Category Archives: This is Life

The Way I See It

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All of those who have been reading this blog for a while would have sensed that this is the space I use for my salvation, the space I use to present even the ‘thorny’ issues in life (like homosexuality and abbreviating words!) in a light-hearted way. Although I was worried  at the beginning I would fizzle after blogging for a while, today I’m happy that I have been able to yield some rewards out of this. Some bloggers found what I write to be entertaining and My Business Addiction once awarded me the ‘prestigious stylish blogger award’ in her blog saying ‘She’s just rambling when she says she’s demented. Very cool blogger and book-lover. Young and funny with the whole world in front of her for the taking!’ And I also made new friends in blog-sphere, who by their insightful and interesting comments on what I write have encouraged me to go on rambling!

Even though now you might be thinking “Ah, she is going to write a ‘thank you’ note today”, well, apparently, I’m not. All those lines were to help me with an opening warning, that I’m going to take my serious mask out of my safe, wear it and try to come up with this post in a different tone today. I’m sure that many people would have a discernment on the subject I’m going to write. Even if you don’t, you could still refer to this article which appeared in Daily News of today, a premier news paper in Sri Lanka, and then start reading mine. And since I’ve not written a single ‘serious essay’ after I was 15, before reading this please send all your luck on my way!

AND get ready to be choked up! 😉 😀

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This post, I will use to address the issues that have forced me to the front-lines of student activism.

I’m not a student union hater and in fact the credit for bringing the Applied Sciences faculty of Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka to the main university premises at Belihul Oya, from far away Buttala goes to the student union.

I had to become a student activist accidentally because I believe in justice, because I reckon the imposing-mob-rule status quo of the student union to be unjust, and because I feel that protecting it will do more harm than good to the student community as a whole.

In many instances I have come off as an anti-ragging crusader, but I’m not. I just don’t believe in preserving ragging as practiced in Sri Lankan universities at present, if it is a university sub culture that is used to oppress the first year students, if that is a sub culture used as a cover to physically abuse them, to disempower them, to subjugate them and to silence them, because then that is unacceptable to me.

In some cases I come off as an anti-university sub culture campaigner, but I’m not. I just don’t believe the students should suffer just so a sub culture can go on. If certain elements of a sub culture create stress among students, I say we need to get rid of those elements; the elements that promote physical and verbal abuse and require the victims to accept, endure and excuse such behaviour.

Often I have been labeled as a rabid student union demolisher, and I say it’s just a matter of opinion. I’m devoted to the cause of our education, empowerment of students and emancipation from the student union hegemony by the  simple means at my disposal such as rejection of what is not acceptable and disobedience to what  is not  fair. Having recognized the student union as an institution that underpins and legitimizes the status quo in which majority of the students are oppressed and subdued, I believe it’s time to question, confront and reject some ideologies of the student union.

And every now and then some people come up with the revelation that my problem is that I’m a born metropolitan(!), and therefore incapable of relating myself to the prevailing ‘university sub-culture’. The way I have been brought up and educated, there is nothing sub-cultural in accepting all the silly dictates passed by one batch to the next without subjecting them to any scrutiny. My sensibilities tell me that even a sub-culture should be dynamic enough to serve the students and not to enslave them.

The way I see it, the Sri Lankan university student has nothing but him/herself. Most of our identities have been destroyed by the inferior state dictates the student unions have imposed on us. And because of it, I say at some point the student has to decide whether to stand up for his/her rights as an individual or merely become a member of an aimless herd and settle to keep the student union running according to their personal (most of the times) agendas.

And I know that the student unions rarely encourage the students a pursuit of an individual expression. Instead they teach that the interests of the collective supersede the desires of the individual. But let us not forget that these individuals could be having  limitations, needs and desires of their own which often get overlooked in the broad picture, and sometimes if those individuals are given the opportunity to voice their ideas, that they might even outnumber the said ‘greater number’. The way I see it, that so-called ‘greater good’ which often make the students cede all their needs and desires to student union, just because anything else is considered to be ‘unsub-cultural’, is highly damaging and nocent.

Yet, in any case, the emancipation of the students can only begin in their minds. It’s up to them to reverse the deeply embedded beliefs of their inferiority and fathom the shallowness in abiding to ‘university sub-culture’ in every vital decision they make which could affect their future.

To conclude this I’ll add that some people believe its impossible for the deep-rooted student union status quo and certain aspects of university sub-culture to change. Nevertheless, I think its impossible for it to remain the same as the world is changing and we are changing with barricades and limitations being broken everywhere.

