill Gates for being a copycat and an unsympathetic businessman, I admire the man for initiating such a big revolution in the computer industry in a relatively short time. Without him, we would not have had access to computers and the internet within this short period of time. When I was a schoolboy in the 1980’s, the message given to us by our teachers and the media was that there would be a robot at every house by the then much awaited year 2000. But it was not to be. As of today, the robots are used in places like research laboratories and factories but it is not a domestic item as yet. Perhaps it will take a much longer time than anticipated by the science fiction writers in the past. Instead, most of us had a PC on our desks by the year 2000. To my knowledge, no science fiction writer could predict the big revolution of the PC’s would do in the world. But thanks to Gates, affordable PCs with sophisticated software came to our tables at offices and houses making our lives more comfortable.

Patricia Brennan Demuth’s biography “Who Is Bill Gates?” takes us a journey through Gates’ childhood, youth, adulthood till the time he formed Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation.

Computers were a luxury item that was hard to come by when Gates was a young person. Thanks to his school, the Lakeside School, he had access to a teletype machine which was more like a typewriter than a computer. He was greatly inspired and spent many hours as he could in the school ‘computer lab’ that was devoid of computers. Only big corporations and government institutions could afford to have huge mainframe computers which cost millions of dollars. But Gates had access to computer manuals in the school computer room which he read enthusiastically. He wrote his first computer program at the young age of thirteen!

The book informs the reader as to how Gates was inspired by the teletype machine, then how he found access to the computers at General Electric and how he met Paul Allen who eventually became the cofounder of Microsoft. According to the author, ‘the geek’ in Bill Gates changed after his marriage to Belinda French and he became a family man to his wife and the three children.

Life was not easy for Bill Gates, though he was born into a well-to-do family.  He had to work hard tirelessly to learn computers at a time when it was not easy to access computers or related knowledge. So, luck did not come to him but he worked hard and went in search of luck.

The book says how Bill Gates decided to step down as the CEO of Microsoft at his prime age as a business magnate and diverted his full attention to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which was set up to help the world with the money he amassed through his business. He did this at a relatively younger age of 52. This is the best age for most of the other businessmen to thrive at business, but Gates thought otherwise. So, all those people who criticized Gates as a mercenary tycoon who was interested in only making money can now look back in shame,  as to  how Gates  utilized the same money he accumulated for  social  welfare  & betterment of the people  of the world.

Steve Jobs – The Inspirational Life Story Of Steve Jobs, The Fruit Company That Changed Our World – Gregory Watson


Steve Jobs - The Inspirational Life Story Of Steve Jobs, The Fruit Company That Changed Our World

Even though I had already read Walter Isaacson’s comprehensive biography on Steve Jobs, I still wanted to read the shorter biography written by Gregory Watson about the greatest inventor of our times, the legendary Steve Jobs. I admire the man as much as or more than the Apple users do. I had the pleasure of using an Apple Macintosh computer at my mentor Mr. Donald Gaminitillake’s house and ever since I fell in love with Apple products. But right now, the only Apple product I use is iTunes Windows version as I do not have access to the other Apple devices.

“Steve Jobs – The Inspirational Life Story Of Steve Jobs, The Fruit Company That Changed Our World” gives us an account of Job’s life and that of the Apple Inc. in a shorter and sweeter way. The book takes the reader through Job’s childhood full of mischief and at times disagreeable & offensive practices. It takes us through an exciting journey through Job’s humble beginnings to a tech and business giant. A lot of ups and downs hampered his success during early years of his career. The man was so obstinate that he would not listen to anybody else but to his heart. He is not a man who can continue relationships, be it with his fiancée, daughter, a colleague or a member of a board of directors of his own company. As a result, he had to leave the very company he cofounded with his colleague Steve Wozniak. Jobs did not lose much with that terrible act by the board but Apple Inc. and the rest of the world did. Being away from Apple Inc. for a ten-year period affected the company in a way that was devastating to the consumers, shareholders, coworkers, the Board of Directors and the rest of the world. Ultimately, the Board of Directors had to go and coax Jobs to rejoin the company and save it. He not only saved the company from a near bankruptcy, he made it the world’s biggest and the most profitable tech company.

The author tells us how Jobs revived the company by introducing a range of products that included iPod, iTouch, iPhone, iPad, iMac, Macbook, etc. while discontinuing the products that were less profitable like Apple printers, scanners, modems, etc. and streamlining the earlier mentioned product line.

