Sunday, November 28, 2010

The right fragrance

It was rather a hot Sunday afternoon and many A/L mathematics students gathered at a primordial hall, the usual venue of one of the most popular tuition classes of the hill country. Sun-rays peeped into that hall through the tiny holes of the rusted roofing sheets, making the inside temperature rise more. The two feeble ceiling fans tried their best to comfort the students. Moreover, the place was noisy as a flea market. 

 We, the girls seated in the front rows were busy jabbering about everything from fashion to boys. Of course, we spoke about subject matter too! It was very close to the starting time when all of a sudden I smelt a familiar fragrance and became very excited. The owner of the fragrance was the person I admired so much and even without seeing him, I sensed his arrival. When I publicised my discovery, the girls broke into a loud laugh. They teased me for being so vigilant and enthusiastic. However, that day I realised how a perfume could go one-step faster, to give an impression about you to the others. Making this impression - positive or negative - mostly depends on how suitable is the choice of your fragrance for your character. 

Today, let us give you some insight tips on how to choose that perfect perfume to give a positive first impression! The body chemistry of a person is unique to everyone. Do not be surprised if the exact same perfume, what your best friend is using gives a different fragrance on you. Looking for a scent that smells great on you is a challenge enough; buying a scent for someone else is worse! Let us guide you to get through this challenging task. 

The first thing to consider when buying a perfume is your daily lifestyle and activities. The type of the person and the weather you are intended to use it in are also important factors. As an example, heat often evaporates perfume faster while cold temperature or humid conditions strengthen it. You might also want to do yourself a favour by avoiding trying too many samples. Later, you may face the difficulty of identifying which is which. One useful tip is, use coffee beans to reset your nose. Using test papers to spray samples helps you to avoid spraying too much samples on you. If you feel that, you like the smell, then spray it on your pulse point. However, refrain from rubbing it into your skin as it can spoil the composition. Leave it for a minimum of one hour and see whether you still like it because perfumes tend to change their fragrance overtime. 

 The top note (the immediate scent) is different from the middle note (the scent 2-30 minutes after application) which is also different to the base note (the scent after 30 minutes of application). It is important that you like the fragrance of the perfume throughout its life. Perfumes can be grouped according to three factors; their concentration level, the family group they belong to and the notes of the scent. Its aromatic compounds determine the properties of a perfume while the percentage of that determines the intensity and the duration of the fragrance.
 Every time when we shop for perfumes, those labels play mind games with us. So, let us decode them for you.

 * Perfume extracts contain a 20-40% aromatic compound. 
 * Eau de Perfume contain a 10-30% aromatic compound. 
 * Eau de Toilette contain a 5-20% aromatic compound. 
 * Eau de Cologne has a 2-5% aromatic compound. 

 Therefore, according to these facts something you should note is Eau de Toilette is not the perfect choice if you are hunting for a perfume that lasts longer. Never apply too much perfume. 

The real art of applying perfume is to find the right amount such that there is a clue of fragrance, and not obvious smell. You can do this by first spraying a small amount on your wrist. With the perfume on your wrist, dab it on your other pulse points, such as the one on your neck, behind your knees, between breasts and of course, your wrist itself. These pulse points are where blood vessels are closest to your skin and therefore are warmer. This means that these pulse points will “transmit” the fragrance for you. Be sure not to miss the pulse point behind your knee because fragrances rise. Remember never to spray perfume directly on your clothing as it will leave a stain and will be difficult to remove. Therefore, always apply your fragrance before you dress.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Blog needs a new design...

Hello there,

It's time for a change. Butterfly thoughts needs a new look. A look that will be easy on readers eyes, a look that can attract more readers. So, this is an open invitation to those who are creative and good in computer to give a hand to make this space a beautiful one!! The best design will be featured here, with a description of the creator!


