Katchatheevu – Our unplanned trip

Our destination was yazhpanam, a weekend in jaffna visiting nainatheevu, jaffna fort, nallur temple and point pedro and return back to Colombo

On the night of 19th March, we left home around 8.15 pm and rushed in a tuk tuk to board the train a minute before it left the station. It was a drizzling when the train moved and when the rain stopped the moon started to shine bright in the cloudless sky. It was nearing the full moon day. The following Monday was a Poya day(full moon day) and a public holiday in Sri Lanka. There were a dozen of college goers who started singing and drumming near the restroom till 1 AM and later did sleep take over. The train reach Jaffna in time to catch the sun rise the moment we stepped down.

We reached the hotel after walking along the railway track and were informed that we have to wait till 10 AM to get the room. We had a tea and a slice of cake and left our bags in the hotel, heading to the bus station to catch 776 bus to Kirikaduvan and take a ferry to Nainatheevu – a 20 min ferry ride.

We reach the jetty around 9.30 AM and saw a huge line waiting and there was a also smaller line on the left. The name board called out ‘Katchatheevu’ .It was the 3 day festival in St Antonie’s shrine, which happens once a year. There was to be a boat at 10 AM and the ride to the island would be 3-4 hours. Excited, we got our token 113, which didn’t count much when we stood in the queue. It was a strange queue, with two columns of people sitting on parallel concrete benches. Time and again you had someone walking in between to stand in the front on a pretence of enquiring about the boat. No boat came in the next 4 hours. The young started standing on the bench to look, on the left of Nainatheevu, for boats that would take them to their destination.

We met Kumar here, who was standing in front of us with his young brother in law. He told us it was not a day trip and the boat from Katchatheevu will start after the morning prayers in the shrine. Everyone around us have planned for this trip, for some it was the second time, with food, blankets and water bottles. On a normal day, we would have quit and gone back to hotel. But katchatheevu was special. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to set foot on the island. Finally, a Vada Tharagai II came to the jetty around 1 PM, but soon the message spread that it was for the officials and the media personnel. There was another boat on the right at that time and we didn’t know whether it was also going to Katchatheevu. Everybody was eager and sweaty and wanted to desperately be on a boat. The guards started sending a few in the front, and most of them were the ones who had sneaked in earlier. While the few who had respected the queue stood watching them go out, feeling annoyed. We were also moving slowly forward and were the last and the guard finally asked as to board the boat. At the end,  we had also sneaked ahead of the old family who had token 112 and were trailing behind. It wasn’t fair. We didn’t see them later.

We rushed to the boat , but the door were closed. But, a friendly guard open it on hearing that we were waiting for 4 hours with 113.  It was here we met Kumar again, while we were standing in the queue he left to meet his friends and we didn’t see him again. He offered us his seat, we took turns and reach the island around 4 PM, having had no breakfast or lunch. Our first meal for the day was halwa, followed by groundnuts. There was a path cleared between bushes with shops on both sides leading to the Shrine. Both Indian and Sri Lankan currency would buy you goods. We had made it.

On arrival, we were given a token that was to be produced to get the free food that was arranged by the Sri Lankan Navy. Around 7 PM, a short stroll back towards the shop brought us to the food distribution point. It was rice, dal, bean and some soya curry. It was surreal. Now, it was time to occupy a small space were you would sleep the night. You needed something to mark your area,  you need a sheet to spread in the ground. Having brought nothing other than the cameras, I bought a 4 metre long bed sheet which we put in the floor and also covered us. The clouds were threatening at times, but it didn’t rain.

Well past midnight, we got up and visited the shrine. It was barely 10 meters from our resting place but required careful steps. The entire area was full of people occupying even the smallest of space. There were few devotee praying close to St Anotonie. It is a very small Shrine with 3 idols of the saint and Jesus.

In the dark, we walked back to the entrance to check the first boat that would take us to Jaffna mainland and to the hotel. There were no boats leaving until the morning prayer is completed. I resumed my sleep near the entrance with Parkavi keeping guard. Before the sunrise, a dozen people came to the entrance. They had hired their own boat and it was waiting to take them to delft. We were again lucky and joined them.

The boat took them to delft and we were supposed to find another boat to Kurikadduvan. But, the friendly boat owner took us all the way till kurikadduvan with a soda and biscuits for the journey. The guards on knowing that we are returning from Katchatheevu were surprised and asked “VIP”? We probably were the first to mark our return on the register where we got the token 113.