Finally the author briefly discusses about Job’s ill-health due to pancreatic cancer, which attacked him at his prime as an inventor and a businessman. How many more inventions would he have invented had he lived a few more years?

Koradekumbura, the first and only Karate Village in Sri Lanka


Jayaweera Jayasundara with the villages of Koradekumbura

Jayaweera Jayasundara with the villages of Koradekumbura

Having learnt from my good friend Mr. Daya Wijesinghe from Kandana, that there is a small rural mountainous hamlet in Badulla district, which runs a very successful program of a whole village getting together to do physical exercises and karate practices,  I decided to go and see for myself  this village. It was night when I reached the village of Koradekumbura. I stayed at the house of Mr. Jayaweera Jayasundara, the founder of the karate program. I was woken up by Jayaweera early in the morning of May 17, 2017.  I had asked him to do so to see how his “students” practice physical exercises in the early hours of the day in the village playground.  Mr. Jayaweera arranged a three wheeler for me and I felt uncomfortable, as to why I could not walk to the venue, while all others in the village just walked, jogged or ran to the playground. I suppose he wanted his guest to be comfortable.

It was about 5.20 am when we reached the village playground; already there were more than 50 children, adults and seniors assembled in the playground. They had already started doing physical exercises. There were more adults and seniors than the young.  I was surprised to see the range of ages of the villagers who came for the karate and physical exercises. Kids as young as 5 to seniors as old as 80+!!!

The practice had begun last year and it gathers momentum every day. All of the 82 students in Medainna Primary School in Koradekumbura start karate practices from 6.30 am to 7.00 am. Altogether, around 130 children and 100 adults do both physical exercises at dawn and karate practices in the evenings. Around 25 young girls and women do stick fighting. With such numbers in a small village like this, it may be the village with fittest people in Sri Lanka. One could observe at the very first instance that the inhabitants of this village are all in a very fit physical state.

The program and the structure Mr. Jayaweera has formed seem very strong that even without his presence, the program will continue. He formed a Parents Association to run the project. Each member contributes 200/- LKR per month towards the expenses for attending tournaments etc. But the Founder of the Program Mr. Jayaweera does all his training totally free of charge. Though money can be counterproductive for a genuine initiative like this, I am still of the view that Mr. Jayaweera’s great service has to be recognized and rewarded in some way. Aligning a whole village for karate practice and physical exercise is no easy task anywhere in the world.

Mr. Jayaweera wanted to have a building to carry out the karate practices during rainy days, which is a regular occurrence   in this mountainous village. Having understood the importance of the program by being an active member of the trainees, one of the members of the sports program and also the treasurer of the Parents Association Mr. B. N. P. Somarathna donated a quarter acres of his land situated in a strategic location in the village.  Mr. Somarathna also works as Mr. Jayaweera’s deputy in the sports program in the latter’s absence. Their dream is to build a 90×35 feet building (auditorium), to house the training program. The estimated cost is around 3.5 million LKR. I feel it is your duty to help complete this project and make this a good example for the rest of the country that usually waits for the government to do everything.

Non communicable diseases such as; cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory problems, diabetes and cancer are the main problems in Sri Lanka, claiming 103,500 lives each year. (http://www.searo.who.int/srilanka/areas/noncommunicable_diseases/en/) It was this reason that Mr. Jayaweera, being a retired Physical Health Instructor, was instrumental in starting the sports program.

Should not both the State and Private Sector take this physically fit village as an example and replicate it across all over Sri Lanka?

If the current Minister of Sports, Hon. Dayasiri Jayasekara is as interested as he shows in physical fitness of the people, I suggest that he visit this village in person and spend a day and then take this golden example and replicate it throughout the island by using Mr. Jayaweera as the national consultant to the program. Appointing an official from an air-conditioned office from Colombo will not be as effective as Mr. Jayaweera, who is a son of the soil.

