by Malinthe Samarakoon on May 15, 2013
Cats are interesting creatures. Why do I say this? Probably because they are a bunch of assholes. Cute and cuddly assholes. They purr and cuddle up to you one minute and run after helpless little birds to play and kill them without any resentment the next. If you try to prevent the murder, it’ll probably claw your hands and run away.
The first cats I encountered at home were two kittens. I woke up one morning and walked out of my room to look at the mountains. We had a nice view of Hanthana, in all it’s mist covered glory. Those were cold days in Kandy. After taking in the scenery, I flopped into a pile of dirty clothes and that’s when I heard a faint noise. Upon investigation, I discovered that the noise was from two kittens. They were hiding in their looking for warmth.
I remember giving them milk and leftover hoppers from the night before. They disappeared after a day or two. I think they went back looking for their mother.
The next cat we had was called Bonny. Mom brought it from her school (she was a teacher) in a cardboard box and told us about how people looked at her in confusion when it started shouting in the bus. Brown and white, it was. I named it after a biscuit company that was owned by the father of a school friend, Chanaka. It was with us for a while, and one day it disappeared suddenly. We suspected that it was kidnapped (catnapped?) because it was one cute cat.
After that we didn’t have cats for a while. Of course, there were a lot of uninvited ones running around the house. A few of them were especially unwelcome because all they did was run around the house, pooping. Mom was not happy.
There were a few cats grandma’s place. They didn’t have any memorable names or features. Nor stories. One cat did manage to claw my face when I was making fun of it, but that’s about it.
Now to the more colorful days.
We moved to a place in Suduhumpola when I was around 12-13. This is when we met ‘Makara’ (Dragon). It was only a kitten then, with unusual grey-white fur. We welcomed it as we didn’t know who the owner was. No one came looking for it and it decided to stay with us.
Makara grew up as we watched. Running around, biting everyone. It loved to hide under chairs and attack the feet of anyone who walked close by. Clawing and biting, playfully but forcefully, it distributed smiles in the household. On a bad day, it would curl up in my lap and sleep while I watched TV.
On a night when mom didn’t want it inside the house, it tried to get inside crying and shouting. After failing that it went away.
The following day, when mom was making tea in the morning Makara decided to show up in the kitchen. My mom looked at it and saw something different about it’s eyes. On a hunch she decided to check outside and that’s when she discovered two kittens. We were ecstatic!
They were transferred to a cozy cardboard box immediately. The two kittens were adorable. I chose the darker colored one and claimed that it would be mine and I named it Duffy. The other one was named Budsy and it became my brother’s pet. Everyday after school I would come running home to see the kittens. I still remember the day they opened their eyes. Duffy’s eyes looked blue! (They weren’t though).
So they grew up in our household. Running around, playing. As they grew up, they even managed to topple plastic chairs in their path! When we went to school they would walk up to the gate and wait there, until we disappeared at the next corner. When we got back from school they’d be near the gate waiting for us, no matter what.
Their names changed after a while. Duffy became Curdey and Budsy became Ambutti. Both of them were absolutely wonderful. Curdey got used to waking me up in the morning by jumping on the bed and walking over me. When mom was working at home, it would come home after a day of hard napping, crying ‘mom’. It really did sound like ‘mom’.
Makara loved them a lot. I remember her bringing them big pieces of meat for them, stolen from neighboring houses Once she brought a useless bag of jackfruit that they couldn’t eat. When we threw it away it ran back to the bag and brought it back.
Curdey was the hunter. He loved keeping his paws in small burrows and hiding to attack birds or Ambu. Only one bird was killed by Curdey and we didn’t forgive him for that. I know that it doesn’t really understand that we disapproved of it’s actions.
Curdey got sick once. After a few days of heavy rain and getting wet, it caught pneumonia. One of my friends, who was a veterinarian took care of the situation and gave it an injection that fixed everything. I had never seen a cat catch pneumonia until then.
Makara gave birth to two more kittens after a while. They were named Q and Eula (pronounced Yoola). Kittens after them didn’t survive. Some of them died after birth and she refused to feed the kittens after that. We did our best to keep them alive but it was not to be. I remember mom crying when one of those kittens died.
