Category Archives: peace

Immortal at last

(It happened to me last night)
I was late, and that was all I knew. Not that my mother had reason to be worried anymore, no, I could very easily have found my way back home-thankfully, I was then not the same person I’d been earlier. But tonight was to be very different. 
The road was long and hard, and as I walked along the pavement I thought only of a good meal and a good night’s sleep. But what awaited me would shock the very foundations of what I felt about my country.
I had never expected him to take me home.
The first three-wheeler I could find, small but not at all a rickety little thing. I do not remember what colour it was; maybe my mind sometimes pushed aside what I felt was irrelevant. 
He was open to conversation, and not merely about something useless and commonplace. 
Perhaps he sensed what I was on about. 
Perhaps he knew that I was closed off to anything senseless like the words of his fellow drivers. His words poured out to me like an open book, and I read it all. Hatred for a government that did not recognize his, and his brother’s services. Or those of anyone who’d served alongside him in the hellish north. 
He spoke of the enemy being mowed down, of civilians being taken to safety from their former posts as shields of flesh. And as he spoke, my heart ached for the horror he had to put himself through. To have his memory swept under history’s vast carpet by men who sat in rooms and debated on television. This was his reality. We all yearn for a chance at immortality. He probably did too, after his injury. His brother and he had been on the front lines when the monster met his bitter death. 
The government, a powerful organization, had made their displays on wealth and fame to the common man. Turned them into fighting machines who loved their country. It was their Sri Lanka, the land worth fighting for, to rescue it from thirty years beneath the demon’s yoke.
I do not remember his eyes or his face, but I knew that within, he cried. 
Like the true soldier he was, he did not show it.
Just the invisible tears running down the walls of his inner being. 
He had wished for peace.
But not after thirty brutal years. The decades would probably become nothing more to our vast, evolving world, subtle as a passing nightmare from whence our Mother would awake. His story though, will live on within me. His nightmares still arc across his heart and soul as he sleeps. He will be immortal. 
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Peace

Such a strange word it is

Pieces of which we are given
During various stages
Of our lives
For the full image
We have to fight
Quite ironic, it is
But isn’t life too like that?
We live to die
This word though
It’s meaning
People argue over
‘It is this’
Says one
‘It is that’
Says another
They fight
First with words
Then with weapon
More deadly
And they go on fighting
Not realizing
Each fight
Each battle
Each war
Drains this word
This created idea
This seemingly nonexistent condition
And yet we seek
Under rock after rock
Through ocean after ocean
Beyond sky after sky
And finally we find it
At the end of the race
When epiphany ends
Sansara’s never ending game
When realization dawns
And life ceases to be

CELEBRATION

He had never wanted to stand all day in the blazing heat of the early-noon sun, but when he was called out he queued up obediently as he  had done all those months ago when he first arrived there. White shirts, clean, crisp and reflecting the burning light into other eyes around him were all crowded up, little soldiers awaiting their turn to fling down their weapons and let loose the doves of peace. Everywhere silence reigned around him, a heavy sheet lifting and dropping onto the crowds.
They even forgot about the blaze above them.
Even forgetting their playmates, their compatriots.

Little flags in the image of the one they all beheld, majestically battling the currents of hot air, were waved by little hands in the crowd.

A maroon center, a snarling lion raising his sword in triumph, having won all the battles his beautiful nation had to go through. He was their champion, their guardian, and his sightless eye put a chill through the minds of all who beheld him.
Fluttering in tune with the chorus of prayers, the flag kept flying. No birds were in that sky this morning. It and its partner would fly unhindered by any of nature’s punishments. The air itself was made today for celebration. Some higher powers that the boy would never understand, had breathed down onto the institution today.

A powerful master.

The prayers were all unto Him.
Four faiths, one master to watch over all that was fading and mortal.

