In Maruthamunai: Tears, trial and triumph of humanity

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

“I lost 12 family members in Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004 including my parents” Abdul Hameed Sithy Quatha (30) in Maruthamunai.

“Lost our house as well. Human loss is irreplaceable. I managed to safe my sister’s baby” cries & describes her unforgettable memories of Tsunami

“The waves hit the height of a coconut tree in Maruthamunai.When I screamed “Sea waves are coming to our place, nobody believed me”.

“I immediately ran while asking everybody to leave,and took nothing except my sister’s just born baby”.

“I survived standing on an empty piece of concrete slab at few feet with the baby tightly held to my both hands”.

“I used to have nightmares after Tsunami.I did not want to live,but others gave a moral support to rebuild my life.I got a sewing machine”.

“I began to stitch dresses.I started to concentrate on my life slowly.I got married in 2006. My daughter Ayesha Setha was born in 2007”.

“I got a house from an organisation. I miss living with my beloved parents.It is very difficult to forget the memories of Tsunami”.

“I want to educate my daughter,I want her to become a teacher. I sew and earn some money. My husband is very supportive”.

“My prayers are always with the families which lost its loved ones. We have to be prepared to face disasters” says Abdul Hameed Sithy Quatha.

Abdul Hameed Sithy Quatha burst into uncontrollable tears,and queries continuously whether the mankind has not treated the ocean well?

in Dec 2004-more pictures from Maruthamunai
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Thiruvempaavai-a ten day worship for Lord Siva begins

By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Thiruvempaavai – a ten day worship for Lord Siva begins today, Dec 23rd. Devotees gather at dawn in temples to sing melodious Thiruvempaavai.

This is a penance observed by unmarried girls to get good husbands.They wake up early,go to the streams to have a bath&sing at temples.

Thirukoneswaram – One of the five Eswarams – Sivan temples in Sri Lanka. – more pics

Thiruvempaavai is a part of Thiruvaasagam which was composed in the temple town of Thiruvannaamalai during the Tamil month of Margazhi.

Thiruvempaavai consists of 20 hymns & sung by devotees during the month of December & January. Saint Maanikkavaasagar composed Thiruvaasagam.

Kolam is drawn at the main entrance of the Hindu temple during the Tamil month of Margazhi. It invites the devotees to the temple.

Special rituals are performed & Lord Siva is decorated gorgeously . It adds extra flavour to the cold morning. It’s also known as “Paavai Nonpu”.

Saint Maanikkavaasagar’s life story “Thiru Vathaur Adigal Puranam” is read during the festival at the temple by the devotees.

The month of Margazhi is considered holy & ideal for prayers & meditation. Saint Maanikkavaasagar’s marvelous love flows like honey in his songs.

Chithamparam is famous for Thiruvempaavai.Tenth day celebration is known as “Aaruthraa Thrisanam”. Many travel to Chithamparam witness it.

A slide presentation of Thirukoneswaram, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka; and Thiruvasagam rendered by ‘Isaignani’ Ilaiyaraja, with Budapest Symphony Ochestra

“Thiruvaasagaththitkku Urugaathaar Oru Vaasagaththitkkum Urugaar”- “One who doesn’t melt for Thiruvaasagam, would melt for no other words.”
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Prem Joshua: Nature as music

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Pomegranate flower in Koozhavady, Batticaloa District

Prem Joshua’s music breaks the boundaries, and adds extra energy.His music is particularly soothing when traveling with nature.

“Sky Kisses Earth”

He has released 14 albums & performed worldwide on stage on numerous occasions.”Mudra”,”Sky Kisses Earth” & “Yatri” fill the space in my IPod.

Prem Joshua was born in Germany.He began to play the flute at the age of 5. He belongs to a musical family&continued to perform as a child.

He went to India at the age of 18 to make his passion a reality.His journey continued.His music touches the mood of the moment.

He first listened to Indian music,when he was 6 years.That was Pandit Ravi Shankar’s Sitar performance.The experience changed his way.

“I had never heard anything like this before. It was beyond my musical grasp & experience but was something of such immense beauty & depth” Joshua

He learnt music in Calcutta for many years under the famous Tabla virtuoso Shankar Ghosh.He learnt the hard way

According to Prem Joshua World Music is “a celebration of our differences”. He was lauded as the “New Guru of World Fusion of Music”.

“While politicians & religions spread fear,world music embraces other cultures! It is like a new international language!”-Prem Joshua.

His music lovers are incredibly on the increase worldwide.

Gorgeous view of the paddy fields on either side of the street in Akkaraipaththu. Paddy fields look like a long spread of green carpet

Paddy field in Akkaraipaththu
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Harvest for the Kandalama farmer from greening tourism

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Don Sekeralage Sripala. Unmarried. Age-47. He is a farmer from Upper Ara Ula village in Kandalama. He has been playing flute at Heritance Kandalama for 15 years (since its inception), he earns Rs.400/= per day for playing flute.

