Saturday, April 26, 2014


 Editorial of Free

Hashtags are a pretty cool way to create trends. During Avurudu time the hashtag #ReplaceMovieTitlesWithKavum was trending and it resulted in many funny tweets and status updates. Recently, a new hashtag emerged from the dark depths of social networking. This hashtag wasn’t funny. It wasn’t cute. It was disturbing.

The #AfterSex hashtag made couples around the globe post pictures of themselves just after making love. The pictures gave everyone a look into the private lives of others. Some were of the shoulder-up but clearly topless couple and the hashtag was the only indicator of what they had just done. Other images, however, showed more skin than many of us wanted to see. While there may have been enough people searching for the hashtag #AfterSex, many of us were innocent victims to the content on our home pages.

Here’s why the hashtag seemed like a bad idea to many. There are things that you can share on your online accounts. The content is safe. It helps people get to know you. We worry about an embarrassing post we made when we were depressed, heartbroken or not thinking straight. We worry that we have posted private information online. We worry that people will now know things they shouldn’t know about us.

While we worry about all these things, there are people who actually posted pictures of them just after making love. The pictures, many believe, opened the door to the private lives of others. It made one question how far people would go with absurd and too-much-information posts. And for what? A few likes? To follow a trend? To have more followers?

A friend commented on the hashtag trend saying, the next thing you know people will be making love on the streets. Have we actually come to that level?

We often like to think that all these trends and hashtags are followed in all countries but Sri Lanka. However, there were Sri Lankans who also took part in the #AfterSex trend. This shows that we can no longer feel confident that Sri Lankan youth is not stupid enough to follow every trend created. After all, Crocs did make their way to Sri Lankan feet. We no longer live in a protected world; a country where terrible trends don’t thrive.

Some believed the hashtag was a breaking down of social boundaries. It was a way for the youth to say they don’t consider sex, premarital sex or casual sex a taboo. However, do you want to be rebellious by putting up pictures the world shouldn’t see? What happens when your #AfterSex picture goes viral, you are bullied, teased and insulted? What happens when your lover leaves you and that picture you put up keeps coming back to haunt you?

Think twice before posting online. It might be cool to follow a trend. However, know that there is a thing called too much information. And what is

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

නිධාන කතා

සිංහල සාහිත්යයේ නිධාන කතා වස්තු ගැන ඉගෙන ගත්තා. ඒ ඉස්කෝලේ යන කාලයේ. දැන් නිධාන කතා ගැන දැන ගන්නේ ජීවිතයේ කොටසක් ලෙසිනි. අප දන්නා, ඇසුරු කරන්නන් ගැන නිධාන කතා අපේ මතකයේ ගබඩා කර ගන්නවා. ඒවා අනුව තමයි අපි ඔවුන්ව කොහොම සහ කොතරම් ආශ්රය කරනවද යන්න තීරණය කරන්නේ.

නිධාන කතාවක් හොඳද නරකද යන්න තීරණය කරන්නේ එය ගැන දන්නා අහන පුද්ගලයාය. එහෙත් හොඳ හෝ නරක හෝ, නිධාන කතා අපව විනිශ්යකරුවන් බවට පත් කරවනවා. මේ ලෝකයේදී අපි මිනිසුන් නරක මිනිසුන්ද හොඳ මිනිසුන්ද යන්න තීරණය කරන්න දක්ෂයි. හැබැයි, උසාවියක වගේ, කතාවේ දෙපැත්තම අසා තීරණයකට එළබෙන්න අපි කැමති නැහැ. කාසියකට දෙපැත්තක් තියෙනවා කියා දැනගෙනත් අපි මිනිසුන් ගැන නිගමනයකට එළබෙන්නේ කතාවක එක් පැත්තක් පමණක් දැනගෙනය.

අපිට අමතක වන්නේ ලෝකයේ සිටින්නේ හොඳ මිනිසුන් හෝ නරක මිනිසුන් හෝ නොව නිකම්ම නිකන් මිනිසුන් පමණක් බව.
එහෙත් ඔය නිධාන කතා හදා ගන්නවා. ඔය නිධාන කතා මතක තියා ගන්නවා. එය මනුෂ්ය ගතියකි. අපි කතාවේ එක් පැත්තක් අසා, පක්ෂපාති වී සිටින විනිශ්යකරුවන්ය.

කණ්ණාඩි දෙකක් ගෙන අංශක අනුවක කෝණයක් සැදෙනසේ තියන්න. කණ්ණාඩි දෙක අතරට යම් වස්තුවක් තියන්න. වස්තුව තියෙන තැන අනුවු එහි පරාවර්තනය වෙනස් වෙනවා. එහෙනම් නිවැරදිම පරාවර්තන ලබා ගැනීමටනම් වස්තුව තබන්න ඕන කණ්ණාඩි දෙක මැදය.

