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.