24 December 2010
23 December 2010
The last call
Two days to Christmas. The DJ plays a soft bluesy number as the house lights come on. I look around with bleary eyes. The less inebriated amongst us have checked our coats out and the bouncers gently try to dislodge us to begin the journey home. As we stumble out the rush of cold air is welcome. Minus 10 degrees means none of us hang around and all bundle into the cab. Everyone’s still in high spirits and talking loudly.
No one notices as I sink into a corner of the cab and wearily watch the lights of London fly by. It’s early morning and the only one’s out and about are revellers like us, the East-Europeans heading off to their early morning jobs, milk and newspaper delivery trucks. I am looking forward to home, a hot bath and unwinding on the couch with a hot mug of coffee. Although tired I know that I will need that ‘me time’ to properly fall asleep.
Unconsciously my thoughts roam to the year gone by. As I grow older I have matured. My world has slowed down, while the rest of 2010 flashed by. My other four mates in the cab surround me but yet I feel tremendously melancholy. I call them my ‘mates’ as they are still not my friends. I am more than guilty as they think of me as a good mate, I take long to make friends, and again as I mature it’s harder and harder to change my Sri Lankanisms. I worry I am becoming a grumpy old man. Little things don’t worry me anymore, but the big things worry me more. Christmas and Christmastime bothers me the most. To me it’s that specific time of the year you are sharply reminded of the income gap that bridges the haves from the have-nots. The homeless man I just saw sleeping under one of the Harrods shop windows as we pass Knightsbridge will haunt me like the ghost of Christmas past. How is he managing in minus 10 temperatures?
Last year I arrived in the Paradise Isle on Christmas day to party non-stop with my friends in Dickwella and onwards to 31st night at Galle Face. This year in the London-Elstree Holiday Inn Masquerade Ball. Actually my first 31st party in London. With my mates! J
Non-Christian me will celebrate Christmas in our own special way. My wife’s relatives will come home early morning for mutton curry and milk-rice. Presents will be opened. Sash and San who are my sis-in-laws kids are still 2 and 6. They believe in Santa. One of the nice things about Christmas, Santa. Our kid is a teenager, she knows, but still expects as many presents under the tree.
I am home. The repeat of the Amir Khan fight’s on Sky Sports. I take a sip of hot coffee and snuggle under the duvet. Everything is ready for Christmas. As I drift to sleep I lay my soul for the good Lord to keep and pray I will not dream of the homeless man I saw earlier this morning.
Is Christmas all about beautiful, fancy, expensive stuff that 99% of the world cannot have or dream to afford?
So it’s Christmas. The time of year that whatever religion or ethnic backgrounds you come from, celebrations are all around you. I presume that Christmas is the biggest celebration in the world after the World Cup of Football. Or is it just another holiday reminding me of all the fancy and great stuff in this world I cannot afford?
i.e. The Range Rover Evoque
What happened to the birth of JC? How many of us will attend mass at midnight on this holy day?
The spirit of giving is now only about the spirit of getting.
Merry Christmas everybody!
21 December 2010
2 December 2010
It’s past midnight and the night looks surreal. The blanket of snow that covers everything is lit up in a sepia tone from the energy saving streetlights. The surreal feelings further aided by the deathly quiet due to the snow muffling surrounding noises. Steady snowflakes keep falling and I am almost finding it hard to breathe with the wind blowing it directly on to my face. I enjoy the scene before me despite shivering outside our front door in my thin cotton t-shirt and old sarong. Just before going to bed I usually smoke one last cigarette outside, whatever the weather maybe. This is a nightly ritual, wherever in the world I maybe.
I am hoping the snow keeps falling overnight ensuring another snow day and everything in London staying closed. Which usually means some quality time with my daughter. Snow fights in the field, playing catch with the dogs and getting hot drinks from our local Starbucks. All completed by us coming back to a delicious lunch cooked by the spouse. It’s too cold to stand out for too long and I manage only to smoke half my cig. I make my way upstairs to bed and my thoughts turn to my Paradise Isle.
There usually are three reasons for my thoughts to turn to the Paradise Isle this time of the year. In priority the first is the party season in Colombo that culminates with the 31st night bash at Galle Face Hotel. Secondly is getting away from the horrible cold weather in England. Call me vain, which I am, the third is my hair. All three compete with each other and I really shouldn’t prioritise them as deep inside a voice tells me the third priority might well be my first.
My hairdresser Chami is one of the greatest blokes in this world and owns a salon down Isipathana Mawatha called Hisa Ke. Going to his salon is an out of the body experience for me. Usually landing early morning I manage to take a quick wash and be ready by late morning to make my way there. Staying at my friend’s house on Fife Road means I am about a three minutes walk from Hisa Ke. When I arrive Chami first has a chat about what he will do with my hair, its washed, coloured and then cut. Afterwards I retire to his aromatherapy section where I receive one of the, if not the best, head massage in this world. I also get a manicure and pedicure. By the time they finish the salon assistants have to wake me up as all the attention has lulled me to sleep. All my jetlag is gone and I am ready to paaarty! All of this just costs around LKR10,000 (60 GBP) at Hisa Ke!
Hisa Ke – 0773 753007 or 5743909. Ask for Chami, he’s good.
In my case you have to add another £600 for the air ticket from London to Colombo and back. Honestly, it’s still fully worth it.