Posted in True Story, Inspirational

Moving to Adelaide (Part 2)

SA-map

Sorry for the slightly long silence.  Let’s blame it on my health.  I am someone who believes that it is my duty to keep the medical industry well funded.  Nothing major this time, just minor repairs.  But happy to report that I am on the mend.

My fingers have been itching to tap that key board for sometime.  Finally free from heavy pain meds and confident I wouldn’t sound like a druggie and thought of continuing where I left off.


There are many theories on Money.  ‘Money is not everything’, ‘Money cannot buy happiness’ ‘wise man should have money in his head and not in his heart.  the list goes on.

I ride on the middle most times on most issues.  I am not ready to give up everything and live in Nimbin.  It sounds great in theory.  Smoking pot and singing Bob Marley, yep sounds like heaven. But it ain’t me.

Moving to Adelaide – South Australia seemed like a happy medium.  Hubby and I started to do our research on Adelaide.  Our main concern were the kids.  Will there be good doctors to take care of their medical needs? It has taken us move heaven and earth to bring them to this condition, will they slip back? Hari is rather a reserved kid will he find it hard to make friends? Will this affect them socially? Will their education be hindered by moving to a small city,  a city that the rest of Australia laughs at.

My heart still kept prompting me to take the plunge.  But there was so much at stake.  Our decision to leave our mother nation and migrate to Australia seemed an easier decision than this.  At that time we had no kids.  This time around it was not just about us.

The kids were not happy at all.  The main reason was the “The Roaches”. Even for us the main reason that was keeping us back was some of our friends and family.  There are many, I am not going to list them all, but they know who they are.  The Roaches get a special mention because of the type of relationship we had.

We met them when we first moved to Castle Hill and Hari was just an year old.  I was working full time and mum was taking care of Hari.  She would take him to the local church once a week for a mothers play group.  On my day off’s I would join in too.  Met some really nice mothers and kids.  This is where we met Sylvia.  Her eldest Michael was a few weeks older than Hari and the two got along really well.  The youngest Anthony was an infant.  It just happened that they happened to live behind our house on the street parallel to us.  Sylvia was very helpful to mum.  She would make it a point to bring an additional baby seat to transport Hari and would give them a lift home or when they went on picnics etc.  In return Sylvia enjoyed mum’s Sri Lankan goodies.

Gradually our friendship grew.  The older boys were very close.  They had now moved onto the same Pre-School (Montessori).  Sylvia was now back at work.  She was a theater nurse.  She initially enrolled Michael at a pre-school near her work.  It was hard getting him to settle so she decided to join him in to the same pre-school as Hari.  The two boys were rather inseparable.

I was now pregnant with my youngest. After all the hiccups and scares finally the day came to pop the bundle.  Sylvia was already at work.  Not sure who rang who, but Glen (her hubby) found out from mum that I had left for the hospital.  The same hospital Sylvia was working.  A few hours after I had Arj, (about 3am) Sylvia rushes in with her gown and gloves, elated to see the new born.  She sheds tears of joy while hugging me.  At this time only my husband had seen the bub.  Mum nor Hari had seen him.  Hindu’s don’t have a ‘god mother’ system, if not I would’ve asked her to be the god mother.

 I think the happiest was Anthony, he had a play mate now.  In a world where class, colour and creed matter we remained friends in spite of all the glaring differences.  Sylvia hailed from Germany, Glen was from New Zealand and we were from Sri Lanka. Our boys learnt that was more than the normal ‘Coles’ brand sausages and those two kids learnt to eat rice.  My mum gained another two grand kids.  My boys now had an ‘Oma’ (Grandma in German) and ‘Uncle James

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA‘.

Both families had their trials and tribulations and both helped each other out.  We took turns to take care of our injured or at times sick soldiers. Michael and Hari had their tonsils out.  I think all four boys had grommets put in.  Sylvia was paramount in saving Arj on his 2nd birthday.  The four boys took turns to fracture a limb or get stitches. Anthony poured hot honey on himself. Sylvia sometimes joined in with getting injured too.  It was normal for the boys to have a shower and sleep at each others house.

