Rambutan Season 2015

Anthony Tissera, a rambutan seller in Ja-Ela along Colombo - Katunayake Airport road

Anthony Tissera, a rambutan seller in Ja-Ela along Colombo – Katunayake Airport road

For the last three years, I have been writing a post on rambutan season each year consecutively. After reading my posts, two gentlemen from an Indian fruit farm called Homegrown www.homegrown.in visited Sri Lanka and took rambutan fruits and plants to India. They were particularly interested in Malwana rambutan variety. Now they grow Malwana rambutans in their farm in Kerala, India. They personally visited Malwana with me to see rambutan gardens. I too bought two plants two years back and one survived and thriving now. I learnt from my Indian friends that their plants are also growing well.

Rambutan on display at Kalagedihena

Rambutan on display at Kalagedihena

This time around rambutan harvest has been very good just like the last two years. As a result the price of a single fruit has come down to 5 rupees in Colombo and suburbs and in Kandy as I checked the prices myself. In Malwana, a fruit costs around 3 rupees according to the rambutan sellers in Kalagedihena along the Colombo – Kandy road. Rambutan prices in Anuradhapura, my hometown, is little expensive. They sell 15 fruits for 100 rupees. But fresh fruits are available in Anuradhapura unlike in the past.

A pregnant woman selling rambutans in Kalagedihena. It was from people like this that the notorious deputy minister allegedly collected commissions.

A pregnant woman selling rambutans in Kalagedihena. It was from people like this that the notorious deputy minister allegedly collected commissions.

It was reported this year that a politician, a deputy minister from the previous government took a cut from the small scale rambutan sellers in Gampaha district, his electorate, by force. After his party was defeated at the presidential election in early January this year, rambutan sellers lodged a complaint against the former deputy minister. He was so corrupt that his own party rejected his nomination to contest to the parliamentary election scheduled to be held in August this year along with some other former MPs who have corruption and drug trafficking allegations. This is a good move. It is sickening to hear that a person in the capacity of a deputy minister collecting commissions from the poor rambutan sellers. Imagine what he must have taken from the mega projects in his electorate and in the capacity of a deputy minister in his ministry.

Rambutan on a creative display in Digana, Kandy

Rambutan on a creative display in Digana, Kandy

OK. Back to rambutans. According to the sellers, the season will last around three more weeks and this is the peak of the season. Prices will fluctuate according to availability of the fruits in coming weeks. So, if you want to visit Sri Lanka to taste rambutans, this is the high time you visited. Do not regret and postpone your visit. If you visit Sri Lanka these days, you will see rambutans from the airport road itself to almost all parts of Sri Lanka. Mohammad, an experienced young driver from Colombo who can speak decent English has been our chauffer during our visits to Malwana and you too can contact him on 071-2669696 and arrange a trip to Malwana rambutan gardens. He knows the right places and people. Just let him know in advance. His fares are reasonable as well.

Though there are two colors of rambutans as red and yellow, red variety is the most sought after by the customers though the tastewise there is no big difference. Malwana variety is the most popular over other types that come from adjoining areas of Malwana.

These are some useful links to websites about rambutans. Apparently, there is a dedicated site called www.rambutan.com with a lot of information and lovely pictures. Though the site design is not very professional, it has a lot of necessary information.

  1. Rambutan – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rambutan

  2. Opening the rambutan – http://www.rambutan.com/

  3. Department of Agriculture, Sri Lanka – http://www.agridept.gov.lk/index.php/crop-recommendations/1083-rambutan

Cheering Visiting Cricket Teams Against Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan supporters supporting the SL team at Gabba, 2010

There are a lot of talks by various concerned people about some of the Sri Lankan Muslims supporting Pakistani cricket team and some of the Sri Lankan Tamils supporting Indian cricket team against the Sri Lankan team when India and Pakistan visit Sri Lanka. Some go to the extent calling the Tamils and Muslims ‘traitors.’ But is there anything more than this behind this phenomenon?

Muslims are more concerned with religion than race or anything else for that matter. So, naturally, they see the Muslims in Pakistani teams as “brothers” than the members of the Sri Lankan team. With the strong beliefs they have towards their religion, this is expected. Besides, only few Muslims have been able to make it to the national team of Sri Lanka. Had that happened, the things would have been different, I guess.