It was the best trip ever!!




Design Mobile

Why OnePlus 2 is better than Nexus 6P ?

If you are one who was waiting for the launch to decide if you should buy a OnePlus Two or the latest Nexus. It is a simple decision. OnePlus is still pure value for money. In India, its even a simpler choice, get the OnePlus Two; Nexus 6P will not be able to match the price.

549 USD – 389 USD = 160 USD (Approx INR 10400)
What are you really missing?
.2 inch extra screen size which really doesn’t matter much on a huge screen.
150 mAH more battery in Nexus 6P which isn’t significant considering Nexus packs more pixels on the screen and both phones would last a single day.
OS could be a important differentiator, with Nexus launching with the brand new update from Android – 6.0 or marshmellow.

When your device is at rest, Doze automatically puts it into a sleep state. So your phone can still set off your alarm in the morning even if you forgot to charge it. Phew! –

Something to be aware of:
Heating issues with Snapdragon 810
Only time will tell if Nexus has overcome the reported issues which OnePlus says have worked with Qualcomm and has solved in OnePlus Two. Bottomline: If you shoot 4K video for long, the phone will heat up.

Design Social Media Web

Twitter – Feeding the modern News

I’m no expert in this new found domain where many claim expertise. From 4 member team promising to get you 10,000 followers, Small agencies working on strategies and presentations to show your impact and popular and large agencies handling the entire social media campaigns for large clients and political parties.

As credentials, I got my @firstname as the twitter handle in the early days.
Did use seesmic desktop and its likes to handle multiple handles for work to promote our offerings, later to realize you have to be on it for 24/7 to make anything happen real.

ACTION ON GROUND + TWITTER IS POWERFUL – As a mantra, if you don’t have anything real happening twitter would just be a waste of time, for many

Twitter (Founded, March 2006) has been around for long for long now and its real value and potential has been tapped by mostly already popular brands, business and personal.

The 2014 Elections in India is likely to the be first one where the powerful of social media was tapped by the parties and its popular leaders. I DON’T AGREE

All the tweets were always consumed by the news hungry media houses echoing the voice of the tweeter. In many cases, these are organized tweets just like the press conference. We have seen many tweets stiring controversies in the past and have been hot news for a few days before the media decided that it has juiced the 140 characters enough.

Lalu Prasad Yadav’s First tweet in Economic Times – Pg 9 May 2014
[Image 1]
Lalu's First Tweet

18 May 2014 – Who follows Modi on Twitter [in the last page of ET sunday magazine]
It followers could shed light in who is going to win, then Modi definitely had more followers than Rahul Gandhi and Arivind Kejriwal.

ENGAGE YOUR USERS – It’s more than just hashtag
BBC’s live shows consume the voices of people in twitter and their facebook page and give some of its users a voice. Twitter has been a POLITICAL TOOL and a CALL FOR HELP seen in Egyptian riots in 2011 and has given voice to millions in the real world letting the world know what the real state is.

HAVE YOUR OWN HASHTAG. It helps in your analysis. To what good, i really don’t know when it comes to elections.
On the big day, 16 May, ET Now had their top news anchors covering the analytics of #elections2014
NDTV has its own hashtag #IndiaDecides2014
AAP had #AlwaysWithAAP

With twitter in mainstream politics and business; the numbers become really important and an individual can spend $49.00/month to track 2 Hashtags and export data for further digging

Followers of AirAisa (I’m one of them) wait for their single tweet of sale when they launch the first flights in India. That is the power of real + tweet.

Twitter, its analytics is powerful only when the business, brand or personal has a real life event surrounding its tweet. Sharing is Caring, but mere retweeting, sharing useful links don’t work in the long run.

Ghana People Stories

Why Indian Football team got disqualified?

A Tale from Ghana

There was epic football match between India and Ghana. The Indians were well known to have specialized voodoo magic and tricks. The match began and everytime, the Indian hit the ball towards the ghanian post, the ghanians saw the ball as coal pot and didn’t stop it. India was leading the game to 100-0 goals against the team of Ghana.
A Ghanian hero rised, and decided that he would not let this happen and hit the coal pot and scored a goal. A sad fate, after scoring the goal he died.
Indian team was disqualified by FIFA.

This tale has been floating around with school children of Ghana for more than 40 years now. No one knows why it was India and how it all started? But it sure is interesting.
Let me know if you know anything about it.