looked at the well-cut lawn in front of him and muttered to himself,
"I am seated on a bench in front of the Faculty of Humanities
in the University of Kelaniya". He was "thinking"
in English, for that was what his Instructor - a beautiful girl
dressed in a sari, who could not have been more than two or three
years older than Upul, had asked him and his class to do that morning
at the English Language Teaching Unit. She had said, "If you
"think" all your thoughts in English, your language skills
will improve in next to no time."
Now, he sat
on the bench and waited till it would be one thirty, for the lending
section of the library to open. The exams for the first semester
were only a few weeks away. Upul's subjects were Economics, Sinhala
and History. He was hoping to study for a special degree in Economics
He began to
think of another sentence in English, but was distracted by two
girls who strolled towards the empty bench near him. The clumps
of bamboo between the benches prevented the girls from seeing Upul.
They were dressed in tight pants and equally tight, figure-hugging
t-shirts. Upul recognised one of them - Subodha. During a friendly
ragging session, Subodha and Upul had been paired together because
they had the same surnames. The seniors had insisted they should
talk and get to know each other. They were given ten-minutes.
Upul had begun
with the conventional set of questions.
mokadda, Gama Koheda, monavada karanne?" (What's your name?
Where do you come from? What are you studying?) She had looked at
him with a frank, friendly smile and said her hometown was Matale,
but that she had lived in Colombo all her life and that she was
studying French, English and Western Classics. Upul, in his turn
had stated his subjects and told her that he came from Uttimaduwa.
Before she could ask where this is, he had explained to her that
it is a small village in Anuradhapura, quite close to Situlpauwa.
She had looked at Upul with envy and exclaimed, "Really! Life
must be marvellous out there. You must hate being in Colombo."
Upul had shrugged his shoulders and turned down his lips to say
he didn't really know. They had run out of things to say after that.
Upul had been busy thinking of Subodha's subjects. He could not
help being overawed by the fact that she was studying English as
a subject, the way he was studying Sinhala. He looked at her from
the corner of his eye and realised she was different from the typical
"English" girls, who dressed and talked and behaved like
white-skinned people seen on TV. Upul had always tried to avoid
them. He had always thought they would be stuck-up and look down
on him for not being able to converse in English with them. But
now he realised he had been wrong. Subodha, even though she was
studying English as a subject for her degree, was warm and friendly.
She was "nice". Nicer than some of the girls in his Sinhala
Now, he listened
to her voice from the other side of the hedge of bamboo.
I am not sure I'm doing the right thing by studying these languages
and western classics."
know I got eight distinctions for my O/Levels?"
me," Dilu grumbled.
now, that I had studied medicine instead of Arts," continued
think we will have the nine-to-ten lecture tomorrow?" asked
Dilu, obviously not interested in her friend's tirade.
Upul held his
breath and hoped Subodha would continue with what she had begun
to say. He listened with great attention when she asked Dilu, "Why
do I feel guilty when I am happy reading and analysing Jane Eyre
or day-dreaming about Heathcliff, or chanting the Illiad even though
I cannot understand half the verse? Why should grave doubts assail
me?" Dilu had snorted at this point and said,"You sound
like John Donne risen from the grave."
had ignored Dilu and continued, "What use is it trying to figure
out if Tolstoy condemns Anna in Anna Karenina for committing adultery
or if he approves of her conduct? I know that there are two affixes
in English morphology and I probably know more about E. M. Forster
than what he knew about himself. But what use can I make of this
knowledge? I cannot cure a dying man, I cannot build a mighty bridge
with what I know...."
to Subodha from his side of the bench. He had read the Sinhala translation
of Anna Karenina, but the rest of the names and titles of books
Subodha talked about were alien to him. He too had got eight distinctions
for O/L. He remembered how he had yearned to study science. But
his school had no science stream. He had no option but to study
on Subo. Why do you have to be such a wet-blanket on a lovely day
like this?" interrupted Dilu. "I can't half understand
what you are saying. It's past one-thirty. The library will be open.
Let's get moving."
his eyes when they walked past him. When they fell on Subodha, he
saw she was smiling, and that there was a look of recognition in
her eyes. "Hi Upul," she said and asked him "How
are you?" in her warm friendly voice. Upul grinned in reply.
She waved her hand and walked off.
to talk to her. He wanted to tell her that whereas she had had a
choice in deciding what subjects to study for her A/Levels, he had
not. He wanted to ask her what Western Classics meant. This was
the first he'd heard of such a subject. He wanted to ask her to
help him learn English... he wanted..., he checked himself. He was
thinking in Sinhala. "Think in English! Think in English!"
he muttered to himself as he too began to make his way to the library.
Petals of Esala
fell on his shoulders. Sunlight flickered through the leaves and
drew cartoons on the stone path. Upul caught a glimpse of Subodha
as she vanished behind the doors of the library. He felt happy.
He sensed this was the beginning of something marvellous. There
was plenty of time to get to know her... after all, this was still
the beginning of the first semester...
But he could
not continue his line of thought. He realised he was stepping on
the fallen petals of the Esala flowers on the ground. He gave up
thinking and began to concentrate on preventing his shoes from squashing
the tender yellow petals on his path.