Janani :D

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Significance of Il Poya Day

It was a full moon day on the month of Ill (November) and the entire town-dwellers were busy when hermit Sumedha stridden in to the town. Many men were busy clearing off the roadside fences, and colour washing the houses. Some were busy trimming the tree branches allowing the sunshine to light the streets. Women profusely walked here and there helping their men, who worked hand-in-hand to make their town a pleasant place. Curious hermit Sumedha was eager to know what befalls in the city. He slowly made his way towards a strong man, who was busy setting up the road. “Sir, what is this big ha-ho? Anything special is happening in the city?”
The man looked at the hermit and with all due respect replied. “Why, haven’t you heard? Today Deepankara Buddha is visiting our city. So, we want our city to be in the perfect condition”
“Really unbelievable this is! I would also like to be a part of it,” Hermit Sumedha said determinately.
Looking at the hermit again, man said pointing towards the road, “All right! Then can you construct that part of the road?”
Hermit Sumedha was thrilled with that offer. Immediately he agreed. Keeping his possessions at a roadside amabalama (resting place for the weary traveller), he began his work. After the heavy rains, which lasted for few days continuously, the road was full of mud. It made his chore even harder. He was to cover the mud with gravel and clean it, for the Buddha to walk on it without a problem. The sun, which was just emerging from the sea when he arrived at the city, is now almost ready to drown back in the ocean. Yet, he is not finish with the duty. He heard people’s loud voices echoing “Sadhu! Sadhu!”
 He felt guilty for scorning the townsman who handed over the task. Without a second thought, he knelt down and laid his long black hair on the ground in an act of devoutness, so the Deepankara Buddha could cross the puddle of mud without soiling his feet. The Buddha walked slowly up to him and stopped. “Do you recognize this person?” He pointed out the hermit and questioned the people. Men and women nodded in astonishment. The one, who allocated him the duty in the daybreak, stood still wishing he would not be blamed for anything.  
Sumedha!” The Buddha called him. Hermit sat down on the ground worshipping the Buddha. “In the ages of the future you will come to be a Buddha called 'Shakyamuni'” The Buddha announced while people cried in amazement.
"I am to become a Buddha, awakened to enlightenment; may you tread with your feet on my hair - on my birth, old age, and death," Replied the hermit.
 "Freed from human existence, you will become an effective teacher, for the sake of the world. Born among the Shakyas, as the epitome of the Triple World, the Lamp of all Beings, you will be known as Gautama. You will be the son of King Suddhodana and Queen Maya. Shariputta and Moggallana will be your chief disciples. Your caretaker will name as Ananda." Hermit Sumedha received niyatha vivarana (the assurance of becoming a Buddha) from Deepankara Buddha, on that Ill poya day. After that, He spent 554 lives completing the necessary paramithas to become Gautama Buddha.
Significance of the Ill Poya day does not stop here. This day, also marks the conclusion of Vassana season. For a Buddhist, offering of "Katina Cheevaraya" is considered as a meritorious act, which takes place in most of the Temples during the month of November. Brought in processions to their respective temples, ‘Katina Cheevara’ is  offered to the resident Upasampada monks, who observed Vas, (Rainy Retreat) for nearly three months.
Another significant event happened on this day during Gauthama Buddha’s era, is converting the three Jatila Brothers Uruwela, Nadi, and Gaya to Buddhism who lived in Hermitages close to the River Neranjana. These three brothers had thousand followers. The Buddha proceeded to the hermitage of Jatila Uruvela and performed "Pelahara" (spiritual powers or super natural power). The Enlightened One delivered the "Adithya Pariyaya Sutta" on this occasion. They attained Arahatship, where they will be no longer subject to rebirth.

The passing away of Sariputta, senior chief disciple of the Buddha also occurred on Ill Poya day. A week before he passed away, he visited his beloved mother Rupasari, who did not believe in the Triple Gem. Sariputta Thera's was determined to make his mother a follower of Buddhism. After listening to Sariputta's sermon, she attained the first stage out of four stages towards the nibbana. Following this event, Sariputta Thera passed away, while the Buddha was still alive.
During different eras of the past, various important events related to Buddhism happened on this Ill Poya day, which we commemorate on the Full moon day in November and mentioned here are just a few such incidents.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Spices make your food delicious

Every one of you is sure to have heard about spices. Your mum uses them in her cooking and they add extra flavour to your food. If someone you know cooks yummy food, that is because he/she knows how to use spices properly.

Today, we are going to tell you some facts about spices. Spices are the main 100 per cent natural ingredient people use to add flavour and colour to the food they cook. Chilli, turmeric, pepper and condiments (thuna-paha) are the main spices we use everyday.

Spices not only add flavour to food, but they also have herbal components that kill harmful bacteria or prevent their growth, therefore keeping us away from illnesses. Do you know what properties are found in these spices? Let us explain them a bit to you.

Chilli is the fruit of the plants from the genus Capsicum, and helps add the hot flavour and colour to curries. As you may know, people in Asia love to use chilli in their curries as they want their dishes extra 'hot'. People mostly make chilli powder by drying the capsicum and grinding it.

