Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Bliss







Recently, I visited Cinnamon Lodge, Habarana situated along the Kurunegala- Polonnaruwa highway. We arrived there around 12.30 p.m, sweating and puffing from the scorched heat of the Sun. As soon as we entered the hotel premises, cool breeze welcomed us hinting the nature of the surroundings we are going to witness. A warm welcome, in the form of a cool cinnamon tea and a refreshingly cinnamon scented wet face towel, was offered by a hostess in the hotel.

 Then we were led to our rooms. We walked along  winding footpaths, leading to various lodges and  finally wound up at ours. A lodge,  which reminded me of a house in Portuguese era stood up in front of me. The key was turned on and we were allowed inside. At once soothing orange and white dominated twin bed welcomed me effortlessly alluring me to dug into pillows and enjoy the soft touch of cotton feathers.
 


 After a shower, we headed to the  dinning lounge.


 


There were local and continental cuisine and a variety of food to choose from. I tried some new dishes with hilarious results and finally  contended with not so new dishes.


Though there were number of dishes, they were arranged in such a way, even a newcomer can select what he or she wants without any fuss!


It was a novel experience for a house wife like me, who used to wait at the table, and serve every other member of the family, before partaking my meal. The waiters hower above us, waiting to pick up an empty plate as soon as we finish one portion and going for another.At first, I hesitated to try out another new dish, once I finished my first food portion, but my son assured me not to.
          It was fun to roam around the room, peeping and observing all the food in dishes, and selecting a food which delights all the sensory organs, yet bumping into another similar tasty dish knowing that I can have some from that too! (Greedy, Ain't, I?)






Once you finish your meals and think  how to return to the room with so full stomach, you see the 'ROOM FULL OF SINS'.
Vast array of sweets,yogurts, ice-creams; home-made and othervise, whole and sliced fruits,cheeses, tarts and other  numerous desserts were there ready for us to be indulged.



Though you have enough, I bet, you won't be able to leave the dinning room without giving a try to one or two in that room.


Then we had a leisurely walk in the premises of the hotel, which occupies a tank and a marshy land with big trees. Those, who were strong enough, climbed them up, as we old folk just sat on the Green.


I don't want to tire you with all the tiny and lengthy details of my trip but it is suffice to say, I enjoyed my stay at Cinnamon Lodge, and  if you are hoping to visit it one day,  you won't be disapointed, if you are a house wife like me as I am unable to compare it to other hotels like globe trotters do.




I like to thank the staff at Cinnamon Lodge, for making it a home like place for simple folk like me and my husband.






[😨  I owe an apology to Food and Beverages Manager there, for not being wise enough to take photos before guests starting the meals. What you see here is not the correct picture  but only some shots  of food, what is left at the tail end of the two and half hour duration meal.}


Sunday, July 26, 2015

To My Dearest Sons at St. Xavier's College, Marawila









Though u were  not borne by me,
I always had a mother's tender love towards u all.

My dear sons, you would never guess
The share u have in
Relieving the frustration and the tension
From my boiling system.


I took your comments personally
And that's why I always got
Angry, when retorted.


I hoped for unquestioned surrender
 in lessons, You rebelled though.


 I am ashamed to say
That I have very little contribution
For moulding u into good citizens
Though I tried it every given moment.



Ours wasn't a traditional classroom
As any other, and
After meeting u all,
I changed my attitude
On a teacher's role!


You always called me 'ape miss'
And I glimpsed a vast flow of
warmth and affection in it.


And yet, when I sensed that
You r deviating from your future goal,


 The punishments,cynical remarks, cajoles
 and even Indifference had to be used
 for getting work done.

Teachers aim for seminars, modal papers
while you strive to cram
all the tutorials into your tired
and confused minds, already half filled
 with FB,  chats and selfies.

In the modern world, where teachers
are fast loosing the grip of their students
nobody is wise to predict
where the current will carry and
deposit u in another
ten years.

However, my dear sons,
I would not hesitate to advise you
As I always do.
Be good and do good.


There's a life for each of  u
 beyond the world of exams.
Ride on it
To a clear future.

And I thank God,
for making an encounter
Between u all and me
So that I am enlightened
of a modern teenager's life.



 (postscript)

"I know,I know.
Wait till Asitha comes,
And he will explain the poem
 to u all'n good time."


         
            Your ever-loving English teacher,
                           Miss blue lotus

Sunday, June 29, 2014

To the Principal sir; a parting note,







Soft spoken and gentle
We have never heard 
Your raised voice
Though there were countless 
Times to do so.

Humble and polite
You always requested
When something wanted to be done.
Never the 'Bossy Type'
Though you always were the Boss. 

You never sneaked into the classrooms
To see what we were doing,
Never embarrassed us
By openly criticizing.
Kept your faith on us, 
Believing, that we would work hard
To the betterment of children-
Our wards.

