28 November 2009

Amado mio

Featured in the film Gilda this song is preety old .

Came across this version by Pink Martini, and the tune has been stuck in my head for a whole week now.

Amado mio
Love me forever
And let forever begin tonight

Amado mio
When we're together
I'm in a dream world
Of sweet delight

Many times I've whispered
Amado mio
It was just a phrase
That I heard in plays
I was acting a part

But now when I whisper
Amado mio
Can't you tell I care
By the feeling there
'Cause it comes from my heart

Many times I've whispered
Amado mio
It was just a phrase
That I heard in plays
I was acting a part

But now when I whisper
Amado mio
Can't you tell I care
By the feeling there
'Cause it comes from my hear

Now click Play and sit back

An angel lost

Sometimes when you walk in the lanes you find the darnest of things .

A guardian angel that is what I think , she is. Bit overdressed , no doubt . But it was a Staurday night anyway . And I heard Disco is raising it's head again anyway.

I guess everybody needs an angel . Even city folks.


The Unclock

The laughter ceased, while he put up a solemn face. The crowd realized that this was no joke. He was dead serious.

His eyes shone in the radiance of the oil lamps, on this chilly autumn night. He was a watch maker. A very good one at that .The watchmaker commissioned to build the clock to be put up at the new railway station . The year was 1919 , the war has just ended. And here he was standing , facing men in long coats and ladies in hats. For the laughter to die away . Before . Before he could speak.

To explain the reason for hilarity and the reasons for it’s casualty , let me go back a couple moments and explain how it happened.

The laughter arose because of a particular anomaly of the machine of gears and coils , it self . While the coils unwound and released time, unlike anything the people has ever seen the hands were marking the elapse anti clockwise. ( Which made this an anti clock , I guess.)

First they thought it was a mistake and were amused by the this pradicament . This triggered the murmur and leading to a roar of laughter. They could not believe he has made this crucial error and now how his 15 minutes of due fame is going to be drowned in shame.

But then he spoke

“I built it that way” he said . “I want the time to go back , for the wounds of the war to be disappeared . Wives to have the husbands they lost. And Children to have their fathers come home “ He paused .

He was listening to his heart beating. The crowd listen to it too.

“I want the days to go back and undo the cruelties; I want my son to come back”

Suddenly the clouds of absurdity parted and it all began to make sense .

So now you know how it happened .

Those of you , who has watched the movie of Mr Benjamine Button , knows this scene .

But I am trying to draw your attention to the notion.

We have lived in fear for 30 years , buried our sons and wept at funerals after bomb blasts .

While looking at the things happening in the Serendib during last fortnight , I can not help but to wonder in my politically naïve mind, whether we too are going back to the point where it all began ?

You tell me.

21 November 2009

Pink Martini .....Stirred.

8. Am. Pink martini doing wonders, through the headphones.

It is warm inside the tube. Contrast to the chill of the morning.

The guy next to you becoming a bit restless . Struggling. And seems to be set to set a world record as the most annoying passenger. Now he is talking to himself . You think of ways to rid him of his life. 101 ways to be exact.

Back to martini . Hang on little tomato she sings. Your lips curl up. You smile. This is not the way Mr Bond likes it.

Stirred. Smooth.

Now she whispers in French. You are happy and blushing . You can hear the grass growing.

I know.

During the trumpet interlude you close your eyes and picture her slowly moving to the tune. Her satin dress sketching her silhouette . Sharp lines fade in to smooth fluid pastel smudges. (Almost)… thoughts. She calls “Hey Eugene”. Eugene? Who the hell..

“Pinesa En mi” , Think about me ,she says .

You smile again. I understand . I am you.

14 November 2009

In the shade of the Siyambala trees

Standing separately, yet out of one’s view , coupled at the top. Like secret lovers holding hands away from prying eyes. There were two Siyambala trees in our school backyard.

The more mature branches holding each other with a devoted grip while the newer sprouts can only manage a gentle feel. Like the lovers’ finger tips touching each other tenderly.

Apologies , I am digressing.

At a time when Chaminda was still a fashionable name.( And there were couple them in any given class) , we played in the shade, climbed the trees and hid in leafy branches. Threw branches, bricks , pieces of broken furniture at the Siyambala fruit. (If you can call it a fruit.). Siva picked up the fallen from my throw and I have runaway with drop from his throw.

