Tag Archives: tatta

The Space Age Started This Day, 60-Years Ago, With The Soviet Launched Sputnik 1; October 4, 1957.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE and read here. Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sputnik_1

The Sputnik.

I remember it well. I had just turned 4. It was BIG news in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). We did NOT have TV in the country at that stage, but it was covered, extensively, in the newspapers and radio.

My adoptive father, a news and political junkie, was excited. Much of what I heard and learnt was from him.

And then there was my surrogate father, a white, Baptist, lawyer (for the Ceylon Ministry of Food) who was BIG into dabbling in things electrical — so much so that all of his other nephews and nieces, bar I, called him ‘Light Mama‘ (i.e., Light-father, the ‘light’ a reference to his fondness for all things electric). I just called him ‘Ta‘. That happens to be the first two letters of ‘Tatta‘ — our Sinhalese name for ‘father’ (and very similar to the Yiddish word for father). I called my adoptive father, ‘Tatta’, and my surrogate father ‘Ta’. Makes sense, right?

Well, ‘Ta’, was very excited too in his reserved, dignified, lawyerly manner. He managed to tune one of his many radios, some built from scratch by him using vacuum tubes, to hear the ‘beep … beep’ signal.

60-years ago. Wow.

You know that I got to meet Yuri Gagarin, the first man EVER in space, when he visited Ceylon 4-years after the Sputnik.

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by Anura Guruge

Advent 2015 Is Upon Us. Rejoice!

Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail


by Anura Guruge

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Click to ENLARGE.

As a Reformed, Born-Again, Heathen I LOVE Christmas and always have. I love everything about Christmas — and I have even been known to go to church on Christmas eve because I love the music and pageantry.

My surrogate father [who I called ‘Ta’ (the first two letters of ‘Tatta’, the Sinhalese (and Yiddish) word for father), and after who I take after the most in terms of personality] was a mainly-white, Burgher Baptist. I used to spend all my weekends and holidays with them — he and his wife (my adoptive mother’s older sister). They had no children and he was a lawyer (the solicitor for the Ceylon Ministry of Food) and she the Deputy Principal of Ceylon’s largest and most prestigious school. I MADE OUT LIKE A BANDIT. I was to learn that Ta shopped right through the year to make sure he got enough presents for me at Christmas! Very early on WE dispensed with Christmas stockings. They were too small. He instituted the notion of Christmas PILLOWCASES — and soon we had to have two. He also did an elaborate Christmas dinner, with all the works, for the entire family — most of whom were Buddhists — on Christmas Day. So I was inculcated into the joys of Christmas since a baby.

Anywho …


Similar to what I had. Mine had more blue.

I am also very partial to Advent calendars — ever since I encountered them. For whatever reason we did not have them in Ceylon. To be honest I only encountered Advent calendars quite ‘late’ in my life. In my early 20s. Over the years I used to collect fancy Advent calendars. I used to have a really nice, royal blue and gold, 3D Cathedral one. You opened a portal each day. I think we have bits of it still. But since it was made of stiff paper it eventually started to fall apart.

Of late I don’t bother with a calendar for myself. More fun to let the kids enjoy. Yes, I get them — and Deanna — chocolate ones. I buy a LOT of them each year because I LOVE to give them to people. That reminds me. I will have to go to Hannaford and buy 20 – 25 today! Well, the kids end up getting two each. And one for Deanna. So that is 5 straight off the bat. And at Christmas I love to play the tanned St. Nicholas …

A couple of years ago I discovered the LEGO Advent Calendars. Now I get one each year for Teischan. See above.

Given my interest in religion (in particular early Christianity) I do appreciate that what WE mainly celebrate as Advent is the COMMERCIAL Advent as opposed to the Liturgical Advent. And ironically Advent isn’t a countdown to Christmas BUT to the Second Coming of Christ — and there is  BIG difference. Liturgically the Advent does not start on Dec. 1 (unless it happens to fall on a Sunday). Never mind. This year we are close.

Rejoice. Enjoy. Be Merry. The Advent is upon us. 

‘Free The Female Nipple’ Protest Top/Bikini — The Brilliant ‘Tata Top’.

speedo1Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail


by Anura Guruge

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Aug. 23, Hampton Beach — Pictures.
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“Free the Nipple”,
NH backfires …

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Click here to visit their entertaining and clever Website.

This is SO clever and so to THE POINT.

I love it.

Talk about making a statement.

I would love to see a bunch of women descending on Gilford Beach (NH) in these to see what the reaction would be.

Yes, in some ways it is ‘regressive’ in that females should NOT have to wear such tops just to exercise a basic right that they DO HAVE — in most place — by law.