Once all four started to go to school things became more of a routine.  We couldn’t see the point in two cars heading towards the same destination.  So all four kids drove to and from the school together in one car.  It was usually myself or Glen as we had more regular and flexible working hours.  The boys didn’t even notice whose car they were getting into.  Each morning they were too excited to see each other they would just start to yap as soon as they are together.

After school most days they would go for sports together.  So in the morning we would exchange their relevant sports bags and snacks for after school. It was usually banana’s and ‘Up and Go’.  They did swimming and Karate together.  Most times Glen would pick them up after swimming.  As after the swim the boys will go into the men’s side to have a shower and change.  The boys don’t get the rush of the parents. It’s not for them worry that the parent has to go home and start dinner etc.  They just loved more play time.  So we decided it was better for Glen to pick them up as he can go into the men’s and hurry the boys.

Even on the weekends it was rather normal for us to meet up again.  Just like the car which car they got into, they didn’t care whose pool they jumped into.  I still remember watching the 2003 Rugby finals England Vs Australia where Jonnyy Wilkinson snatched the victory from us at the last minute.  We were watching the game together with food and drinks and as time went along it became just drinks. Well we had to swallow the grief.  It was a great night.  Don’t remember much of the finale.  Well our boys slept over there while hubby and I crawled back home after my hubby’s failed attempts at cartwheels.

Many a days, when all four of us were unable to pick the boys, uncle James, Oma or Angela (Sylvia’s sister) took the role.  It takes a village to raise a child was very much the case for these four boys.  They were the happiest four boys.

And now we were going to separate them.

To be continued … hopefully tomorrow.

 

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Posted in True Story, Inspirational

Moving to Adelaide (Part 1)

Reality-TVReality TV has taken over. The remote control has been taken over  by the other half.  He wants to watch the news on ABC, but the goldfish DNA in him keeps pressing the remote control.  So we end up seeing reality TV salad.

I saw a real estate agent (possibly) he was on the phone, looked like he was negotiating the house price, then it moved on to some sexy looking people, then I think someone was cooking and back to the news, some country was getting blown off. The same cycle happens every 2 minutes.

I thought it was time to retreat behind my keyboard.  I want to write.  Reason 1 – it is part of my monthly challenge to write for a minimum of half hour everyday.  Reason 2 – I do enjoy it once I start. It’s like going to the gym or for a walk/run.  Getting started is a chore but once you get going you start to enjoy it.

I haven’t adhered to my challenge everyday but have come pretty close to it so far.  I did attempt yesterday.  However, didn’t eventuate as I was too tired to come up with a topic and WordPress was no help as there are no prompts since the beginning of the month.


career change

I have been asked this question many a times in Adelaide as well as in Sydney, “Why did you’ll move to Adelaide?”

My one line answers have been, “hubby’s work, a genuine sea change” “Yes I miss my friends and the shopping but I don’t miss the traffic”

However today and maybe days to come (depends how long I am going to ponder on this subject) I would like to delve a bit deeper on the reasons, the pros and cons and whatever else that was involved.

Maybe it would help someone when deciding a sea change or work change or some kind of life style change.


100_2069

The Ganesan’s lived in Sydney since 1990 and their family grew one by one from 1993.  By 1996, we had 5 family members residing in our little house.  This was my hubby, my two boys and my mum.  A young family with a mortgage meant that both of us had to work full time.  With mum’s help and child care, we survived our hectic lives.

Our house was in North west of Sydney and my hubby’s work was in the South. Which meant he had a pretty long commute to work.  More than the distance the traffic was what made the journey more tedious. I worked in the city until the latter years.  It was a hike for the city as well.  It didn’t matter even if you lived close by, the Sydney traffic will still make you commute for hours even if you were travelling within the suburb.

Hubby was unhappy with the industry he was working in. His wages weren’t bad. That was the only plus side.  My youngest fell ill (we nearly lost him at the age of 2) and it was tough times mentally, physically and financially too.  About the same time my eldest lost his hearing and we were shunting between hospitals with two kids and their respective surgeries.

Eventually I had to give up my career and start working closer to home with less hours and less stress.  I took over the primary roll for the hospital runs and hospital stays while hubby kept slogging away at his job, even though he hated each minute of it. I could see that stress was gradually killing him.  Neither of us had a choice.  We both had to keep going.

