8th April 2001
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!
The Lucky Star
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?
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,
When the sun shines brightly, then everything looks fine -
Telephone bills keep rising, the fuel prices soar
When you are in this mood and badly need a smile,
'Laughter is the Best Medicine' for your many ills
Sent in by Vijay
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
By Ruhanie PereraAs 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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