ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday May 4, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 49

Kala Korner

By Dee Cee

He is a perfectionist who believes in meticulous planning. He is a skilful artiste. Just as much as he is a specialist in dressing brides, Harris Wijesinghe insists on quality in whatever he does. The few songs he has sung and the video CDs he has created from the songs are a treat. And he does it not for commercial purposes but pure personal joy.

He is also an ardent Buddhist and the activities he plans to celebrate various religiously significant occasions are done in style. Last week-end I participated in something special he did – preparing 'kiri pindu pooja' . This is an offering of a specially prepared dish of milk rice to the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura. We met at the Vajiraramaya in Anuradhapura. The occasion was a special 'pinkama' organised to bless Ven. Tiricunamale Ananda Anu Nayaka Thera on reaching 50 years.

Clad in white, with a mask covering his nose and mouth Harris starts cleaning the rice sharp at four in the morning. It is first cleaned with water (he uses bottled water to make sure that it is clean) and later with 'thambili' water.

The well cleaned pot is then placed inside a bigger pot hanging on a tripod placed on a small table. A white cloth is laid on the table with another on top as an 'udu viyana'. The hearth is lit using only sandalwood.

The special gold-plated bowl is made ready for the milk rice to be served. "It is a celebrated bowl," Harris tells me. "I have used it for 'poojas' at Buddha Gaya 45 times – can you believe it?" he asks.

Everyone is given a chance of serving the milk rice into the bowl. The bowl is full. As the sun peeps through the trees, the bowl is respectfully kept on the head and taken to be offered to the Sri Maha Bodhi.

As for the video CDs, he has so far put out at least five. He is choosy about the themes. The first was homage to the Buddha, the only Buddhist song that Soma Thera wrote. The next, titled 'Duk sansindeva' was also a Buddhist theme. He sang 'Amma' dedicated to the mother and he described the beauty of our motherland in 'Valakulakvee', the fourth CD. In the most recent one, Harris gives advice to a daughter in 'Sitha pura sasalai hangum'. Accompanying him is talented songstress Deepika Priyadarshani.

Harris works with a team who are equally concerned about the quality of the final product. Rohana Weerasinghe composes the music to the lyrics by Ravi Siriwardena with Suresh Maliyadda doing the sound mix. Picturising the song is by Ravi Munasinghe.

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