So what’s the “Uthseveya” really all about?

I just had amazingly fun and interesting Sunday!

Basically we went to see a friend of mine at her village Awrudu Utseveya – which is a festival that is held around the “New Year” time and where lots of games are played. Some of these games include the “climbing the greased up truck of a palm tree” and the favourite “pillow fight over a muddy tank game. The later is shown in picture below. Tim, my mate the Canadian Emergency Medicine resident accompanied me for a duel to the death (or “fall in the tank” as the case may be!). Sri Lanka definitely triumphed over Canada in this duel (much to the delight of the local village community), however, Local Sri Lanka triumphed further over the ‘Kalu Sudah’ (coconut) of New Zealand!! [ie “ME”],  again more to the delight of our locals – who were super- friendly!!!

Then we met more friends and had a swim in Nachiyaduwa tank – beeeyeauuuatiful!

Then we headed back to the homestead and gave the research assistants a going away party – something i’d been planning for a while and it all went well! 

Great day. 
great fun by all !

Thank you!!

Now gotta get up for a workshop at 6 am tomorrow!

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Another 48 hours … in Anuradhapura

The last 48 hours in Anuradhapura have been an intense time of personal and world discovery. It is the world discovery that I would like to share here and represent with pictures. 

Despite being in and out of this beautiful ancient city for the last 3 years, I have only seldom visited the ancient ruins and places of worship that make Anuradahpura such an amazing and magical place, and also give it the rich cultural heritage that it has a reputation of having. At the moment I have a friend and colleague who is visiting our group, Tim from Montreal Canada, and consequently I have acquired a new roomy in my humble abode (ie “the study house” in Anuradhapura). Also because of Tim’s visit I been fortunate enough to be stimulated to show him some of the the sights. So here are some pictures of the things we’ve seen within a few kilometres of where I live – I’m really lucky eh!?. 

The teenagers shown in some of the pictures were really eager to get their photo taken and because they came out well I decided to post them (i’m sure they won’t mind). They were from the south on a pilgrimage to see Sri Maha Bodhi (one of the main religious sites here  – a tree over 2500 years old which is reputed to be from a sapling of the original tree that Lord Buddha meditated under and attained enlightenment). One of the teenagers had the same name as me, ie  “bishan”, and it was the first time I had met my namesake in my life – a special day indeed!

I hope you’re all well

Ciao for now!
Bishan
Anuradhpura! 

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“Awrudu” – the Sinhala and Tamil New Year festival – Habarana 2009

Here are just some Images of my Awrudu (Sinhala and Tamil New Year this year), and the Awrudu Uthseveya which I took part in this year at Habarana – along with the surrounding nature. 

The “Uthseveya” is a traditional festival that occurs during the New Year period. Usually this is a fun festival that takes place in villages in Sri Lanka around the Awrudu time where all the children (and perhaps some adults also) play games out in the open. Unfortunately i’ve only just learned the names for some of these interesting games so I can’t remember them to write. However three particularly interesting ones (shown in these pics) are the pillow flight whilst balancing on a log, the “hitting the clay pot” game, and the throwing the and catching the raw egg. The first and last games are self explanatory and certainly I’ve played the egg game before in the west. However the claypot game was interesting- here participant is blindfolded and then is spun around once so that they are disorientated, and then are given the task of walking up to the row of clay pots and having to hit the pot with a long solid stick so that it cracks.

Also the pictures show some ladies playing the “Raban” – the traditional sheep or cowskin drum large enough for 3-5 people to hit at once.  This particular group of women werereally good at playing -not only did they know many rhythms but they seemed to want to sing and dance at the same time which was quite something to watch! The head drummer was an Achchi (grandmother), 83 years of age, and still goingstrong, and she was in full flight, beating the drum, singing and dancing. Her own daughter and granddaughterwere 2 of the co-drummers in the photo.

This event was was well done and felt to me authentic as to what perhaps happens in the village communities, even though this particular Uthseveya was organised for guests of a hotel.

Today i’ve been pondering over the significance of the Sinhala and Tamil new year (or “Awrudu” as it is called in Sinhala)- as I have been for the last few weeks leading up to Awrudu. It is such big deal form most people here as many follow the traditional practices within the home such as lighting the heart and eating “Kiribath” (or Milk rice) at a particular hospicious time (as we did today – 5:10 am and 5:50 am respectively). I was very impressed at peoples commitment for a tradition that dates back over 2000 years, still practiced the same way it was back then.For someone like me who is studying “changing behaviour” it is also interesting to reflect upon behaviour that doesn’t change and what factors support this?

The other thing that is really nice is the exchange of gifts – unfortunately I was caught empty handed today when I got some gifts from my family (as situation that i’m not usually in when it comes to the gift giving department – but not to worry I already had a master plan for this). This is just like Christmas for practicing Christians (or non Christians even in other countries where Christmas is widely celebrated) – and the same sort of atmosphere prevails.