 

 

යුදෙව්වන්ගේ රජ (ජේසුස් වහන්සේ බෞද්ධ භික්ෂුවක්) – නීතිඥ සතිස්චන්ද්‍ර ධර්මසිරි


යුදෙව්වන්ගේ රජ (ජේසුස් වහන්සේ බෞද්ධ භික්ෂුවක්) - නීතිඥ සතිස්චන්ද්‍ර ධර්මසිරි

යුදෙව්වන්ගේ රජ (ජේසුස් වහන්සේ බෞද්ධ භික්ෂුවක්) – නීතිඥ සතිස්චන්ද්‍ර ධර්මසිරි

 

යුදෙව්වන්ගේ රජපොත මට ලබා දුන්නේ (තරමක් දුරට බුදු දහම උත්කර්ෂයට නංවන්න කැමති) යහළුවෙකි. ජේසුස් වහන්සේ ඉන්දියාවට පැමිණි බව කියවෙන ලිපි කිහිපයක්ම මේ පොතට කලින් මමකියවා තිබුණත් ඒවා කෙටි ලියවිලි විය. එහෙත් මේ පොත සම්පූර්ණයෙන්ම උත්සාහ දරා තිබුණේඋක්ත කරුණ තහවුරු කිරීමටයි. ඇත්තෙන්ම මේ පොත Johan Forsström පාදිලිතුමාගේ “The King of the Jews” නමැති පොතේ සංක්‍ෂිප්ත සිංහල අනුවාදයකි.

පොතේ දිගින් දිගටම ඇත්තේ ජේසුස් වහන්සේ බෞද්ධයකු බව තහවුරු කිරීමට තාර්කික නොවනකරුණුද පදනම් කරගෙන කළ ආන්තික උත්සාහයකි. බුදු දහම හෝ කිතු දහම සම්බන්ධයෙන් ගැඹුරුදැනුමක් මට නොමැත. ඇත්තටම ජේසුස් වහන්සේ බුදු දහම හැදෑරුවා වුවත් මට එහි එතරම් වැදගත්කරුණක් නොවේ. හේතුව අන් ඕනෑම ශාස්තෘවරයකු මෙන්ම සිදුහත් තවුසාද විවිධ ශාස්තෘවරයන්සොයා ඔවුන්ගෙන් දැනුම ලබාගැනීම කළ දෙයකි. එමෙන්ම බුදුන් වහන්සේ හින්දු හා උපනිෂද් දහම්වල අභාසය යම් තරමකට බුදු දහමට එකතු කළ බව කියවා ඇත්තෙමි. එහි කිසිම වරදක්ද නැත. අපිසියල්ලම උපන්දා සිට දැනුම වැඩි කරගන්නේ මේ ආකාරයටයි.

අවශ්‍ය වන්නේ කඩතුරා හැර සත්‍ය දැකීමට මෙන්ම අන් මත ගරු කිරීමට මනස විවෘතව තබා ගැනීමයි. අන් මත ගරු කිරීමේ මුවාවෙන් ආගමික අන්තවාදයට ඉඩදී මානව අයිතිවාසිකම් කඩවෙනඅවස්ථාවලදීත් නිහඬවීම අදහස් නොවේ. ආගම්වල නාමයෙන් දරුවන්ට මෙන්ම කාන්තාවන්ටදකෙරෙන කෙනිහිලිකම් බොහෝය. අප 21 වන සියවසේ සිටින බවට කෙතරම් පාරම් බෑවත් ආගම්ස්වරූපයෙන් එන මානව හිමිකම් කඩවීමට විරුද්ධවීමට ධෛර්ය ඇත්තේ සුළු පිරිසකට පමණි.

Kularathna Rajapaksha – A School Principal Who Uses Facebook for Community Development


Kularathna Rajapaksha

Kularathna Rajapaksha

Many adults in Sri Lanka are against the use of social media, especially Facebook, as they see only the negative sides of it. Public school principals and teachers are the most vociferous among them. But today I am going to talk about a public school principal who does a yeoman service for the students and the community in Mahawilachchiya.

He is none other than Mr. Kularathna Rajapaksha, a social servant in Mahawilachchiya. He started his career as a science teacher since he was still a high school boy. I was one of his students while I was in Grade 11. We had no science teachers during that time as most of the teachers in my alma mater, Thakshila Public School in the village got transferred to their villages. So, we had no science teachers to prepare us for the Ordinary Level (OL) exam which is held to identify which students can go for high schools. Kularathna came to our rescue by teaching us every weekend. The best thing about his teaching was that he had this special talent to teach most complicated areas in science like physics and chemistry in a very interesting way. Usually experienced and trained regular science teachers dreaded to teach those parts in science and only taught biology parts of the subject while this schoolboy-teacher showed us how easy those subject areas were. Thanks to him, a lot of students in our classes got good results for Ordinary Level (OL) national level exams.

