Capt Elmo Jayawardena

Rata Yana Grandmothers By Capt Elmo Jayawardena     Remember the bygone years! Daughters got married and became pregnant a few rounds more than the current rate. The average production line extended to a foursome. Some even went further, “A” team types and came close to two-digit figures of adding new inhabitants to walk the planet. Today the story is different. “One is enough, and he will get all we have,” is quite a common comment and a few over-step the planned reproduction limitations purely by accident and reach the second round. Either way the count is kept low relative to the statistics of the previous generations. Thank God. Let’s make a few comparisons, I do recall the yesteryear, same show, as common as grass blades. The drum major of a mother-in-law invaded and took over the whole show, lock stock and cradle. Of course, she did not come alone ...

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NADAGAMKARAYO – by Capt Elmo Jayawardena Some days ago a fellow Captain dropped in to see us at home. He was accompanied by his wife. Amidst the light conversation and pleasant chatter they mentioned NADAGAMKARAYO. Swore it was a great teledrama and that we should give a go at it. I have never watched teledramas simply because I don’t have the time to sit in front of a TV. The same goes for my wife, ultra-busy with our own dramas in life. Somehow the next day we got a break from a tight timetable and went to YouTube and watched Episode 1 of Nadagamkarayo. Then we watched Episode 2 and then 3 and 4 and 5. Now after two weeks we are at Episode 184 and well set on Nadagamkarayo to light-up our evenings. I called a dear friend. I know his taste. By profession he is the Head Honcho of a prominent bank. But he’s still got grass-root ...

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“The JAFFNA” and the Bird Aeroplanes by Capt Elmo Jayawardena Some years ago, I was writing a book for the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka. They were commemorating 100 years of aviation in our skies. I was collecting information from every possible source, from people who remembered and from people who had heard aviation stories of yester-year that had connections to Ceylon. That’s when I came to know of ‘The Jaffna,’ which sure has its own fascinating story. The year was 1915. A group of Jaffna Tamil people who had migrated to Malaya, takes the lead role to relate an unusual tale about a British Royal Flying Corps (R.F.C.) fighter plane that carried a Sri Lankan name. Native people of countries conquered by the British Empire were called to serve the war effort against Germany. Many joined and saw action both on land and sea. Efforts were also made ...

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FLIGHT OF THE DOUBLE SUNRISE-by – Capt. Elmo Jayawardena “One more wild goose chase,” that‟s what Dil, my boss said when she reluctantly agreed to accompany me to the southern fringe of Sri Lanka, in search of Justin and his memories of aero planes that flew to break records. It was time in the forties, the story happened so many years ago. The meat of the matter lay in Koggala, the little hamlet nestled between the palm fringed sea and the bucolic Koggala Lake two hours‟ drive from Colombo. That‟s where I headed this time to chase wild geese. We stayed a night in Galle, at The Light House Hotel, service par excellence, pampered and petalled with food fit to feed gods. In the morning we drove south, along the Matara road, looking for the turn off to Ahangama where Katuluwa Walauwa is, that‟s where Justin held fort. Justin‟s family had been the Lords of Katuluwa for centuries, ...

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Hobson’s or “Homben Yana” Choice?–by Capt Elmo Jayawardena Way back in the 16th century there lived a man in Cambridge by the name of Thomas Hobson. He rented and sold horses and was the proud owner of a stable that had 40 stallions of all colours and breeds. Anyone who wanted to rent a horse from him to ride the paddock or journey into the far horizon, paid money and got a horse. There was one condition, the renter was not allowed to select the horse. The ‘wanna be’ rider had only one choice. He had to take the horse that was in the stall nearest to the door. It was a simple matter of either ‘take it or leave it.’  When the word spread about this, it became known among possible horse renters that what they got was ‘Hobson’s Choice’. Yet, they had one guarantee.  The Hobson customer always got ...

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  I see him at dawn, as sunlight touches the far bank and paints the river in subtle shades. Jonathan comes gliding gracefully, six feet of spread wings skimming the bamboo bushes and doing a perfect landing on the water in front of my lawn. That sure shames the pilot in me. Then he floats, his long beak stretched, his splayed feet paddling gracefully as he moves regally like a sail-less galleon and shows off to me how great his life is. That is Jonathan, my pelican friend, splendid in flight, majestic in float, full of sense and sensibilities of life where his script is soft and tender and runs from day to day.   The bird life is great where I live, cranes, cormorants, gulls and eagles and an assortment of fish-feeders linger in the vicinity of my home.  Jonathan undoubtedly is the Head Prefect, broad of wing and bold ...

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Martinair DC-8 4th of December 1974 a DC-8 aircraft belonging to Martinair crashed into the Anjimalai mountain range also known as the Seven Virgins. The accident happened around 1015 PM and the location was in the vicinity of Maskeliya. This was the worst air disaster that had taken place in Sri Lanka. 191 lives were lost with no survivors. That is how the 4th of December became a sad night to remember. Corona curfews give us time to read and in my isolation at home I have been pulling out ‘Bucket-listed’ stories to munch. Most articles I browsed through about the Martinair DC-8 crash had covered all aspects of this horrible disaster. Adequate details were available to re-construct the story and come to reasonable conclusions of what may have happened. We all know the easy way out of most aeroplane crashes has been the first-choice of the hit-parade – PILOT ...

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It looks like when the Silver Bells ring this year and Silent Night takes the air Santa himself will be struggling to do his rounds with possible curfew and lockdowns. Corona has tortured the entire world in absolute mean measures and is now getting ready for the final kill. The pandemic is going to ruin our festive season like never before. It is nobody’s fault but that is how fate had decided to throw the dice. Of course, in many countries the battle against Corona raged yo-yoing between winning and losing. Most preventive actions and Covid 19 treatments were more like Russian Roulette, the medical world was fighting against time to find a cure. The unknown menace was spreading and killing people. That has been the story of the year 2020 for most, a time of trauma and sorrow that completely engulfed the entire planet. Yes, there is hope in ...

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Christmas is special, rather very special.  Everybody looks forward to Christmas. Silent nights and silver bells, mistletoe and pine smells, all wrapped up in wishes and kisses and the hugs and gifts that are so very special at Christmas time.       Looking forward to Christmas is a world wide phenomenon; the mighty and the humble, the rich and the poor, the holy, the unholy and the super unholy, they all await the yuletide. The “haves” revel and the “have-nots” scramble. Yet a celebration is made, no matter how small the purse is or how light the coins jingle in one’s pocket.       I always look forward to Christmas. It’s such a beautiful time. There is always something wonderful about that season. To a point it is imaginary. To be enjoyed more in prospect than in reality. Yet, it is something to look forward to, something to pastel shade the every ...

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Our island was called Lanka in pre King Vijaya times. Valmiki’s immortal Ramayanaya had King Ravana ruling the land from the city of Lankapura . That was almost four thousand years ago. The Arab traders termed it Jaziratul-Yaqut, island of rubies. Some called it Serandip, some Ceilan, from which the Portuguese picked Ceilao and the European map-makers coined Ceylon. Many were the names from the many that came,and they all were collective in their comment in the description of this land. Bar none, everyone agreed and noted in their chronicles that this island was indeed the complete Paradise. We never gained it. Let’s be honest about that part. We simply inherited. The Gods from their celestial dome, in their infinite kindness, gifted this Paradise to us, the beautiful island of Lanka, to the people of Sri Lanka . The privilege of being born and belonging to such a place can ...

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