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Hands and crafts blended with creative minds

CREATIVE MIND: The discovery of cottage industry and handicraft conjures the creative aptitude of women and men. This form of industry is often on a small-scale and done mainly by hand or on simple machines like the handloom in rural areas.

It dates back to peasants who found that it could be remunerate in cash. For example, the Red Indians traded their embroidered moccasins and beaded trinkets for corn, salt and sugar.

American pioneer women spun blankets with strips of flannel, fashioned crazy patchwork quilts and even made corn-cob dolls dressed in calico skirts and grey bonnets which they sold as they passed by towns in their distinctive covered wagons.

Our own cottage industry consists of lace making to adorn women’s garments, table cloths, bed sheets and cushion covers. The trend now is for lace shawls with bead work and fringes that sway provocatively on the wearer.

Pot holders called ‘macrame’ can hold your drapy plants attached to a beam in the verandah. They are fashioned with coarse lace made by knotting cords in a geometrical pattern.

Duffle bags and straw bags could be used when we go marketing. Cloth purses to hold spectacles and pouches can contain make-up items and even a vial of perfume. For children there are pencil cases and cloth bags which last longer than plastic ones.

Batik is favoured by many people. Umbrellas, wall hangings, ‘kaftans’, and even bedside carpets reflect nature’s own shades of ochre, green, brown and yellow. Brighter colours have been introduced. I have seen skirts embroidered with tiny sea-shells and dried beads on the hem line.

Handlooms turn out bed-linen, towels and coverlets. They are simple and durable. You may buy attractive ornamental candles which when lit emanate an oriental scent and satchets or net bags with mixed posies within of dried flowers, fragrant spices and grass. When they are tucked among your clothes they give a nice smell.

Attractive chains and bangles are made of coloured beads and a sprinkling of glitter. Even the humble coconut shell has been turned out into hair-combs, small bowls and ladles. Splendid ebony elephants and ornaments have been given special care from the creator.

Familiar characters like the Kandyan dancer, the aristocratic Sinhalese woman and man are made of clay with pigments to highlight their clothing. Pots and vases of clay still continue to be done on the ‘potter’s wheel’.

I like to mention an enticing display within a certain well-known shopping mall which struck me. A real old-fashioned wooden cart rested on its shaft. It was decorated with locally made and variegated imitation jewellery, sparkling and twinkling in the light.

I believe that with some foreign collaboration and technology, our people can produce more items to catch the eye of the tourist.

After all, these simple craftsmen and women have dreams, visions and artistic things to create.


A tale of guns and roses

EXCEPTION: Enoka Sanjeewani

It is a case of guns and roses. A peculiar instance of a woman being in charge of bombs, swords, grenades and guns; the epitome of affinity, love and grace amidst destructive elements. But then, Enoka Sanjeewani Panditharathna is an exception to the norm.

Enoka, hailing from Indurupathwila, Baddegama, is the officer-in- charge of case productions at Galle High Court. She also acts as the High Court Interpreter when the Interpreter goes on leave.

A few decades ago society expected women to be shy, not to be outgoing or outspoken and to be confined to home. They were entrusted with domestic chores and bringing up the children. But with women like Enoka, the story does not read on the same lines any more.

Enoka obtained education at St. Anthony’s College, Baddegama and entered the Ruhunu University in 1995.

She fondly recalled an incident from her university days. “I got the opportunity to read the case records of Kelaththawa, Mangala Eliya and Thismada murders from a collection of newspapers about 40 years old. But I never imagined that I would one day get involved in such criminal cases officially,” she said. Following her graduation Enoka joined the judicial service.

She recalled her first experience as an interpreter. “The interpreter was on leave and I was asked to cover his duties. I was excited and a bit nervous. I called aloud the case numbers and the names of the complaints and accused. The cases I read from the old newspapers rushed into my mind. Case production is very crucial as certain cases depend entirely on productions when there are no eyewitnesses”.

WEAPONS HAUL: Galle High Court Judge Chandrasena Rajapaksha makes a verification of the case productions to be destroyed before sending them to be dumped in the deep sea. Enoka Sanjeewani, officer in-charge of the case productions is also in the picture.
Pictures by Sumathipala Deeyagahage,
Southern Province roving correspondent

There was a large haul of productions collected over four decades. The cases connected with these productions had been settled. It was decided to destroy the productions by dumping them into the sea. The productions included various kinds of firearms, bombs and explosives.

The help of the Navy was sought and a vessel provided by S.L.N. Dhakshina Naval Base, Magalle transported the case productions to the deep sea. “I got the opportunity to accompany High Court Judge Chandrasena Rajapaksha on this mission. All case productions taken in the vessel were dumped into the deep sea,” she said.

Enoka considers herself lucky to have the opportunity to serve under HC Judge Rajapaksha. “We can learn a lot from him to guide our lives on the correct path,” she remarked.

Enoka is married to Priyantha Bataduwa Arachchi and has two children. She has succeeded in striking the right balance between her career and family.


Style it the Indian way

1. Apply the make-up

2. Do a suitable hairstyle which brings out your natural beauty on your wedding/engagement day. You should not change your face with make-up and the hairstyle.

3. This is a modern hairstyle which is suitable for a indian style saree draping. You can wear this hairstyle with lehenga (gagra choli) as well.

4. When choosing jewellery a combination of Indian and Western necklace is ideal. Your may wear an Indian style headdress.

5. This saree draping is little different from the normal. It has been draped like a normal Indian saree but the fall has been brought to the front and tucked in from the side.


Pregnancy and arthritis:

Is it inherited?

HEALTH: What are the chances of my child having arthritis?

The chances vary depending on the type of arthritis you have (see below). With most forms of arthritis, the chances of passing it on to your children are not very high, and there are many other factors involved in the development of arthritis apart from simply the genes inherited from the parents - for example, chance itself, joint injury, certain occupations, smoking, being overweight, and environmental triggers. For lupus, please see the separate section ‘Lupus (SLE) and pregnancy’.

Osteoarthritis: Most forms of osteoarthritis do not have a strong tendency to be passed on from parent to child. That is, in most forms, heredity plays a relatively small role compared with other factors such as age, joint injury or being overweight.

However, one common form of osteoarthritis which does run strongly in families is nodal osteoarthritis.

This mainly affects women and causes firm knobbly swellings, called Heberden’s nodes, on the joints at the ends of the fingers. Nodal osteoarthritis also often causes a swollen thumb base - that is the joint at the very bottom of the thumb, just above the wrist. Nodal osteoarthritis often does not start until the 40s or 50s, around the time of the menopause, so you may not develop it while you are of child-bearing age.

If your own mother has nodal osteoarthritis, and you are female, you have about a 1 in 2 (50%) chance of inheriting it yourself. And if you have inherited it, your daughters would have a 1 in 2 (50%) chance of developing nodal osteoarthritis themselves in middle life.

Rheumatoid arthritis: Although there is some tendency for rheumatoid arthritis to cluster within families, the tendency to pass it on from parent to child is not very strong.

To be continued

(The writer is Consultant Rheumatologist, Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital)


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service

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