මිනිසුන් ගැනත් සාදාරණ නිගමනයකට එළබෙන්න ඕනනම් ඔය නිධාන කතා දෙස බැලිය යුත්තේ කතාවේ චරිතයක් වශයෙන් නොව, කතාවට කිසිම සම්බන්දයක් නැති පුද්ගලයෙක් ලෙසය. එහෙම නොකර මිනිසුන්ට නපුරුකම් කර, පොරොන්දු කඩකර අවුරුදු ගණනකට පෙර සිදුවූ සිද්දියක් නිසා මිනිසුන්ව කොන්කරන අය ගැන අපිටත් නිගමනයකට එළඹිය හැක. එසේ කල හැකිවන්නේ කතාවේ ප්රධාන චරිතයට වඩා කතාව කියන කෙනගේත්, කතාව නිසා අනිත් අයව හොඳ හෝ නරක හෝ පුද්ගලයන් ලෙස සලකන කෙනාගෙත් ගතිගුණ ගැන නිධාන කතා කියන දේ නිසාය.

මිනිසුන්ව වර්ග කරන්න එපා. එක් අයකුට හොඳින්ද තවත් අයකුට නරකින්ද සලකන්න එපා. අපි හැමෝම ගැන නිධාන කතා තියෙනවා. එහෙත් ඒවා අතීතයේ සිදුවූ දේවල්ය. වර්තමානයේ ජීවත්වෙනවානම් වර්තමානයේ සිදුවන දේවල් ගැන කතාකරන්න. හැමෝවම අතේ දුරින් තියා, හැමෝටම එක සේ සලකන්න.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Alone time

Nation Free editorial

Alone time is a few minutes or even hours all for yourself. It can be spent at home, at a bookstore or library or even in an unknown city. There are no rules or regulations or rituals regarding alone time. Sometimes you just feel you need to be alone and you find a place you feel the most isolated from others. A need for some alone time arises in most of us. It starts like a mild breeze on a hot day and can end like a tidal wave that hits you with great force. This need, when not addressed, could turn into anxiety or depression.

Pic by Sakuna Gamage

However, many assume needing alone time is a sign of mental weakness; that it is only the troubled who need time away from other people, or in most cases, those familiar faces. This is far from the truth. We can’t continue to spend night and day with the same people and at some point or the other, we need to get out. If you feel like a trapped animal in your own home or school or workplace, plan a vacation which will allow you to explore and discover. Many people, either in their youth or old age, go away to ‘find themselves.’ This often involves reading and meditation. However, there is a difference between alone time and time to find yourself. If you think they are similar then the alone time you spend will be useless since it isn’t easy to find yourself. Further, it could be said, alone time involves time to relax and give your mind a break, which the search for oneself doesn't offer.

Spending time alone could involve reading, writing, painting or any hobby you like. It could be the time you spend listening to music, your earphones blocking out the outside world. It could be the time you spend traveling. If you take the bus or train to your workplace or school, you could use that time to pay some attention to yourself. Often, we neglect our own selves. We don’t see how drawn our faces look, how exhausted we are. We spend our lives tending to the needs of other people, that we sometimes forget that we, too, have needs and wants.

While we may try to ignore it, we cannot turn a blind eye to the calls of help from our bodies and minds. While we can eat more, get more exercise or take medicine for whatever our body lacks, it isn't as easy when it comes to our minds. Mental distress could put an end to your life, either through death or zombie-like behavior. This is why you need to get out once in a while and be a bit selfish and make it about you. Needing to be alone is about taking a step back from your life. It is a time to realize your life still means something when you are away from all the people you call friends and family.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

