Aug 8 2008

Speak Olympiad 2008

University of Moratuwa is proud to house an energetic Gavel Club which is affiliated to the Toastmasters International. This club is dedicated in improving the speaking and presentation skills of university students with the noble motive of producing excellent public speakers who can go in front of any audience and speak their hearts out.

Gavel club annually organises a speech contest in which any student of the university can take part. The competition is called Speak Olympiad and it is one of the most wonderful events in the university calendar. When this year’s competition was announced 50% of me wanted to participate, and the remaining 50% was reluctant because of the high preparation needed and not being a member of the Gavel club, I wondered whether I can even go into the 2nd round.

Finally I decided to take part and chose the topic “Pillars of My Life” in which I talked about three life values; Identifying your strengths and weaknesses, Prioritizing life and Grabbing the first opportunity, while giving real life experiences to support the facts. The competition was held in three rounds and I got selected to the finals.

All the finalists were really great speakers and the finals of the SO 2008 was a delightful event. The judges who were famous toastmasters of the country praised the efforts of each and every speaker. I got ranked as the first runner up and that day was one of the most happiest days of my life. The only thing that I had to regret was not being a member of the Gavel club. I felt that if I was a member I could have done something more and I could have been a better speaker. Anyway I am really happy that I took part and I hope and wish that the Gavel club will hold this event in each and every year that is yet to come.

Before I end this post I think it would be nice if I thank few people who were behind my victory.

Dilini, who is the President of the Gavel Club and one of my closest friends at uni. She is the one who pushed me to participate, helped me select a topic for the speech, proof read and corrected my speech, gave feedback after listening to my speech, and encouraged me until the very end. So thanks a lot Dili.

Next another of my closest friends and member of the Gavel club, Nuwanpriya. He also helped me to get my speech prepared, gave me feedback after listening and helped me to get through the impromptu speech sessions. I couldn’t have done it without you bro. Many thanks to you!!

I would also like to thank all the members of the Gavel club specially Aravinda, Bodul, Erangi, Lakshitha and Dulini for all their efforts and encouraging words.

Finally I would like to thank all of my friends who came to the watch me speak and encourage me all the way. Thanks a lot you guys and gals! 🙂

This post should have appeared a long time a go. SO 2008 was held in the first three weeks of June. I am very sorry for being lazy and delaying this post… 🙂

Aug 2 2008

Playing Topspin Vs. Losing Guts

Tennis has always being a favourite past time of mine since I was very small. Those days when I went for my regular coaching classes on Sundays I remember how my coach emphasized the point that we should play flat shots instead of spinning the ball. The handshaking grip was used to grip the racket thus giving no chance of brushing the ball to make it spin. This was back in the years of 1994 and things have highly changed now.

I am a member of the University of Moratuwa Tennis team and we have a very experienced coach helping us. One of the very first things he changed in my way of playing is how I played the forehand shot. He asked me to change my grip and brush the ball instead of playing flat.

Brushing the ball and playing topspin certainly have a bunch of advantages. Most often the tendency of hitting the ball out of the court is reduced. Secondly the ball bounces very high when it lands on the ground. Finally you have more control over the shots that you play.

Nothing comes for free in this world and the same goes for playing topspin. The main problem is the frequency of broken guts. As the ball is brushed when the shot is played, the guts of the racket rub against one another and they tend to break very quickly. I have been playing flat shots for many years and not a single string broke in any of the rackets that I have played with. However I switched to playing topspin not very long ago (one or two months back) and today at practices for the very first time in my life a string broke.

The topspin shot involves more wrist work as well and I am catching up the shot these days. I will continue to use this instead of playing flat which is the old fashion of playing. As for breaking guts… I’ll have to live with it I guess. As I mentioned earlier, nothing comes for free in this cruel world!!!! 🙂

Jun 30 2008

My Second Traffic Ticket…

I got late to go to campus today for my daily lectures and had to speed up a little bit to make up for the lost time. When I was on the Panadura bridge, a jeep was traveling before me and he was moving like a tortoise. The jeep was barely driving at 40 km/h I guess and I had to overtake it inspite of the double lines that stretched along the bridge. After a careful maneuver I overtook it and lo and behold a cop appears and asks me to stop.