To the cute
Muslim girl who came to Crescat on February 1 with three friends,
Remember me? I was sitting in front of your table...I like
you very much and think of you. Please contact me through this page.
SS (786) black T
I miss you so much. I am still waiting for you. Please contact
me. I love you.
Please call me or write to me. I am dying here.
Happy third birthday! May Allah bless you. May all your dreams
Dada, Mama and brother Enderamulla
To our darling
We hope you have an extra portion of happiness on your birthday.
Have a wonderful year! May Allah bless you.
Amjad, Mizra and Arquid
I have no words to say how much I love you. I'll wait my whole
life for you. Please don't avoid me.
You know who I am
It has been like a dream since you entered my life. You have
touched my heart. Please call me. I love you.
I love you very much. Don't ever forget me. I love you from
the bottom of my heart.
Belated Valentine's Day wishes. I really miss you and still
do love you more than ever. Please give me a chance to talk to you.
From the guy who gave you a card through a friend from your school
Happy birthday. Best wishes for the future. Remember the time
we spent together with Yuganthi. Good luck for your A/Ls.
Please forgive me if I hurt you. It wasn't my fault. Don't
be angry. I really love you.
Happy 18th birthday. Wish you delightful moments that you can
treasure in your heart always.
Farha and Mizra
Have you forgotten about me? I have been worried since that
super fax. Call me!
From Crazy lover BIDS
I have a soul, a life, a world and hope all because of loving
Your loving Udhyoga
To the girl
I met in front of Suntel, Mount Lavinia on 18/2 around 7.10 pm,
You really captured my heart. Your face, the way you dressed
and walked are still on my mind.
From the tall guy who was wearing black jeans and grey shirt
To my sweetheart Manori,
You are the only one in my mind. I am waiting for your love. I really
To the cute
girl who came to the Architectural Exhibition at BMICH on January
23 wearing a black sleeveless top,
I hope you remember me. You are cute and nice and I am dying
to meet you. I could not talk to you as your mother was there. But
I love you.
From the guy who was looking at you
Happy 20th birthday. May all your dreams come true. Wish you
success and hope to see you soon.
computer vision syndrome
The advantages of computers are many as will be verified
by all those who prefer using computers to manually maintaining
their records which can be a very tedious process. Computers are
everywhere today and so are complaints from computer users.
Spending hours in front of computer screens and video display terminals
has resulted in people experiencing symptoms like headaches, dry
eyes, blurred vision/eyestrain, pain in the shoulders, neck or back,
light sensitivity, intolerance to contact lenses, irritable, itchy
or scratchy eyes and difficulty in focusing. These symptoms have
been grouped together and dubbed as computer vision syndrome or
CVS. Adhering to simple precautions can greatly benefit people and
help relieve CVS.
CVS occurs because besides straining the eyes, computer use
necessitates excessive eye movement as the user's eyes have to rapidly
flicker across the screen. People also tend to blink less since
computer operation calls for intense concentration on the screen.
In the process
of accommodation and the frequent difference in power required for
reading and distant vision while working at the computer, the eyes
get fatigued. A fourth of computer users are prone to complain of
one or another symptoms of the syndrome after one hour of use. But
every one is likely to complain of the symptoms after four or five
hours of use. Prolonged computer use has the inherent danger of
To rid oneself
of these painful symptoms one should:
A. Take few
minutes' break after every half an hour to one hour while operating
the computer. Make it a point to look away from the screen for a
minute or two. Splashing of cold water provides some relaxation
to the eye.
B. Blink frequently
and naturally to keep the eyes moist.
C. Ensure that
the eyes are not above or below the computer but at the same level
of the screen. The computer screen should be at a distance of 16
- 30 inches from the eyes. The top of the screen can be slightly
below horizontal eye level or tilt the top of the screen away from
the eyes at an angle of 10 to 20 degrees.
glare on the computer screen with a glare reduction filter.
E. If possible,
try to use an adjustable copy folder to place reference material
at the same distance from the eyes and as close to the computer
screens as viable to avoid changing focus when looking from one
to the other. This will also enable less movement of head or eyes
back and forth.
F. Avoid too
dim or too bright a screen and make sure there is adequate lighting.
Use table lamps for jobs that require more light.
G. Clean your
computer screen often as dust and fingerprints can reduce clarity.
H. Since itchy
or dry eyes are some of the initial symptoms, it is advisable to
use eye drops prescribed by your physician.
Doing the convergence
exercise twice a day, every morning and evening, is also of benefit
to the eyes. It involves holding a pen or pencil at a distance of
25 cm. from the eye and bringing the pencil gradually to the tip
of the nose till the pencil tip becomes blurred. The movement should
be stopped and the focus should be on the blurred pencil tip till
the image becomes one or focused again. This should be repeated
for five minutes, making sure that the tip is one each time the
pencil is at the tip of the nose.
refractive correction should do the exercise wearing their vision
correctives like eye glasses or contact lenses.
their patients about these simple basic rules, optometrists can
help their patients to deal with CVS easily and alleviate the discomfort
caused due to this syndrome.
- Mangala Samarakoon