Turmeric is the rhizome or underground stem of a ginger-like plant. It is usually available as tubes or ground into a bright yellow, fine powder. It is used in dishes to give them a nice yellow tinge and also successfully masks the odour of fish and meat. It is also said that turmeric fights harmful bacteria.
Pepper is another popular spice. We usually use dried fruits, known as peppercorns, to make pepper powder. Depending on the harvest time and the method of processing, peppercorns can be black, white, green or red. Black pepper is most commonly used in our kitchens.

Pepper is used in almost every kind of dish to add them flavour.The next variety is the famous thuna-paha. People choose three or five different spices to make mixed curry powder; for example, coriander, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon and fennel are some of the spices which may be used to make thuna-paha. Now you know about some of the commonly used spices. But you should also be aware about their quality as they are used in food. After all it concerns your health.


As you may know, some people adulterate (make something impure) spices by mixing them with various other things. They do this to increase the quantity of spices they sell so they can make more profit.
People mix sand, salt, flour, straw, poonac, sawdust and chaff (the layer which covers grains) with the spices. Because of the adulteration of spices, the quality of the spices goes down and the flavours they infuse into food become different; most importantly, this could badly affect your health. To find out if salt has been added to your spices, you can taste any of the spices you have bought. If it tastes like salt, then you know that salt has been added.
It is very common to see papaw seeds being mixed with peppercorns. To see if this has been done, place some peppercorns in water and keep for a while. If you find any seeds floating, they are papaw seeds and not pepper. Obviously, they wouldn't taste like pepper too!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Scientists on stage!!

I was deeply engrossed in a book when my colleague, Shanika startled me with an unexpected question, “How many universities are actually functioning these days?” Her question was one of the most common asked lately.

“I’m not sure; the Faculty of Applied Sciences at the University of Sri Jayawardenapura is functioning,” I replied or rather I bragged. How can I talk against my second home, where I spent most of my time for the past four years? “That is nice,” she responded. “It is unfortunate that nowadays these university students play havoc and spend a scot-free life.” Her voice was full of annoyance.

I grimaced. According to the statistics published by the Ministry of Education, only around one percent of the students who sit the Advanced Level Examination, enter the university. I wonder why they want to spend their life’s morning march on the road picketing against the management or the government, without taking the maximum advantage of the opportunity they earned.

Let us hope that what we see these days will be the Swan’s Song of the rioting students’ unions! “Oh! Your question reminded me of something I wanted to tell you!” I smiled. Still with the same dull expression on her face, “What is that?” Shanika queried.

“Something with a difference,” I smirked. “The Students’ Council of the Faculty of Applied Sciences of the University of Sri Jayawardenapura is organising their annual cultural show ‘Sisi Arundathee 2010”, I announced.

“Hmm...When is this?” She inquired lazily.

“This is on November 19, at 5.30pm at the National Youth Centre Auditorium, Maharagama.” “So, who are the guest performers? Are there any famous people coming on that day?” she inquired. “Guest performers?!” I exclaimed. “There are no guest performers. Students of the Science Faculty are the ones who perform on stage.” I explained while being annoyed with the way she underestimated our students.

“This is not our first time; we have been organising this for a long time. We also did this during our time at the university.” I recalled the memories of the time when we were undergraduates.

“This is interesting! I always believed that Science graduates do not have an interest on, aesthetic activities” she said.

“That’s not true. Many science graduates play their role well in the performing arts sector. For example, well-known lyricist, Vasantha Kumara Kobawaka is a Science graduate. Theekshana Anuradha who was a finalist at a singing reality show was one of my batch mates and how can I forget Prof. Ajith Abeysekere? The former Dean of our faculty is the conductor of the Sri Lanka Symphony Orchestra. I can give you many examples like that,” I mocked at her.

“All right, I agree! So, what is the objective of organising an event like this?” Shanika was inquisitive now.

“Not one Shanika, there are many. The main objective is to identify the hidden talents of the students. Then this will be a stage to develop their aesthetic abilities and help them to build self-confidence and it is also a great experience for the students and an opportunity to take a break from the hectic schedule of University life,” I said.

“Remarkable, they are well thought of! So, what are the items you have in the agenda?” Shanika questioned with much interest.

“There are some magnificent traditional dancing items coupled with a few other dances including a Latin dance to enhance the beauty of the event.

The agenda includes songs in various musical flavours and a comedy to entertain the gathering. This show comprises a shadow dance, which is going to be a novel experience for the spectators and also an item depicting a competition between Bharatha and Udarata dancers.

