Simple Pleasures of an Evening



When shadows are long and the day is beginning to fold

When the sun is being called to shine on another shore

When summer has left and winter is knocking at the door

Warm sip of ginger and a bit of lemon; brings a smile even when you are far away from home…..


Memories of years gone by, like breezes that have brushed my skin

Memories of laughing faces and happy moments enjoying the same lemon I taste…

Memories of younger days and familiar places that have now long been changed,

Maturity and development so they claim, but now it all feels too strange and bitter than the ginger I taste……


Sun and Rain, both have played their roles in our days

Shifting like clouds, sorrow and happiness have freely moved in and out….

Struggles we faced, like pilgrims who came and went

Smiling or frowning, like Lemon and Ginger have found their place…….


Ginger and lemon, for now, by my side

Greatly I shall enjoy them till time abide….

Gentlemanly , silently I may sigh

Gallantly, remembering lemon and ginger, I will face fate & time, smiling until the day I  die…..


Johann Schokman – November 2016

(Thoughts that visited me while I enjoyed a strong Ginger tea and some lovely Lemon puff)


Weekly Photo Challange – On the Move

One of Sri Lanka’s busy railway routes is the South bound service that links the capital Colombo with the Southern cities mainly Galle & Matara. This journey could take from 3 to 6 hours from one end to the other, depending if it’s the Inter-City train or the slower train.

This route run’s mostly parallel to the ocean and the views you get are just stunning. In the morning, you will see a calm sea that’s just so inviting. If you are traveling from down South to Colombo, you could see the fishing nets being pulled in and the days catch on the beach. The occasional jogger or those who take a morning walk might just stop in their footsteps and wave at the passing train or just keep looking on in fascination. In the evening, its nothing but the sunset with all its glory & colour that will enchant you as you go home after a long day at the office.

Sunsets as glorious as it ever could be at Mt. Lavinia

Sunsets as glorious as it ever could be at Mt. Lavinia


It’s one of those train journey’s I always enjoyed taking when I used to travel to office by train in the late 80’s. The breeze from the ocean always cools you while you travel, even when the train is full with everyone going to work or going home after a busy day, it’s still a lot of fun as you are so close to the beach and the smell of sea spray hits your face.

It’s a good route to take as a  lazy ride on a weekend or if you want to go down South with family or friends to have some fun on a slow train.

Unfortunately, due to its close proximity to the ocean, when the tsunami struck in 2004, it took the life of many of those who were on the trains at the time. The tracks took a while to be reconstructed and the service was resumed with warning systems placed for immediate action if a tsunami may strike again.

I am no expert on trains and always enjoyed riding and watching them go by, like these that passed while the sun was setting at Mount Lavinia recently;

Class S11 Passing Mount Lavinia

Class S11 doing the after office run towards Colombo.


Riding the foot board – enjoying the view of the setting sun.

Class S11

S11’s coupled together, the long train.

Class M4 753

An old Class M4 – Coughing a cloud of smoke, but Still in service.



Dengue – The Killer we Escaped!

April was a funny month. Much was expected, but not as much as the unexpected that we got.

Dee and I flew back to home soil at the end of March for my usual hospital visit and a much delayed visit from our beloved friend Reen (Van Reen, we like to call her that due to her artistic side) from the land of the Union Jack and Fish & Chips. We were excited as the visit had been planned a few times but had to be put off due to unexpected events that took place either for us or Reen. Anyway, this time round she was visiting Sri Lanka and had already gone nuts about the Elephants long before she even knew when she would arrive.

After we arrived during the last days of March and got a few matters attended too at home, our good friend Van Reen arrived at the crack of the month of April and we were all set to cruse around, to as many places as possible so that she would get a real feel of the Island. Since this was her first visit to Asia, and as far as she had traveled from the Union Jack, we were a bit anxious if she would feel comfortable with the heat and humidity of April as it was still the dry season and the starting of the rainy season. The heat was around 33C but humidity was over 90% and Dee and I were feeling it very badly, how would Reen cope with this we wondered!!

Anyway, she was ok with the climate and it actually cooled off a bit after she arrived. She enjoyed her holiday, and as promised, the first run was to the Elephant orphanage at Pinnawela where she had the time of her life. She fed a baby elephant his afternoon meal of milk and a big girl who was pregnant a meal of fruits. She also got a chance to take a few shots with the mighty guys and see them splash around in a mostly dried up river due to the ongoing drought. I think she enjoyed her day and wants to come back to feed them again.

Cooling off in a almost dried up river

Cooling off in an almost dried up river

The pack at Play-"Let's go Camping"

The pack at Play-“Let’s go Camping”

We also drove up to Kandy (the last Kingdom of Sri Lanka), Nuwara Eliya to see the hill country and the lovely tea estates, and took her to the Indian Ocean and the lovely beach at Mount Lavinia for a wonderful evening and a glorious sunset. A drive down to Unawatuna and Galle was nice but that was where all the unexpected started to happen.

