Wednesday 30th November, 2011 III
BY USVATTE-ARATCHI in the basement of the Hindu Kovil in again. Anklets bells had musician to whom she had been married [Kusjatakaya] A terrible demon grabbed
Queens, New York City, at close also caught my imagina- [by proxy to a vina] for so long was most me by my hand’.
range. When I saw him he was per- tion in Grade V at school when I effective. At times the sitar was chirpy, In fact two books of poetry had been
his evening [22 November 2011] I
saw the most enjoyable stage pres- haps a bit old and somewhat heavy and read about the anklets of the heav- the sarod at times stern, the esraj and the written in Sinhala using this theme. One
entation for the year in Colombo, did not have that legendary quality enly dancers when they danced before flute mostly playful, often. The total effect was written in the14th century: ‘kav silu-
anywhere this year for that matter as I which made him so famous a dancer. the king and a huge audience when made the dancing brilliant. The singing, mini kusadava’ the greatest poem in
had missed the theatre season elsewhere. Bhattacarya is a much taller, bigger man Guttila and Moosila played the vina in especially by the lead male, was some of Sinhala and minor work in the 17th cen-
A troupe of dancers from Eastern India and a younger man. Yet he moved on competition. the best singing of rabindra sangeet that tury: Kusajatakaya, the latter more popu-
led by Bimbavati Devi [Manipuri] and stage with a fluidity and a grace which ‘pa piyum binguron sala van dili I have heard. He probably excelled lar than the former. The older book is less
Ashimbandhu Bhattacharjee (Kathak) was spell binding. He more or less ‘float- ruvan nupura gose’ [the sound of the shin- Debabrata Biswas, whom I have heard accessible because of the antiquity of the
danced for us at Bishop’s College ed’ on to the stage from my right with ing gem encrusted anklets…..] only on CD. language but its poetry is unexcelled in
Auditorium ‘prabhu amar priyo amar such lightness of foot, which raised peals But at that stage I could only imagine The costumes were a great treat. I Sinhala. In shaap mochan a musician in
[my lord, my love]’, an adaptation of of pleasure in me. what they were as the local salamba on don’t know how better to say it! The the heavens is cursed by Urvasi, because
Tagore’s ‘shaap mochan [release from a One of the great charms of kathak is dancers at healing rituals did not raise makeup reminded me of sculptures and he sang off key and the musician is put
curse]’. This was a part of the celebra- the music of the belts of bells tied to the music as I imagined from the verses. paintings of gods and goddesses in down in among humans with a deformed
tions of the 150th birth anniversary of make anklets. There are perhaps a score I hope ICC will oblige to let us hear those Indian temples. They were painted proba- face. [Our handsome singers beware!]
Rabindranath Tagore. There was danc- on each ankle and good dancers make magical bells all over again. bly after seeing similar dancers of old! His heavenly love is also down here. They
ing, music, both vocal and instrumental, great music of them. A long time ago, I Obviously, it would have been far too The story of ‘shaap mochan’ is a sim- fall in love with each other. [How, I did
costumes and make up to please the audi- was invited to see an Indian dancer costly to bring down all the musicians ple one that we come across in many cul- not understand]. The musician dare not
ence to the most. I have neither the [Hemamali?] present kathak in the .
but I missed them sorely The recording tures. All of us remember the English show his face to the betrothed. He sends a
vocabulary nor the idiom to review the National Theatre of Thailand. She had they played was very good and the music story about the frog who becomes a vina to the wedding and the woman goes
performance but I feel compelled to leave such perfect control of her leg muscles .
carried the dance admirably They prince when kissed by a princess. One is through the rites of marriage imagining
some note of appreciation to the dancers that she could begin with one bell and go opened with an esraj which one hears so also reminded of the Beauty and the the vina to be the groom. She never sees
themselves and the Indian Cultural on to ring them all at the same time and rarely here, although I did hear some stu- Beast. Kusajataka tells us the same tale him when they meet. He tells her that he
Centre. I want especially to request the go the reverse way [anuloma, pratiloma]. dents play at the Saundarya University a of a disfigured prince who falls in love will appear in a particular play and the
ICC to invite Bhattarcarya to dance here It was enthralling and I have gone to see few years ago. The sitar, sarod and the with a most beautiful princess and lives woman recognises the man and the curse
next year, as few probably better him in kathak ever since to hear that magic. flute [bansuri] were all played masterful- in disguise working in her stables just to is removed. So ends ‘shaap mochan’,
kathak. I had seen the great master Brigu Bhattacarya excels them all in my memo- ly to give colour to the dancing. The be near her. She had run away from him, ,
‘prabhu amar priyo amar [my lord my
Maharaj, [whose pupil, they said ry and I wish I could see him jala on the sitar in the confusion in although married to him, because his love]’. Let us see it again, in any case
Bhattacarya was,] several times and once again and when the woman sees for the first face so frightened her: Bhattacarya.
