Posted in Daily post

Just a mere Coincidence !?!…(part one)

coincedence

Fate, Coincidence, Miracle….

Questions, confusion, faith….

Opening the Pandora’s box..

I ponder where I sit with those words.  I straddle between Agnosticism and Spirituality.  I say spirituality and not religious, because my practice of religion is slightly different to the norm.  I do make the occasional visit to the Hindu temple.  I would kneel down at the chapel and same at Buddhist temples. It is just a place where it is peaceful and quiet to gather my thoughts, my fears, my appreciations, my hopes.

I do believe in the possibility of a God or a higher being.  But do I believe in total submission? I find it hard to believe that “God” would be so vain that he needs your prayers/praise.  I would think he is above all that.  If I was God, I would rather my disciples live peacefully than create wars on my behalf.  Hence the reason for me to give up on religion but embrace the creations of God, fight to preserve the good and pray for the ultimate miracle “chocolate to lose weight”.  Maybe I should start a religion.  My slogan would be “For the love of chocolate”.  Gone off track again.  In my last birth I must have been a Gold fish.  Promise some serious epiphany in the next paragraph.  So please read on.

I believe in doing good simply because it is the right thing to do.  And what feels right to me, not because it was written in some book.  I do sit on the cross roads of gray at times.  Educate yourself and thy neighbor. If it is a subject that you don’t know much about (eg Islam, LGBTQ and what ever else that you have not grown up with), Educate before you swallow in assumptions and rumors.

So do I believe in Fate?  Whether it be a great outcome or it be a disastrous one, I/we tend to lean on the word “Fate”.  It is fate that two people met and fell in love.  It is also fate that their love didn’t last forever.  I think in the latter we would say “it wasn’t meant to be”.  Someone meets with an accident and dies, well that was fate.  He survives that’s a miracle.

Questions, confusion… well then is blind faith the answer, but then again not everything can be answered by Science either.  So what is the answer.  Most times chocolate seems to do the trick.

The following are a trail of incidents that happened between my dad and his twin brother, not just the two of them, but by all of us in their circle.

My dad and my uncle aren’t Identical Twins.  In fact they are polar opposites in their looks and behavior.   All their lives they had things happening to them which are similar but opposite as well.  Yes I note the oxymoron, but read on…

My dad – Tall, Studious, funny, passive, pretty ordinary in Sports

My uncle – short, Studies – questionable, funny – more questionable, passive – definitely not, amazing in sports

My dad – One Daughter

My uncle – One Son

So here starts the explanation for the oxymoron similar but opposite.  One kid each but one had a girl and the other a boy.

Now both these kids (ie the daughter is thy self) without prior thinking or planning ended up marrying into the same family.  Please concentrate Sri Lankan Family Tree being explained, My husbands sister(my sister in law who happens to be my bestie) married my first cousin.  Again we didn’t plan it that way.  We were all living in different parts of the world at that time.

Now these two men, my cousin and my now husband share the same first name.  They both worked on ships. Here comes same but opposite.  My hubby joined as a Deck Cadet and ended up as the ships Captain. My cousin joined the engine room and ended up as Ships Chief Engineer.  Coincidence?? I shrug my shoulders.

My sister in law and myself both studied Science subjects but ultimately ended up in banks. She was in retail banking, I was in Corporate Banking, foreign exchange and financial markets.  Same same but slightly different.  I got out of it after sometime but remained in accounts based jobs.  Coincidence?? I purse my lips.

My Aunty and my mum were both heading for a Hysterectomy.  My aunt’s surgery was scheduled for September and my mum’s was in November. It was school holidays so mum decided to make a trip to her home town so she could be of assistance to my Aunty.  The day of surgery dawns, my dad, mum and my uncle all accompany my aunty to the Hospital.  Once my Aunty was wheeled back from the surgery mum and dad decided to head back home.  It was rather late in the evening.  On their return journey my mum broke her leg while getting off the bus.  She had to be taken back to the hospital and had to undergo emergency surgery for her leg and was on the next bed to my Aunty.  So the wives of the twins were attacked by the”Twin Force” too.  Coincidence?  Yes okay, I am happy to put that down to coincidence.  Read on.. spooky stuff on its way.