It is the same with India team. Tamils in Sri Lanka have their roots in India and they think they have been discriminated by the Sinhalese and hence their first love with the Indian team. Few Tamils represented the Sri Lanka team but only Muralitharan could make it ‘felt.’ Had there been more Tamils in the Sri Lanka team, the reaction of the Tamils here would have been different. But the selectors cannot name a team to justify racial concerns. They have to adhere with the players’ talents. Non Sinhala players being selected to the team constantly shows that there is no discrimination against them.

In another note, look at the cheering squads in Australia, England or New Zealand that have migrated from Sri Lanka and obtained citizenships in those countries who support Sri Lanka team when they visit those countries?  If we oppose Muslims and Tamils supporting India and Pakistan in Sri Lanka, the British, Australians and New Zealanders should oppose Sri Lankan migrants supporting Sri Lanka in those countries. But they don’t care. Should we take Muslims and Tamils supporting non Sri Lankan teams seriously? It is just a sport. It doesn’t have anything to do with patriotism. The best example is that when the Kandy team plays rugby in Kandy, people from all communities support Kandy forgetting their racial differences as it is ‘their’ team and all communities represent the team.

Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) Goes Without Much Excitement

SLPL Banner

I was optimistic when Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) was announced last year and was disappointed when it was postponed mainly due to India not cooperating by refusing to allow Indian players playing in the league. This year, too India did not change her stance and Sri Lanka Cricket decided to go ahead with the much hyped tournament without the Indians. Instead they signed more Pakistan players as if to hurt India. Nothing wrong with the decision as Paks are very good in the field and it is exciting to watch them in action.

But expected excitement was not there with the tournament right from the beginning. It started with a dull opening ceremony with live telecast by a relatively new TV station. I don’t know with others but I did not watch a single match completely though they were telecasted during comfortable time slots. I don’t know if anything wrong with me or is it the general feeling of the others also towards the tournament. Something is missing. Is it the Indians? I don’t think. There are players of high caliber from other countries. It would have been wonderful if Chris Gayle played.

I think the SLPL organizers should carefully study IPL and add more excitement to SLPL. I read somewhere the BPL was a success and there is no reason why we become unsuccessful. Of course SLPL cannot afford big sums of moneys to the players like the IPL but the tournament had done fairly well by signing up the likes of Shahid Afridi. With too many teams playing tests and ODIs in other parts of the world we cannot expect to sign them for this tournament.

Another spoiling factor was having the tournament during a rainy season. We are yet to see the monsoons but for some reason it rained in Colombo and Kandy and the matches had to depend on Duckworth and Lewis.

Crowds were smaller at the grounds but the ‘papara’ bands were playing their music. There were the cheerleaders but they were dressed absurdly decent. They should have dressed stylishly. There is no sin in exposing some more of them at an event like this.

Jaywalkers Joke

Jaywalkers in Delhi, India

Few weeks ago there was a big showdown of arresting jaywalkers in Colombo and producing them before courts and imposing fines. That was a good movie and I thought within the subsequent week we won’t be able to see a single jaywalker in the streets in Colombo. Alas! The following day onwards jaywalkers were seen crossing the roads even at Borella junction where subways have been built up for the passengers, let alone other places. The police never looked at these jaywalkers. Arresting jaywalkers became a big joke from the very beginning.

I don’t understand why the police gave a big publicity about arresting jaywalkers and abandoned the scheme a day after. Was it because of a big political hand? Or was it because the police have better things to do?

Jaywalkers are a big menace to motorists in a town. They are seen all over Asia except countries like Singapore and Japan. I was very happy when the police started arresting the jaywalkers. I wanted the city to be orderly. When I walk I ensure I use a zebra crossing. I don’t see any reasons why others can’t do it. This is just a good habit to inculcate in every citizen. They shouldn’t limit this to Colombo alone. The jaywalkers should be stopped crossing roads throughout the country. This is how we impose discipline and send a strong message to the tourists who visit Sri Lanka that we are a disciplined nation. But I think the police don’t have the backbone to continue what they started.