Making a start
|Pix by Saman Kariyawasam
"But what must I tell my child when he asks me WHY? Why must we kill to show our strength? Why must some have money while others sleep on the street? Why must some live with broken hearts…" questions Rohanthi Alahakoon in her poem Why.
'We Are Them' is a compilation of poems about the misfortunes of the world, as Rohanthi sees it. This book was triggered off by the attempted assassination of the Army Commander, she says. It's a collection of poems about the tsunami, war, murders, finding peace in the most unlikely places etc.,
For instance, her Editor's Choice award-winning poem Mind of a young one in a village of innocents relates the story of the Kabithigollawa bus bombing through the eyes of a little boy who was killed in it. "I was also nominated as a Poetry Ambassador by the International Poetry Association – USA, and this poem was selected as a finalist in the International Open Poetry Contest," she added.
"People always talk about the war or whatever other problems we face, but very few take any action. I strongly believe that most things can start with just one person. So I thought that if nothing else, at least I could make a start in getting the word across," she said emphatically. She imagines being in someone else's shoes and going through similar situations herself. Some of her poems are full of facts, whilst others are more to do with matters she feels very strongly about. "I don't research too much because I don't want to be unnecessarily influenced," she said.
We Are Them is one of seven books Rohanthi launched simultaneously. The other six all being children's books – a math workbook and five fiction mystery stories that are also educational, she explained. She also published a compilation of poems titled Moments in Time, about her life's experiences, she added. "I wrote poems on missing my grand-mother, meeting my hubby, my family, living in the States and a bunch of other personal experiences," said Rohanthi.
Her father and grand father also liked to write but never really took it up seriously, she said. She started writing first when she was just 10 years old, but they hardly made much sense, she said with a laugh. Having lived in the States for about six years whilst reading for her undergraduate degree in International Business and Marketing, she would scribble random thoughts that would come to her head during class, she said. It later become somewhat of a hobby, she added.
Her book, We Are Them is available at all leading bookstores islandwide.
Mind of a young one in a village of innocents, has been awarded our prestigious Editor's Choice Award because it displays a unique perspective and original creativity – judged to be the qualities most found in exceptional poetry. Congratulations on your achievement." – Howard Ely (Managing Editor – International Library of Poetry)