|Goddess of the
Shore of Sunrise by Dilshy Banu
A glimpse into
“Seated in the corner of the train, Hazel rests her
head on the curved edge of the seat. Her eyes pass
through the outside vista. But her gaze suggests
that she’s pondering over the life’s question. Is
this the way that will lead her towards her destiny?
Cheerful voices echoed when the door was opened. The
living room was re-designed into a party atmosphere,
decorated with all kinds of décor that could be
fitted for a party. The only difference… is that it
is a private party arranged by a family for one of
their beloved member’s birthday.
“Oh I am…” gaped Hazel and before she could talk
further her mother hugged her greeting, “Happy
Birthday” and put a gold chain with a pendant around
Hazel’s neck. “This pendant is the one you wore when
you were born,” said Hazel’s mother, while hazel
scrutinised the locket pendant on her palm. It bore
the design of a half heart and was bearing her name
and her parents’ name inside it.
“Excuse me,” a coarse male voice woke up Hazel to
the present situation, “Is someone sitting on this
seat?” pointing at hazel’s hand luggage lying on the
vacant seat next to her.
“The train has finally reached its destination –
Batticaloa… With just the hand luggage, out comes
the ‘Foreigner’ to explore her Heritage.”
So begins Dilshy Banu’s maiden novel Goddess of
the Shore of Sunrise, the realisation of a dream
envisioned five years before the novel came out in
print, and conceived after an ‘accidental’ visit to
Batticaloa. Of that visit she says in retrospect at
the beginning of the book, “I found myself living in
an adventure that I would never dare to dream,
experiencing with exposure to war on ground and the
different levels of survival of each society. The
beauty of Batticaloa is so alluring that it kept
taking me back there... and it’s then that the plot
for this story bounced.”
Survival of the people and the beauty of the
landscape: These are the two main ingredients that
make up her novel – “a story that is both emotional
and speaks about Batticaloa.”
In this Eastern coastal town, once known as the
‘Venice of Ceylon,’ it is the intriguing mix of
people, their origins and customs that fascinate the
author. Drawing on legends and historical facts, she
gives detailed glimpses of little known communities
such as the Aborigines of Batticaloa (Thimilars) the
equivalent of the Southern Veddhas, ‘the people of
the wood,’ the Portuguese Burghers, a handful of
whom still speak creole and retain their native
traditions including dances, the Mukkuvas,
supposedly migrating from northern India. Citing D.W.
N. Kadramer’s Landmark of Ancient Batticaloa, she
discusses the origins of the first settlers to this
coastal Eastern town and cites Rev. James Cordiner’s
Description of Ceylon (1800) to reinforce her own
opinion that, “tranquillity, plenty and contentment
reign over them and they feel no desire to leave the
spot their were born.”
Her book is also a constant reminder of the utterly
beautiful natural vegetation of the district –
albeit now scarred from the battle marks of the war.
Both the land and its people are seen through the
eyes of Hazel. The Westernised young Lankan woman
sporting decorative petals on her manicured nails,
wearing nose and toe rings and coloured hair cuts a
strange, alien figure in the conservative Eastern
Province where women wear sarees or long skirts and
blouses with sleeves and cover their faces with
veils, as in the case of young Muslim women. Her
brother Jason follows her later on the same mission
that brought his sister Sri Lanka. Their quest: To
figure out whether the parents who they loved
rightfully belonged to them, or whether they were
Travelling to Batticaloa, Hazel’s first impressions
are of a land of neglect and poverty. She laments
that the once famous landmark she had looked forward
to seeing – Punanai, the little village which she
had originally intended to go in search of leopards,
was now, “a mere tract of empty low grassland
encrusted on both sides of the rail track, used as
grazing land for cattle.” Soon, however, the natural
beauty of the land charms her: Thick casuarinas
bushes, palmyrah fences, coconut groves, the myriad
waterways, the Kallady bridge constructed in 1924
during the time of the British Governor Sir Henry
Manning, the blue waters of the lagoon, the famed
Singing Fish. Intrigued by the white sands (silica
sand), she notices for the first time while
travelling in a ferry (moving road as she calls it)
taking her from Panduvankarai – shore of Sunset to
Elunvan kara – shore of Sunrise, she notes with
regret, “It is unfortunate that no research has been
conducted by geologists on the white sand lying
ample in Batticaloa to identify its true nature and
origin.” She indulges in the fantasy that the sand
is perhaps evidence that Batticaloa was once the
land of Mermaids.” Could this be the land of some
sort of a lost civilisation that is not been
inhabited by humans for centuries and thus still
enacts the magic of its original beauty never heeded
by human visitors?”
It is again, through Hazel’s mind that the reader is
allowed to see Hazel’s new relationships blossoming
as she develops a special attachment albeit with
mixed emotions for Tharan who help her to confront
the truth about her parentage, and later with
Sambavi, a former LTTE female fighter who repels her
and to whom she is irresistibly drawn for some
unknown reason, later revealed in the book.
Once she finds out the truth about her true
identity, and learns to accept it, the arrival of
her parents to the island in search of her, gives a
new twist to the story.