Kandy Temple - The most sacred

Kandy Temple – The most sacred place

Refreshing to the eyes,wonderful Tea.

Refreshing to the eyes,wonderful Tea.

Misty hills with Tea as far as you can see.

Misty hills with Tea as far as you can see.

Sunsets as glorious as it ever could be at Mt. Lavinia

Sunsets as glorious as it ever could be at Mount Lavinia beach.


Yes, that’s right, the unexpected and the never expected did happen to Dee and then to me. On the way back from Galle, Dee mentioned that she was not feeling too well and that she felt body pains. We thought that it was due to the running about we had been doing and that she was feeling too tired.

But that’s not what happened; once we returned home……..Dee came down with high fever 104F and was shivering like a leaf in a high storm. I gave her some medications and thought all will be ok by morning. But things became worse the fever never went down and she was quite restless during the night. As soon as it was morning and the neighborhood doctor was available we went to him and he gave her some immediate medication to bring down the fever and was a bit suspicious that it might be Dengue the dreaded fever that the mosquitoes bring that could be fatal if not treated under medical supervision. She had a blood test and within an hour he confirmed that it was Dengue Fever and requested that she be admitted to a hospital as soon as possible.

Dee was rushed to the hospital and admitted. She was placed under doctors supervision and given Paracetamol which is the only medication used to treat the fever. There is no medication given directly to fight the Dengue virus, but re-hydration is given in the form of saline and a mild antibiotic with paracetamol to keep the fever down.  According to the type of Dengue virus the symptoms are different and could be mild or life threatening.The blood platelets keep dropping and is monitored closely during the course of the peak period which is between 5 to 10 days. Body pains and rashes with high fever is very common.

Dee was having very bad body pains and a splitting headache. She was infected badly and was not able to eat anything as she was throwing up. Reen had to leave in the middle of all this drama as she had already booked her flight. She was very worried and we were also worried if she too had been bitten by the bloody mosquitoes .

After Dee had been in the hospital for about 24Hrs, I too was having fever and it was very, very high. On checking it was found to be 104F and I was rushed to the hospital and admitted. We were both down with the same stupid Dengue fever and sitting like sick ducks in hospital, The fever was really bad and I had a sudden black out and was transferred to the ICU for further observation. The observation ended 8 days later just two days after Dee was released from the hospital.

April was one of the worst months that we have ever gone through. We are still trying to get back on our feet as the blood platelets went down to 7 & 10 for Dee. The Doctors say it takes about 4 weeks to fully recover, but we feel its going to take a bit longer as we are still feeling really hammered.My hands still have signs of internal bleeding and the joint pains are still continuing.

Internal bleeding

Internal bleeding


Purple from internal bleeding & rash

Thank God April has passed and May has come and silently taken me pass 45 in human years. I still feel 18……only if this stupid mosquito didn’t have us for dinner!

We are now on a mission to strike down any mosquito that is sighted…….cannot understand why a menace that is no use to any human or animal is not destroyed and cleaned off the face of earth once and for all.

Please keep your environment clean and don’t let this nasty mosquito take your life away. Please help destroy Dengue Fever for ever.

Fight Dengue


A Week to Forget with a Crash in the Middle

Last week was horrible in every way, and when we were hoping it would get better, a car crash made it one of the worst weeks we have had in a long time.

I have been ill with a chest infection, cold, flu and the full works for almost 3 weeks. But since I was feeling a little bit better, I was cleared to fly back from Sri Lanka to the Middle East and to get back to work. I had been away for a month for my cancer test and this infection extended it for more than 45 days .

Since returning, I was only able to get to office for one day and then came down with another round of the same chest infection. The cough just did not give up and my chest seemed to be full of stuff. I just couldn’t cope with the air conditioner and the cold air in the office, it was making me worse.

So it was once again back to hospitals and the doctors. We are getting sick of seeing doctors & hospitals, it seems like this year is just a non-stop visit to one hospital or the other.

While returning from the hospital after making an appointment to see the doctor in the evening and worried about what the evening would bring, a sudden thud shook us, a car had just brushed my car and ripped out the front wheel arch & the front bumper.