Kularathna Rajapaksha

Kularathna Rajapaksha

Kularathna is 50 now and recently was promoted to the post of principal in Seevali Primary School in Mahawilachchiya. I am not too sure if the promotion as a principal will hamper his talents as a teacher. Too much administrative work has affected many good teachers.

Kularathna started his Facebook account in 2014, much later than I did but mastered the craft in no time. I can still remember his first Facebook post which he posted about the need of library books for Thakshila Public School where he then taught. The post brought a lot of donors donating books to the school and today the school library boasts of having 4,000 odd books. He did not stop there and constructed a separate building to store and read the books with the help of his donors and the members of the Civil Defense Force who volunteered with their labor.

School Library at Thakshila Public School

School Library at Thakshila Public School

Kularathna spends about 3-4 hours with Facebook on a daily basis. He does all his work through his old desktop computer, recently acquired laptop and the smart phone while taveling. He spends around 3,000 LKR (20 USD) monthly with his own funding. But he works for the others in the village. This is a good example for most of the ICT teaches in the country who do not do much with government sponsored 24X7 internet facilities at their computer labs with 30-40 PCs connected to internet.

Kularathna does not stop his duty by just donating money or resources. He ensures that the money and the resources he collects and disseminates are properly used. He visits the people whom he helps and monitors if the money is spent on the intended purposes. He has to spend a lot for traveling too. (I think it is the high time his donors work on reimbursing his internet, phone and fuel expenses. Otherwise he will end up broke just like I did.)

RO filter installed in Thakshila Public School

RO filter installed in Thakshila Public School

Kularathna’s biggest achievements are building a school library, building houses for those who cannot afford them, providing scholarships for the needy students, and providing RO water filters to the village. He does all these through the funds donated by both local and overseas Sri Lankans whom he befriends through Facebook. He has won the trust and the respect from those donors as he spends the money frugally and monitors the result of these interventions.

house

A house being constructed

When asked how the teenagers and the youth should use Facebook, his answer was “Use Facebook in such a way you educate you and work for the social good.” This is easier said than done though. Teenagers and the youth tend to use Facebook mostly for time and money consuming fun and have romantic relationships.

Groceries donated by some donors

Groceries donated by some donors

Kularathna also says that the other teachers who use Facebook should use it in such a way that they improve their knowledge by subscribing to educational Facebook feeds and also changing the negative attitudes towards the social media.

Ongoing drought in and around Mahawilachchiya disturbs the villagers’ lives as they either do not have or cannot afford drinking water. Kularathna shared this with his Facebook contacts and they promptly collected funds and sent to Kularathna so that he could hire a small tractor with a plastic barrel and distribute drinking water totally free of charge to the villagers. Such is the trust he has gained from his donors.

Distributing drinking water in Mahawilachchiya

Distributing drinking water in Mahawilachchiya

When asked what were his biggest challenges with FB and his community work, his answer was, “Not yet.” That is the spirit.

Motorcycle Journeys – Trip to Mahawilachchiya from Koradekumbura via Nuwara Eliya and Kandy with Aleksandar Isailović from Serbia


Route to Nuwara Eliya from Koradekumbura

Route to Nuwara Eliya from Koradekumbura

Aleksandar Isailović from Serbia and I were woken up by Jayaweera Jayasundara in the morning of May 17, 2017 as we had asked him to do so to see how his “students” practiced physical exercises early hours of the day in the village playground.  Jayaweera arranged a three wheeler for us and I felt bad as to why we can’t walk while others in the village just walk or jog to the playground. But he wanted us to be comfortable I guess.

Jayaweera Jayasundara at the playground while his followers are doing physical exercises.

Jayaweera Jayasundara at the playground while his followers are doing physical exercises.

Jayaweera Jayasundara at the playground while his followers are doing physical exercises.

I was ashamed of traveling to the playground by a vehicle as there were 50 odd people – young, middle aged and very old – were already there and they all had walked to the place before 5.00 am. How many things do we take for granted when there is an initiative like this? (I will write a lengthier blog post on this later to do the right justice to Jayaweera and his followers.)