Those dreary days would have been near impossible if not for some family and friends.  I will revisit this subject later.

Hubby’s company had a subcontractor in Adelaide.  The owners of this company approached hubby a few times to join them.  The wages were no where near what he was earning in Sydney.  Money is not everything, but when your kid is unwell and you have choice to pay for his surgery rather than wait six months to get it done from the public hospital, would you say money is not everything?

It was year 2004 and Arj my youngest was nearly 8 years old.  He was over the worst and our visits to the respiratory specialist had diminished to just once a year.  Same with Hari, he still had a hearing impairment, but things were in place for us to manage it.

The Adelaide company made the offer again with a possibility of a partnership in the future.  Initial wages were still low. At this point I got interested.  I thought we were alright now, we could manage with the low wages.  The mortgage was in a manageable position as well.

It was not just about money.   I was almost a neurotic mum with the way the two boys fell ill.  The two specialists who looked after the boys were the best in the country.  They were just amazing and they knew the two cases so well.  The boys had to see the doctors regularly and this made me less neurotic knowing that things are under control.  So to leave the doctors and go else where was the biggest hurdle.

So, in November 2004 when the offer came again, I re-evaluated our situation.  We were really alright I thought.  The only one who was not alright was my hubby.  I was really worried about his health.  I am still, but that’s another story for another day.  And that point I was able to confidently say “Money is not everything”.


My eyes are weary, so I will continue tomorrow.  I will leave you with one thought though.  Money is not everything.  But it is definitely something.

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

Posted in True Story, Inspirational

When life gets busy…

Kids are all grown up, the once young couple is now heading towards the mature years.  It has always been the simple things in life that gets me glowing.  But more so now than before.  With age and life experiences comes the better appreciation for such things.

I had the most simplest of day-out’s with hubby today.  But it has made my heart feel mellow and has definitely put me in a good mood.  Nothing special at all about the days beginning.  It started with our WIFI not working and needing a call to the telco company.  Followed with ‘man of the house’s’ unwillingness to help and his wife speaking her mind. When she speaks her mind, she really speaks her mind.  She doesn’t use swear words, but there may have been elements of black mail.  “Ah! you cook your own dinner tonight…”  for a man who stuffs up two minute noodles this is really the ultimate threat.

Well apparently he wanted to have a cup of coffee first.  Once that was sorted, he wanted to bail out by going to work with the ready excuse “have reports to write”.  I reminded him of the shirts that I bought, that needed to be exchanged as they were too small for him. I am going to be unavailable for sometime starting next Saturday.  Thirty one years  of married bliss has made the poor man incapable of choosing shirts for himself so he caved in to go shopping with me.  I mean to just that one shop and then he had the rest of the day to attend to his reports.

The Jeep is his pride and joy.  It’s no Maserati. but it sure gets treated as one.  He likes to put on this air as a tough and ‘don’t care’ macho man.  But that’s just the surface.  At times he could sound rather callous too.  But when you peek inside you see a sentimental mush.  He is an automobiles enthusiast.  None of them due to their status or luxury.  Him and the boys regularly make way to car shows (well not so regularly but when ever their free time and car shows align together).

However  the Jeep holds a special place in his heart, especially the wrangler type ones.  He learnt to drive on a Jeep with his dad.  Although the lesson only lasted the one time as the day ended up with disagreements as usual, it still holds a special place in his heart. More so than he likes to let it out.  So this Jeep takes the special place in the garage while our regular cars are left to fend for themselves on the driveway, the curb or at times even the grass/lawn.

It was a nice sunny day but temperature was low enough to enjoy the day.  Once again we started off with a regular squabble, “where did you keep the keys? you were the last one to drive” as usual the scapegoat was going to be me.

Yes, I was the last to take it out. As on that auspicious day I had lent my car to his work mate whose car was at the mechanic.  So reluctantly he gave me the Jeep.  But, but, but … I quickly remembered that I did not park it in the garage.  So he was the last to drive. Got him on technicality.

