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Monthly Archives: May 2010

The weather in London these past few days has been gorgeous.  It has been very hot and today reached 30 degrees Celsius! Exploiting the long daylight, (sunset today was at 8.59 pm, no really) I went to the local cemetery and just started clicking away.

I had the odd look from bystanders which clearly had the word weirdo written in their eyes when they were looking at me, but then in here, no one gives a tosh.

There were some flowers which had grown near good ole George Barnabas’s tombstone (d 1813), not sure if he felt me lurking around his grave trying to take photographs. I managed to get a few and an unexpected ladybird in one of the flowers too.

They looked alright in the camera, but then again it was way too sunny and glary for me to look clearly enough. Turns out the pictures aren’t as good as I hoped they would be.

Hope you like them!

Barnabas’s neighbours’ grave. (Neighbour in the cemetery i.e.)

The ladybird.

A closer look at the little fellow.

First published here on Groundviews.

This war has taken the lives of tens of thousands of men, women and children. Hundreds of thousands more are displaced, and the abnormality of the war and post war situation is fast and painfully becoming normalcy to most people, some don’t and didn’t even live to see that.

Hundreds of children are being born into such conditions, by virtue of the fact that the Muslim IDP’s displaced in the early part of the conflict are still languishing in Puttalam, I won’t be surprised if a decent amount of these children born would die (possibly as adults) in the same conditions to which they were born to.

Studies suggest that post war trauma is conceivably more painful than the emotional stress suffered during war. During periods of war and despite the aggressive conditions that ensue, people subjected to these live in pain and indescribable stress. However, the hope that these abnormalities will diminish and normalcy would resume lingers on and this is a solace of sorts to those who look for solace in the most difficult of times. In a post war situation, when there is no conceivable military conflict taking place and the people continue to suffer in difficult conditions it is inevitable that post war trauma will tighten its venomous grip.

Because of its brutality, this has become the paradigm for traumatic experience, with the constant need for psychological and psychiatric help for victims long after its end.

My father was the architect for a project called ‘Food for Education’ by an Italian NGO. Thus he had to make several site visits to seventy schools in the Trincomalee District. In addition to the war, Trincomalee was also severely affected by the tsunami of 2004.

Due to poverty, lack of infrastructure, the loss of hope that school education will achieve little and for fears of safety, school attendance amongst children was very low. It was also known that malnutrition was rampant amongst these children. The project aimed to build Kitchen & Sanitation facilities in these schools and free food was distributed to students who attended school.  Thus this incentive helped mitigate absenteeism of school children to a certain extent in the Trincomalee district.

I joined my father in several of his site visits and I remember going to Trincomalee at least ten times during 2005 – 2006.

In spite of all the pain and suffering that was around, the faces of the children depicted a remarkable sense of resilience to the pain they and their families endured. These children coupled with the ready and mischievous smiles in their faces disguised the very painful story many a parent I spoke to in my limited Tamil told me.

There is now an end to a military conflict, and a year has gone by. And yet, there is years of work to be done in these areas to rebuild shattered hopes, dreams and society in general. These photographs can only attempt to ask questions about and to do justice to the untold story of many a child.

If not of most, this conflict didn’t manage to wipe out the smiles of all children in conflict zones. We must ensure that they never are, at least by planned yet hastened resettlement of all affected men, women and children.

Macro of white flowers taken with towers as the backdrop. University of Cambridge.

This was one of the buildings by the river Cam that we passed when we were punting. According to the guide, we were told this was designed to look like an oncoming ship.

As a design I quite like it, it looks like the work of a really good architecture student who had great ideas and yet couldn’t really express it, somehow I say that as a compliment. I like how the windows gape towards the river and I like the overall massing of the structure. How much the designer has succeeded in making this look like an oncoming ship is anyone’s guess, I personally am not really convinced by that – but that’s just my opinion. As a design I really like this in a simple yet fulfilling sort of way.

Oh, this is the Herwood Library built in 1998 as part of the University of Cambridge.

Not sure what the flowers are, anyone ?

Taken at the University of Cambridge.

I returned home a few hours ago from Cambridge where I had a day very well spent with Pseudorandom, Scrumps and Kevin, a friend of mine from office. It was good fun with first testing our fortunes with the cold windy weather, going around the University of Cambridge, a good lunch of fish and chips, estimating the floor to ceiling height of the King’s College Chapel, more walking around and then eventually punting.

This is an image (one of my less preferred for the sake of this post) of a corridor from the outside of one of the buildings of one of the Cambridge colleges. A lot more images to come and possibly a blog post encapsulating the salient (and otherwise) features of the Cambridge visit.