Prophecy : A Great Tool for Storytelling

Prophecy : A Great Tool for Storytelling

In a world full of curious people, who like to know what will happen in the future, prophecy has always played an important role. Though prophecies had a huge power over people’s lives in the past, nowadays, prophecy seems to be loosing its power as people who think logically seem to outnumber the ones who believe in fortune telling. No matter how we interpret this concept of a prophecy, we all have to agree it has become on of the greatest tools that arouse curiosity and mystery in stories.

The first great prophecy in storytelling that completely changed the plot of the story, for me, was the prophecy of the three witches in Macbeth. Three old women appear and tell Macbeth prophecies, which leads him to betray his king and assassinate him. He even go as far as killing his best friend, Banquo, because the witches’ prophecies for Banquo states that his children would be kings. The greed for power created by these prophecies are very powerful that Macbeth, the hero of the people until then, becomes a usurper,a traitor and man of no honour. The whole story revolves around how Macbeth reacts to his prophecies and the reactions of other people. As a result, this drama by Shakespeare becomes one of the greatest dramas that explore human flaws.

In Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series both of the stories are based on prophecies uttered by the Greek oracle. Since all god related stories seems to come with prophecies it is not unrealistic in that genre of storytelling. The prophecy lets us, as the reader, at one time suspect our own favourite characters. In each story, a prophecy sets out the goals for the demi-gods. They follow it and face a lot of challenges in an attempt to save the world. In Percy Jackson, the demi-gods fight against Titans. In Heroes of Olympus, they fight against the giants.

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Currently, there is one more prophecy that is winning a lot of attention. This prophecy belong to A Song of Ice and Fire. There are several prophecies. However, the most intriguing one is that of Azor Ahai, the prince that was promised to fight against the darkness. Azor Ahai is supposed to be leading the battle against the darkness using light. Some fans believe Jon Snow is Azor Ahai and some believe it is Daenerys Targaryen. We will be able to find an answer to that question soon as the TV series, Game of Thrones will soon conclude. However, the books may have a different interpretation of this particular prophecy of Azor Ahai.

Based on all these facts, it is safe to say that prophecy, however improbable it is in a real world, can add mystery and intrigue to a story. That is why prophecy has been used as a tool of storytelling since time immemorial.

The Dark Side of Democracy

The Dark Side of Democracy

After being ruled by kings and queens, people needed a better way to be governed. They needed their voice to be heard by the people who make decisions for all. As a result, democracy was born. In President Abraham Lincoln’s words, democracy is,

Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

As you can see, it was created as a way for letting the people decide what is best for them. Since asking everyone’s opinion in ruling a country is impossible all the time, democracy lets the people choose representatives, through an election, to speak on their behalf. These people become Members of the Parliament or Members of the Congress. These representatives make decisions for everyone during the term of their service. Since this seems like a great way of governing a country, everyone is in awe of this theory.

However, what we did not consider when choosing democracy is the downside of letting people decide what to do with their country as sometimes people tend to make decisions based on their emotions and not their intelligence. Also, though democracy is supposed to respect the choice of those who opposed some kind of a decision, in today’s real world politics, those who lose an election tend to get ignored by the ones who win. Sometimes the losing side even has to face physical abuses.

How can anyone say democracy has a downside or a dark side? Let us take an example from several countries where democracy is practiced. In 2015, the majority of the people in Sri Lanka voted to change the then government, supporting the “Good Governance” policy proposed by the then opposition. If the newly elected government had followed the said “Good Governance” policy, Sri Lanka would have become one of the most prosperous countries by now. However, instead of following those promises they made, so far the government has taken measures that make life in Sri Lanka hard for its citizens. For example, the government has increased VAT up to 15%, increased the price of vehicles by a large number by charging huge taxes on them (which makes it impossible for a Middle Class citizen to buy a luxury car) and many more decisions that has started an economic meltdown of the country. By now, those who actually voted to choose these rulers have started to regret their decisions. However, the mistake is already done. By the time people get a chance to remedy such a mistake the country could be in serious jeopardy. How did this come to pass? This happened to the country because people let politicians sweet talk them into believing in a fairy tale world. The people did not think long and hard about the change they were going to make and then they ended up using democracy to ruin their own country.

Is this problem of democracy letting people actually decide for their disadvantage only relevant to a developing country such as Sri Lanka? No. If you look at some developing countries too, you will see the same fate.

Take for example the Brexit referendum. As of today, the people of the United Kingdom has now decided they should leave the European Union despite many economic experts telling this could ruin UK economy. Right now the country is feeling torn because  48.1% of the population wanted to remain a member of the EU while 51.9% wanted to leave the EU. By a small difference in choice of its people, UK’s history has changed. If this was such a bad decision according to experts, why did the people decide against their own well-being? Probably, because they got carried away by their emotions without weighing both decisions.