Squabbles don’t last long (most times).  We both laughed at each other, I was happy to prove that I was not in the wrong (as usual) and he sheepishly was trying to butter me up.

We may be past our prime but in our hearts we are the same when we first met.  I am not talking about anything hot and heavy, but something as simple as holding hands still makes me feel eighteen again (well in my case nineteen, that’s when I met him).

The mirror –

Shows the grays and the wrinkles.

Shows the muffin tops that’s refusing to hide 

and that one hair that peeks out of my chin

But oh mirror!

Those grays and wrinkles are of two lives who have lived.  Of lives that at times had almost drowned to the bottom of the sea bed.  Each one of us has taken turns to resuscitate the other and together we have surfaced up to the top by just strongly holding on to each other.

But oh mirror!

You do not know the struggles I’ve been through to get those muffin tops.  Even the big tummy on my hubby, it took many years and many beers to get there.  Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day.  It is a sign that our lives were not just misery and doom, we made time for fun and laughter too.

And mirror!

Who gives a dime (You could replace it with a ruder a word if you wish) about a hair that peeks out of my chin.  Because the most important person, that is my husband, with his diminished eye sight can’t see it anyway.  So if my man doesn’t care who gives a dime anyway.

DSCN1595

So the young couple in spite of what the mirror was telling headed happily to the shops.  Friendly banter followed at the shops, the mood was so good and they decided to have a coffee.

We found this gorgeous cafe in the beach side suburb of Glenleg.  Struggling with reflux I am not allowed to eat or drink anything on that menu.  Decided to be a half a rebel and had a short black which later followed with ‘milanta’ (antacid).  Made a date with hubby for next mothers day.  So he is going to take me there for breakfast on Mothers day, May 2019.  Hopefully by then I would have sorted out my reflux issues.  We laughed about making a date for a year later with the waiter.

When two people are happy they infect it to those they come in contact with.  So the moth and the butterfly went on spreading the pollen along the way.  It was just a drive and coffee but feels like so much more. Life has been so busy lately and when you have no time and even the little time you get together becomes so precious.

I don’t want the moon, I just want to watch the moon with you.

And Oh Mirror! if you have ears and you hear us squabble.  Don’t be afraid.  Squabbling is our way of communicating.  It is our way to show that we are both equal.  It is our way to show that we don’t conform out of fear or lack of freedom.  You will notice neither of us are afraid to admit wrong or defeat.  We both know the value of love, life and loss. So we don’t hold a grudge and waste our time together.  I know I married a mule.  And I know mules can be stubborn.  But, I also know, when you work the mule favorably, it’s a great animal to carry your burdens.

Here’s to more squabbles(maybe little less of them), wrinkles and gray hairs.  Here’s to more simple things in life and growing old together.

TMP15

I don’t want the moon, I just want to grow old together watching the moon with you.

Posted in True Story, Inspirational

Word Association – Broken

word association
Broken – Arj

 

Once again I look for a word prompt from wordpress for inspiration.  The word Broken catches my eye.

Word Association is a game that is played ‘just for kicks’ at most school or even work team building outings.  On the surface it comes across as a very innocent game.  But if you were a savvy psychologist you would seriously analyse the answers from each individual.

Let’s take the word Broken.  Many words could follow that.

Broken – heart.  depends on the speed of the answer.  Quite possible the person is  a                                         recent single .

Broken – down   He/she isn’t driving a brand new car

Broken – Leg       Very possible this answer could be from my eldest after one his ski trips

Now I will give you my answer,

When I heard the word Broken the first thing that came up in my head was ‘Arj’.  I am almost certain that would have been the same for my husband and even my eldest.

Broken – Arj  –  Makes a lot of sense in our family.  Although family member ‘Arj’ would vehemently deny that statement.

Arj is my youngest who was born with too much oomph.  He came out with a mighty hurry and with a lot of gusto.  Even after twenty one years there is no sign of the brakes being applied.  Over the years he has gathered more muscle and strength.  Which doesn’t help our course nor the items in our household.