Now that you are leaving,
We have begun to realize
The immense void 
You are creating
With your absence.
But it is something inevitable, 
As preached by Lord Buddha,
It's a pity to leave
One's loved ones.

After carrying the heavy burden 
Of a school
It is only fair to say
That one needs a rest 
If to remain sane.

Be happy! Thinking 
That you have done 
Your duty to the school 
And pupils.

May God keep you happy 
Until your last days. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How to Lure My New Tenant






                 

What a shy person my new tenant is!


Comes with the Dawn and leaves with the Dusk.

My eye walks on the lawn looking for a sign of him.

Sits in his favourite place,on top of a coconut.

Hops back and forth and chats while I carry my washing.

 It's his previledge, so I listen to him.



He likes me and the mynah who eats tit-bits in the garden.

I too like him though he is not one of my own.

He is a nature lover, conservationist and a vegetarian.

He is an ecentric too.

Shakes his back when he has something excited to say.



Spellbound by his presence, I tried all my tricks on him

to share my life with him forever,though it failed,

breaking my heart. I wonder whether you have any tips

to lure a flycatcher to my home.














Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Short Cut







    





                    My first appointment was to a school with only a brick building and  two other kajan thatched ones. It was situated deep into the forest which connected  it with the village by only a bus route and a bus which went twice a day;in the morning and the evening.  but many a times people find that the bus has broken down and those who want to go to the dispensary, weekly fair or to a government institute to get their work done have to trek that long journey along the dusty road which sent a swirl of dust, each time you raise your foot.
    As if to compensate the difficulties and dilemmas you undergo in that God forsaken place, the principal was a very understanding and a  kind hearted fellow.  He was in his early fifties with thinning hair and short and fat with a dark complexion.
          When  I went there  on the first day he welcomed me happily as he was without an English teacher for some time. I too, on the other hand , was a dreamy eyed teacher, armed with my new knowledge,  who was eager to impart all I learned at Pre-Service Training.  After handling official documents he  introduced me to the rest of the staff. As I could remember, there was only one male teacher and three or four female teachers who were all  unmarried.   
 Then the principal took me to a classroom with some students. but there was no teacher. He explained that the class teacher was on maternity leave and from then onwards I would be their class teacher.It was a grade two. I was somewhat consternated  but there was nothing I could do about it. I had come here  to teach these  students the most important English Language and the principal had given me this. To make matters worse, there was no black board for them. I had to teach them sinhala letters and words without a blackboard. It's like a game where you can't utter the word 'thirsty' when you speak about the water.


              The students gathered around me eagerly observing me and my dark purple  american Georgette saree. ( I still have it with me now!) There were around thirty five students in the class; malnourished, lethargic and under fed. but their smiles were warm and I felt that they were expecting something special from me . 

               The students sat on the rough concrete floor and there was only a wooden chair for the teacher. no desk or table.I introduced myself and asked their names. I exactly didn't know what to do. I was trained to teach the English Language but they had not prepared me for  a situation like this. My heart was racing and mind was thinking fast. I had to teach them something and the students were eyeing me curiously.O.K.What the heck, I thought.
                                           Then I asked them to bring their exercise books and began writing the word "samanalaya" (butterfly) in each book  and asked them to complete the page with the word. After writing in around twenty books my back began to ache as it was an uncomfortable posture without a table to lean on to. I straightened up and looked around . countless number of tiny hands were offering me their books for me to write that sacred word in them. Some were pushing to come to the front and I heard cries of "anei , paganna epa. " ("don't tread on please"!)


                   They were pushing me too. I felt a nudge and when I turned around, I saw a little boy has crept under chair to come close to me. He was almost sitting on my lap. I stopped my writing and gave them a look. I met their expectant gazes.



 I told them as calmly as possible, though I was very tired and uncomfortable,  "Now children, I am going to write the word in each of your books. So don't push each other. Go back to where you sit, and come one by one as good children. "



                 I waited.They didn't budge.I waited more. Reluctantly, one girl went to her place and sat with her book on the lap. She called her friend. Then one by one all the students went back to their space on the concrete floor. I took a deep breath. I just sat there indicating I needed a short break from writing. I was not allowed to wallow in my pleasure,  as one brave student came with the book and showing asked me " teacher, mehema livvama haridha" ?  Then another one came, and another. Again they were asking me numerous questions with regard to their writing, mostly the questions to which they very well knew the answers. I was getting angry as I was not composed and collected and didn't know what to do with these bunch of kids who expected some magic from this young, new teacher! 

            The other teachers may have witnessed this incident. One of them came and took charge of my young wards. Another took me to their room. It was a part of the school building.  She opened a thermos flask and poured me a cup of tea. I was grateful for her kind act and gratefully accepted it. but as soon as I sipped the tea, my thirst vanished totally. It was unpleasant and  an oily layer was floating on the surface of the drink. I swallowed it with much difficulty and finished it quickly. It was the sort of water you drink in those remote areas. You could never think how happy I was to drink a glass of cool, refreshing water at one gulp while little drops were falling along wetting  my neck line.