Another remarkable thing is that our lecturers and the Dean will also be performing on stage which will motivate the students and I must mention that the musical band of the Faculty will be providing all the music.” “This is wonderful. Now, I feel like coming too. You will be going, right?” she asked.

“Definitely!” I replied. “How can I miss this? The junior treasurer of the Students’ Council, Sumudu Weerarathne spoke a lot about this event. According to him, if we want to experience a four-dimensional event, this is the only opportunity.” “What is the meaning of 4-D?” asked Shanika.

“I also do not have a clue about it. I thought I will go and witness that myself” I replied.

“Hmm...Can outsiders come to this event?” Shanika questioned with a worried look.

“Why not? Anyone can come and experience this grand event free. I am sure no one will regret for witnessing this majestic event. It will be the best event of the year. So please come and feel the difference! So see you there on November 19!” I said with a smile.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The victory, the change and the training (Part 2)

Sitting on the bench near the dining hall, my mind went back to what happened in the past week. I recalled how I went back to my previous school on October 06 Teachers’ Day. My little ones were overjoyed to see me. From the moment I walked in, I was showered with flowers and cards. ‘We’ll be good children. Come back teacher’, ‘I can’t believe that you are in school today’ they wrote on their cards. Those sweet words brought tears to my eyes. How innocent they are!

Unfortunately, the school management decided that I should not interact with the children anymore as I was about to leave. I had no choice but to walk out of the school, with a heavy heart. But the excitement over the next training session kept me away from all those depressing thoughts. I had so many things to do, and a long list of things to pack within a short time. It helped me to forget what happened on that day.
Finally, it was the day to leave for the Peradeniya National College of Education. Ammi was more excited about the training. Coincidently, she had been on training too at that place for two years when I was in my mother’s womb.
Though I have not seen the place before, I am sure I felt and smelled the beauty of the place when I was still a developing baby. How wonderful that was! All throughout the journey to Kandy, I was busy describing the training as I heard from the previous training batch. “All those are exaggerated things, Jana”, dad refused to believe any of those but I never gave up.
When we reached the place, it was almost 4.45 p.m. and the registration committee was about to leave. I was the last one to register on that day, and until the last day, they remembered me as the one who registered last.
From the moment I stepped into the place, I had to battle with time. The first three days was not easy at all. Many times a day, I wished if I could go back home. I seriously thought that if teaching requires this type of training, I would rather not take it. Waking up early in the morning virtually killed me. Going to the dining hall for bed tea was another disaster. On the first day, I had to go up and down the dorm thrice as I forgot the numbered badge and the cup. Just after the morning tea, was the exercise session. God heard my prayers and gave us a little rain so we could skip the exercises.
Yet, luck was only for that day and from that day we had to exercise one hour in the morning and two hours in the evening. Though I hated it at the beginning, later I realised if I had known that all those techniques would have helped me teach my little brats at the previous school, I would have done some wonderful physical exercise periods with them. Pity, I couldn’t go back to them with the new knowledge I gained. “I miss you my children”, I murmured. We had various lecture sessions until evening every day. There were very important lessons we had to know as teachers. However, there were some lessons, which we did not like at all and did not have the faintest idea why we learned them.
From the bench, I could see my friends coming up the road. The road reminded me of the sports meet we had organised. Although our venue was the road, the sports meet was grand. We had almost all the events, which was common for a sports meet. Participants, like me, who had never done sports in their school life, got another opportunity to try out their skills.
Next was the aesthetic sessions that we had. They were the best out of all. Those teachers made us believe that we can actually dance, sing and draw. The cultural show, held on the eighth day, revealed the talents of all the participants. Many of us, including me, danced on a stage for the first time in their life.
All the science graduates showed that they also had an aesthetic side. It was a breathtaking evening. It was followed by an Art exhibition, which included the drawings of all the trainees. All the viewers were astonished to see participants’ hidden abilities.
I have fallen in love with this place. I feel more confident and stronger than the day I came here. I feel as if I was back in school. For those nine days, I was a student again. I participated in activities as I did in school, maybe a little more than that and I am happy for that. As a last note I should mention about the two masters who had to guide us all throughout. They were behind us day and night to see what we were doing. Sometimes we were annoyed for not giving us much freedom, however, if not for them we would not take the best out of this training period.
“Janani, stop dreaming now. Shall we go for the next session?” my friend’s impatient voice brought me back to life. With a little tear, I stood up. How I wished I could stay just one more week with all my friends in this place!