Again the little boy looked at the crowd around him. Prayers to the nation swelling from devoted hearts. Applause from everywhere he stood. Teachers standing sentinel over their little students, chiding occasionally and advising at times whenever something went wrong.
He had never really thought why all this would be necessary. The most oft-repeated words at the gathering were “Freedom”, “God” and “Independence”. What these were, he couldn’t know now. Maybe sometime later.
All he knew was that there was both happiness and sorrow in the vast crowd of thousands. Happiness that once upon a time, the chains of slavery had been melted away to create one land of thinkers, a land of greats who would rise up to any challenge, to extend their claws like a vicious lion on the hunt. But also to draw away and rest like the great cat would at the end of the deadly race, all the while bearing his noble majesty.
This was where he was born. This would be where he would love, learn, fight, play and run, with the countless others that stood beneath the two flags that made them family.
One bearing the lion warrior’s crest.
The other one blue, slashed in black.

‘Tis the season to be… reconciled


“And all of this happened
Because the world is waiting
Waiting for one child
Black, white, yellow, no one knows
But a child that would grow up and turn tears to
laughter
Hate to love, war to peace
And everyone to everyone’s neighbour
Misery and suffering would be forgotten forever”
Thus goes the lyrics of the beautiful Christmas carol “When a child is born”. It embodies the message of Isaiah 9:6.
On Christmas day we celebrate the birth of Jesus, this amazing child who would change the course of history with His teaching. As Christmas draws nearby, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of shopping, preparations and general merrymaking. Yet, Christmas means much more than these materialistic trappings; it is a time to reflect, a time to give and a time to reconcile.
 Maybe Christmas is all about reconciliation. I think I first heard the word from the lines of a carol-“peace on Earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled”. As the lyrics imply, it’s a time to renew our strained relationships with God; to return to His unconditional love; to thank him for sending His only begotten son for our salvation.
 Even though we usually limit it to family and friends, reconciliation between human beings is another important aspect of Christmas. Many Sri Lankans have the tradition of arranging a Christmas lunch or dinner for the whole extended family. Through all sorts of parties, cards or gifts we are actually renewing our relationships with one another. To quote a friend of mine “That Christmas reminded me that, love doesn’t belong to just one religion, or one race. Love isn’t a human thing either. There is love in us all, and it may take special days like birthdays and Christmas to show it openly, but love; it’s somewhere in our hearts.” It is heartening to see many people sharing this love by reaching out to the less fortunate too.

The story of Christmas has been told many a times over, be it through dramas, carols or paintings. Being in Sri Lanka, the soothing tunes of “kalakata pera e Bethleheme”, “Rajathi Rajamani” or “Silent night” pleases our ears alike. Yet the message of the story eludes most. To me, it is about the importance of a humble heart. He wasn’t born in a palace full of riches; a manger was his crib. It wasn’t the kings who received the news of his birth first; the angels sung it to poor shepherds who kept watch on their flocks. 
May the prince of peace be born in your heart this Christmas! The beautiful prayer of Saint Francis (listen) seems to be an apt ending at this juncture as it invites us to be an instrument of our Lord’s peace-not only this Christmas, but in each and every moment we live.
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
ඔබ සැමට සාමය සතුට පිරි සුභ නත්තලක් වේවා! இனிய கிறிஸ்துமஸ் நாள் வாழ்த்துக்கள்! Merry Christmas!

Ode to the Sky IX

A series which began as a tribute to the sky that unites us all, has now ended. Yes, what started as a one-time thing has become a long-running series that defines our work. We may never know what shades and hues the sky will take next. Thus it is beautiful in all its great mysteries. In our final Ode, we explore the skies in their long journey, with pics from the depths of time to the farthest reaches of space.
Yes, outer space indeed.
So let’s call this one an “Ode to the Stars” as a special. Of course we do have one from the Earth’s own history as well, so we haven’t exactly been highly um….consistent with this short, fast ode.
The message of peace is universal, and transcends the very continuum of time and space. Nobody craves war, or misunderstanding.