We shared our lives & dreams, listened to some one’s hypothesis about women, collectively counseled another on what should be his next stride towards approaching the girl that he fancy, scrutinized yesterday’s match (be it with the willow bat or the oval ball), shared one lunch packet and filled our bellies from the tap. All in the shade of the Siyambala duo. These memories run through my fibers like the roots.

What is it that makes us bound to these time lines . What makes these experiences leave that distinct aftertaste in our minds ?

I beg to differ from the clichéd notion of good times and good memories.

I wonder , whether it is because life seemed like a one big exploit at that time. Or is it that we remember how off beam we were on many things. Or is it like somebody just avowed , there is actually a time warp amid those trees and once you get caught , you travel back and forth through the line (or waves or whatever it is as per your belief) of time , yet you can never come free.

Reading this , if you know them trees , if you have sung " we would learn of books and men and learn to play the games", before me or after. Would love to hear of your Siyambala tree memories too.

To Blah or Not to blah

No more than six months since the whole nation went on spree of feeding kiribath to soldiers. Now as a nation we are trying to bury their general., one way or the other .

May be as every bride is pretty, every baby is adorable, every hero should be dead too. May be that is what we are really good at , burying our heroes and then glorifying them afterwards.

Couple days back a young lady scribbled , politics to her has been a bunch of drunken men trying to solve all the problems over plate of devil chicken and a few rounds, but they never get a chance because their better halves will always disturb them to leave the party. That infact is actually the predicament . For most of us politics is a “bite” to go well with Mr Walker’s brew, Or Mr Mendis’s brew . Where as politics should be a part of and concern of us all.

Then somebody else wrote killing is wrong .Well yes , if you trying to shoot me , that’s wrong. But about a suicide bomber being shot before he explodes and kills many. Where does that fall in …Lines get blurred don’t they.

War is wrong, well yes . But Wars have been there from the beginning , and don’t forget that most wars were fought to spread an ideology or a religion which one group thought to be the gospel and worth spreading.

This is where , I go back to practicing what De bono says and pause for a response

06 November 2009

Komalee misses the check-points

Komalee used to hang around with the men in uniforms. They seemed to be sympathetic towards her. They shared their lunch packet (Army issue) and she slept in their tent. But most of the time she sat with them at the checkpoint and longed . Longed without , knowing exactly what they were longing for.

Before you get any wrong ideas, let me tell you that Komalee was a bitch . I mean it in the real sense . A female dog. She was dirty brown and white , with heartbreaking dog eyes . You know the kind , a typical street dog. A pure bred valsashen. Her hip joint was dislocated during litter . This made her walk slow and in a peculiar manner , which seemed to resemble a girls stride with a Kalaya (a clay container to carry water) on the hip. A lonesome soldier missing his sweetheart back in his village would have pinned the name Komalee. And the named stayed on.

There was a routine to life at the check point, she remembers . At day break a young man in faded green uniform with his T56 hung on his back used to take a hold of a eckel broom and sweep the leaves and yellow blooms the Asala tree has shredded and collected it to a pile . She liked to watch the lined designs he drew on the sand . And how they disappeared underneath the heavy boot prints during the day.

She watched them , when they unfold the Chithra Katha papers from their pockets and read . How they discretely wiped the welling tears from the their eyes , after reading the perfect round lettered words off the torn out exercise book pages .Letters from home.

She noticed how they attempt to lower their voices and sound solemn when they checked the identity cards of the girls in white school uniforms . At other times how helpless they appear , when they concentrate on the ID card given to them through half lowered dark shutters of a big car. How they seem misplaced, just before they set up straight and say “ Tank you sir”.

There were regular visitors to the checkpoint too. There was the Bread man , Paan uncle , who used to sell buns , bread and other stuff from a box tied behind his bicycle. He came at dusk and gave Kimbula Banis free. Most days somebody would throw a half of Kimbula at Komalee too. Which she would chew to sunset.

Martin uncle , came for his mid day chat . He would ask “kohomada yudde, Api dinanawa neda ?’ (How is the war going, are we winning? ). And never waited for the response. Nayana , in her midlife, was a domestic aide from a nearby mansion. Who’s childhood dream was to marry a man in a uniform. Youth long gone , yet the dream residing in a dark nook of her mind , unrealized . Making her act a bit flirty and make her blush , every time she passes checkpoint.