We filmed him playing flute at Heritance Kandalama, and the interview was done in his agrifield in his village. He currently cultivates Brinjals (Egg Plant).

“There has been development in the village because of Kandalama hotel.”

“There are a lot of villagers working in the hotel as staff”

“We sell vegetables, coconut, king coconut to the hotel.”

“I play flute at the hotel daily at 6pm. I earn additional income by playing flute,” says Don Sekeralage Sripala


Ranjith Kumarasinghe, Assistant Manager-Human Resources, Heritance Kandalama.Age-37. Married. Having a son.He joined the hotel as a trainee waiter and it took 14 years to reach the current position. He has been with Heritance Kandalama for 15 years. He is from Palukatula village in Kandalama. He still works on his field during time off from work.

“Sustainable development”

Avoiding waste is the path to profit for the hotel according to Ranjith Kumarasinghe. “We want to make the waste zero, or if there is any waste-we make it as a resource to a different person or to our own organization.”


Ranjith Kumarasinghe is seen plucking cucumber with his wife Champika Shayamali in his village Palukatula in Kandalama


An agri field is being ploughed in Palukatula in Kandalama

Greening Tourism in Sri Lanka:

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Learning on the lofty littoral of Beruwala

Bubbly tweets from the beaches of Beruwala ~ from the twitter pages by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai


Joining on a journey with fellow journalists to Beruwala. Very pleased to be out of Colombo once again. Looking forward to the beautiful beach

Beautiful sunset in Beruwala


Beruwala is a town & it is situated on the South Western coastal belt of Sri Lanka.The name Beruwala means a place where the sail is lowered.


The area is also known as “China Fort”. Merchants from China Fort & miners from Ratnapura (City of Gems) have been in business for centuries.


The oldest Mosque in Sri Lanka-Kachchimalai Mosque is built on a rock in Beruwala. Most people are gem traders for many generations.

8th century

It’s believed the first Muslim settlement was established in Beruwala in 8th century AD by the Arab traders. The current population in 34,250.


Driving parallel to a train. The train is full of commuters going home after a hard day’s of work. Some sit, and many stand.


My memories once again get frozen when driving through the Tsunami hit areas in Beruwala. Helping Hands have reached Beruwala.


Getting ready to be trained by a Swedish media training expert on how to be an excellent trainer for mid career journalists.


Tweeting thrills while thunder threatens.


Being in Beruwala: The light in Beruwala is bright. The sunlight is strong & the moonlight is magnificent. I am under the “Light of Learning!”.


Analysed strong and weak points of trainers. Frequently looked at weak points and failed to look at strong pints. Good learning exercise.


“I like your style of training, keep it up “says my trainer with a pat on my back. It gives me high spirit to spread the knowledge more.


Been on a thin ethical line in Beruwala. Learnt more on Ethics of Journalism.


Being part of active learning. Silent observer is a surprise treat for me for the day.


Sound of technology fills the ears in the morning, and sound of the sea fill the same ears in the evening.


Active Attendance and added an adjective to our names in Beruwala. And ought to remember adjective, names and faces.


Multi languages are spoken here as tourists from Britain, Denmark, Germany, India and Switzerland gather under a bowl.


Smell of Sun cream, perfume, and food is mixed in the air and it gives sweet, sour and spicy taste.


Bunch of Babes in beautiful Bikinis on the beach of Beruwala.


Elderly being helped by his or her spouse to swim and walk. Seems like they escape the snowy winter.


Full of foreign tourists float in and out of the sea. They sleep under the dazzling Sun, and it shines on them like a star.


They rock and roll on the Green grass, and become tan.


Sea looks like a spread of Blue carpet early in the morning, and the same sea looks like a spread of Grey carpet in the evening.

Name is beautifully written on the sandy shore of Beruwala


Romance blossoms on the shores of Beruwala, names are written on sand, and the memories last forever.

Hard Talk

Hard Talk under the horizon and hazelnuts are being bites.


Walk & Talk on the Beach of Beruwala, while the salty waves touches the feet and sand. Soothing to see the sea in the South.


Wished “Happy Birthday Dad” from the beach in Beruwala.


Sea is spread and waves are wide in Beruwala. Morning invites many and night is young.

Torches are lit around the swimming pool

Water dance in Beruwala at night


Water dance is being performed at night in the swimming pool. Participants invite the viewers to take part. Many men get into water and dance.


Later in the night Disco dancers move the floor with many movements.


Men jump through a circle of burning fire from the edge of the swimming pool. Viewers keep on cheering.

Jumping through a circle of burning fire


Torch lights glitter at the edge of the swimming pool, as the dancers perform in the water like dolls.


The intensive training Began with “Good Morning “Beruwala” and finished with “Good Bye Beruwala”.

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