Life wasn’t meant to be happy all the time.  I am not sure if its not meant to be but it never is.  My dad said good bye to us at the age of Fifty Three. My uncle was living miles away in a farm felt a pang in his chest on the night of my dad’s passing and the next morning he was delivered with this shattering message.  The funeral rites are usually done by the son.  My cousin was out at sea at that time, my uncle was then asked to do the rites. The priest chanted the mantras and was instructing uncle how to do the various rituals.  I have never seen my uncle so subdued.  Tears just poured down his cheeks as he was performing the last rites for his twin brother.  I thought it was almost cruel to have asked him to do the rites. He later told me that it was really hard but also felt it was fitting and was his privilege.

A few months later.  My uncle was about to catch a bus to another village.  Just before he boarded the bus, he had an informal chat to this shop keeper/friend/acquaintance. I am just picturing the scene, uncle with a cup of tea or coffee, having a chat with this other bloke, knowing my uncle, he was probably complaining about some one or something.  Finishes his cuppa and says “anyway I am off” and gets on the bus.  A few hours later the shop keeper hears that the bus that just left had met with a horror accident.  So this man  rushes out in his car looking for the bus. These are remote areas.  So I am guessing they just had the one ambulance, which had already left with injured survivors.  They had left the deceased on the road to come back for later.  The shop keeper found my uncle on the road left for dead.  His nose and ears ripped off, with multiple fractures but somehow this man felt that he was still alive.  So he rushed my uncle to the hospital with all the bits of pieces that were beside him.  He was patched up and came out good as gold.  So he had a near death experience but he survived.

We had our kids and settled in Australia and them in Canada.  I was very close to my cousin.  Both without any siblings of our own considered each other to be brother and sister.  When we were young, my cousin would spend most of his school holidays at our place, he could accompany my dad to the lab and study with dad. At younger days he would teach me Caram (a board game played in most parts of the sub continent).  We did sometimes fight especially when I get caught cheating in card games. It progressed from Caram to tutoring me Physics as I neared year 12.  It is really bizarre how we both happened to marry into the same family.  Fate, coincidence… what ever it was, it made us very close.

I think it was year 2000 or 2001, I think it was just after the Sydney Olympics, the four of them came over to Sydney for a holiday.  We celebrated my cousin’s 40th at our house.  Jan (my sister in law) and I were being are normal selves.  We raided all the shops and made our husbands shiver.  Life was beautiful.  This was in May.  Clocks strikes 12.00 on the 31st Dec and we receive a call from the two of them.  Excited as ever wishing us Happy New Year.  We didn’t talk for long as both of us wanted to ring other people as well.  It’s our wedding anniversary on the 19th of Jan.  I remember my cousin telling me clearly, we call you on the 19th and we can talk more.  How was I to know that he wasn’t going to keep that promise.

I am going to leave it at that for the moment.  Promise to continue soon.  Keep pondering Fate or coincidence.

 

To be cont…

Daily Prompts : Coincidence, Educate, Disastrous

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/coincidence/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/educate/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/disastrous/

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Posted in Australian Politics

What it is to be Australian

australian-flag-map

Today marks Twenty Seven years since we landed on this soil.  Today I speak/write as a Proud Australian, proud but sometimes sad and sometimes mad.  Before you start slinging stones at me for being ungrateful, please read on…(special note to Pauline Hanson some words may make you say “Please explain” fear not, there is a book called the “Dictionary”, no scratch that, just google it)

I like to visit why we left for Australia, my feelings then and now, what have I observed, and the big question What it is to be an Australian.

Why did we leave Sri Lanka? More importantly why would you leave if you were financially stable.  I am currently in the process of writing about the civil war in Sri Lanka and the main reasons for my departure from that country etc.  But a shorter version would be to say, due to the Civil war.

As a Tamil we constantly lived in fear.  Famous words were “If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time”, well there was no right place or right time either. Any place could turn into a wrong place.  For the Government forces you are a terrorist because you have a Tamil surname and if you are in the North and if you don’t comply or adhere to whims of the militants then you are a traitor. When your life is in danger having a healthy bank balance alone will not convince you to stay on. So in our case we didn’t move for the greener pastures, but rather for safer pasture.

