Mirror Magazine
8th April 2001
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Clothes line

  • Perverts in buses - every woman's nightmare
  • I loved you most, when you treated me worst
  • Did I make a mistake?
  • "Laughter is the best medicine"
  • I return
  • Perverts in buses - every woman's nightmare

    It was a Saturday, I remember. Almost a year ago. My three friends and I got into this crowded bus after waiting for a long time. We struggled to squeeze into it and to get a breath of fresh air to breathe in. Finally my friend got a seat. She took our bags and sat beside this well dressed smart gentleman in his mid- twenties. Actually he never crossed our minds when we were in the bus, but I remember........ he wore a tie. He looked decent. 

    After minutes of bruising against other's bodies and a few 'excuses' from men who used the word 'excuse' to purposely bruise and squeeze against our bodies, we finally got out of that hell. 

    We even forgot about the bus till our friend burst into tears on the road. To make it short, here's what she said happened inside the bus.

    She had felt something against her 'thighs' and that something was discovering her inch by inch. She was shocked to see that it was the hairy hand of the 'gentleman' seated next to her. But she had been too scared to say or do anything. His hands touched her everywhere. It's far too embarrassing for me to write about or for you to read. This is not the only story I've heard. I've even experienced these incidents myself, some that a woman can't express even in letters.

    I bet almost every woman travelling in a bus in Sri Lanka has gone through these bitter 'experiences'. I've even seen older men around 65 doing certain things in the bus to women which I never would dare talk about. 

    Whether a female dresses provocatively or not there is no exception to this vulgarity. Anyway clothes aren't excuses! A woman has every right to wear what she wants! And the pathetic thing is that no one in the bus seems to care about what happens. I remember an old man once asking a young victim in the bus; "where did he touch you?" after the incident was over. 

    This is the state of Sri Lanka today I'm ashamed to say. These perverts carry on because the women are too shy or scared to speak up. 

    Listen ladies. If you feel that someone's trying to be funny with you, simply grab the rascal by his neck and slap him, or shout! That's the least that you could do. At least you'll have some women around to ask you 'what happened?' Even if the men don't care. Or grab the pervert and take him to the police station. The law says that any pervert if proven guilty will be sentenced to jail for 5 years! You don't have to be a karate champ to protect yourself! Just stand up for your rights! A final suggestion is, can't the women's welfare societies or the police try to recruit police women in civils, to safeguard the females of this land? Because as women we have the right to live, to dress up, and to stand up for our beliefs! At least, we don't go around in buses trying to do things these perverted men do! 

    Premila Edirisuriya

    I loved you most, when you treated me worst

    I'm in love with a man to whom my parents have given a definite "No" and yet I continue to go out with him. The pressure at home and work grew more and more, that one day a trivial shortcoming on my boyfriend's part, triggered the emotions bottled up inside me and all hell broke loose. We had a huge fight (at least I did) and I created quite a drama out of it. I said quite a few things that I shouldn't have said and hurt him so much without even realizing it. Worst of all I said that, since things haven't been working out too well for some time now, we should stop seeing each other till things settle down. I was too wrapped up in my own emotions that I didn't notice the pain and shock in his eyes or his silent tears. While I was acting like a fool, he never changed - on the contrary he tolerated me and loved me. Later I realized the depth of my mistake and rushed back to him begging for forgiveness. He took me in his arms and said, "When you truly love someone you don't expect anything in return. So just remember that I loved you most, when you treated me worst." I am speechless. All I can do is hang my thoughts on the clothes line and give you some thoughts to ponder.... 

    The Lucky Star

    Did I make a mistake?

    We used to be very good friends, a friendship without jealousy, a friendship without selfishness, a friendship anyone would have loved to have. "Machang, I'm in love with Dinusha". That's what he told me when he first saw her. Naturally as a friend I was supposed to play the role of matchmaker, or "Kapuwa", which I did genuinely. I repeat, "I did it genuinely". Unfortunately, things didn't go as we intended, though the word "unfortunately" doesn't apply for me. Instead SHE STARTED LOVING ME, despite several proposals I made on behalf of him, jeopardizing my friendship. Slowly but surely I was falling in love, ultimately putting myself in a position where I couldn't even think of a life without her. But a piece of paper, I got from my friend, with a part of a song by Gentlemen Jim Adios Amigo Adios My Friend,
    The road we have travelled has come to an end, When two love the same love one love has to leave, 
    It's you who she belongs for It's you who she loves. 
    Have I made a mistake, did I betray a friend or have I been driven by the emotions? 

    Deprived S

    "Laughter is the best medicine"

    In this topsy turvy world, everything goes wrong 
    There's hardly time for laughter and no time for song,
    To add to all our problems, it never rains but pours
    When misfortunes come our way, they come in overdose.

    What'ver our social status - how e'er much our wealth,
    All those just come to nothing, with problems and ill-health;
    Our anxious fears and worries never seem to end -
    Whate'er we plan to do and however much we spend.

    When the sun shines brightly, then everything looks fine -
    But when one is down and out, of friends there is no sign;
    Cold, dark and dismal is the long and lonely night -
    Far appears the rosy dawn and far the kindly light.