I tried to put on an innocent face and told lots of stories including “I’m still a student, Late for lectures” etc etc, but the cop didn’t budge. He wrote me a ticket and asked me to come to the police station to collect the license. The real story begins from there.

When I got to the police station, I found that I have to collect the actual ticket from there, go to the post office and pay the fine, and then finally come back to the police station to collect the license. The fine was 500/=, but I guess I burned petrol worth more than that just for the trips between the police station and the post office. Anyway, I was in the wrong and can’t blame anyone else. Must be more careful next time…..

Jun 1 2008

My Very First Traffic Ticket..

Yesterday me and my family went to Ahangama (A small town which is a about 10km from Galle) to participate in an alms giving and I played the role of the driver. It is a very famous fact that the galle road is flooded with traffic cops almost everyday, and I took great care to avoid doing all the ‘bad things’ while driving 🙂

As we were just passing Galle, I was stopped by a cop who jumped to the road from behind a well hidden Coconut tree. I stopped the car and tried to think of what I did wrong. My father also got down and the both of us went to have a chat with the cops. When I asked them what my wrong doing was they said I drove beyond the speed limit. It seems that the limit was 56km/h and I have been driving at 61km/h. Can you believe it?? Being stopped for driving at 61km/h??

Then this guy asks me to come to Galle to collect my license during the coming week. I half begged him to let me go because I have lectures all week and a trip to Galle would surely take half of the day (Excluding the official stuff that will have to take place at the Police station). After showing him my university ID he wrote a small ticket for 500/= that read “Overtaking in a wrong manner” instead of speeding which costs 1000/= and asked me to pay the money to the Galle post office. So I turned the car around, went back to the Galle post office, payed the fine and finally came back to the place where the cops were and collected my driving license. Finally I was on my way home and I took care not to drive too fast and collect my second ticket for the day (and for my driving career)… 🙂

May 19 2008

Vesak at 36/2, Sir James Peiris Mw, Panadura

Vesak is something my family celebrates lovingly. I remember the effort I put to create lanterns, paste them and finally light up them when I was young. Now as I don’t have a lot of time to spend on creating lanterns we buy them from shops and paste them. For this vesak my mother brought 3 lanterns and my sister did the pasting. I handled the electrical department.

To make a difference this year, I thought of running a set of 5W bulbs alongside the roof and to do this I had to climb to the roof and drive nails to the side of it under the scorching sun. I had to wear two shorts because the heated roof sheets were scorching my bum when I sat on them. 🙂 After many hours of hard work we finally got everything running and the house looked pretty nice I must say.

Looking forward to next year’s vesak… 🙂

May 9 2008

Last Day at Eurocenter DDC

Today is my last day at EC. After 7 months of working at this company, I feel so sad to leave it behind me. EC has about 70 employees and I got friendly with almost all of them. Tears nearly came to my eyes at the farewell party and I had to put a lot of effort to keep a straight face. :'(

I loved the company culture and fitted in well with the rest of the folks. I think that’s the main reason behind my forcefully backed off tears. Maybe I’ll get the chance to come back after my degree is complete, who knows??

4 other batch-mates worked with me at EC and each of us were gifted 120GB portable hard drives for our excellent work during the internship.

Thank you very much EC.. I got a lot from the company and I hope I gave a lot back in return..

May 1 2008

May 1st – A holiday in Sri Lanka :)

Sri Lanka, a land like no other, celebrates May 1st in grand style. Most of the shops and malls are closed today. As it’s a mercantile holiday I get to stay at home because I don’t have to go to my training place for work. I was thinking of taking tomorrow off as well and go on a trip with my university pals but one of them ruined our plans by announcing that he has a funeral to attend to. (Sucks to you Mr. Nafran Shiraz :P)

Anyway I am hoping to make the best of today by watching some movies and reading the book I am reading these days, Digital Fortress by Dan Brown. 🙂