Each time Buddhi Galappatty releases a collection of short stories or poems, the reader just has to read the whole thing in one go. You can't put the book down! What’s his secret? It's a combination of factors – the easy style of writing, the interesting plots, the scenario he creates and the way he communicates the selected themes.
This time was no different when I read his latest anthology– 'Heta nevatha eyi' (Tomorrow comes again). Usually the title of a short story book is the title of one of the stories. But Buddhi's book is different. I looked for the story with the title but it wasn't there.
There are five stories in the collection. Some are short while one or two are pretty 'long short stories'. Each has a realistic theme. There is the story of the bread winner in the family falling sick and becoming helpless. 'Davasak Nimavei' (A day ends) is its title.
'Avamagual chaarika' (Trip to a funeral) is a typical outstation trip by an office crowd – in this case the staff of a government bank going to a funeral off Matara. There is no difference in the mood whether it's a pleasure trip or funeral.
The 'master of ceremonies' takes over– arranging the bus, the condolence banner, the guitar, the bottles, sing song gang, paraphernalia for a sea bath. It's the boss's first trip out-- a new experience for him. Buddhi goes into details of the whole journey. He makes you a party to the trip and makes you go down memory lane.
'Dedenaama diyaniyo' (Both are daughters) is about a couple who adopt a daughter since they don't have children and later the wife has a baby. 'Punchi Kusumalatha' relates the plight of a poor couple who find it hard to provide their daughter nutritional food even though the doctor insists. In both stories Buddhi discusses the emotions of the parents in a manner that the reader himself begins to experience the situations.
Buddhi picks a common experience in any household in 'Eya ese siduviya' (It happened that way). Here a rat becomes a nuisance in the household and from the different reactions of the family members, Buddhis takes a commonplace happening, and cleverly makes it a readable story.
"Charu Nisansala is up from 4 in the morning. Transport was due at 4.30. Now it's 5.15. Easily she could have slept till 5 and then got ready, Charu thought. When she was dropped last night it was close upon midnight. Couldn’t sleep properly for even four hours. Several times Charu thought of giving up this teledrama business and going back home. Even the boarding aunty is up because of Charu." Thus starts the story 'Tele niliya' (Teledrama actress).
Felicia runs a boarding. She has two boarders others than Charu. Harendra is a creative director in an advertising firm. Pushpamala is a forty-year-old unmarried female working in a bank. Buddhi uses the typical Sinhala-English mix throughout the story which runs into 14 pages revolving round the four people in the boarding turning it into a most interesting tale.The final story 'Jeevithe sundarai mohothakata..'(Life is pretty for a moment) is a dialogue between two people – a male and female who spend the evening at a musical show.
The common thread running through all the stories is the rather sad tone. Buddhi does not overdramatise them either. Yet he makes the reader feel so much for the characters.The stories are so true to life. 'It can happen to me' is the feeling he creates.
Buddhi has his own writing style and even the invitation for the launch and his 'pin anumodanawa' acknowledging the numerous parties who helped him showed this easy to read style.
When bankers turn photographers
|HSBC CEO Nick Nicolaou and Nalini Ellawela, a founding member of the Ellawela Charitable Trust viewing the exhibits
HSBC concluded its much- anticipated staff photography exhibition on Mahausakande at the Harold Peiris Gallery, of the Lionel Wendt last month.
Eighteen staff photographers who participated in the exhibition were presented with certificates by Nick Nicolaou, CEO of HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives in the presence of special invitees and HSBC staff.
The exhibition was open for public viewing on two separate days, showcasing HSBC’s most talented photographers who captured images of the rich bio-diversity of a regenerating tropical rain forest in Mahausakande, Kiriella, a project the bank has been involved in since 2004 with the Ellawela Charitable Trust.
The exhibition was well received by both invitees and visitors.