    Telephone bills keep rising, the fuel prices soar
    Everyday the wolf keeps knocking at the door -
    We have to scrape the barrel, our bank balance is nil -
    In utter desperation we even break the till.

    When you are in this mood and badly need a smile,
    Why not read the fun - filled book titled 'Laugh a While?'
    It is just the tonic to keep the blues away -
    'It will make you laugh and surely brighten your day.

    'Laughter is the Best Medicine' for your many ills
    It will keep you happy; reduce the doctor's bills -
    So please do remember to make a useful stop
    When you next happen to pass the Lake House Bookshop.

    Sent in by Vijay

    I return

    I hear the splash of rain drops, I feel the coldness Around me, I shiver as I walk to embrace Mother nature, Rain stops, moon shines. I bathe in her light She makes me think, Makes me forget, I feel myself returning, A sudden warmth. I feel the coldness around me Disappear, I return Such warmth I've never Felt Loneliness vanishes, I'm home at last! Ransirini de Silva 

    Comment, criticism, praise or food for thought - here's an invitation to hang the laundry of your thoughts on the 'Clothes Line'. Send in your entries of not more than 350 words to: 

    Clothes Line C/o The Sunday Times 
    No. 8, 
    Hunupitiya Cros Road, Colombo 2. 
    Email: Clothesline-lk@yahoo.com

    Lankan Mermaid

    By Ruhanie Perera 
    As a kid Nishamani Jinadasa watched the movie 'Great Barrier Reef' and from that day on began her fascination for the world underwater. She was determined to someday live out the picture etched in her mind of the lithe heroine exploring the seas. But, although she was a swimmer while in school and went out snorkelling whenever possible later on, the dream of being a diver didn't materialize for a long time. "The funny thing is, I worked for three years in Australia, some years ago and I even bought a wet suit then but never got beyond that," she says.

    Finally, in 1995 she travelled to Australia to obtain the open water diving licence at the Great Barrier Reef and in doing so she lived out her dreams. Later on, in 1998 she obtained her Advanced Diver Licence. Initially taking up diving as a sport, Nishamani combined it with yet another of her interests which was photography. That was how she developed her rather specialised hobby, 'underwater photography', one which she derives much satisfaction from. "I also do underwater videography, which is interesting because of the movement involved," says Nishamani who took up both underwater photography and videography because she just couldn't decide between the two.

    Dabbling in this field purely for her enjoyment, Nishamani completely underestimated her skill until quite by chance she entered an International Underwater Photography Competition conducted in Malaysia and went on to bag second place for one of her entries. This winning entry, which incidentally was judged in the advanced videography category, was filmed at Sipadan Island, Malaysia in September last year. 

    "I was so surprised when I won," laughs Nishamani who explains that she entered the competition purely because she wanted to explore the seas there. "Sipadan Island is known as the number one 'shore-dive' spot in the world and I was keen to visit the place." So the competition provided her with the ideal opportunity to visit the place - "and that's really why I applied". 

    When she got there, Nishamani found all the other participants to be those with 30 - 40 years of experience, and who had established their own photography companies, and travelled about with special teams, carried at least two cameras and finished film rolls at amazing speed. "I on the other hand just had my single camera and used only seven film rolls at the end of the whole expedition." But the competition not being the main purpose behind her visit, she wasn't intimidated. "Now, having won, I think about how I could have enhanced the film, but all the same I was thrilled with the results," says Nishamani who was the only Asian among the winners who were predominantly American. 

    Of the criteria used to judge the photograph, Nishamani says the aspects taken into consideration when judging were the storyline and interest, camera handling and technique, composition, lighting and the degree of difficulty in making the video. Her video clip depicted the symbiotic relationship between the clown fish and sea anemone.

    "Underwater photography is not easy and certainly nothing like taking photographs on land. You can't just click a photograph underwater," she explains. "A lot depends on the site, the available lighting and the visibility. The deeper you go you need to use a strobe, which performs the same function as a 'flash'. Another important factor is that the water must be clear, if not all the particles in the water light up for the strobe and you have what we call 'backscatter', which does not make a good photograph. Also underwater the subject appears 25 percent bigger and in front of its actual position. So you have to focus and adjust the lights with that in mind. We generally take three photographs of the same subject, slightly altering some aspect of it. All this has to be done amidst the sea currents. But all this difficulty is worthwhile in the end, when you see your photographs. It's so beautiful - there are days when my film roll is over long before the dive is." 

    Nishamani in her enthusiasm to discover the diverse beauty of the underwater world has visited the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo Reef in Australia, the Catalina Islands in the States, the Maldives and Malaysia. Her favourite haunt at home is what is known as the third reef in Negombo. Right now she's planning an ice diving expedition in Antarctica - "everything's planned, I only need to convince my family now."

    With her taste for the more exciting things in life, Nishamani's first film was of sharks being fed and her most interesting that of a sea snake. Nothing scares her underwater. "I know the dangers and I'm careful. Some divers carry knives for protection but I don't because I believe I'm in their territory so I'm the intruder. Of course a knife could come in handy if you get caught in anything." 

    An accountant by profession, Nishamani says that this gives her a much needed "restful and relaxing" break; a chance to take her mind off the everyday facts and figures. "It really has changed my life by giving me something wonderful to plan for and look forward to."


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