Music, healing and sincerity: A few insights for those who wish to engage

I didn’t know Tanya when I published  sometime ago about her event at the Kennedy Center. I didn’t know of sjc87initiative the organisation that invited Tanya to the North until I engaged with Australian Diaspora when  I published about a refugee Ranjini in Australia. Now I know both and decided to get their input on the event, how it took place and what we can learn about engaging with the war-affected children in post-war Sri Lanka by the Diaspora. [Read more…]

A Decade Later …


The new freedom tower is standing tall almost completed, halfway up at ground zero, the building 3WFC facing the Towers where I worked on that tragic day. In some ways, the now infamous “9/11” seems like yesterday.

It was around 7.30 am. I, still jet-lagged from my trip to Spain remember walking to work through the WTC plaza. I had a habit of looking up at the sky between the towers. It was a beautiful clear Tuesday morning like today.
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The face of Sri Lanka : postures, gestures and smiles


A simple idea set to an arresting photomontage which needs no explanation or subtitles.

Gaya’s Intro: Natalie Soysa is one of the core contributors to iSrilankan (you will see more of her work and insights in the future as am getting better at drawing blood from my favourite peeps). Natalie stimulated and encouraged me in creating iSrilankan over a year ago. She offered me with characteristic generosity, unlimited access to her amazing collection of photography. Here I would like to say that I am surprised and humbled by many of my Sri Lankan friends who have offered resources with none of the caution, conditions and cynical strings that usually accompany sharing one’s work on digital media.

The logo of iSrilankan is an image by Natalie Soysa: an artistic interpretation of the face of the moon. I knew when I saw it that this is how I imagined the logo : spherical, independent of bias, original and distinctive sans lettering. She is one of those rare talented people who will suffer from an abundance of talent not a lack of it. I hope to direct some of her creative energy, insights and personality into the sentiment at the core object of iSrilankan: Featuring a collage of evolving Srilankanness in diverse forms in Sri Lanka and all over the Planet.


Natalie Soysa in her own words : When I was a child I wanted to be a photographer. And a writer and an actress and a musician and a lecturer and an archeologist and an anthropologist and an activist and a journalist. I’ve realized along the way that I can’t be a Jill of all trades, but I can be of some.

I presently shoot with my very first camera, a Sony Alpha 230 purchased in late March 2010 with the 18-55 mm / 3.5 – 5.6f kit lens, a 50mm / 1.8f prime and a 75-300mm / 4.5-5.6 zoom lens.

Visit Natalie’s Creative Studio and her Flickr gallery.

Natalie is available on assignment both in Sri Lanka and overseas as a photographer, journalist and ideas consultant.

Exclusive: A Day at Detention by Niromi de Soyza

Gaya’s intro : A woman who knows the scars of surviving war in Sri Lanka goes to meet another in Sydney Australia. The former came to Australia a long time ago and is now a lawyer, a mother and a famous author. The second however arrived recently and is now in detention with no right of appeal and no time limit. She too is famous albeit for the wrong reasons. Their meeting and conversation takes place in a space that is in stark contrast to the battleground of Sri Lanka. I am delighted to receive this account from Niromi herself and to publish it on iSrilankan in solidarity with women who were affected by the long war in Sri Lanka wherever they live right now.

A Day at Detention


by Niromi de Soyza

As soon as I step into the reception room which reminded me of a sterile hospital cafeteria, a woman with long dark hair in a black blazer catches my eyes. The epaulettes on her jacket give her small skinny frame an air of authority. I recognise the young woman easily as Ranjini, she looks exactly like in the pictures splashed across newspapers and news media over the past few weeks – sparkling eyes, a big bright smile and the unmistakable side-parting of hair.
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Meet Rajan Karunakaran of Project Belonging


Rajan Karunakaran (48 years) arrived in Switzerland in 1984. He talks of how, being a taxi driver to him is more of a culture than a job and the way leftist political ideologies have influenced his life. Rajan now lives in Baden with his 17 year old son of part Cuban origin.

Rajan is a natural storyteller telling his story with humour, laughter and courage. It is in Tamil with supers in English which I am sure could not do justice to the original. [Read more…]

Interview with Tanuja Thurairajah: The Making of Project Belonging

Living as a migrant for the first time in Zürich, Tanuja Thurairajah found herself thinking about the narratives that people were exposed to in their daily life.

“When I came here I met other Tamils, but somehow I felt that they reached out to a different narrative and I reached out to a different narrative…”

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Tanya Ekanayaka: The first Sri Lankan to perform her own composition for the Piano at the John F. Kennedy Centre



Dr. Tanya Ekanayaka debuts in the USA in a Millenium Stage Performace at the John F Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts, Washington DC.

The first Sri Lankan to perform her own composition for Piano at this venue, Dr. Tanya Ekanayaka is a heady mix of musicology and linguistics. [Read more…]

Gaya’s People : Sandya Salgado

Gaya’s People is an iSrilankan series featuring light personal interviews with successful Srilankans on their style, faves and raves. Successful people?  It’s defined as People who know what they do, why they do it and remain delightfully feet-on-the-ground Srilankan nevertheless.


Sandya Salgado was Founder/CEO of Ogilvy Action and is now Communications Specialist and Snr. External Affairs Officer at the World Bank.


Sandya is a spirited lady, marketing communications expert and tomboy-of-sorts. After 28 years in the Mad Ad Industry in Sri Lanka where she did great Outreach work with rural communities and mentored many young people she chose to exit when she knew that she had reached her full potential. [Read more…]

Sorrow passes and we remain by Henry James : A good-read on FB

Gaya’s intro:
Do you write Letters anymore...

Correspondence as in writing well-thought out letters is a thing of the past. Today its more about publication on the digital media which is instantaneous, emotive and as quickly as it reaches us, is it swallowed up in the continuous ticker of a newsfeed.

My father had a Burma-teak study desk at which he did his correspondence; the same at which I sit now in Italy having preserved it through changing landscapes and relationships. At this table he wrote letters regularly to friends and loved ones, some in faraway countries, especially in times of personal sorrow and grief. These letters were treasured by his friends and spoken of later after his death.

The thought and awareness of writing to appease another person I guess is a very enlightened human action.

I do remember my helpessness and anguish when the JVP killed my neighbour just because he refused to shut down the Anglo-Asian factory when they ordered him to. They were new neighbours and we were not friends as yet. I wrote to his wife and she came over to my mother and showed her the letter sobbing; I was seventeen. [Read more…]

The fun part was that we didn’t have to wear our Ladies College uniforms that day !

HASHINI, Belgium : I enjoyed celebrating the Sinhala-tamil New Year at Ladies College. It was a very special and ‘play-full’ day.

The fun part was that we didn’t have to wear our uniforms to school. [Read more…]