We moved to our old house near our grandma’s after a while. I had to hold Curdey and Q in the van while our dog Buckey was climbing on an old CRT monitor. When the journey ended, my arms were covered it claw marks. Curdey and Ambu didn’t like the sudden change of the environment. Ambu decided to run away as soon as possible while Curdey hid under a bed. They took their time to get used to the new surroundings. Ambu decided to return after a week or so.
On a daily diet of milk and fish or meat, both Curdey and Ambu became big and heavy. At one point I couldn’t even lift Curdey with one hand! Although Curdey and Ambu were massive cats, Q and Eula never became that big. They were always mini sized.
Our neighbors and grandparents frowned upon us for having four cats in the household. Grandma made arrangements to give one of the cats to a neighbor nearby. Q was mine so I refused immediately. So they decided to take Eula. After it was taken away, my brother cried in his room silently. This of course didn’t sit well with my parents and Eula was returned after just one day!
Q was killed by a poison attack after a while. There was no time to seek medical attention. I saw it dying on the floor near a table and it was a shocking sight. We buried it in the backyard.
Ambu disappeared some time after that. It never returned. Curdey also disappeared at one point but it decided to return after about six months. We don’t know what happened to Eula either, because it also disappeared.
After losing all of our cats, another cat decided to take refuge in our home. It was a mother-cat with her kitten. After testing out the waters, it left the kitten with us and ran away. Mom decided to take care of this kitten and it was named ‘Bole’.
It had features of Curdey and Eula so we loved it. Even though it looked a little like Curdey, it never grew to Curdey’s size.
When we moved to Colombo, we brought Bole with us. It was kept in a small cage for the first few days and it accepted the new surroundings after that. He seemed happy, running around and being normal again.
After getting sick once, we took it to a veterinarian near us. I loved how the lady treated our cat, calling it’s name and saying soothing words to it while she ran her tests. Some would find this funny but it made a big impression on me.
Bole disappeared after a few months. Mom wasn’t happy about this at all. We looked for it around the neighborhood but we couldn’t find him. Mom said she’ll never get a pet again because it’s just too painful to lose one.
I loved Curdey but I didn’t feel anything when it disappeared. Not even when the other cats disappeared. I don’t really understand why that is.
I’m writing a blog post after one year. I couldn’t really think of what to write so I decided to write about our cats. I wanted to write everything I remember about them so this post must look very messy by now. But, who cares.
It does feel good to write about something. I was checking out some of older posts and I couldn’t help but wonder why I gave up writing. Times have changed, yes. Having a job, growing up, having more responsibilities. Can these be affecting my desire to blog? When I was a kid I loved opening up my blog to write about anything that caught my fancy. I was carefree then. Now it feels like a struggle.
Lots of things go through my mind when I commute. Lots of words, lots of sentences. I’d love to put them in writing but as I sit down in front of the laptop to type them on a keyboard, I tend to forget everything. Inconvenient.
I’m planning to write about random subjects from now on. We shall see how it goes!
Also, I urge you to check out some of my older posts. There are a few short stories I wrote in Sinhala that you may find interesting.
by Malinthe Samarakoon on April 29, 2012
It was a holiday so he thought he should go for a walk. He opened his bedroom window and jumped out of it.
He fell six stories to the ground. His legs were broken and bones were sticking out from his wounds.
The sun was shining and the birds were singing. The city was busy even though it was a holiday. People were staring at him as he walked towards the park. He left a trail of blood everywhere he went.
He bought an iPod from a nearby Apple Store for lunch. He wasn’t able to cook it so he just ate it as it was. He thought it was delicious and he was happy.
He didn’t have anything to do. So he just walked on until he got hit by a car. His broken legs turned into a pulp as heavy vehicles went over them.
He went home as the night fell.
For dinner, he baked his router. He drank a whole bottle of diesel and for dessert he had made a pudding with his keyboard.