The final nail was when I lost my dear friend, who happened to be a Sinhalese.  I was asked not to even attend his funeral, as our relatives feared that someone at the funeral might turn on us as emotions would be rather high.  I had lost relatives and some friends had lost their dad or brother to the war as well.  But for some reason my friends demise stirred something very deep within me.

A boy who was not a racist, the only boy/person who wrote to me apologizing on behalf of his people, for the mass killings of the 1983 riots, now lay dead.  The instigators of the war on both sides send in little pawns to be slayed while their kith and kin were sent overseas.  They stay out of harms way, while stirring trouble and use young kids to the fore front.  This country used my dear friend as a pawn.  He was posthumously awarded many medals.  He is probably hanging on a wall in a very important building.  Just mere ceremonies for Politicians to feel good and  earn those precious votes.

War Sucks People, Never invite it or instigate it

 I can tell you right now, I would rather have my friend alive rather than on a wall with pretty medals.

With all the unknowns still a foreign land seemed more promising than my own.  I could see corruption was only getting worse.  The gap between the have’s and have not’s were getting wider.  Future in this country looked rather grim.  Reluctantly dragging our feet we made the decision to leave a well paying job, house and all the luxuries, such as driver, aides and everything else and move to another country to start over.

Mixed emotions for me when I left.  My mum had just undergone a Kidney Transplant surgery.  She donated a kidney to her brother.  Timing wasn’t great.  I really didn’t want to leave when I left.  I would have liked to stay for a few more months. But then again when you are surrounded with relatives each one with their own view and everyone else view taken into consideration but just not yours, you have no choice but to pack your bags.  I left thinking okay let me get far away from all of you as well.  After I had reluctantly agreed to the departure date there was another group who thought I shouldn’t be leaving my mum behind and I was being a selfish daughter.  I had to keep reminding myself of, “The story of the father and son taking the donkey to the market”. I needed a new beginning.

We landed at the Melbourne Tullamarine Airport on the 1st Sept 1990. It was a chilly morning.  Everything felt crisp, clean, new, overwhelming and exciting.

The day after we arrived, we went and registered for our tax file numbers, medicare and all other mundane official applications.  Twenty Seven years later, I now have the privilege to be annoyed and berate about the inefficiency of our Government Departments.  But at that time I was amazed that I was able to get all those things done within the same day.  And I didn’t need to ‘know’ anyone to get those things done.  No one jumped the queue, and no one said “Oh you are so and so’s daughter, come, come, come. have a seat”.  The guy with the tattoo was served the same way as the woman with the designer bag.  I smiled.

We also chose to migrate at a time when Paul Keating decided it was a ‘recession we had to have’.  This made hubby very anxious for the first time in his working life. With no proper working experience under my belt it was even harder for me. I enrolled in a TAFE program to get job ready.  I was so thrilled to have access to a public library for FREE.  We had a mixed group of students in my class.  Different ages, different race and cultures.  But we all got along really well.  No one shouted out “Go back to where you came from”.   I don’t know how I would have reacted if that had happened.  I don’t think I would have gone back.  I would have thought I did nothing wrong,  I am staying put.

 I would have become resentful rather than thankful as I am.  

Hubby had to wait till October/Nov to get his first job and that was in Sydney.  So we moved to Sydney.

Slowly started to learn the lingo and the accent.

aussie-slang-570x411

 I still remember, I was working at my hubbies office. I used to run errands and had to stop at the Post Office everyday and so I became a regular.  One of the ladies one day said “How you going?” I was rather perplexed.  Office was just two blocks away and you’ve seen me walking here everyday, I was like a stunned mullet (for non Aussies refer above).  They all had a good laugh.  I felt rather embarrassed until later listening to an Interview with Michael J Fox, where he was thrown the same question and he thought “thats a strange question by Plane of course”. Again for Non Aussies “How you going” but when saying it you have fuse all three words into one and what ever that noise is, means how are you.

I got used to the Taxi driver, the Newsagent, the random guy at the bakery and anyone else addressing me as “love” – yes love, no love, here you go love, No worries love.

For me that is very Australian. 