                    She asked me to take things slowly and not to bother about students so much as there was very little one could do.The majority got absent in the harvesting season and rainy season; former to help their parents and latter due to flooding of the roads. 


                  That was how my first day at school was spent  and the bell ran indicating that the  school was over. Oh, my, what a relief! Now time to go home. My father took me to school in the morning but I had to take the bus for return journey. Unluckily for me, there was no bus for the return journey and  those who travelled in the bus had to walk or find other options to reach their destinations.


                    Principal was concerned about my going home and asked two senior students to guide me to my home as they both were going in my direction. I was cold with sweat. I had never walked such distance and it was not easy for me to walk at all, as my new high heels were cutting my flesh like hell.

             but some things were inevitable and this was one such moment. There was no other alternative. So with a chilling heart, I started the journey.The principal advised the students to take me safely home.They were leading and I followed them. We were walking on  the bus road which was dusty as it was not tarred yet. after walking for some time I saw that the bottom edge of my new saree was fully covered with dust. and it had turned totally brown. The students too noticed it and when I stayed to rest for a while they suggested to take a short cut.I was doubtful at first but they were persistent, telling me that ' it was very short' when compared to this dusty gravel road where you tend to falter walking on gravel. I was reluctant at first but again there was no other alternative. My left foot had become reddish and each step was hurting like hell. I wanted to run home and remove this bloody shoes at once. 


                 So, when we came to the fork of the road, my two guides took the left turn which was the short cut, and I went behind them meekly clutching my hand bag, and giving more weight to my right foot. It was only a narrow foot path.No two people could walk abreast.  The thorny bushes and shrubs grew at the edges of the path, entangled in my hair, saree and back scratching me and sometimes creating red patches in my hands and nape. The walk was very uncomfortable. I had to twist and avoid the twigs and branches on the path and I couldn't walk straight. It seemed that my two guides were well accustomed to this daily walk and they just held and avoided the branches and twigs with an easy manner.   



 Then there was a mud hole in the path,and without knowing, I fell into it. A sharp pain spread through my body.involuntarily I sat on the edge of the foot path on the long grass. The pain was unbearable and I was twisting and wreathing with pain. Meanwhile the two boys were watching me helplessly as they couldn't decide what to do.



                My ankle was bruised. The two boys were helpless and they stared at their new teacher who was in great pain. Then one of the students  picked some leaves, chewed and kept it in the wound and I gave my handkerchief to wrap around it.but it was not enough to go around and I had to tear a strip of cloth from my new underskirt.  After bandaging the wound, I just sat there for the pain to subside, then got up and began to walk slowly.But it was impossible to walk as my both feet were hurting a lot.

                    I declared bitterly that I couldn't walk.The two boys were scared and exchanged fearful glances.As this was a short cut, very few people used to take it and the boys suggested to wait for some time before one of them going to village asking for help. They asked me to remove my shoes and meekly I obeyed them.Then one of them helped me to sit on the grass. 

              We waited. During that time, I had time to think about my teaching career. I understood with regret, that It was not  the beautiful dream I had  when I was schooling. It was more deep and humane and you should be a part of it and feel what your students feeling and experiencing in their day-to-day lives.

                          Even, when my subconscious mind was handling my thoughts, I heard a distant, but approaching sound of  creaky pedals. The two students who sat with fallen faces got up and disappeared into the woods and I waited, not knowing what to expect after this upside down events happening to me. 

                         Finally, help arrived but in the disguise of an  old bicycle.The villager was running an errand and had thought of taking the short cut to reach his destination quickly. He was aghast when he listened to the halting narrative of two scouts. He offered his humble services to the "iskole nona' and apologised for the condition of his bicycle. On the other hand, I visualised him as a Greek God, who came to the rescue of a young princess. (It was me!) I was thrilled to the core.Apart from the humiliation of pushed by three males, I sat on the rickety bike and was ridden home to the amusement of my sisters and the concerned look of my father.  
                                                                
                So, finally with disheveled hair, a dusty and torn saree and a half missing underskirt I ended my first day in the school.                                                                                                                 









Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Teacher's Vengeance















The  Teacher's  Vengeance




She came hurriedly
to an unswept classroom
passing
paper balls on the floor,
avoiding the fallen flower vase
on her path,
ignoring the culprits,
who deserve punishment
in an ordinary day.

With open mouth and wide eyes
pupils stare
thinking of
the impending doom.
Anticipation is mountain high.
Consequences follow
sure as Hell.


  Spectacled eyes
throw a wicked smile.
For, it is the way
to rejuvenate
the frozen minds
of the imbeciles.


This is her day. Victorious,
 triumphant, fulfilled and vengeful,
she looks straight
into the eyes of those defeated souls.



Dropping the papers with a thud
on the desk,
straightening the table cloth with her finger tips,
picking the chalk from the edge of the table,
She  wrote on the black board,
SECOND TERM TEST.