The unbreakable ‘Tonka Truck’ was no match for this kid.  Yes that was broken too.

 tonka

So you can imagine the condition of the rest of his toys.  Many number of toys came from  my nephew who was a few years older than my boys.  It would come in pristine condition.  Hari is not as gentle as my nephew but the toys would still have a lot life in them when they get to Arj.  With Arj they meet their demise pretty soon.

Gentle touch and patience are two words you will never associate with Arj.  When he closes a door (any door) the whole house shudders.  He walks as if he is in the Army barracks and being ordered to march.

Two recent incidents:

Arj travels to Sydney to catch up with his brother and head off for skiing.  Hari picks him up from the airport and they head off straight to the slopes.  Its a good 5 – 6 hr drive when you don’t include traffic.  After 2-3 days of skiing they head back to Sydney.  Not sure if they planned to leave late or boys being boys, they leave the ski lodge late.  Hari takes on the wheels again.  They get home late.  Hari was really tired and wanted a long hot shower.  So he asked Arj to have a shower first, so that he could have a nice relaxed long shower after.  (Hari and I are mindful of the environment, but not when we are having a shower).  By the way this was a brand new apartment.  Building was completed only a couple of months ago and Hari had moved in a month ago.  Arj switches on the light in the bathroom.

Total blackout.

Well as per Arj he just touched the switch.  Hari found the switch completely sunken into the wall.  It had fused the whole thing.  Yes, Arj claims it wasn’t his fault, it must have been cheep workmanship according to him.  How Hari managed to live there for a whole month without coming across this poorly crafted light switch is really remarkable.

The Second incident that comes to mind is the refrigerator  door handle.  It was a regular weekend in our household.  Washing machine, Dryer and vacuum cleaner were getting a work out.  Arj was going to feed the turtles and then the two of us were going to wash the dog.  The turtles have frozen meals and this is kept in our spare refrigerator in the laundry.

Snap! crash! what ever other sound a refrigerator door handle makes when breaking.

Again Arj gently touched the door handle to gently open it.  It was probably a very poorly made refrigerator.  Arj was left to hold part of the door handle that was now very securely in his palm.

I have had the pleasure of living past the golden jubilee.  In this life time I have heard of broken heart, broken leg and broken down. I have heard of broken switch as well.  But never in this fashion.  I have NEVER heard of  a broken refrigerator door handle.

We all agree with such gentle touch of Arj, it really cannot be his fault that so many things crumble at the sight of him.  We as a family must strive to buy and build better things.

 

Broken https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/broken/

Posted in Suicide, Word prompt

She wears her heart on her sleeve but then…

I am going to attempt as many daily prompts https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/ as possible to come up with this post.

heart on her sleeve

She wears her heart on her sleeve. What you see is what you get.

It all comes to an abrupt end.

She observes the change in society.

The tide has turned.

Did she look at ‘tumbler’ for a mentor?

What pierced her bubble?

Why won’t she flaunt her sleeves again?

What caused her rapid decline?

I miss her laughter. The one that starts five minutes after.

The rebel is lost. Forest of self doubt has taken over.

This forest harbors the skewed society views as well

Which now threatens her core self.

Her Laughter has come to an abrupt end.


As I started writing my inner mind went back to memories of Vicky.

https://uma197.wordpress.com/2018/05/17/vicky-has-the-last-laugh/

Sleeve https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/sleeve/

Abrupt https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/abrupt/

Observe https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/observe/

Tide https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/tide/

Mentor https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/mentor/

Bubble https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/bubble/

Flaunt https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/flaunt/

Rapid https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/rapid/

Laughter https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/laughter/

Rebel https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/rebel/

Forest https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/forest/

Skewed https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/skewed/

Core https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/core/

Slight https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/slight/

Pedigree https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/pedigree/

Thin https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/thin/

Infect https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/infect/

Posted in True Story, Inspirational

Lady vs Tomboy?

A random piece of writing I found on my tablet.  It has no real beginning or a proper end.  It must have been a long wait at the doctors or at the airport.  I vaguely remember writing the piece, but don’t remember the reason nor the purpose for the birth of this piece.

The character is not me but could say some of it is based on me with added poetic licence stretched to the limit.

tomboy

 

Seventeen, the cusp of innocence escaping out.  Slowly strange feelings creeping in. She notices the opposite sex.  She maintains her sense of aloofness to hide her inner demons.