time the disfigured face of the ‘Nabala yakek ma ata gati tadeya’
Christopher Hitchens. ately referred to in the book with their guilty as all others associated in dispens-
Lore of the Law A venerated Buddhist monk salty nicknames,incapable for a contem- ing justice distorting the system of
Author: S.L. Gunesekera whom SL respected, told me of porary from another school, whommy administering justice’[Quote is mine
Reviewed by GOMIN DAYASRI the ‘medicinal oil’SL imbibed in closest friend in Hultsdorf -SL- imperi- alone]. Incurable until possibly an iron
the evenings on his many jour- ously calls the “Mariyakade College in clad mythical Chief Justice steps into
neys to the Wanni, to safeguard Maradana” to identifythose worthy the breach- most unlikely in an era
displaced villagers, wouldalways chumps.The book should be placed on a where the executive is in search of the
ame it, it’s there in plentiful:
ingredients required to attract be a distance away from the tem- pedestal in the college library-it is the weak and the wavering for their comfort
contempt of court, breach of ple gate where he resided for buccaneering history of the beach boys corner.
parliamentary privileges, libel and the night sleeping on a mat: of the sixties. SL is against granting dates “on per-
every conceivable wrong known to though the right of partaking His share of heroes and villains are sonal ground”- forget it chum, some
mankind. The reputations of the was sanctioned (without any notnecessarilymine.On his victory dais- lawyers are permanently in a state of
“repute” and the practices of the “dis- request) in a secluded corner, stand Lawyers Aelian Kannangara and delicate health; susceptible to weird
repute” are bashed at a level above the knowing the thirst of a weary Dr Colvin R de Silva and in the dog- infections that Rasputin cannot diag-
navel, graciously, never below the belt. traveller. house lie Sarath Nanda Silva. nose, mostly on days when not ready
None touchedwill dare to become a Alwaystolerant of anoth- Colvin and Sarath were outstanding with their cases.Poor judges are help-
daredevil and challenge the contents. er’s belief: he valued our men at law with strengths and weakness- less; some are helpful.
Highlighted are features that will com- indigenousrichcivilization es of mortals; Colvin shamelesslyflat- The criteria for nominating
prehensively negative any such bizarre that made Men- from whom tered (‘bumming’ in SL’s slang) the Presidents Counsels which SL states is
thought- Public Interest, Absence of any diverse Gods can learn Bench to an embarrassing degree unbe- an unsatisfactory practice: whose frater-
Ill Will, Justifiably well meaning Jest, many lessons. He handles coming for a man of his stature; nityexceeds in numbers “too large to fill
Truth and still more, thesterile name of the chapter reverently with- Sarath,smarter than Colvin, had a ready a moderately sized passenger train”.
a sterling Author, tomake such an exer- out placing a holder of a itch for his own upward mobility .Both Chuck it mate; let’s not derail the
cise, totally anti- septic. saintly title of a‘God’ on craved for public acclaim. Hultsdorf Underground with its long
Care to think otherwise and stepinto the reverse side to read. AelianKannangara was greater than queue shoving each other wending its
the ring,sure, “S.L” will make ameal His parents together either,cared and stooped to none,with his way to the political ticket office. May
with a grin and grimace. with St.Thomas and nonchalant cavalier outlook and was their tribe increase hundredfold and
Narrative shows a hero-worshiped itsmerited pedagogues naturally a Boys Own magazine hero to let’swatch in silence the packed classless
father, former Supreme Court judge - made him the fearless SL’s macho creed.He was not an office compartments pass with human cargo.
many lawyers who knew the old man “Gunesekera” with true hunter. The deserving sit upright in a first class
intimately are of like mind- of a judge Thomian blood and grit In my black book they are dwarfs carriage.
who lived with judicial aplomb; which unlike those ‘Thoras’ compared to SL. He would not have Non-payment of fees, which SL com-
Lore of the Law
SL boldly queries of, in his time. plains of, is never a problem. Answer-
No longer shocking are thebenefits decline to go to court on the next day in
accepted from the State brazenly - shy the absence of the fees fully settled of
making on hearing. Does respect offered previous dues of counsel and more
begetdisrespect in return? importantly of your juniors. I decided to
Santa/Satan visit judicialoffice but hang my boots after working close to 40
who else will make acid comments on years on that simple formula. Clients
spurious conduct without a trace of fear from individuals to the largest of corpo-
but as a detergent to cleanse the temple rates to foreign bodies have discharged
of so-called even scales. .