He was happy.
by Malinthe Samarakoon on April 29, 2012
අපි පූල් එක ගාවට ආවෙ අම්බානක් බීල. මං එවෙලෙ කුකුල් මස් කෑල්ලකුත් හප හප හිටියෙ.
මං තාම කල්පනා කරනවා.
“මේක ගැඹුරු නෑ ඕයි“
අනිත් එවුන් ටික ඇඳුම් ගලවන ගමන් කිව්ව.
මං කවදාවත් පීනල නෑ. තැපෑලෙන් පීනන හැටි ඉගෙනගත්ත හින්ද මට එච්චර බයක් තිබුණෙත් නෑ. ඒක නියම කෝස් එකක්. මට රත්තරන් පාට සෙටිෆිකට් එකකුත් ඒකෙන් හම්බවුනා.
ඉතින් මස් කටුව පැත්තකට විසි කරපු මං ඇඳුම් ටිකත් ගලවලා දාලා පූල් එකට පැන්න.
පැනපු ගමන් වටපිටාවෙ සද්ද ඔක්කොම එකපාරටම නැතිවුනා. මට දැනුණෙ වතුරෙන් මගේ කන් පිරෙන එක විතරයි. ඊටපස්සෙ මහා නිහඬතාවයක්.
මට පෙනුණෙ බොඳ වෙච්ච නිල් පාටක් විතරයි.
පූල් එක යට කිසිම දෙයක් කරගන්න බැරුව මං ඔහේ ඉන්නව.
ටිකක් දැඟලුවත් කිසිම දෙයක් වුනේ නෑ. පනින්න කලින් ගත්තු හුස්ම ඉවර වේගෙන ගිය හින්ද මං හුස්ම ගත්ත. ඒත් ඔක්සිජන් වෙනුවට වතුර.
“මං ගිලෙනව ඕයි!”
“ගැඹුරු නැති පූල් එකක? මල චාටර්! උඹව තියන්න වටින්නෙ නෑනෙ.”
“පලයන් යන්න #$%^&*“
මං තාම පූල් එකේ යට.
අනිත් එවුන් උඩ පීනනව මට පේනව. මං පූල් එකේ අඩියෙ හාන්සි වුනා.
“මට වෙරි බං“
විනාඩි දෙක තුනකට පස්සෙ මං මැරුණ.
අනිත් එවුන් මාව එළියට ගත්තෙ පැයකට විතර පස්සෙ.
උන්ට තද වෙලා.
“තොට පිස්සුද ඕයි පීනන්න දන්නෙ නැතුව පූල් වලට පනින්න?“
“උඹ නං වැඩක් නෑ බං. මෙච්චර පොඩි පූල් එකක ගිලිල මැරෙන්න? උඹේ යාලුවෙක් කියන්නත් ලැජ්ජයි!“
“දැන් ඉතින් මොනවද කරන්නද බං?“
“හ්ම් දැන් ඉතින් කරන්න දෙයක් නෑ.“
by Malinthe Samarakoon on April 29, 2012
It was another ordinary night. The walk up to their house was boring, as usual. The roads were pretty much empty. A few neon lights were flickering in the distance.
Even though it was a very hot day, the night was relatively cold. I stopped by the supermarket to buy a coca cola can and I kept on walking.
It took a while for me to get there on foot. I could’ve used a trishaw or a bus but I didn’t want to risk it.
The gate was closed but it wasn’t locked. Lucky for me no one was around. A few lights in the house were turned on.
I opened the door and went in. The guy was sitting in his room typing something on his computer. He looked surprised.
I smiled and replied, “Hey, what’s up?”
I went inside the room before he could answer. As he tried to reply I shoved the knife into his throat. His eyes widened in disbelief as I pulled the knife out. Blood was pouring out of the wound.
He fell on the ground but he was unable to make any noise. My can of coke wasn’t over so I decided to finish it. He was writhing in pain clutching at his throat. I asked if he wanted a sip of coke. He didn’t say anything because he couldn’t.
I was bored. I decided to stomp on his nose. I heard a crack.
“I really should go now.”