IMG_0243 r

IMG_0242 r

It was so frustrating, we were tired,worried and not in any mood for this sort of matter. The other driver didn’t want to wait and wanted to drive off saying he didn’t want to claim anything. I had to plead with him to stay until the cop’s got there as the insurance company would not pay unless the cop’s give me a document regarding the accident. The  cops took a good hour to get to the place where we were, and it was crazy standing there in the middle of the busy street waiting for them. Over here in the Middle East you cannot repair your car unless you have a document from the cop’s stating that they have no objection to the repair. The whole process of the accident and the Police station, took over 4 hours to be completed and the matter to be re-solved. The worse was the heat, it was a day when the heat was around 50C and Dee spent 4 hours sitting in the car until this drama ended. In this part of the Middle East, Women, normally do not go to traffic police stations. It is considered a place for males only, Women are not permitted to drive over here. By the time we finished with this dance and came home we were looking more like fried fish than human.

IMG_0245 r

The evening appointment was not too bad, the doctor was great and recommended that I take Blood Tests, X-rays and a chest function test. We will know whats making me ill once the reports are out in a few days.

Finally, the sunset without anymore drama on this very long & hard day. We kept hoping for nothing more to happen in this horrible week.

IMG_0249 r

I keep wondering, Why does Murphy’s Law  have to be so correct when it says “If something has to go wrong, it will“. Why does he have to always win?? Grrrrr

LIFE is……


Like a Drop of water that sprang from a spring high in the mountain, it flow’s slowly, going through every bend, every bump, every twist, that the stream takes. It kisses a few rocks that have fallen in its path, smell’s the flowers that fall in to the stream, while listening in wonder to the stories of the mighty roots, who hold their heads so straight while lovingly hugging the banks of the stream. It shed’s a tear for the dead leaf that’s being washed away, and dances with excitement every time the stream has fun in a whirlpool.

Each moment it learns that the journey to the ocean where all droplets will end, is long and slow for so many great reasons……

Its journey is long, so that the little Droplet has time to appreciate nature, to admire the wonder of creation, to be admired by the creatures, who drink of it and bless it for its nourishment; To grow in size, in strength and wisdom; It takes time to play in the rich rice plans and vegetable gardens it passes, to play hide & seek with the sun, while enjoying the cool shade of the towering trees and get warmed by the morning sun that shine so full and bright. It laugh’s at the rain drops that go plop, plop, plop, when they fall, it listens to the heroic stories that the monsoon storm relates and enjoys the laughter of the little children who play in the stream. It sings with the birds and hums with the breeze.

The path expands and new sights and sounds come its way and the Droplet grows each day. It rolls down the green mountain to the lush valley while unknowingly growing from Droplet to stream to river to lake. It takes time and rests at the reservoir and runs down fast through tunnels to turn turbines that produce power for those around and takes strength to continue its journey.

Some days the Droplet has fun, some days are well done, and other days are long and tiring while there are days for learning and loving, some are just too freighting and some moments are just for relaxing and enjoying the flow. Always unknowingly growing, strengthening, learning, collecting wisdom, courage, knowledge, and making memories of each moment creating stories for the ocean.

Life’s like this, we are droplets in the human stream, we grow in the stream (home surroundings), we meet the river (teen years), we join the lake (young adult), we flow into the reservoir (adult), unknowingly always growing, learning, enjoying, crying, fighting, laughing, suffering, angry, happy, sad, sick, healthy, powerful, wise, listening, teaching, screaming, singing, humming, creating, destroying, sharing, and always loving.

We don’t notice, but everyone around us has the same issues, the same memories, the same mistakes, weaknesses, strengths, fears, and we are all moving forward until one day we are at the ocean, we then realise it’s too late to turn back the journey was long, the time was given the stories were told the wisdom was handed down, but did we take note…. did we take the time…. did we take a moment to think, to acknowledge, to pay attention…….we wonder why………

Much love was given to each and every one of us, but only a few of us realise what a lot of love touches us, engulfs us, takes care of us; we are greedy at many moments, we take but don’t give back, we grab but don’t share, we love but only those who we think love us back, but unknowingly many who have touched our lives are forgotten very fast and left by the way while we pay little attention…..

I hope my life could be like the droplet, by the time I reach the ocean that I would have taken time to love those who have given so generously of their time, their life, their love, their all, who journeyed with me and kissed the rocks that fell in my path, enjoyed the moments when I danced in the whirlpool, sat by me when I listened to the stories of the mighty roots, laughed at the moments it rained in my life and held my hand when the tear drops fell plop, plop, plop……..

I wish to take long rests at the reservoirs I pass, nourish the little gardens and pick the fruits of the minds I meet, rush when I am called upon, and tickled with excitement at the sight of new challenges that come my way. To jump and leap over rocks and obstacles that cross my path when opportunity looks me in the eye……

But more, more than anything, to LOVE them all who stood up for me while sharing my heart, my soul, my strength, so that I will unknowingly do nothing but my best for them before for I reach the mighty ocean for that final rest………and a new beginning……….

photo credit: patrmach via photopin cc