their obligations honorably Just keep to
In his world, judges are not molly- tuition’…then drafted this ghastly cari- your word and the word gets around.
coddled on cotton wool. He respects cature of an Act”] whose social obligation rested with a few scripted this book, if personal advance- He does not forget the members of
those deserving unlike some prominent His mother made crosses before back slaps of mates on an annual pil- ment were his motive. the outstation bars, many better round-
lawyers who hardly have a good word for Christian/Catholic/Evangelical pulpits grimage to a cricket match. St Thomas Narration of his days as an appoint- ed in the graces of men and matters and
retired judges after enriching them with and then the good lady abandoned them in its greatness/hollowness, on which ed MP from the SLFP of Mrs in the spread of culture, literature and
layers of thick butter while in office. and became a free Christian thinker and the author elaborates, molds several Bandaranaike, signing the impeachment knowledge than those whose names are
Respect earned bya teacher or judge or guided with her blessings the progeny characters of his time true to their prop- motion, helps to place the record better known merely because they hail
policeman-canbe truly gauged on the on a nationalistic trail. Did she appreci- er upbringing. straight on aspects unknown. The banter from the metropolis.
treatment received on retirement. SL ate the son true to his convictions Salutations for sturdy Kaloo in parliament is low key though friendly The spiciest chapter is in the height
deservingly dedicates his book to a becoming an agnostic? A woman with a Wije(wild escapades including a light- arrows are thrown with gay abandon to
of his vagabond days, as editor of the
teacher in his old school. vision knows an agnostic is not an apos- ning charge at Plantain Point): Titillated make it hilarious more than historic.
outspoken Sinhala daily newspaper,
Arbitrators are placed on a throne of tate. by the pranks ofTuttu Abeysekera The chapters on colorful personali-
Davasa. Brave and honest media men
thorns- few errant members are given a SL is a man without decorations (screamed “Ado Chief Justice Hooo” at ties in court are down memory lane
are the boldest among the professionals
public whipping for the dubious meth- before or after his name. As revealed in eyeball level to be outsmarted for his when sturdy men in black were on
and SL’s presence would have given
ods employed in the fine art of multiply- the book, he is no respecter of persons pluck in the exercise of free expression parade with distinction.
them added impetus. Would he care to
ing fees. Vouch for its validity since a but of principles. Nation owes a grati- by the quick wit of an acting chief jus- SL is tookind to his own tribe by not
revert on retiring from the legal profes-
few of the arbitrators pick fees on dates tude to parents that produced such a tice): Genuine warmth to his dear friend taking the cane in hand with which he
sion to contribute more to the press and
they never sit to hear the case, being pre- son. Take a peep into a folk museum to planter Herman Malinga Guneratne raps others hard in the mal-practices
give zest tomedia freedom and send a
viously postponed as agreed.Some examine the background…. a simple life (thorn of St Thomas in the eyes of a associated in the administration of jus-
few shivers down the spines of politi-
straight and honest in the company of led by a respected judge and his god fear- Warden): Embarrassed by Minister G.L. tice. S.L, a gentle soul (unless ruffled
Peiris (providing nanny service to boy cians? That chapter should be madecom-
the ghouls unwittingly disgrace them- ing/daring wife- conditions under which and wronged which might make him a
Namal of parental fame): Disgust at bull terrier) notwithstanding an appear- pulsory reading for cub journalists.
selves overcome by temptation. landmark judgments were written with In an age where lawyers print
Arbitrations in Sri Lanka are the the aid of an Aladin lampand without a Ronnie de Mel (other boatman making ance of a hard exterior, lives a life on a
frequent voyages crisscrossing the floor ‘machang’ wavelength with his friends statutes with a few interpolations of
cesspit of legal forums and an exchequer telephone. their own and pass them off as ‘books of
for financial fortunes. SL’s scorns at the Well versed in the Bible(prize winner ofParliament?) : those starved gangs of and family, which he describes vividly A .
food raiders from the college boarding, simple man if you knew him well. learned men’, it is rare to read a manu-
Arbitration Act [“the product … of a at scripture) his views on God and reli- script that is truly original and authen-
group of lawyers who with the blessings gion under the influence of Bertrand brings out the best of the authors unex- In his innocence, wistful of a just
purgated anecdotes. society, he suggests many reforms to the tic. Never before or ever after will you
of then Minister of Justice G.L… trav- Russell is in the domain of sardonic wit pick a book on Hultsdorf, so
elled to Sweden for ‘private but makes no attempt to belittle like a Many other unforgettable honorable administration of justice. An idealist at
schoolboys of his vintage are affection- work forgetting“many lawyers stand as explosive,electrifying and entertaining.