Together we made a bond that is unbreakable,
upon a trust in any sense unshakeable,
for three years we sailed the sea of love,
storms of then are cherished memories now.
This poem was written by me…
To a girlfriend…
Of one of my friends….
Toastmaster, my dear toastmasters,
You need not be alarmed. It was written on the request of my friend for their third anniversary. Just like the heroes in my friend Ranga’s speech some days ago, I have a secret identity. That identity is of a cupid! For more than a decade I have worked as a counsellor, arbitrator, and in very rare occasions like in the case with the poem, as a ghost writer. I have strolled with my friends in stores that sell glimmering bracelets and bangles, I have gone to buy perfume from shops where you have to sell your kidney or something to buy a single bottle of perfume. But more than that, I have saved many relationships form ruin. This, I believe is a great “super power” to have. But this is of very recent tidings of my life. Everything that has a present has a past. So let me rewind more than twenty years and look in to my roots.
1980s were a time when the country was in utter chaos. Along came I with my own bit of chaos to the world. But it was neither my mother nor father that was in trouble this time but the astrologers. Yes, the astrologers. I was born at a time when the sun was in transition between Aquarius and Pisces. They were not in consensus as to which star sign should I be put into. So I ended up with 3 Pisces horoscopes and 4 Aquarius horoscopes. Well, if you ask me, it is not a bad arrangement either. When I want a boost I can read the astrology section of the paper and take only the good things in from both signs. Thus I am in a constant state of good fortune or so. If you think that is the only time I had a brush up with astrologers, you are wrong…
After a few years, I had to participate in this ritual where the kid first reads a book. An auspicious time was set and my grandmother volunteered for the task. The big day dawned, the auspicious time came… and it went. For two hours my grandmother tried to read me the Sinhala letter “ස”. She went “ස”, “ස”, “ස” but to no avail. Seeing that my mother, who is a teacher was about to beat me in to a pulp, my grandmother took the English alphabet out and read “Ship”. I have immediately said “ship”. That is how I read the wrong syllabi, of the wrong language at the wrong time. But that was not all that bad…
The habit of reading has since been a lifelong companion of mine. In my family, I am known as the baby that never tore a single story book, and for my birthdays I was mainly gifted books. This led to me being an owner of a private library of more than 3000 books by the time I was doing my O/Ls. I have books ranging from arts to philosophy to religion to science. When one is talking about reading, one cannot only talk about reading for leisure….
Serious reading for academic purposes started with me entering Dharmasoka College, Ambalangoda. One of the most interesting facts that I have about my school is that it is my next door neighbour. Because of that I was a “good” student which resulted in me I became a prefect. Being a prefect is an ambitious goal for a student, but, do you think that I would have stop there? No! I contested for the post of the head-prefect. But that is not the interesting bit in that story. The competition for these posts is a very complex process in our school. With various tests, multiple levels of voting, so on and so forth. There was a speech competition done in both Sinhala and English. As you may have already guessed, I won both speech competitions with considerable margins. And when I could not get the post of head-prefect, my friends tried to bestow me with a new title; “කථානායක”. Fortunately that idea did not fly far. Not all ambitions are doomed like that. Here I am, as a lecturer of the department of computer science and Engineering. A career, I love so much. But it is a story for another day, another time.
So until then,
Over to you toastmaster