All artworks here are courtesy of myself-http://vasix.deviantart.com/ and will not be used without my prior permission.

They are all digital pics done with Photoshop, a very old-as-crap version, but I’m a poor man after all  :).

Poem by: Rochelle Silva

The Star
Burning bright, ever so bright,
It loomed ahead in the darkest night.
Ruling the skies; a feast to the eyes,
A frenzy of thoughts did arise.
A radiant star, beckoning from afar,
Guided kings and shepherds alike.
A star did nestle, close to a crescent,
Being a symbol to the faithful worldwide.
Sacred it is, if with six points apiece,
Meaning “Shakthi” and “Shiva” in peace.
And yet to another, fate does it usher,
Deciding whether one enjoys or suffers.
Burning bright, ever so bright,
Oh little star, if only you knew,
How precious thou art, no matter our caste,
A beacon of hope to our troubled hearts!

Poem by: Shailee Wick

He hides from the world

In his rank smelling tower
High up in the mountains
As close to the skies as he can get
He looks through the glass
Beyond clouds and skies
At the great abyss of darkness
Brightened by stars galore
And he smiles as his eyes
Follow one blinking star after another
And he whispers slowly
“The end is here”
In the yellow journal, notes of his life
Hide one prediction, worthy of being written in gold
“I look at the stars and I know it is here
An end to this hatred, wars and fear.
Soon like the faraway clouds of dust
The world will once more know how to love”

Quote by: Vindya Jayasinghe

“Whenever I look up the sky, I feel I’m free and open, I may never reach it, but I will always look up and see the beauty, believe in it and try to follow where it leads…”

Poem by: Vijini Mallawaarachchi
Stellar Thought

Gazing above the airspace
In the hours of darkness
Expecting a shooting star
To make a wish for good

As midnight rises
Imagination comes to life
Wondering what would be there
Which is not known to us

Stars that twinkle above
Painting the darkness in vivid colours
Making up figures of myths
That we name as constellations

Some are newborn white dwarfs
Some are dying neutron stars
Just like us, they have a life
Which will end in a supernova

Through the dust and gas
Among interstellar spaces
Floating across nebulae
Destiny can be glimpsed

The mind can travel
Imagining the undiscovered
With the wish for a star-gate
To dial across the universe



Poem by: Priyangwada Perera
The sky is like life….
 Spreading long and wide… 
With a glimmer here and there,
 Glistening at sunrise. 
Beyond the horizon, to a limitless land
 Across the sands of time.
 Star secrets, clouds of dreams;
 In a flashing comet
 Comes a heavenly gleam…
We have explored the heavens, and now it;s time to take the clock back a few tens of millions of years, and put ourselves back on Terra Firma.

Poem by: Vasika Udurawane

ANGEL
 Beneath the angel’s wind-swift wings,
The thunder of a restless earth;
Beneath a host of heavenly saviors,
A world ever-shifting.
Imperfect to its core, to be purged at final salvation,
To be kissed by breaths from miles above
To be saved from damnation.
Fires blaze below, roaring sinners burn;
But no such sinners see I in your sky.
In the storm of tossing clouds is flame,
The blaze from heaven that lights up all mortal eyes.
Flight of angels, so far above me,
If only you could feel us,
Our breath, our cries, our tortures,
Our birth-cries, and death-mourns;
The screams of the shifting ground,
A cruel, forsaken goddess.
Angel, perfect light in glowing sky,
Guide us through an endless night.



Thus ends our work for the time being. Maybe catch us later on during the rest of the festive season. Wish you all a merry Christmas, and a happy New Year!






Dew drops

Life is no more than a dewdrop balancing on the end of a blade of grass.
-Lord Buddha

The wise man warns me that life is but a dewdrop on the lotus leaf.
Rabindranath Tagore
 

“Life is but a day:
A fragile dewdrop on its perilious way
From a tree’s summit”
-John Keats

“Man’s life is like a drop of dew on a leaf.”

