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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sigiriya and Cricket

Last night, while watching the SL vs WI game I was on a chat with one of my American friends. A born and bred American type, the type to which cricket doesn't make any sense at all. So I gave her the link to the stream I was watching and then tried to explain what's the whole thing is about. Her knowledge of Baseball helped a bit, so did the fact that T20 lasts only about four hours. But she seriously didn't believe that the more original version of the game, Test cricket, is played full five days or that people actually watch them the full five days. Finally crapinfo scorecards, youtube vids and some articles convinced her that it is in fact true. I didn't even consider telling her that there was a time when they played Timeless-Tests where games went on for days, even more than 10 and were abandoned only because the English had to catch the ship back home. She would seriously have considered me a bit of a retard if I said that too and that I actually enjoy this five day game more than all the others. Hell, she may still be thinking that I'm a retard anyway.

Then the conversation moved onto other things and finally we came to Sigiriya. No we didn't actually go to Sigiriya, just the topic moved to that. So I was giving her this online tour guide which she genuinely seemed to be enjoying. Starting with the Wiki, I gave her some links, lovely pics and some background. Then finally I came to telling her about sort of local stories about it, the theories and what not. She was unsurprisingly impressed by the frescoes and made a comment that made me laugh out loud for a while. She was like, "Sach, seems that pornography was legal in your country back then isn't it? Who made it otherwise? The Brits? Oh god, those Brits are always a bit lost it, aren't they?" But she seriously loved the frescoes and took a keen interest in the verses or the poems written on the Mirror Wall. So I had to cite her a few I remembered, and she loved this particular one, which incidentally is my favorite as well.

බුදල් මී
සියොවැ ආමී
සීගිරි බැලීමී
බැලු බැලු බොහො ජනා ලියුවෙන් මා නොලීමී

Loosely translated into English, it goes like;

I am Budal
Came alone
Saw the Sigiriya
Since many who saw it wrote something, I didn't

I absolutely LOVE it. The first time I heard that was, I think when I was like 10. My dad taught me that for he himself is a History teacher and almost a scholar when it comes to Sigiriya. He knows a lot about it and I learned a few things from him, including this. Isn't it simply so amazing. Our ancestors certainly had some wit and intelligence didn't they? My American friend too agreed on that.

By the way, does any of you guys know if there is any web site which we can find more of those verses written on the Mirror Wall? I searched a bit but couldn't find many. Made me realize that people outside Sri Lanka has very limited access to stuff like this, isn't it? If you are in Sri Lanka of course you could go to a library, pick up a book and learn those things. I think the government should look into things like these too. If we could come up with the web site, an online library of sorts where you can find almost everything that is documented about the history of this island I think that should be a great thing. Could use to promote tourism in the country too.

OK, so since I have been talking about cricket let me go on a bit more. First, I was so amused by the number of facebook status messages, comments, links and the sorts about the SL vs AUS match. Honestly, some people I thought that didn't know the difference between a bat and a ball had put some comments. At least a "Yippeeeeeeeeee!!!". And I'm sure it's not because we won, rather it's got more to do with the fact that Aussies lost. Lately we've been winning some good matches, but nobody except the people who really loved the game bothered to put a comment. Now the Aussies lose and all of a sudden all hell breaks loose. How much people love to hate the Aussies!

Talking about Australia, I think CA (Cricket Australia) missed a big trick by sending Symonds home. I know a lot of people hate him, well at least he's not widely liked even outside Sri Lanka, but honestly I like the guy. He was one fucking cricketer, which, for me is the most important thing. Yes he had an issue with drinking, wasn't really the nice guy, but hell I'd take a drunk Symonds over a well behaved Kallis any day. He was a genuine match winner. But now it seems the Aussies have lost him forever, which in my opinion a big loss for the game. Cricket will surely be poorer without him. Also this reflects another bad aspect of cricket being so professional these days. Sending a player home for having a drink - in his leisure time? Seriously? Gone are the days when you played hard and then at the end of the day - drank hard. I mean, for God's sake cricket is still a game you jerks! In my opinion it shouldn't be so strict and professional. People with the same mindset are the ones who hail their favorite cricketers when they are going great guns and burn down their houses when they loose a couple of games. Cricket should be taken a bit less-seriously. It' a game - you win some, you lose some. As long as you play hard and you play fair that should be good. Let them have a drink at the end of the day. Let them enjoy!

Reminds me of something someone said on a cricket forum on this. "Oh well, if the Aussies don't want him, let's get him to play for us. We have enough beer here and enough lakes for him to fish too. Let the bugger drink as much as he wants and fish as much as he wants. As long as he turns up for the games and beat the crap out of the other teams, I wouldn't complain"

Couldn't have put any better myself.



  1. Sach, there is a website here but it lacks info and is poorly designed. I think they'd do better by setting up a blog, maybe? :)

    And totally agree with you on the cricketers, they are turning cricket teams into armies! I mean, we're just ruining the game by pushing players harder and harder with hectic schedules and strict discipline to top it off, aren't we?

  2. I think Symonds had been given a million and one chances, and this was the last straw. These players are contracted by Cricket Australia - it's a job. Imagine if you miss an important meeting at work because you decided you'd rather go fishing? Imagine if you were sent to a conference to represent your company and you turned up drunk and slagged off the other companies for everyone to hear? Imagine if you were sent abroad for a conference and you got totally drunk and disgraced the company? Don't you think your employer would have something to say about that? It doesn't matter how valuable you are; if your conduct is unbecoming of a representative of the company, then you need to be reprimanded. Simple as that. No one is indispensible.