All that , is a faded reminiscence today .

All that began to change after that day that lot of fire crackers were lit. Somebody stuck a lion flag on Takarang sheet roof and people brought Kiribath and Kavum to the checkpoint.
Martin, Nayana , Nayana’s master & mistress all came .

They said it wasn’t possible without the soldiers and the whole country was thankful to them . This made Komalee feel the pride , for she was part of the platoon. “Now that everything is settled , we would look after you, we won’t forget you” they said . Komalee, like the men in green , believed it , yet wondered whether men of war are remembered, when war is no more.

Then everything began to change . The checkpoint was dissembled . The soldiers marched as usual to their camp and never came back. No more Kimbula buns or SLA issue lunch packets. Peace was having it’s run.

The check points , war and the terror mentality was a part Sri Lankan life for years , if not generations. I can only imagine what it was in war-torn Wanni and forgotten border villages , but I can not forget what it was like in my little world. Where one get conditioned to the uncertainty and the military become part of your life. Where qualm justified intolerance and narrow mindness. And as time goes by we forgot how to accept diversity, accommodate and basically make peace . I opine that there was whole socio structure based on the existence of war , it seeped in to basic fibers of our values & habits . And now that war is no more, it leaves a gap. We as individuals, groups and a country will have to find a way to fill that gap and alter it to a constructive force.

As for Komalee , she just sits on the road looking at a forgotten green plastic gunny bag filled with sand.

02 November 2009

Goldpeace green and simpler days

Don’t get me wrong. I am not an old pelican. Though I sometimes feel like one .

Ofcourse residing hairline , compensated by the numbers in my cholesterol level will reveal exactly where I am on the timeline. Let’s say “Not as young as I used to be “.

In another lifetime, when my pocket money of two rupees was spent on a plastic soldier or a sticker of “Bruised Lee” from the guy who sold them in the morning at the school gate. And Mango Achcharu from the Achchige Kade or the bright colored ice cream from the drab colored ice cream cart. I have memories of a much simpler life.

(Yet these were not the good old times, I was told . Good old times was when a month’s provisions could be bought for 1 rupee and 2 rupees were not a single coin .). Good old times were when every thing was perfect . Wise owls say there was such a time .

These were the eighties and we were in the middle of it.

The pope was shot, Michael Jackson reined high , And pop stars sang “we are the world”, four Mutant Turtles and a rat became famous over night, Iraq and Iran made war and then peace, The prince with a big nose married miss Spencer . But whatever that was happening out in the world was all in drab shade of grey to us, especially through the 12 inch black and white TV screen.. Yes there was tiger trouble , that was in Jaffna . Life in Gampaha , Maharagama , Nugegoda , Piliyandala was as usual. The Morris Minors were still the cabs and bullock carts filled with Cadjans were parked in the heart of Nugegoda town.

In the pre teens that we were , ofcourse we knew about war . That is what we played with our plastic soldiers ,( made in hong kong). That was after we finished the Pare cricket match with the rubber ball .

A Sunday at Gallpeace (Gallface green) was always a pleasant trip. The 40mins bus ride felt lot longer and the green it self felt as if it covered a good part of the western coast . Cut Pineapple were sold from basins, Kadale & Rata Kadju in paper cones .Men who had their Sarongs raised to their knees sold Issowade from cardboard boxes and Alarics ice cream van sold Icy choks. Young couples would lean on the old cannons and watch the sunset . This was before check points , Nana’s and coca cola stands.

Children from Anuradhapura, Dikwella & Batticloa , would end their educational trips to Colombo at the Gallpeace (sic). Dark figures in white school uniforms would dot the beach at dusk, washing the metro dust off their feet while an hawk eyed teacher would stay guard with her sari raised a couple of inches to avoid the playful waves . They would smile and exchange addresses and promise to write letters and some end up pen friends for life.

Such were the days. Simpler days , simpler rules.

Why this flashback is because , somebody reminded me of Pineapple and Kadale in a paper cone ,today.

I wonder whether we could go back to those times , now that we could focuss on reconciliation.

But then again for reconciliation , 1977, 1983 , 10 years ago , yesterday would have been perfect too.