I took my sawed-off shotgun out of the bag and shot him in the chest. After I made sure that he was dead, I decided to go for a beer.
I think beer tastes great. Some claim that beer tastes bitter, but I’ve never understood.
by Malinthe Samarakoon on December 12, 2011
I love trains. I travel between Kandy and Colombo using Trains mainly because it’s more comfortable than those dreadful long distance buses. I can’t stand buses since they are cramped, crappy and smelly. I hate those new buses with really tiny windows and cramped seats and I despise air conditioned buses due to their crappy air conditioning, smelly curtains, lack of oxygen and general wildlife (Cockroaches)
So as a frequent passenger of the almighty train, I was excited to hear about the two luxury compartments that were introduced to the Kandy ICE: Rajadhani Express and Exporail. Priced at LKR 850 (Update: It’s 950 now) and LKR 1200 respectively, it’s quite expensive than the 2nd Class (LKR 220) and 1st Class Observation (LKR 360). Although I was excited, I wasn’t keen about spending that much for a train journey.
I purchased my Rajadhani Express ticket using Mobitel’s Ticket Reservation System (365). Mobitel currently handles the normal tickets and the Rajadhani tickets for Kandy/Colombo. According to their automated message, you can’t purchase Exporail tickets from them. The service charge was 144.50, which was higher than the ordinary service charge. I acquired my ticket from the Mobitel Kandy HQ.
It was good. There was wood everywhere. Air conditioning was perfect. The lighting was nice. The whole interior was clean and spotless. The ambiance was lovely.
Leather Reclining seats. Very comfortable. There’s more than enough legroom and even if the front seat is in a fully reclined position, there would be a lot of room. Armrests are somewhat small and there are only 3 per two seats. 2 for the window side seat and 1 for the other. So you have to share the one in the middle. If the outer seat is moved, it loses one armrest.
Curtains move freely without an issue. There’s a lovely orange glow when sunlight hits them. There was something about the windows I really liked. Maybe they were too clean.
You also get Hot Towels when the train leaves the station (Update: Not anymore)
The washroom was small, but it’s clean and has all the facilities you would need. Much better than the ordinary ones you usually see.
There are power sockets near all the seats. You can plug your laptop charger if you’re working. Sockets were 5A round pinned ones so if you have a charger with square pins, you’ll need an adapter. I was expecting two sockets but there was only one. So if your fellow passenger also has a laptop you would have to sort it out with a few rounds of bare-knuckle boxing.
There’s a large LCD TV. Items played on it vary. There was a documentary on Kataragama in the beginning. After it ended, there was Gods Must be Crazy II. After that ended, there were some Mr. Bean clips. The volume was inadequate after the documentary. But I would be unhappy if the speakers were blasting movies through the whole journey.
Food and Beverages
The usual baked stuff. Rolls, buns etc. Most people ordered Seeni Sambal buns. I think they microwave them before serving. I just got a cup of coffee for 50 bucks. They also have tea. There were menus on some of the seats. You can ask for one if you want.
They will setup a folding plastic table with a table cloth when your order something, so there’s no chance of spilling anything. Everything’s served properly on clean plates.
Food isn’t included in the ticket price on Rajadhani, but it’s included in Exporail afaik. You’ll get a bill when you’re near the destination.
It was relatively quiet inside because the windows are all closed. I was expecting something like better suspension for a smoother ride but there wasn’t The staff is very friendly and you’ll be greeted with smiles most of the time, and I think it’s awesome. They will handle your bags once you’re inside the train and once the journey is over.
There were more people than I expected and almost all the seats were full.
The Rajadhani website (http://blueline.lk) is not good because it’s not functioning properly. Same goes to Exporail. There’s an online ticket booking facility on the Rajadhani site but it doesn’t seem to be working. I couldn’t even create an account there.
The facilities and the service is top notch and it’s very comfortable. Overall a nice experience. But at LKR 950 per journey, it’s just too expensive for someone like me.
An Update: As mentioned in some of the comments, I did experience an air conditioning failure once. Power generators kept failing on another occasion. I hope these issues are fixed now.