We bought our first unit in 1991.  I was studying Accountancy and working.  It was tough. But, I was loving the fact I had less family interference and I loved this world where everyone was an equal.  But Hubby was struggling.  Hubby had a job, but it didn’t pay him or treat him anywhere near what he was used to. He persevered.  But I am sure at times he wanted quit everything and go back.

We became Aussie citizens in January Australia Day 1993. I fell pregnant. Hari was due first week of May 1993.  We just had the one car.  Hubby was working in the South of Sydney while we lived in North West.  One day, I find a note stuck under my door.  One of the old guys who lived in one of the other units had left it. We’ve met him and his wife once or twice at the Body Corporate meetings.  They’ve seen me waddle around towards the end of my pregnancy and knew that hubby worked far away. He has put that note saying if I needed to get to the hospital and Hubby wasn’t there I could call him.  I shed a tear seeing that note.  I was feeling rather emotional, as this was going to be my first child and I was missing mum.  But seeing that note made me think I am not alone after all.  I smiled and I cried.

For me that is very Australian. 

I think it was 1994 my mum arrives and later we buy a house and move out of this unit. First day in our house, a very tall gentlemen arrives at the door and introduces himself as Ken from the opposite house.  Let’s us know that if we needed any garden tools we were most welcome to borrow his.  Yes, just like that.

Once again I am pregnant and it is now 1996.  Keith my neighbor sees me agitated, I had rung for taxis and none were coming.  He gets his car keys without hesitation.

I think the year was 2005, we decide to have a sea change and move to South Australia. Hubby was starting his new job in November.  I wanted to wait till the school term ends and join hubby in January.  Hubby just mentions to Keith that he is leaving for Adelaide and “Uma and the boys will be here, just keep an eye on them Keith please”.  Saturday morning dawns and I hear a noise outside.  I look through the window and I see Keith mowing my front garden,  I yell out to Keith “what are you doing Keith?” He yells back “Open the side gate, so I can do the back”.

For me that is very Australian. 

Views on what it is to be Australian seems to be taking center stage in the recent times. Unfortunately by the wrong people (most times).

I love the fact that a plumber and his lawyer could sit at the pub next to each other have a beer and call each other mate.  I love the fact that someone could hurl a shoe at the Prime Minister and he wasn’t put to death for that.

Patriotism and Racism share a fine line.  Very easy to merge across but there is that fine line.  When Donald Trump Said “I will make America great again”, many were up in arms about it sounding like Hitler.  If we take that resemblance out and just focus on that sentence alone, it sounds okay. Nothing wrong with that.  But then to continue on about Mexicans being rapist etc is where he loses credibility and walks from Patriotism to Racism.

Sometimes change is scary.  But that doesn’t mean it is bad.  Think about the migrant, change is all he has.  You help him out, he will be ever so grateful.  You push him, push him to a wall, what else can he do other than to fight back.  There is nothing wrong with Patriotism but know the difference before you start the slogans.

If in doubt watch the movie “The Castle”.  I think we should throw away the citizenship test and show every migrant this movie.  Take them to a game of Cricket, Rugby or AFL. There are more ways to become an Australian than on an exam paper.

I carried the Australian flag rather proudly when I went for the Sydney Olympics.  I carry the flag whether it has the union jack or the boxing kangaroo, as long as it is the flag I will honour it and carry it with pride to the Cricket, Soccer or any other sporting event.  But when I see it used at racist rallies, it really breaks my heart.  It makes me sad and makes me mad.

My 75 year old mother tirelessly works as a volunteer five days a week. Sometimes on the weekend as well.  She was married off rather young, I think by the age of 17.  So she didn’t really complete her formal education.

amma council
Her story and volunteer work is hanging in the Woodville Council

amma sewing

She teaches sewing to migrants at the Junction Community Centre.  She also does similar work at the Cheltenham Community Centre, St Vincent de Paul, World Vision, and so many more.  She also takes part in many Charity events such as Biggest Morning Tea, Cooking for the homeless the list goes on.  For all these events she will take multiple forms of public transport and get there whether its rain or shine.

As per the first picture you see, she does wear the saree very often, she does wear long skirts and sometimes pants.  Now is she an Australian?

I will write more tomorrow.  But just for tonight hope you see Australia through my lenses.