  3. PR, please allow me to disagree.

    First, Symonds incidents is just one example. I was rather talking about things in general. Yes I admit that fishing thing was a bit stupid altogether because you've got to show some respect to your team mates first. If there is a meeting you've got to show up just to respect your team mates if not anything else. But bar that, I personally don't think it was fair. My point is, cricket in general shouldn't be so much professional to begin with. That's why I said gone are the days you played hard and drank hard, and then left things at that. Do you know that David Boon, the famous Aussie holds the record for the most beers drunk on an airplane (by a cricketer of course). He once consumed 52 cans of beer, which is a bit over 18 litres! But that kind of thing didn't affect his cricket did it? He is still considered one of the finest batsmen Aussies, and the world for that matter, had. Back then, it wasn't a big deal to sledge. You had a bit of a banter in the middle, but at the end of the day it was all taken in good spirit. Some of the most classical cricket sledges belong to that era. Well, almost all. But now it's all a bit too professional. Cricketers are too afraid to speak their mind now. Back then, they had a row or two against each other through media, and people too enjoyed that. Times have changed...

    In those days it wasn't so much a big deal to lose a match. It was more a matter of your pride and your nation's pride, as opposed to a problem with your paycheck. I don't mean that players today play just for the money - but the relaxed nature of cricket is long gone. Today cricket is fast loosing it's uniqueness...

  4. Wow.. that's some nice long interesting post on cricket n Sigiriya. =D And must say that pal of yours has a good sense of humor. lol

    Talking about cricket, I've been glued to the TV during the 96 world cup days and even afterwards but since few years, cricket doesn't interest me anymore like it used to.. -__- prolly it's cuz of what you said. Times have changed the essence of this great game.

    About sigiri links.. Sach-chan, fear not! for the Googling expert's here to help ya.. lol Here goes the links I've found..

    Greatta hear about your dad. Reminds me how my mom used to feed history into our heads those days. It was her favorite subject and the most hated for me n my sis! lol

    BTW I couldn't read your kurutu gee excerpt well from my comp, but found a link that has it in Romanized Sinhalese (I mean the archaic Sinhalese) =D

    Sigiri Graffiti - 1, Lankan links database, Kat Bitha - The Mirror Wall (a novel based on it), Kurutu gee collection - Sigiri Graffiti, Another set of kurutu gee, The Mystique of Sigiriya - (a book) comprehensive literary appraisal of sigiri gee by Speaker WJM Lokubandara

  5. unfortunately you can't really be a bit of a retard. Ever stop to consider how offensive and hurtful your words are? Ever stop to think that people with special needs are actual human beings with feelings?
    No? I didn't think so. They actually know when you are mocking them with your cruel words. The truth is the word retard is a slur, and a painful one at that. The way you used the word just dehumanizes a group of people based on how they were born. Was that your intention?

  6. @Harumi
    Thanks a lot! I mean LOT!
    By the way, in that first link where they have the same poem which I have mentioned they seems to thinking that Budal is actually a place name. But as far as I've heard, it's the name of this person.

    What are you talking about? I mean really? Relax, by using the word retard I didn't mean to insult anyone but actually to laugh at myself!
    Gee... people need to relax a bit.
    Still sorry if I hurt your feelings.

  7. You're welcome. ^__^

    Oh ya, now that you mention it. That does sound like the guy's name the way it's written, and I've never heard of such a village name before either. Then again how many village names do we even know! =D

    oh and about the previous comment which surprised me as well, I think you should check his blog to get a better idea of the situation. Some people are hypersensitive and such words are taboo for them.. but in this case it looks like he/ she might be having someone close suffering from autism or neurosis or a related case, so I think such words sound extremely offensive to them...

  8. How can the use of a word be offensive? Sach wasn't calling someone else a retard. I'm sure he wasn't thinking about any mentally challenged person he knows other than himself. I'd say that calling a person with lesser mental capabilities a retard may not be politically correct these days, but seriously, can't we even use the word? Is Jacobs saying the dictionary is also hurting the feelings of the mentally or intellectually challenged just because it has the word in it?

    I read Jacob's 3 post blog. He or She takes offence about an airline announcement using the word retarded. If you look at the meaning of retarded, it can also say "to hinder, to make slow, to be delayed" among other things. Couldn't that be what the announcement was trying to say?
    Also, the word retard was initially used for people with lower mental capabilities because it was politically correct at that time. Jacobs thinks that the word Autistic or something else is better than retard, but if people start using Autistic like they use retard now(Oh! Sach is such an Autistic), Autistic will be as much degrading as Retard. Like Sach said, relax.

    That said, I have read and am really sorry about your daughter. I know that you must love her very much and that you are must be going through a lot each day. I sincerely hope that she makes you happy even with all her imperfections. I wish that medical science will advance so that it can prevent or cure these imperfections. And I know that nobody is thinking about someone like your lovely daughter when they use the R-word.


  9. A good website about Sigiriya about various interpretations/theories of its history is a must.I am in this school.


    Ruling on Symonds is definitely too harsh

  10. Hey Sach, I caught the tail-end of the programme on Sri TV (the international Sinhala channel from Italy) recently, and they were discussing a new book on Sigiriya titled “Giri Bithehi Thee.” Sounded like a book I must buy...

  11. Oh by the way, Baseball is a great example in explaining cricket to foreigners, I use it all the time and they totally get it!
    Of course never tried explaining cricket to a foreign female though. :D