The author relies heavily on flashbacks, symbols and
a mix of fact and fiction in both characters and
incidents, to narrate her story.
While she makes fairly effective use of symbols e.g.
the mask worn by Sambavi is symbolic of the ‘dark
cloud that covered her world’ and the act of
removing it was like facing the “Whole Earth” for
the first time, her main weakness is in the way she
uses flashbacks to move from the past to the present
and vice versa. Often, the transition from the
present to the past, and past to the present,
instead of being smooth and flowing, leaves the
audience speculating. The opening paragraph
mentioned at the beginning is one example where the
author suddenly jumps several years ahead on time,
disrupting the story line, and resulting in the
story losing its credibility. She also attempts to
pack too many sub themes and ideas into the short
space of 250 pages, with the result that the reader
is left with too much to absorb at one go.
The strength of the novel perhaps lies in its varied
settings. During her short stay in Batticaloa, Hazel
and Jason manages to visit a number of interesting
places scattered on the East coast, as well as other
places in the country. Through their eyes we see the
towns and cities of contrasts – the flashy cars and
sleek hotels in the city is a far cry from the
thatched roofed homes and broken down bullet ridden
houses with collapsing walls in the North and East.
On the whole, despite its shortcomings the novel
itself makes a good read, while the front cover is
both interesting and arresting.
However, a tighter copy with better editing would
have produced a neater and more readable work, as
grammatical and spelling mistakes abound, although
this is perhaps understandable as it is the author’s
first effort at creative writing.
After years of being sidelined due to the war,
Batticaloa is now regaining its former reputation as
a tourists’ paradise. For those interested in
visiting Batticaloa, the book could be a useful
guide, considering the amount of research that has
gone into it.
For a night of
glitz and glamour
This year a night of glamour and glitz will be
unveiled at the seventh Raigam Teles.
With a new addition to their annual awards ceremony
the Raigam Kingdom has once again stepped into the
limelight with the announcement of the big night.
The awards ceremony, though it was called Raigam
Tele Awards in the previous years, have been named
as Raigam Teles this year and this is because the
Raigam Kingdom has decided to step beyond the world
This year the stardom will not only be on
teledrama celebrities but also on personalities
involved in TV programmes as well. The 2010 Raigam
Teles will be presenting awards for the best TV
programmes, documentaries and comprises in the
category of media excellence awards.
Raigam Kingdom which introduced many popular
consumer goods to the market and being a national
level player in the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer
Goods) market is sponsoring the awards ceremony to
carry out their part of social responsibility.
“We hold this awards ceremony as part of our
social responsibility. At the inception of this
project we figured that instead of doing usual
entertainment projects it will be best to start an
awards ceremony as that would encourage our
teledrama artistes. Also this was started at a time
when we really needed social harmony and the
television media is one powerful method to carry
this message so we thought of encouraging the
artistes, which would ultimately result in quality
creations,” explained the Chairman of Raigam
Kingdom, Dr. Ravi Liyanage.
Speaking further he noted that the addition this
year was to encourage the television media for more
good quality programmes. Awards for best children’s
programme, best education programme, best sports
programme, best male and female compere, best news
reporting and many more are to be presented on the
special night. For the tele drama category alone 12
awards are inclusive of cash prizes. The Chairman
noted that so far they have received 40 entries for
the single episode drama category, 68 entries for
the performing categories and 402 entries for other
The seventh Raigam Teles will also be having
three awards for the most popular category and the
winning entries are chosen through the SMS vote. The
line 0773 337337 is now open for the audience to
vote for their favourite artistes and teledramas.
The most glamorous event of the tele drama and
television arena will be held on May 13, 2011 at 6pm
at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium. The event will be
graced by the Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne and
many other dignitaries are to be present at the
writer Ernesto Sabato dead at 99
AIRES (AFP) – Ernesto Sabato, a prize-winning
Argentine novelist and essayist who led a
ground-breaking probe into abuses under the
country’s military dictatorship, died at his home.
He was 99.
Sabato’s best known work, The Tunnel, was a first
novel published in 1948 that deals with the
existential search for self and identity.
It was followed by two others – On Heroes and Tombs
(1962), and The Angel of Darkness (1974) – that also
have become part of the cannon of 20th century Latin
A physicist who trained in the late 1930s at the
Institut Curie in Paris and the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Sabato later turned away
from science to become a writer.
Early essays, such as “Uno y el Universo,” probed
the tensions between technology and humanism.
“I write, because otherwise I would have died, to
search for the sense of existence,” he said once in
In Los Angeles, Spanish human rights judge Baltasar
Garzon said he was saddened by the news of Sabato’s
“Ernesto Sabato is one of the founding fathers in
Argentina, not only in the field of literature but
for his immense commitment to human rights,” Garzon
told AFP at a book fair.
Colombia’s Ministry of Culture said it “regrets
today the death of the great Argentine writer
Ernesto Sabato, considered one of the most important
authors of Latin American literature.”