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Never an Architect…

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I never wanted to confine myself to one single aim in life. I get bored swiftly. May be it’s because I like to picture myself one day saying “I’m multi-talented. I dabble in everything!” Anyway I’m one of those people who like to keep their options open.

Today I tracked my career aspirations ever since I was a kid, in my mind. And I’m proud to tell you that I recalled how my ambition changed as often as my underwear!

According to that recollection of memories when I was around 3 years old I wanted to become a teacher. I suppose that’s where all of us girls takeoff after being inspired by our pre-school teachers, the very first outsiders we meet in life apart from kith and kin. I went around enhancing the knowledge of all the brainless furniture in my house wearing a piece of cloth tucked into my short as a pallu to make it look like a sari so that my students would think I am a real teacher!

 

 

A photo taken soon after one of my students disappointed me!

But this didn’t last for long as I figured out I’m very lethargic when it comes to voicing my words. I knew I will so not survive if I am to talk for 6 hours at a stretch per day! Now, now, please don’t give me looks! You got to believe I’m talkative only on the cyberspace! The mere idea of me typing letters and them flying straight into your PC and popping up in your screen is more than enough to fill my life with ecstasy and make my day!

Anyway after giving up on this I wanted to become a writer when I was 8. No! Not a novelist, a poet, a play writer or a blog writer. I wanted to write a book on dinosaurs and publish it! And mind you, I wanted this to be not just a book but an international bestseller! Yes, you are right! I love to hitch the wagon high!

 

A dino baby posing for my never written book!

And back then I used to learn by heart every little thing I come across about dinosaurs. The super heroes who rocked my realm were Tyrannosaurus Rex, Allosaurus, Iguanodon and other dinosaurs. You ask me anything, I mean ANYTHING about them, and I would answer you in an instant.

Yet later on in life, that’s like when I was 13 years old I took this knack a step further and happily announced to the ones at home that I want to become an archeologist!

 

Spot me in this picture if you can!

Alas, the stories I told my mother to spice her up on how one day I will go on excavating in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia almost drove her crazy. Perhaps she feared her only child will never make it after living a protected life! Anyhow it was too much for her to digest. Thus she came up with this marvelous plan to change my mind. She abruptly informed me that in order to become an archeologist, first I must become an architect. And being an ignorant one on those days gone by I fully bought her words!

That’s how I started to play with the idea of becoming an architect! No offense, I must tell you that I was indeed fond of the idea. I did Western Music at school till I stepped into grade 10 and toyed with the idea of doing Art as an artistic sense would be useful to a future Architect. But in the end I decided to take English Literature instead of Art as a main subject for Ordinary Level exams.  I had gone to Cora Abraham Art class which was at a close proximity to our school ever since I was 7 years old. There we were required to sketch the houses around as those buildings were of elegance and glamour. I simply enjoyed every second I spent on the road, sketching. Even at home I spent much time designing 3D dream houses on the computer using applications which belong to my parents. And heaps of The Architect and Asian Homes magazines were in my possession.

So I went ahead and took the bold decision of selecting Mathematics stream for Advance Level when I was 16 in 2005. Things were alright for me and I was well determined to become an Architect and I even blissfully divulged it to every single article, radio and TV programme I featured in, at my hour of fame way back in 2006!

 

That could have been me!

Yet to my bad luck I didn’t pass the aptitude test conducted by University of Moratuwa. Whilst things turned out like that making it a bitter pill to swallow I had to make the toughest decision so far in my life, whether I’m going to follow Architecture course at the Sri Lankan Institute of Architects or Computing and Information Systems degree at Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka which I had already been selected for. I would have been much delighted if I could procrastinate for a few years before declaring what I am actually going to do. Instead I had to decide right away which seemed to be bit ridiculous that I was expected to know which side my bread is buttered on! I looked at all the possible pros and cons and the fact that I was already following the degree at Charted Institute of Management Accountants and figured my calling probably fell into the latter, between ‘Architect’ and ‘Management Executive’.

Still this year, that’s exactly a year after, I felt a pang of regret when my quick gaze went and stopped at Anjalendran – Architect of Sri Lanka book at the book fair held at BMICH recently.

 

A comprehensive overview of Anjalendran’s work

No matter how hard I try to lie to myself and say nothing is out of the question, realistically, I will never probably design a house which anyone would dream to live in. Or showcase my work at the architects’ exhibition and have somebody write a book called Nirmala – a Sri Lankan Architect!

But, hey, who knows, I might still make the grade and become a famous blog writer someday!