That they are supporting some of the ‘female topless’ movements makes it even more laudatory. 

The choice of name intrigues me.

‘Tata’ is ‘dad’ in both Yiddish and my native Sinhalese (though it is sometimes spelt ‘tatta’). Then there is the GIANT Indian ‘Tata Group‘ which among other things now own (my beloved) Jaguar brand.

Today Is The 142 Years Anniversary Of Maria Montessori’s Birth. I Went To A ‘Montessori’, in Ceylon, In 1958.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

Google’s icon to mark Maria Montessori’s 142nd birthday.

So how many of you noticed this intriguing icon in Google today? It caught my eye. So I put my cursor on it to see what it signified. Google said: Maria Montessori’s 142nd birthday. Wow. Thank you, Google. I would not have known.

She is a tad older than me, so I didn’t know her personally. But, my father (and to a lesser extent my mother, if she was alive) will maintain that her philosophy of early childhood education molded my life. I personally think that that is a slight over exaggeration.

Yes, when I was about 5 I was sent to a Montessori school in central Colombo. I can still see it clearly in my minds eye. It was airy and very pleasant.

I distinctly remember two things from my year or so at that Montessori school. I had the hardest time mastering how to tie laces using a ‘learn-to-tie-your-laces‘ contraption they had; though you see them readily now, I think that it was ahead of its time in 1958. The teachers told my parents, based on just that inability, that I was a bit slow — and you have to give them full marks for getting that so right, so early in my life.

We also had a large slide on the wrap around front portico. I, observant as ever (especially when it comes to the ladies) and always naive, told my parents, on the way home, one day, that I noticed that the girls wore underwear underneath their skirts and that boys, as was the norm in (the never below) 80°F Ceylon, wore nothing under their shorts — having noticed all of this watching kids come down the slide.

My father, who does have a good sense of humor, laughed. My mother, an out-and-out prude, all her life, was very quiet; shocked. My father is an anecdote machine. So, this Montessori observation by me, at the age of 5, was added to his repertoire and for the next 20 years I would hear him tell various folks about it — around the world: Ceylon, U.K., Buffalo, Paris, Bangkok etc. So, I was never allowed to forget my year (or so) at Montessori. At long last, I did learn to tie laces.

Not really sure whether the Montessori school taught me anything that useful other than that young ladies wore underwear.

Ours was an education crazy household and I was an only child.

My mother was a teacher. Her younger sister, who lived with us (with their mother), was also a teacher. My father, at that time, was Acting Secretary of Education for Ceylon and was busy trying to set up a Buddhist university. I used to spend all my weekends and holidays with an aunt and uncle — who didn’t have any children. On Friday afternoons they would come and pick me up and I would get home Sunday night or Monday morning. Yes, it was just like having divorced parents, but I did this by choice — and had done so since I was about 3.

They, my aunty and uncle, used to come and see me, nearly every day, since I was a baby. He was white, a Baptist and a lawyer — the lawyer for the Food Dept. He dabbled with electric stuff and as such was called by all my cousins ‘Light Mama‘ – essentially electric uncle. None of that for me!

I called him ‘Ta‘, yes, just two words: ‘Ta‘. Had done so ever since I could speak. It was my 2nd or 3rd word. ‘Tatta‘ in Ceylon is ‘father‘. ‘Ta’ is the first two letters. I was a made man! He childless, thought I was the cat’s whiskers. He took me, nearly every day, to see steam rollers and trains. I was told that at lunch time he would drive around looking to see where there were new road works so he could take me to see them later. He was a huge influence on my life. My poor father, he had so much competition for my attention – another uncle, a doctor, also influencing how I grew up. The lawyer’s wife, my mother’s sister, was also a teacher. Actually the Assistant Principal of Ceylon’s largest and most prestigious boys school.

I didn’t have a chance. I was trapped. Between my father, my mother, my two aunts and ‘Ta’ (who taught me all sorts of stuff about mechanical stuff and cricket), there was no escaping. By the time I was three I could read in both Sinhalese and English. So by the time I went to Montessori I was fairly well set — though I couldn’t tie laces or had not unraveled the mysteries of female underwear.

Next to Italy, Ceylon is somehow a cradle for Montessori schools and teaching. I am not sure how or why. I know that my father knows. We were never colonized by the Italians. So I am not sure how Montessori made it to Ceylon. I know so many Montessori teachers from Ceylon — if they are not doctors, the odds are that any Sri Lankan ladies you meet in the U.S. are Montessori teachers.

But, anyway, I am glad that Google gave a chance to document my little past with Montessori.