A political iconoclast, Sabato bucked the country’s
He was forced out of a university teaching job in
the 1940s under the dictatorship of Juan Domingo
Peron, and was removed as director of a prominent
journal under the military regime that took the helm
In 1984, he led the National Commission on the
Disappearance of Persons, which investigated the
human rights abuses committed under the military
dictatorship during its “dirty war” against the left
from 1976 to 1983.
The result was a powerful account, replete with
eyewitness testimony, of the country’s descent into
barbarism. It was titled “Nunca Mas,” or “Never
The same year, Sabato was awarded the Cervantes
Prize for Literature, the most prestigious in the
“My father died a few hours ago. I know that all of
you share the sadness that is felt by his family.
Because my father did not belong to us alone,” said
Sabato’s son, filmmaker Mario Sabato.
“With pride, with joy, we know that we share him
with many people who loved him and needed him as
much as we did.”
He said his father had asked that his wake be held
in a neighbourhood club “so that the people of the
barrio can accompany me on my final voyage, and I
want them to remember me as a neighbour, a
curmudgeon at times but basically a good guy.”
Elvira Gonzalez Fraga, the writer’s partner of 30
years, said Sabato had been in failing health for
three years and died of a pulmonary ailment.
He was born June 24, 1911 in the city of Rojas, the
second youngest of 11 children.
|Symphony for a
By Shabna Cader
The AIDS Foundation of Lanka (AFL) and Educate a
Child Trust (EACT) will be coming together to
jointly organise a fund raising event. ‘Symphony for
a Child’ will be a charity concert held on May 20 at
7:30 p.m. at the Kularatne Hall in Ananda College. A
press conference was held at the Park Street Mews on
the details of the event as well as the two
Founder and Chairperson of the EACT Dr. Pramilla
Senanayake gave a brief introduction to her Trust
that was initiated over 26 years ago in Kalutara.
“My son and I were walking along the beach when we
noticed two boys there as well. It was the wrong
time of the day for them to be lounging about, as
they should have been in school. When I called them
over and asked why they were not in school they
simply said that they did not have the money. I
thought it was ridiculous – education is free in Sri
Lanka. But I was forgetting a very important factor.
Education might be free but families yet have to
pull up funds to supply their children with school
supplies like books, uniforms, shoes, etc.” She
She started off by supporting these two boys at
first and in next to no time, she was also
supporting 15 others from the very area. Today, the
EACT supports over 850 children, as well as a number
of families who lost their homes during the Tsunami.
A thriving community now provides them with homes, a
school, a workplace where women are given employment
opportunities and an IT Centre.
“We believe that children are an important part of
our lives which is why we are hoping to hold this
charity event together with the AFL,” added Dr.
The AIDS Foundation of Lanka was inaugurated two
years ago. It was established as a follow-up
organisation after the 8th International Congress on
AIDS in Asia and the Pacific was held in August
2007. Today the organization works closely with
multiple Government programmes, receive funding from
various international organisations including the
UNAIDS and ILO. They also work closely with eight
NGO’s in Sri Lanka and are supported further by an
endowment fund as well.
Needs have no limitations and the needs of children
are a fine example of that. Chairman of AFL Dr.
Palitha Abeykoon highlighted that 45 children in the
country have been identified as HIV positive and
over 300 adults are also possibly positive. “There
is a reason as to why numbers tend to be inaccurate;
most often victims are discriminated in their homes,
society and communities and do not come forward for
relevant support and aid.
Although HIV can never be eliminated the chances of
leading a better and healthy life can be assured
with the right support. The AFL also works with
other social service organisations, work on
mother-child projects in order to improve the
quality of life and conditions of HIV positive
families, men, women and children around the
country,” he added.
The proceeds from the charity concert to be held
will be used to build a health clinic in Kalutara at
the community built by the EACT. A host of reputed
and much loved artistes have agreed to perform on
May 20, free of charge, in aid of these two
organisations. The line up includes performances by
the Lanerolle Brothers, Voiceprint, Ananda Dabare,
Ricky Bahar and Suleetha Nanayakkara.
The box plan and tickets are available at the Sri
Lanka Medical Association, Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo
7. For further information or details on the ticket
pricing contact 011 4 947878 or 011 2 690230.
|Revision text on Kinematics
Clitus Perera has authored a handbook for Advanced
Level Combined Maths students, especially focussing
It contains many examination questions and
It is intended as a revision text covering all types
of motion of a particle under gravity for the
students who are sitting for the exam in August.
The text is comprised of 93 A4 size pages and prized
|The best of Malini and Namel
Weeramuni on Celeb Chat
Malini and Namel Weeramuni share their love for the
theatre with host Kumar de Silva on Celeb Chat at
9.30 p.m. on Monday May 9 on CSN (Carlton Sports
Sri Lankan audiences will remember their memorable
performances in the 1983
‘Ratagiya Attho’ (Expatriates) whose 26 episodes
were much talked about even years later.
The Weeramunis now spend their every breathing
moment… nurturing their lifelong dream... ‘The Namel
Malini Punchi Theatre.’
All this and more with the Weeramunis on CSN’s Celeb