Jayaweera's family with Aleks

Jayaweera’s family with Aleks

Jayaweera’s wife took the pain of cooking us Kiribath and Katta Sambola for breakfast.  She was very caring for us and arranged two lunch packets also for us to have on the way. We said goodbye to the family and Koradekumbura.

On the way to Nuwara Eliya we stopped at Seetha Amman Temple to take few pictures. This is a temple which the Indians value and respect more than the Sri Lankans. The temple is situated in Sita Eliya and is believed to be the place where the King Ravana, the all-powerful ancient Sri Lankan king kept the Indian princess Sita imprisoned to take revenge from her husband Rama who insulted Ravana’s sister Shurpanakha . Read Ramayana to learn more details. This is just a legend than history.

Seetha Amman Temple, Nuwara Eliya

Seetha Amman Temple, Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya City from a distance

Nuwara Eliya City from a distance

Road to Nuwara Eliya City

Road to Nuwara Eliya City

We went to Nuwara Eliya and spent some time at the Lake Gregory which was a very picturesque site. Water level was low as Nuwara Eliya does not get sufficient rain in the summer. I wanted to ride a horse here but we did not have enough time for it as we had a long way to go back to Mahawilachchiya.

Lake Gregory, Nuwara Eliya

Lake Gregory, Nuwara Eliya

In Lake Gregory in Nuwara Eliya

At Lake Gregory in Nuwara Eliya

Aleksandar Isailović at Lake Gregory in Nuwara Eliya

Aleksandar Isailović at Lake Gregory in Nuwara Eliya

A vegetable stall by the roadside

A vegetable stall by the roadside

We spent some time to take pictures of spectacular extensive tea estates. The greenery and the intermittent fog with the mist made the place very romantic. I was lucky to spend the whole year 2006 surrounded by this type of stunning environment. I want to return to the hills for good. In fact, I was planning this since I was a kid and saw the beauty of Nuwara Eliya in Sarath Madhu’s comic ඉතිං ඊට පස්සේ (Ithin Eeta Passe) in the comic weekly සිත්තර (Siththara) where the story was wound around the hills in Sri Lanka. The only thing which prevented me settling down in here was my commitments to Horizon Lanka at Mahawilachchiya. But now I am planning to transfer the project to the safe hands of the youths in Mahawilachchiya who are being given responsibilities to run the place on their own. It will take time, but I am confident about them.

Route to Mahawilachchiya from Nuwara Eliya

Route to Mahawilachchiya from Nuwara Eliya

 

A tea estate in Nuwara Eliya

A tea estate in Nuwara Eliya

In Nuwara Eliya

in Nuwara Eliya

Aleksandar Isailović in Nuwara Eliya

1 Aleksandar Isailović in Nuwara Eliya

We had some tea at a small tea shop in Pussellawa and it was not hot enough. I complained the shop keeper and he apologized and waved off the price of the two tea cups. We paid for bananas we had there though.

A fruit stall in Pussellawa

A fruit stall cum tea shop in Pussellawa

We did not want to go via Kandy City as Aleksandar had already visited Kandy the previous week. Kandy is a congested city with a lot of traffic and I didn’t like to get stuck in there. The only time I loved Kandy was when I was in love, a long time ago. I loved to walk along the Lake Nuwara Wewa holding hands with my sweet ex-girlfriend. Those were the days….. Aah….

A jackfruit stall in Matale - Dambulla road

A jackfruit stall in Matale – Dambulla road

We bypassed Kandy and directly reached Katugastota via Gannoruwa. Had our lunch by the roadside and proceeded to Anuradhapura. We had some delicious jackfruits in a small village between Matale and Dambulla. Aleks loved jackfruits. He had earlier eaten cooked raw jackfruit as a curry and it was here he ate the ripe ones first.

Mahawilachchiya Reservoir

Mahawilachchiya Reservoir

We reached Anuradhapura by the evening and had tea at my sister’s house. Then we proceeded to Mahawilachchiya around 6.30 pm. The whole journey was a fascinating ride for me. But my friend was exhausted as he had to be on the pillion of the bike throughout the whole bike hike as he was not comfortable riding my bike model (Bajaj Pulsar 150) despite having an international driving license.  Thus we ended 630 km – 3 day- bike hike. The whole ride was a “chanceless” one. There was not a single බුදු අම්මෝ! (Oh My God!) moment throughout the ride. At least not for me. I don’t know about Aleks though.