She is the princess of this village. She reigns this orchard and rules her parents.  She is a sweetheart without the frills of a lady, she is a tom boy but with a touch of girlish shyness.  Is she a lady because the society has demanded that? Or is it just her inner self confused? She is polite but not meek, not always.  But the society is doing everything it can to mould her right. With the excuse of paying respect to elders, her voice is muffled.  She gives in before she suffocates.

There is conflict between the society’s expectations of conformity and her father’s trust in her and the release of freedom.  Her father too wants her to be a lady, but with her own convictions, he wants her to speak out if she sees it’s wrong and stand up for the wronged but still hanging on to her femininity. She knows the balance but the society fails to see the difference.

 

lady

She grows up, loving her shoes and her pair of shorts. She grows up climbing trees and screeching at cockroaches.  She is a tomboy who loves her bags, she is lady who hates to grow her nails. But slowly she is losing her fight, but her true self shows its ugly head time to time to the annoyance of the pillars of society.

She is just starting to notice the boys.  A little flutter every time she feels the staring eye of the opposite sex.  She doesn’t really know what to do. She avoids eye contact.  She knows the society is watching.  All she can do is pretend not to notice but secretly liking that feeling.

She has progressed from Enid Blyton to Mills and Boons.  She pauses at the raunchy romantic paragraphs.  She can’t put the book down.  Her heart beats faster, she gulps down the carnal guilt. The second pillow becomes her lover at night.

She does believe in feminism but she doesn’t want to bargain it for her femininity and modesty. She will not succumb to her inner carnal desires, she will not admit even to herself that she is getting interested in the opposite sex.  Is it the society’s expectation or is it her own convictions? She doesn’t know. The older she grows, she feels the presence of the societies tendrils.

Her inner self smiles at the glances and advances made by the young male community.  But, feared anything that even remotely looked like it was going to escalate to becoming a proposed marriage.  She knew her father was not in favour of this system , but she still feared, just in case, the society and it’s beliefs were bigger than him.

 

The End (for the moment)

 


 

Either the doctor was ready for me or it was time to board the plane.  That’s where the story ends.  On another visit to the doctors I might find out more about her.

Posted in Book review, True Story, Inspirational

An Unfinished Odyssey – Book Review

book445

With a lot of pride and joy, I start writing today.  I start writing about a project I was involved in.  I can’t take any credit for the way this book has turned out.  But I will surely take pride in claiming to know the Editor and publisher of this great book.  So I am going to claim pride by proxy.

Rohan may not know this, but after a very long lapse the reason for me to pick up the pen or in my case the keyboard to write was, him asking me to write about my journey through cancer and other medical dramas.  At the time he made this request, my desire and habit for writing was dormant.  That piece of writing was the reason for the birth of my blog.  So I owe a lot to Rohan for igniting that passion again in me.

Rohan is a great writer himself and was a regular cricket columnist for the “Island” newspaper.  He is a well read man with wicked sense humour.  But along with those good qualities he also possessed a very stubborn and ‘never give up’ ‘pain in the rear’ type quality. Which can be pretty annoying, especially if you aren’t too convinced you want to do what he is asking you to do.  However, you finally give in, as you can see he is not going to back down until he gets what he wants.

“An unfinished Odyssey” is the grand production from the above guy. Rohan and my hubby worked for a company called the Ceylon Shipping Corporation.  Amazing establishment in those days.  Rohan was the Chief Engineer and my hubby a Captain. Rohan tirelessly went after many who have sailed on these ships to write their life and stories and made it into this magnificent book.

Rohan asked me to contribute to this book as the only female/supernumerary and I duly obeyed.  It was great to see my name on such a great book.  I wrote a book review and sent it to the Editor of the Sri Lankan “Island” paper.  I was rather chuffed today to find out that it has actually made it into the paper.

The Book Review

An Unfinished Odyssey’ – an Anthology a collection of tales and musings from those who have served for CSC (Ceylon Shipping Corporation), compiled, designed and edited by RohanWijeyaratna.