In the the case of Awrudu – firecrackers were lit, new years resolutions were made, and a barage of text messages and phone calls exchanged persons just as is the case for many on thel 1st of January!

All in all it was a great day.

B

Some captions for the photos

The Journey from Kandy to Habarana
A view from outside Bentota Bake house in Dambulla and a passing by Monk catching a bus
Ladies Playing Raban
Pilow fight
Hitting the Clay pot game
Back home with the “Pahana” (Lamp) ready to eat Kiribath, and Cavaly (sweets)

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Who am I ?

I decided to have this post to say a little bit more about me than was on my profile, but I didn’t want all of this there all of the time – so here goes:-
 
 
I am a free spirit who likes to fully engage in life because I believe this way we can learn the most, live the fullest, and love in the best way – “Live Love and Grow” this what I wish for myself and others!
 
I am a medical doctor currently working in Sri Lanka doing a PhD to do with changing behavior in clinical practice regarding pesticide poisoning, and resuscitation.
 
But I am also an anthropologist in disguise who likes to understand the beauty of different cultures – as well as applying this knowledge to try and help what I consider the real challenge the we all face in this world – interpersonal conflict.
 
Through the arts we have the best view of science, and through the science we have the best understanding of the arts which is why i embrace both equally and would call “dance”, and “music” my true passions.
 
Photography is also something that I have been drawn to and love to practice. Some of the fruits of my practice will hopefully be displayed here for all to enjoy
 
So in my quest for living a fun but peaceful life I hope I will find answers and solutions that may help us all.
 
I hope you enjoy the blog!

Just starting out on Posterous – the personal social experiment!

I have been meaing to have a light hearted blog for just the stuff that is going through my head for quite some time now.

Being a busy PhD student who is constantly running behind deadlines hasn’t made it easy to finally start this blog – but today, on new years day (that is Sinhala and Tamil New Year in Sri Lanka) i’ve had enought time and presence of mind to reflect upon my motto for life once again which will hopefully be conveyed with the following words:-

Life is much more about the Journey, than the destination

At every moment, and every second this simple truth can be realised

Why not stop and feel where you are in time and space

Breathe in and breathe out again

Feel the essence within, and without

For removed of this essence we are nothing

Just mere names on a list

Like babies left without a mothers sweet kiss

Yes that’s why I constantly choose the brighter side of life

Not just because the harder side comes with more strife

But rather, I know the “paranoia” about what needs to be done is not true

Even though sometimes it is hard to let go of worries… it’s like taming the shrew

Instead I try to engage in the childhood laughter that I once knew so well.

Lucky for us, life offers this opportunity with each and every moment

So why not stop, listen, look and behold this glorious chance when it is near

With this I will return to my journey that I am so far enjoying along the way

Doing the things I must, as well as  the things that tickle my heart when it wants to play

For it is the joys of life that make it worth living

And it’s these toys of life that we can continue giving,

To ourselves and others, and of this I will not starve

You may not finish everything you start, but I feel it is still worthy to follow your heart

Yes there may still be plenty left up on the window-sil in the end,

But don’t worry about that, just think of the great journey you had – there’ll be no need to pretend!

And with each step you will get closer to your final goal, so there is no need to fear

That’s why I say embrace the journey well, hold it close and at all times hold it dear!

So I will leave you with the lines that help guide my life day by day:-

“Follow your heart and only your own dreams

As life is too short to live someone elses dreams”

For “your” very own journey can be the dream of dreams

Especially when you let it unfold, just see how it gleams!

So I just now wrote this poem because it was the best way I could express my views on life’s priorities, and my current (usual) dilemma of managing to satisfying my soul, by engaging in the domain of arts such as writing poetry, alongside doing what I really need to be doing this evening (which I will now commence) –  which is to finish writing a scientific research article that I have been working on now for months upon months.

This is why i need to investigate a quick and easy sort of blog where I can just send pictures and write next to at my hearts content.

You see my current other blog is a site dedicated to peace and unity in Sri Lanka and the world ( http://peaceandunity-bishan.blogspot.com/ ) . However, i usually spend some time thinking about what I write, before I write anything down which means that it goes unatteneded and gets neglected for months on end.

Here on my “bishans world” posturous blog, i hope to achieve just what the title says – a snippet of my world – mainly through images (and “imagery”) which is how i like to experience the world. So there will be lots of photographs. I aim to protect my subjects who appear in this blog however sometimes it is not possible to get consent of everyone who is in my photographs in advance – so please let me know if you don’t want you photo up there!

The other thing I aim to have is prose such as this, and poetry because I feel this is the best way for me to express the multitude of things that cross my brain waves and emotion centres at any given moment in time.

This site is not just for you, but for me too – and very much an experiment – I luuuurve experiements (especially social ones where I am the subject) so I think i’ll enjoy this. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Peace on Earth

And here’s to a bright and magnanimous future for us all!

Bishan

[First blog entry, from Kandy, Sri Lanka1]