Thursday, November 30, 2006

Evening rite

When the sun retires
In the western sea
And the horizon
Is hemmed with a purple seam
I run to meet
A little gravel road
That treads along a little stream

The road is busy,
Many weary faces pass me
And disappear
Around a distant turn
My heart is pounding
And sweat pours down
Like dew drops from a fern

The world
Suddenly grows old on me
As the warmth of day
Turns into dark cold night
One by one, little stars awake
As if stirred
By bright moonlight

The trees whisper in the wind
While I lie on a tuft
The back of my T-shit; wet
With sweat and evening dew
And hear insects
Burst with happy songs
Like and orchestra
On their conductor's cue

The clouds part
And I see the face of God
He whispers gently in my ear
Secret dreams take flight
And I trot back home
As hope replaces fear

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


One of my best friends got engaged last weekend, up in the hills of Paradise Isle and her friends were nice enough as always, to mail me pictures of the engagement party. Lo and behold, I noticed that one of our friends was wearing a sari that had a stark resemblance to a set of bed sheets and curtains that my mother had bought sometime back! Even though women's fashion had lost its ability to 'shock' me anymore, I was a bit puzzled and so asked my friend as politely as possible why her friend (and mine) was wearing something that looked like a bed sheet to my untrained eye (making sure she understood that I was not suggesting for a moment that our mutual friend had stolen my mother's bed sheets). After the usual complaints about the limitations of the "male psyche", she proceeded to explain that it was just a "handloom" sari. But, calling it a cool name like "handloom" could not do much to make me logically conclude that what our friend wore was not a bed sheet.
With all due respect to the ladies, I personally don't think there's anything wrong about a girl wearing a bed sheet to an engagement party - for all my wit's worth, I would even call it a bold fashion statement and I am sure I could find something in my good senses to admire the lady's daring sense of adventure and spirit of non-conformity. But then again, I know my observations are going to be blamed on the testosterone and my sanity is going to be questioned.
Honestly the friend in question could even be said to have good dress sense. If there was ever a problem about what she wore, I would blame it on some narrow-minded interior decorator who suddenly thought he/she could be a dress designer...! Let's catch the bugger and sentence him/her to a lifetime of wearing a pillowcase made from the latest set of 'handlooms' my mother had bought... what do you say?

Friday, November 17, 2006


Ballad on poles - Melbourne during the Commonwealth Games

Hunger is trying to squeeze in through my belly-button... because I hadn't cooked in a while. I was down with a cold and mild fever... It’s ironic that my body temperature went up while I was actually suffering from a 'cold' but blowing my runny nose in to a cloth (and the surrounding furniture at times… LOL… ok ok… I’ll wipe them all as soon as I get better!!!) didn't leave much time or energy for me to ponder on the paradoxes in the terminology that was being used to describe my health condition. Feeling a bit better now at last... so should cook up something decent today...
Miss. Lecturer-at-Law-who-is-about-to-get-engaged wrote in, ending her letter with a brief one-liner about how hopeless the situation in the motherland was. I have been thinking about the state of Paradise Isle myself... ironically, it is only when you leave the place that you begin to really miss it... and I mean REALLY miss it – and not just the kottu or the mountains and lakes or the Perahera or the warm beaches…
This time, it struck me a bit harder on the skull, because I will soon have to decide how long I am going to stay here in Australia before I return home for good. (God forbid me from having to decide "whether" I want to go back at all... I have already made up my mind that I will definitely go back for good, simply because I don't see how I could possibly raise a family here... but then again, "raising a family" has a finite window of opportunity... which I might miss by a pretty big margin if things don't improve soon...) do I want to stay here for a couple of years…? Perhaps a decade?
I think, in the face of such decisions, I have been forced to consider the facts more deeply than I ever thought I could... and it is only when I think about them at a certain depth that I begin to realise what "home" actually means... honestly, factors like 'the economy', ‘political environment' and all such blabber matter much less... What really matters is that home is where the people you love live... the people who love you the same way... your support network or family and friends - the people you can rely on even if the whole world crumbles around you... the people you trust...
When all of that is missing, nothing else matters as much. It doesn't make a huge difference what the more measurable components of "the quality of life" you enjoy are. Even war and peace matters less.
To me, that does not mean I can afford to completely disregard the social environment I live in. I mean, it is only after I came here, that I realised the amount of violence that I had been exposed to - and gotten used to as a result – growing up with a civil war in Paradise. It made a HUGE difference for me, not to be exposed to stories of "so many dead on one side and so many dead on the other side" and not to see the jubilation of some people when there are more deaths on "the other side" and the mourning of deaths on their side...
hopefully, I will get to go home soon and I may get a little opportunity to experience life at home again after almost a year and a half... Honestly, I am quite nervous about the future I am stepping into - not personally but as a nation and as a global community... and of the world that the process of human “civilization” has created... But to know that there are good men and women - within my own circle of friends and way beyond, gives me reason to be a bit optimistic... because I believe - maybe it’s more a stubborn and dogmatic belief than an affirmation of facts - that we can make a difference...

