14th February 1999
I am sorry I could not write to you for so long. I was not too well and I did not want to worry you with my pain. But yesterday when Aunty Seela came to see me I was thinking that pain could be caused by different things. Aunt Seela's only son is migrating with his family and she will be left alone. 'I just can't understand it,' she cried, 'I did so much for him, educated him and gave him everything he wanted and now he is willing to forget all that and go to some strange land. Does he not realise,' she wailed, 'how much I have sacrificed? There is no sense of gratitude in this world."
I thought it's sad that she should have expected gratitude. I often think that the happiness we give another by doing something, is gratitude enough. Why parents expect children to be grateful and talk of sacrifices surprise me. We do for a child not because we have to, but because we want to. You never asked me to spend for your education. I did so because I wanted to, and if I were to talk of sacrifice and expect gratitude, my action has not been of love.
Really daughter, I often think we should not expect returns for what we give. If we do, our love is not selfless. Would you agree daughter? So many thoughts come to my mind regarding this, but I will write to you later. I will end, quoting a little verse I read which I think expresses my thoughts well. "Courage is bringing a child into the world, feeding him, caring for him, worrying about him, and preparing him to the best of your ability for the life he is going to lead and then letting him go, to live it." How many of us can do so? Let go of those whom we claim to love, to lead their own lives?
It started with a bangI walked in on an argument the other day. No, that's not really true – I listened as two people argued at the next table in a restaurant while I was waiting for my friends to arrive. Anyway, it was one of those arguments that you'd really like to get involved in but can't because you don't know the people. Now I find this situation extremely frustrating. Because quite often I come up with some really good points.
The two people were arguing about how humankind came into existence and history. One argued that humankind had been created and that everything in history had a definite purpose, while the other argued that it was all a huge cosmic accident. I was astounded – where were these theories coming from? Had these people never heard of science? Weren't they taught how everything came about in school? Science and history are so clear about how everything happened that I don't see how anyone can argue about it anymore.
It all started with a bang. A rather big bang as far as bangs go. After that there was a big mess for a few billion years until the cosmos decided to clean up and do a bit of renovating. For the sake of convenience everything red was put on to Mars, everything orange went to Jupiter and the blues were distributed evenly and tastefully amongst the others by a gay interior decorator named Phillipe.
The first signs of life to make an appearance on earth were micro-organisms. They were very small. Eventually they ate other micro-organisms and evolved into not-so-micro-organisms. Later these became known to us as the dinosaurs. They then promptly died to confuse paleontologists. By then no one really cared – somewhat like the Jurassic Park craze, there's only so much one can take of big lizards.
The first people started to show up along the river banks (These days that's the last place they show up). The most prolific of these riverbank civilizations were the Egyptians. Although they worshipped cats, had long pointy beards and always looked over one shoulder, they weren't a bad sort. The Egyptians are most famous for their pyramids. And the most famous pyramid is that of Cheops in Giza (which is Egyptian for old man). His great pyramid for over five thousand years was the tallest man-made structure on Earth.
He also built several small pyramids all around – for his favourite wives. But I think Cheops had this figured wrong. Building a really cool tomb for her is not always the best way to attract a woman.
Next came the Greeks. Now they were an exceptional people. They thought of almost every concept that has screwed up our world – democracy, politics and the theatre(which one might argue is no different from the previous one). The greatest Greek of them all was Socrates. He had some radical views and so they killed him (much the same way governments still deal with people who don't agree with them.) Although he had rather interesting things to say, not many people were really sorry to see him go. He was a disgusting man. He never took a bath. This would have spoiled his chances with women, but history has it that women didn't interest him either. He was so repulsive that they made him drink the poison himself because no one wanted to get close enough to actually give it to him.
The next interesting part of history also has an Egyptian connection. Cleopatra, an Egyptian princess was a very career-minded woman. She was also quite a babe. Julius Caesar was the ruler of quite a chunk of the known world and was known to be somewhat of a player. They struck a pretty good business deal which made Cleo the queen of Egypt. This business relationship also produced a few kids. This made Caesar's wife mad. So she hired Mark Antony as her lawyer and filed for a divorce and half the empire.
After Caesar's death, the Roman Empire was never the same. It went from emperor to emperor without much aim or purpose. Nero was one such emperor. He was quite mad. And unlike today, back then (around 50AD) people didn't expect it of their leaders. He played the merry devil and it was rumoured even back then that he was responsible for setting fire to Rome (64AD). He also played the fiddle.
This as far as I can remember from what I learned in school, is exactly how history has played itself out. There was one other great moment in history that was about king Blah, who Bladi blahed blah. But I don't remember him because I wasn't really paying much attention in class. This is the first of a three -part series on how the world came to be this way. Next week – the Middle Ages.
By Nilika de SilvaHey guys once again it's that time of year ! No, no, not Valentine's Day, it's Comedy time a la Performing Arts Company. The people who gave you Run For Your Wife, Don't Dress for Dinner and Funny Money are ready to present ... ... .... Black Comedy!
Ever watched the Wimbledon Finals - Men's and Women's simultaneously. Well the pace is strikingly reminiscent, but I guess I'd better keep you in the dark.
The casting is perfect. The fusion of veterans and new comers promises you an evening of fun, shocks and laughs. As producer Mohamed Adamaly says, "Our strength has been in the pace and the timing - the time it takes to open a door, the time it takes to climb a step, it's all rehearsed. That's what timing is about."
All the players have an equally important role to play in this comedy which depends very much, as Dayan Candappa says on, "trusting your co-players". Dayan's role as perhaps a father-in-law, but firstly a military man is indeed very different from the more vulnerable characters we have seen him portray.
The very appealing and super-sensitive character of Harold Gorringer is brought to life by Jerome de Silva.
Neidra Williams keeps up a superb performance as a Bohemian ex-lover, who arrives more or less in the capacity of a Deus Ex Machina to sort things out the way she knows best.
As the youngest in the cast Shanuki de Alwis says, "It's fun, but it's terrible because they all bully me. They say dirty jokes but never tell me what they're laughing over." Last year's Best Actress at the Shakespeare Competition, Shanuki who's on the threshold of a blossoming career does a very good portrayal of a love-struck, yet only human, young woman.
Ian Herft another newcomer to the troupe plays the enjoyable role of a young German working for the London Electric Company. Perhaps sometimes he feels his role in this world is not fully understood or appreciated by all, yet his gentle tolerance is a scream.
The Parson's daughter played by Wanda Holsinger is colourfully portrayed. And Michael Holsinger plays the much awaited art collector.
Brindsley Miller, the young unknown artist, the protagonist of Black Comedy is played by Mohamed Adamaly. Torn between his new life and his old, budding romance and blossoming desire, drawn towards grace yet jostling with necessity, Brindsley is in a spot.
Nadira, my wife is co-producer and a pillar of strength says Adamaly. Yasmine and Sakina Akberally handle the costumes and set decor. The play is on from February 19 – 21 and 25 – 28, at the Lionel Wendt Ttheatre