100 things to do before I die

1. Drive away. No maps. No destination
2. Fall in love
3. Write a book
4.  Have at least three tattoos
5. Believe
6. Go to some faraway country
7. Learn how to swim
8. Build my own house
9. Have a pet, take care of it
10. Get a crazy haircut
11. Wear a super weird outfit
12. Live alone
13. Have a roommate
14. Shave my head
15. Get married
16. Get a Masters degree 
17. Become the editor of a newspaper
18. Dance in public
19. Sing in public
20. Be friends with someone on the People of the Past List
21. Forgive
22. Be truly thankful for being alive
23. Figure out the way out of the labyrinth of life
24. Write my will
25. Save enough money to buy a house
26. Spend all the money on things for myself
27. Do a really selfless act
28. Try a meat I've never had before
29. Get wasted
30. Give a bear hug to a complete stranger
31. Start my own magazine
32. Go a day without speaking
33. Be completely cut off from the world
34. Have my own library
35. Read a thousand books
36. Vlog
37. Eat a meal from every country
38. Make a lifelong friend
39. Start a charity
40. Make a meal for my closest friends
41. Cook every dish from a cook book
42. Spend an outrageous amount to watch a favorite band play at a concert
43. Buy a caravan and live in it
44. Watch all the LOTR movies
45. Have a movie marathon with a friend
46. Stay for all shows at the cinema
47. Love someone
48. Pierce my ears at least once more
49. Color my hair a crazy color
50. Get a full medical checkup
51. Wear a pretty, long dress
52. Give a gift to a stranger on the train
55. Go around Sri Lanka
56. Learn to play an instrument
57. Donate blood
58. Dive
59. Go bungee jumping
60. Have a yard sale
61. Go away with a group of friends
62. Work at a fast food joint
63. Work as a cashier
64. Leave my comfort zone
65. Stop being afraid
66. Make someone feel better about themselves
67. Blog daily for a year
68. Give a speech
69. Take part in a protest
70. Stand up for a cause
71. Build a treehouse
72. Go on a camping trip and build a campfire
73. Smoke a pipe
74. Learn another language
75. Figure out how the stock market works
76. Buy shares of a company
77. Cycle around the island
78. Buy soft toys for kids at an orphanage
79. Adopt a kid
80. Have the patience to listen to someone I don't like
81. Go the extra mile for someone
82. Bake the perfect cake
83. Learn how to make coconut rock and milk toffees
84. Spend the entire day at a beach
85. Go to an unknown town/village by bus
86. Say goodbye to someone
87. Save a life
88. Write a story I'm truly proud of
89. Climb a tree and read a book up there
90. Live in a small island
91. Buy crazy sunglasses
92. Jog from Panadura to Colombo
93. Get rid of all my clothes and start fresh
94. Live in an aramaya for a month
95. Adopt a pig
96. Put up a small, cozy coffee shop
97. Contest at elections
98. Climb a mountain
99. Learn why people depend on religion
100. Live

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Things that annoy me

(I’m bored. And annoyed. Thus the post)

  1. The tok tok tok of high heeled shoes. Women, if you can’t walk silently, don’t wear those shoes. It’s annoying and is certainly not music to my ears.

  1. Sweet and sour food. Food can’t be sweet and sour at the same time. That messes with my brain. So does food that doesn't belong in that meal. Like pineapple is a dessert. So what is it doing in my rice, pizza or chicken?

  1. Weird texture food. Shrimp is not supposed to look like mush, so a big no to shrimp mousse!

  1. Long nails. Trim those. Please. It’s disgusting. Especially if your toe nails are long.

  1. Short top with leggings. What is wrong with you? Who in their right mind wears leggings with a short top?

  1. People who jump the line need to be shot. No, I didn't just stand in the queue in this hot sun just so you can nicely walk right past us to the front of the line. This goes to you whether you are young, old, poor, rich, pregnant or not.

  1. Do not talk in the cinema while the movie is playing. I didn't just pay good money to listen to you chit chat like no one’s business.

  1. Those who start blogs, make me fall in love with them and then never post again. Thank you for that! I really appreciate being dumped so heartlessly.

  1. People who don’t read. Oh, you think its cool and like totally attractive? Well, here’s the thing. I will instantly dislike you if you tell me you don’t read. It makes you look like an idiot.

  1. I share a washroom with the ladies at work. Which means, at least one of them will get all dressed up and made up in that washroom we all share. So do not leave your long strands of hair in the sink. Do not splash water everywhere. Just don’t.

  1. Smart phones. Like, why are they called smart phones? They confuse the crap out of me and my life is much easier without one. It also saves you lots of money because suddenly you don’t use whatsapp or facebook or twitter.

  1. People who don’t do their job. My plate is full, and I have no room for whatever you were supposed to do but didn't because you are a lazy, distracted bum!

  1. Computers that don’t corporate. I need to be on twitter and if you don’t let me log on I’m going to have to abandon you.

  1. Dimbats! God gave you a brain for a reason. Please, do us all a favor and use it.

  1. Turning facebook into twitter. Those hashtags don’t work over there. The constant updates are annoying. If you want keep talking and sharing posts, just open a twitter account. It’s not that difficult.

  1. Movies that have no big bang ending. I didn't just watch you for more than an hour for you to go all, “oh I feel lazy and bored now so I’ll just kill everyone and ya, who needs a proper end?”

  1. Too much makeup. You look like a raccoon. Get that mascara away from your eyes. It doesn’t look like you are blushing. It looks like there are patches of fire on your cheeks.

  1. Touchy people. Do not touch me. Do not hold my hand. Don’t be one of those annoying girls who gets all touchy and BFFy with others.

  1. Keep your pets away from me. Babies too. My fear of them is serious and it’s not funny when you threaten to bring them close to me.

  1. Show offs. Take your gym schedule, your disgusting body, your brick sized phone and your vehicle off my timeline because I don’t care. Also take away all those posts about your better half. Most young people have lovers, special someones. So you have no reason to show off your boy/girl friend.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Just a kid

As much as school prepared me for the real world, I was never ready. I didn't realize this until I started working at a real office, with real grownups. I was suddenly thrown into this world that made me feel so insignificant.