-Socrates

“Yes, I know
Life is a dew drop.
And yet . . .and yet . . .”
-Japanese poet Kobiyashi Issa,

 

 

Dew drops.
Glittering diamonds atop an emerald leaf,
An amber petal, 
Or a web of silver threads.
Pleasing the eye in one moment,
Gone in the next.
Such is our life,
Says many a philosopher.
What will you spend your dew drop for?
More peace on earth,
Or more hatred?
The choice, my friend,
Is finally yours…

 

Peace through Letters Could It Be?

By  Linushika De Silva
The Nation

Sunday, 15 September 2013

 

‘War or Peace?’ you’d promptly answer ‘Peace!’ but the question remains; Do you strive to find Peace in your ‘own little way’?

We found a young talent, who sought for Peace his ‘own little way’ to show the world out there that it’s all lying within us-yet unsought. Did you ever imagine that Peace could be found in Letters? Believe it or not-he did; Pathum Egodawatta, a student who completed his BA in Graphic Design this year, at the Academy of Design (AOD), designed a typeface by exploring graphical aspects of diverse cultures.
Looking back at the turmoil Sri Lanka faced in the context of a multi-ethnic country- the language parity was the spark to the ethnic tension we witnessed. Cultural aspects that outline ethnicity spark knots, and language tops the list. Pathum speaking to the Nation said, “The ethnic problem was in a peak position when I started to understand the world around me. I can’t really remember when I first met a Tamil person, it’s because it does not matter. The problem is not the different cultures and languages, but how society perceives it.” Focusing more he realized that language was a basic divisive factor that ‘can be used to bridge us’.
 “With the 30thAnnivesary of Black July falling this year, I felt the need to do something,” he said. The idea of ‘a universal language and alphabet’ that came up while working on a project is what led to this conception. Over the years professionals have advocated to bridge this gap but little has been put in to practice.
Sinhala and Tamil derive from one root language influenced with the arrival of Aryans. Similarities in visual properties and the parallel evolution show a possibility of combination. “Similarities between the two languages were a perfect point to focus on,” he added. Pathum was keen to do this as his final academic project, starting in mid April 2013. Today speaking to us he has successfully emerged with a collaborative expression using common shapes of Sinhala and Tamil letters.
“I started with a research on Tamil language, I only had a basic understanding,” Pathum elaborated the process. “I deconstructed letters taking apart different parts of letters to identify the similarities, basic sketches were developed, user testing was carried out with people from different levels, letters were then drawn on the computer” ensuring “the unity of the whole alphabet” leading to “another round of testing” and pointed out that he gave weight to the aesthetics as he was doing it for a Design project.
Talking about the obstacles and support, Pathum mentioned that user testing was a challenge. The curve of success for every single letter kept changing from one person to another He also found it hard to focus on “something that could be assessed under a design academic process,” and to make his “tutors, understand the project, because they are not Sri Lankans” but was grateful for the support he received. He also thanked Pushpananda Ekanayake, a professional type designer who he had consulted.
He created a website to show that this could actually work and found the feedback amazing; “It is encouraging to hear the Wow’s and amusement” The site can be viewed on la-ulu.com/afewotherkinds/. Pathum is currently working on making the typeface “more sophisticated and usable”. He is not focusing on publicizing “That is not up to me. I am a designer, I’m willing and going to develop this further with the hope that media, policy makers and companies will see what this can be” mixing a little essence of his wishes.
Wrapping up he  said, “We are open to collaborate, the project is released under a public license that lets anybody to experiment, just shape it to whatever you want, just make it good” and closed the discussion with “Differences are based on similarities, we will rejoice living in one world when we learn to see our similarities instead of differences.”
He found Peace in the shapes of letters- where will you find it in?

  • By  Linushika De Silva
  • Sunday, 15 September 2013
  • By  Linushika De Silva
  • Sunday, 15 September 2013
  • By  Linushika De Silva
  • Sunday, 15 September 2013