In the era of eBooks, this book stands as a testament and shows the irreplaceable value of a good hard cover book; a book that you can judge merely by its cover alone.  The journey begins from the minute you set eyes on this creation. It is evident the Editor, Designer and ‘Owner’ of this book Rohan, had looked into every minute detail which has gone into making it near perfect.  From the posh silky paper to the font style, everything about the book looks simply exquisite.  If you are a reader you will be affected by a serious case of “can’t put it down”.  If you are not a reader, it is a piece of artwork to adorn your bookshelf in the sitting room, to make you look learned.

Like all great ideas the origins of making this book evolved around Rohan’s inspiration lapped up by a bunch of old sea dogs who had by then consumed a skinful or two (a sailor’s skinful or two – the amount that leaves most land-dwellers incapacitated). Rohan was perhaps the only one in his senses to understand the enormity of the exercise, which is why we heard from him so often – pleading, cajoling, threatening and insulting in various stages prior to final deliverance. What he has put together are a collection of tales which are near unbelievable. They stand as a true testament to his unrelenting perseverance.

Many of us are inspired into writing our own life stories.  We often say to each other that we should make these stories into a book.  But very seldom do such wishes turn into reality. I doubt if anyone else would have initiated such a mammoth task; very certain no one could have persevered and produced it with such class as Rohan has.

However, reading about the editor I come to realise that RohanWijeyaratna is no novice when it comes to the literary world, and it is abundantly evident with the outcome of this book. He has been a regular Cricket columnist for “The Island” newspaper for about 7 years in addition to his professional work.  He was also responsible for the birth of the Newsletter, and he also produced and  published as the ‘Journal of the I.Mar.E – Sri Lanka branch (Institute of Marine Engineers)’.  Without such journalistic experience and expertise and the inherent art in him, this project might not have been so successful.

The very first page, poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow sets the scene perfect.

“Ah! What pleasant vision haunt me, as I gaze upon the Sea….”

The first verse finishes with “all my dreams come back to me.”

The last verse finishes with “and the singing of the sailors and the answers from the shore!”

And yes you can’t put it down after that start.

The book gives you a snippet of the history of Sri Lankan Shipping which starts in the late 1960’s and then the tales from individual sailors starting around early 1970’s.  Writers from the early era have taken justifiably written with pride in describing their first love – the m.v. ‘Lanka Rani’, which was the first ship they sailed on.  The stories arelisted as per the progression from the Cargo Ships with oak interiorsfit for a Queen to the modern Container ships stripped of its oak finishes, brass fittings,the lace and trimmings.

Just like how Rohan explains, “much like good wine, the stories kept getting better with age and embellishment”.  It is evident from these stories that this period in their lives was not just in pursuit of a career for these young men (now not so young).  As a woman who sailed and didn’t have to work for the privilege I can confirm this part of their career and life was, and will always bequite unforgettable for them.

Like life, these young men met with their fair share of triumphs and trials on each of these voyages. Death of their colleagues(at sea), fire, and very bad injuries were all part of the journey. Movie scenes of “man overboard” was part of their life.There are stories of “Ghosts” on board as well to add to the mystic.  One writer explains how “when they ran short of liquor the ghosts were up to mischief”.  Everything was solved with a good drink, laughter and mateship.

The book illustrates much good humour and witticisms throughout, even in the presence of hardship.  It gives you a great appreciation of the “foreign” item you buy off the shelf-be it the most expensive bottle of Grange Shiraz or just some condiments. They’ve all had their fair share of taleswrapped around them as they reached their final recipients’ hands, and those who brought them to us had a way ofnarrating their tales with passion, pride and style, as amply seen throughoutthe pages of this maritime classic -“An unfinished odyssey”.

I can assure you, it is a great read; worth every penny spent in buying it.

By Uma Ganesan – who sailed in the capacity of Supernumerary.


 

I humbly urge as many of you to make a purchase.  I don’t make a red cent from the sales nor does Rohan.  He is a visionary.  He is planning to sponsor as many cadets from poor backgrounds.  I think the best form of charity is not just to give some one the money but in fact to pave the way for them to make that money.

For book purchases http://unfinishedodyssey.lk/

My review on the island paper

http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=185229