Moreover, USA could be facing such a fate of witnessing the downside of democracy if they elect Donald Trump as their president. How can a person who does not even know how to address someone politely be the president of the world’s most powerful country? So far, he seems to be winning the hearts of the majority of Republicans. If he becomes the Republican candidate, and if people decide to support him because they do not like Hilary Clinton, then, America will end up having a president, who can put the country and the world in serious jeopardy. This is again because people are using their democratic rights without first thinking about their decision intelligently.

When considering all of these facts, one starts to wonder if democracy has become an empty concept. Theoretically, it is a perfect concept. However, when put into practice, it does create serious problems. If one can make every person seriously think about the decisions they make using their democratic rights, then we will have a perfect world with a perfectly functional political system. If not, the best political theory could end up destroying the people it was built to protect. Then, it will be people destroying themselves, using their own choices.

Why am I here…

Why am I here…

I have always wanted to write. I chose blogging as it seemed like a good choice where you can get your word out there for people to see. I will write about whatever touches my heart. It can be about a book, a movie, politics, an experience I had, people I met. However, all of those topics will say what I  think about each and every one of them. I will also try to include how I see other people responding to the same topic.

I would love to hear other people’s ideas about my topics. How they agree or disagree with my point of view. It is all about exploring and understanding the world and practicing writing at the same time.

The Perfect Story

The Perfect Story

All of us get to read a lot of stories in life. That is if you are a passionate reader. Even if you do not like to read much, you will still get to experience good storytelling via movies, TV series and plays.  Some of these stories stay with us. Some of them are just there as long as we watch or read it. As people have different tastes, a story that is good for one can easily not be a good story for someone else.

What makes the perfect story then? What takes a story to its perfection? A perfect story holds the reader’s or the viewer’s undivided attention from the beginning to the end. It makes the reader or the viewer experience the emotions its characters go through. The perfect story makes us think. It simply makes us a part of it.

Since I started reading from quite a young age and started watching a number of movies and TV series as I grew older, I have come across hundreds of stories. Some have stayed with me. Some I have forgotten. A few I have not even bothered to complete because the story did not appeal to me. There is a range of stories that is very close to my heart. From all of them, I would choose Harry Potter as my perfect story.

Though it is categorized as young adult fiction, it holds so much meaning to me even as a grown-up. If you remove all the magic from the story, it becomes the story of an orphan boy who was selfless enough to die for others. The magical elements makes the story special. However, even without that the story has a lot of meaning. It talks about family, love, friendship, loyalty, second chances, hope, choosing right from wrong, bravery and much much more. Personally, Harry Potter is the perfect story for me because it made me want to read more English books rather than reading translations. Harry Potter opened the door to a whole new world for me.

I will find more beautiful and interesting stories as life goes on. However, Harry Potter will always remain the closest to my heart as the perfect story. It is a timeless story that will always take its readers to a wonderful world.

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Appearance Deceives

Appearance Deceives

When I was 10 or 12, I went to the book store. Immediately, one book stole my heart. It had this beautiful cover with a little girl. If I bought the book, I could even get a bookmark with it for free. Therefore, mesmerized by the beautiful book cover, I bought the book. Then, I came home and started reading it. The story made no sense at all. Sure, some stories do not make any sense when we are little and seem to carry more meaning to adults. However, this book was not one of them. Even as an adult, that book makes no sense. The sole reason for that book being sold was the beautiful cover. My sister read it too. As someone older and wiser than me, she also came to the decision that this book carried no interesting story. That day she gave me and advice. “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Since then, I read the post face of every book before I buy it. I even go through some pages to make sure the writing style suits my taste.

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As a child, I did not know “Don’t judge a book by its cover” was an advice that carried a deeper meaning that its literary meaning. However, as I grew up, I found out that the same advice could be applied to people.

I have met various people in my life. Among them, I have seen some very interesting people. They are interesting because they hide their true-selves behind masks. Some people with the most innocent faces have proved themselves to be the cruelest, scheming, opportunistic human beings I have ever seen. At the same time, some, who are not immediately approved by the society because of their lack of good looks, have the most beautiful hearts. The lesson to learn here is that though our eyes make a judgement based on a person’s look, we should be open to the truth, which could be the exact opposite of our initial judgement.

Everyone of us meet people like Mr. Wickham from Pride and Prejudice, who use their good looks and nice gestures to charm people and take advantage of unsuspecting minds. If we are cautious enough, we will be able to protect ourselves from unnecessary troubles. Just keep in mind that “appearance deceives.”