Destined to be

These scientists are trying to go back in time... or something like that…

Even though what I am going to say is also a bit geeky, you should read on - if you are not totally brain-dead - because I am sure you will be able to pick the general idea. Actually, the first guy who thought about this is Richard Feynman while he was studying under John Archibald Wheeler. Those were the early days of quantum physics.
Nobody is still quite sure of what exactly ‘light’ is… they say it behaves like a wave at times and as bits of matter/energy at other times. (Einstein’s E=mc2 technically means that matter and energy is basically the ‘same thing’ in two different forms) they came up with a cool name for these waves/matter/energy things and called them “photons”. Anyway, stars emit light or any form of radiation as photons and these photons travel vast distanced through space. When we look at the sun, these photons from the sun directly enter our eyes, and they are in fact absorbed by the eye in the end (that’s why the little dot right in the middle of the pupil is always black – because none of the light that enters through it is ever reflected back). Some of the white light from the sun is reflected off objects that may absorb all the colours except green and so that object appears green (sorry if I am dumbing this down too much). The idea is that these photons are absorbed as light or heat or some other form of radiation by things on earth and their energy is transformed into other forms such as chemical energy, heat and so on. When you look at a star at night, you see it because light from that star just entered your eyes.
What happens if a photon that’s emitted by a star travels through space for ever without being absorbed by another object? Does the energy of that photon leave the universe? If it leaves the universe, where does it end up then?
Feynman, being the smart-ass he is, said that it is not possible because none of the astronomical observations supported the possibility that the Universe was loosing energy through radiation. So he explained it the only way he could by saying that a photon essentially had to be an exchange of energy between two atoms. This sounds simple enough, but what it means is that when you saw that star, it was as a result of a specific exchange of photons between that particular atom in the star which emitted that photon an a certain atom in the retina of you eye!
But think about the time difference! What this theory means is that the atom in that star which emitted that photon – say fifty thousand years ago – had to know that the particular atom in your retina would be precisely in the position that it was after fifty thousand years to absorb it!!! Could that be possible? Well, Feynman thought it was, because he agreed with Prof. Einstein that time was just another dimension and two different points in time could virtually merge - just the same way that one could bend a piece of paper in such a way that any two points on it could fall on top of the other.
But then, does that mean we are robots of destiny – doing precisely the things we were always destined to do and being precisely where we are destined to be? I don’t know and I don’t give a damn right now… I am off to bed… and for heaven’s sake, don’t wake me up unless you are absolutely destined to do so!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

If only...

(With apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

If you can float in life without your morals drowning
And never in vanity, struggle with time or age.
If you can smile, when the whole world is frowning,
Knowing the veils and candor of laughter and rage.
If you can commit each day and hour to learning
And be wise enough; not your inanity to conceal,
Be brave enough to surrender your heart to yearning
Yet have strength, never to yield your soul to zeal

If you can remain faithful, through life ever changing
And equal respect to wisdom and emotion grant.
If you can know the edge of calm and of deranging
And appreciate the power of silence and exploding rant
If the colours of a rainbow can stir and inspire you
Or to quench your thirst from morning dew drops dare
Know the hearts that secretly admire and detest you
And brilliant minds by the magnificent dreams they bear...

Then i guess you are pretty cool...

But if you are the type who fall in love with strangers
Yet act as if your heart has been locked in a deep vault
And avoid crossing roads, perceiving threats and dangers
Of navigating through traffic or a careless drivers fault
If you drink wine, boasting of alcohol's medicinal assets
Or whenever you are contradicted, argue, debate and run
You are a part of society and one of its intriguing facets
And, which is more; you are also a hypocrite, my son!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


The bright moonlight
Is outshone by neon glows
Another starry night
To an unseen horizon flows
As a wet chilly breeze
Sweep through restless lanes
A heart shines a smile
In hope through hidden pains

Monday, November 06, 2006

Great expectations

Peeping through the ribs
My heart lies waiting
For another dream to come true