Having started his literary journey from a very early age, Chamathka Kaveen Bandara – currently studying in Grade 10, at St. Sylvester’s College, Kandy – has achieved much considering he is still only in his teenage years. “I am someone who really adores the Arts and literature and thus I try out various genres of literature as media of effective self expression” he shared with Teen Inc when talking about himself. Maturity of his thoughts was radiating through his words from the very beginning of the conversation. Simply, he is not a just a 16-year-old when it comes to his literary works and ideologies, but an expert in the field.
Entering to the world of literature
Chamathka has set his first step into the world of literature in 2013, at the age of seven, with the publishing of his first poetry collection Mage Kaviya Mata Denna. Indeed it is unbelievable even to scribble some poetry at such a young age but that is what makes Chamathka exceptional. “I basically identify myself as a poet more than anything else since I started my journey as a poet and I’m still clinging onto poetry.” He shared with us.
A talented and versatile artiste
While being a poet, he has tried other genres of literature too as media of self expression. Thus, his boundaries expand to theatre, cinema, photography and newspaper columns. You might be wondering whether someone could do all of this within such small period of time. The answer is yes, because Chamathka has proven it.
- – Below are some of his published works:
- – Mage Kaviya Mata Denna (poetry)-2013
- – E Dandu Paalama (poetry)-2014
- – Kumbi Raajje (children’s book)-2017
- – Eda Ehema Dawasak (Poetry)-2018
- – Chamathkara (collection of columns)-2018
- – Pathok Mal Pipila (collection of columns)-2019
- – Viranga (collection of short drama scripts)-2019
- – Vindi Giri Simbimi (poetry)-2019
- – Ahasa Andanawa (children’s book)-2019
- – A Magaki Satahanaki Ambarama (poetry)-2021
Apart from these published books, he has produced short films and plays some of which have won various awards. His debut short film was Shishyathwaya which he wrote, directed and produced when he was in Grade 5. Consequently Chamathka produced three other short films.
His short film Niyama Kande Anduraanthaya won the award for the Best Documentary Film 2016, Pinekethaka Aswenna, at a competition conducted by the Buddhist and Pali University Sri Lanka.
His play, Kumbi Rajya, was selected for the semi- finals of the State Children’s Drama Festival 2018. Apart from that, he has produced two other plays named, Danduwama (The Punishment) and Kadayima. Further, he was selected as the Best Supporting Actor of the year in the Inter School Drama Competition 2016.
Additionally, Chamathka has been working as a columnist for three national newspapers; Resa, Silumina and Mawbima. His column, Chamathkara which he has written for Resa newspaper, received much recognition. In this regard there is more to talk about.
Tracing back his journey, Chamathka expressed how he was exposed to literature as a toddler at home itself.
“I basically received inspiration from my home. My parents had created a very artistic type of an aura in our home. Wherever I walk indoors, I would hear some soft music playing. There were myriads of books including those heavy ones with hard covers, everywhere. So I believe growing up in that environment did really influence me as a writer” he shared with us.
“I enjoy literature and Arts more than creating them. So I’d say what inspired me secondly was this reading. Reading actually made me sympathise with lots of things I experienced in books as well as in society. It still inspires me in my writings,” he further added.
Lot of love and support
“I receive a huge support from my parents. Though they are not directly related to the field, they enjoy arts and literature to the maximum. Therefore they have granted me full liberty to engage in literary creations. They have never prevented me from reading or listening to music or drawing. They would give their fullest support whenever I want to publish a book. I am blessed in that sense,” he expressed his gratitude.
“There are so many who support me apart from my parents; teachers, friends, colleagues and so on. I am not going to mention them by name because the list is really long. Nonetheless, I need to mention my mentor, Journalist Thimbiriyagama Bandara. He is the one who led me in this path. I am what I am now thanks to all of them,” he shared.
Literature is paradise
“Literature is something very special because you don’t need to wait util the creation is fully completed to enjoy it. You can enjoy it from the very beginning to the end in the same manner you enjoy the final outcome. Simply, you start to live in literature once you get into it and that’s why I love what I am doing. I’d just say Arts and literature means paradise to me.
I really love the fact that literature is a living breathing phenomena. Even in this moment that we talk, poems are being born. I mean that’s amazing!” Chamathka expressed his passion for literature.
Talking about the challenges he has faced, Chamathka told us that being a writer itself is a huge challenge as the role of a writer carries a lot of weight. “A writer has a huge social responsibility. We are basically communicators and we try to express ourselves and address society. Therefore we have to be very careful about what we communicate and whether we communicate it effectively” he expressed.
Moreover, he shared with us how he has faced lots of other challenges and criticisms while being in the field. He believes that being with literature helped him not to get discouraged and notice the silver line in every dark cloud. Finally, addressing the readers of the Teen Inc, Chamathka emphasised the significance of Arts and literature.
“I am really glad that we as a nation are realising the true power of arts and literature, given the present circumstance. It is being highlighted everywhere, even at the protests. So I believe that Arts and literature will help you to navigate who you are and what you are. So embrace it; dedicate half of your life time to enjoy literature and finally you will realise how great you have become.
By Induwara Athapattu