In school, our problems were forgetting do to our homework, trying to understand why that top doesn't work with that skirt, and why that perfect-for-you boy is in love with someone else. When I was in school, I cried because my favorite character in a book died, or because a song was just too sad. We didn't have to deal with grownups issues.
And then I was thrown into a world I'm still not ready to deal with. I learned that people are jealous, angry and don't want others to succeed. I learned people actually, shamelessly cheat on people. They lie, they steal and they hurt people.

While trying to come to terms with all of this, another issue came up. Not only did I have to live in the adult world, I also had to become an adult. For some reason, people think drinking and smoking and going about with men is what the ordinary adult female does. I'm someone who needs her mother's permission to stay at office till late. I need to inform my parents about my whereabouts. I can't even cross the road without nearly being knocked down. And I have to now deal with people offering me drinks.

And so when I say, 'no thank you' they look at me like I'm a hero*, and ask, "oh wow! You don't drink?" And my response is that it's not that I don't. But it's not that I do either. I eat crab, but that doesn't mean I go looking for crab and eat crab whenever I can. If I feel like it, sure, I may. But I can live without it.

But the real reason I say no to those drinks is this. I'm still a kid. Sure, being twenty means I'm an adult. However, I don't feel like one. I cry over the simplest things. After a tiring day at work, I need to be alone or I would try to stab people. I can't choose my own clothes. I don't know how to take care of myself. If I start drinking at twenty, I would end up spending most of my life as an adult, doing grown up things. And I don't want that. I want to be a kid for as long as possible. I don't want to grow up right now.

So let me be a kid. Think twice before you try to share adult jokes with me, or get me to do grownup things. Think twice before you ask me why I'm still single, or why I don't want to be alone with certain people. It's not because I don't know how to deal with certain situations. Instead, it's because I want to avoid such situations.

I may work, earn money, go about alone. I may associate with people twice my age. And yet, at the end of the day, I'm still a kid. And I need you to respect that. I need you to stop forcing the adult world down my throat because there's nothing worse than living in a world you aren't comfortable with.

*what's with people assuming you are doing this great big service by not drinking, smoking or eating meat? You aren't a better human being because you don't do any of that!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

principles and values

I grew up believing in that picture perfect life movies and books told me about. I thought life is about meeting the right person at the right time and everything falling in to place. I thought I would know how to deal with things because, how hard could life be, right?

Today, I'm twenty, I've lived a bit, seen a bit and I'm questioning all those principles and values I was brought up believing in.

Since Amma is a Buddhist, I too, was brought up worshiping the Sanga, reading the Dhamma and seeking the blessings of the Buddha. I've taken a few steps away from religion, and yet, I continue to live by certain principles and beliefs.

I was brought up believing in certain things. I was brought up believing that certain things were done, and others were not done. Growing up, I never thought I would have to question if an action is right or wrong. I thought I would know. Today, I can't help questioning various things. I can't help wondering why we believe in certain things.

There is a confession I must make. This is a confession because it goes against the person I seem to be. While I said to the world I would never get married, never have a family, never settle down, the truth is that, I do want that, someday. Last year, someone asked me if I would ever want to have kids. I told him I wouldn't because I didn't want to stop working in the field and I didn't want to raise a kid who rarely ever saw his/her mother. My mother made so many sacrifices for me. So did my father. However, I still wish I had more memories of them.

And I do want to someday let go of everything in life, raise a little kiddo and live that stereotypical life that all those stupid romance novels talk about. However, now, seeing how people treat marriage and their families, I fear the day I would fall in love or get married. Someone I know once said he would never get married because he wouldn't want to wake up one day and realize he doesn't love his spouse anymore. This is a fear we all live with. However, for some reason, I've let this fear take control of my life.

It is a fear fueled by the actions of others. When I got worked up about an extra-marital affair of someone, my mother asked me why I care so much. Neither party was friend or family.  However, their relationship bothered me because it insulted the very idea of marriage. It made me remember that fear I walk around with. And most of all, it made me wonder if I would someday go against all these principles and values I have.

It seems easy to believe in certain things. Last year, I wouldn't have tolerated drinkers or smokers. Today, as long as they aren't too close to me, I've learned to not be visibly bothered by them. There was a time when I absolutely hated liars and cheaters. Today, I have to smile with them and pretend I don't notice those lies. It's easy to have certain ideologies. It's easy to say you will live by certain values. However, as you move on in life, as you live with other people, you need to be able to make your principles and beliefs more flexible. You need to be able to accommodate the beliefs of others.

However, this tends to create this confusion in your head. It makes you wonder, question, dislike, hate. It makes you a scared being. A person afraid of living.