Superheroes and Villains: What do They Have in Common?

Superheroes and Villains: What do They Have in Common?

In an age of superhero movies, the stories of multiple superheroes are thrown in our way. While some of the movies are as original and less complicated as Deadpool, some movies such as Captain America: Civil War make us ponder a lot about the way different people look at the same problem. I am not a comic book fan. However, I am a great fan of comic book movies.

A hero is always someone who rises above the rest because he wants to do the right thing. When it comes to a superhero, that same heroic qualities are assisted by some kind of power. A villain, on the other hand, is a perfectly selfish individual who uses whatever resources and powers he or she has to achieve his or her own selfish goals. It is clear that these two individuals are different in their judgement. Then, do they have anything in common? Actually, they do. In my opinion, what they do have in common is their struggle.

Specially, in an era, where heroes are not white characters and villains are not black characters, but both have become grey characters, this struggle is evident. Their struggle may be different but they are all in a constant internal and external struggle. Let me explain.

Captain America is a good choice for a superhero. Captain America is an idealist. He believes in doing the right thing. He has no room for compromises, yet again and again he has to make some compromises to survive. He is a man with a great internal struggle as he is trying to fit into a world he does not belong. Due to his frozen slumber, he loses 70 years of his life. When he wakes up, the only people who he knows are the love of his life, now a very old woman and his best friend, now a trained assassin for the same organization (Hydra) he fought against. Then, he has to watch the organization he fought against devouring his home, S.H.I.E.L.D. His external struggle is trying to do the right thing in a world where lines between right and wrong are blurred. Sometimes he has to choose one friend over the other. That can be the worst kind of struggle.

We can all understand that every superhero faces a struggle. How can that be the same for villains?  Usually, the struggle a villain faces is simply the obstacles he or she has to face in achieving his or her goals. However, when it comes to Loki from Marvel Cinematic Universe, we see a villain, who has clearly become a villain due to his internal struggles. Loki from Norse mythology is someone with whom it is hard to sympathize. That is because that God of Mischief is ready to kill a person if that person annoys him. Who does that? However, Loki from Marvel Cinematic Universe makes it hard for us not to sympathize with him to some extent due to what happens to him. I am sure most of us would not try to destroy a world just to take revenge from a family that refused and betrayed us. Loki does exactly that when his father, or the person he thought as his father, finally reveals the truth about him and tells that he will never be accepted as one of the family. Amidst the conquering of Midgard and deceiving his brother, Thor and the whole of Asgard by ruling as Odin, we see glimpses of Loki’s humanity when he mourns his mother’s death and helps Thor to rescue his love and Asgard. Apart from a few villains who have no humanity in them such as Thanos and Ultron, most of the villains too have their own internal struggles.

It is quite clear then that at the core, what makes a superhero or a villain is how they deal with their internal struggles. A superhero would not lash out at the world for the his or her sufferings. But, a villain would.

PET Scan Machine and Sri Lanka

PET Scan Machine and Sri Lanka

“Our unity is more valuable than LKR 200000000!
PET can fund of LKR 200000000 is complete!
Respect to those who participated in this!”

This is the meaning of the words in the picture above. What is the story  behind this? It is a story about the unity of Sri Lankan people. It is about their humanity.

On March, Manusath Derana, a non-profit organization, started a fund to buy a PET scan machine for Apseksha Hospital, the cancer hospital of Sri Lanka. They simply asked people to participate in collecting a fund of LKR 200000000. That is a huge amount. The important thing is from the day the campaign began, people have been donating money in which ever way they could. It is not because they have money to spare, but because they care about their fellow Sri Lankans who suffer from cancer. Without a PET scan machine, patients have do their scans at a private hospital spending about LKR 150000. This is not possible for poor or most of the middle class people. The majority of Sri Lanka consists of poor and middle class people.

Apart from a few wealthy people who made large contributions, the rest of us who contributed were simple, middle class people. As reported some anonymous donor has donated LKR 35000000. That person did not want his or her name mentioned. That just shows how good that person is because what he or she wanted was to take part in this amazing act. He or she was not interested in the publicity.

It is so amazing to see us, the people, not the government, just the people of Sri Lanaka, achieving such a huge goal within a short period of time. Especially, because we are not a wealthy country. I am sure most of the world does not even know us. So this is my way of trying to tell the world how I am happy for my people, how I am happy to see us moving forward, how I am happy to see so much humanity and most importantly how proud I am to be a Sri Lankan. May we be able to rebuild our now war-free country with the same courage and effort! May the triple gem bless my country!