25 September 2012
23 September 2012
19 September 2012
Even after what now 7 years and counting.
The folder that’s labelled ‘Book’ stares at me unopened on the desktop right next to the HD icon. The reason for my reinstatement of having some time to myself. For someone who enjoys his own company, believe you me, it can be fun. The ‘Book’ slightly resembling one with some paragraphs kept getting in the way of life, family and work. So one year of myself, at home, I figured gave me the excuse for being officially a ‘House Husband’ and finishing that ‘Book’.
Yes I have pursued my friends in Sri Lanka for opportunities in Colombo. But after seven years in England, working in Colombo will be like a holiday for me. Colombo: getting to work in air conditioned comfort driven by someone else, rice and curry lunches, power naps, no buses or trains, long weekends and the best of all the people.
As the kid prepares to flee the coop (I shall get back to her later), I prepare with difficulty to re-pursue my passion for Sri Lanka and Marketing Communications. Anyone who knows me well will know that when I have the tendency, well liked by employers, for my work to become my life. Where at one time my friends would call office and not home for the better chance of catching me was, in office.
My love for the motherland of course is unquestionable. Like Moses and the Ten Commandments.
Getting back to the kid, today morning wasn’t the usual hoi polloi as school started late and I have no reason to run for the train anymore. The fact that she’s a senior in sixth form means she needs to attend school only at the times she has classes. So we’re chatting away as usual, Radio 3 on the tunes giving calm vibes to my driving, and not talking about what is there glaring in our faces but must not be talked about anymore. She does not want to do medicine anymore. With the UCAS applications going out at the end of this month for Oxbridge, she turns around and calmly informs her mother and I that she no longer wishes to pursue medicine as a career choice. She might like to take a gap year to see South Korea and Japan.
Back then to the present, however disappointed, I feel that pride I always get watching her getting out of the car, waving to me, and walking to the school. There is no greater love a dad feels (soppy but true) than watching your kid going to school. Their confidence, head up high, almost skipping not walking, hair swinging from side to side (sorry again, sounds like a bad shampoo/tampon commercial) fills you with pride.
But at the same time when she makes her first big decision in life a bad one, what do you do as a father.
Everyone says I’ll get over it. This is something she and I planned together since she started kindergarten. It’s hard. I know her decisions are hers to make, but it bloody hurts.
Book, Sri Lanka or both? Both are the same.
Go back to the grind and live a life underground, 5.30am – midnight? But in London no?
None of the above? Just curl up and wait for inevitable death, wishing it would come faster?
That sounds inviting.
On a related subject, loafed around the Mini Cooper showroom for ages (bucket list – own one) recently. This beauty in turquoise blue with the classic mini cooper white stripes stood ready warm and inviting. We found each other and soon I was pushing all her buttons. Then the smart chick from the showroom made a really stupid comment – ‘Lots of guys your age love this car’. Exit Dhammika.
Is this my mid-life crisis? Was I ever a chick magnet? Did they imagine that?
10 September 2012
The sun kissed island in the Indian Ocean wakes up peacefully to a new dawn. A cockerel heralds the arrival of sunrise. The single runner on Galle Face is embraced by the rising sun, a majestic rising ball of bright orange. Soft light bathes the ocean as millions of star bright light beams reflects from the morning tide. Far away sails from little fishing boats returning with the morning catch flutter gaily. Buses start to roar down Galle Road and the city awakes.
The young boy bathes by a roadside tap, his body covered in white foam from the soap his mother applies vigorously on him. The same soap the mother uses to wash clothes out of the bucket in readiness to dry in the morning sun adding to the brilliant colour that is only native to a tropical country. The lush green foliage, the stretches of paddy fields spread all over the country, the advertising billboards, the colourful private buses, all unique only to this paradise nation.
Bells ring island wide. Bells from places of worship both Buddhist, Christian and Hindu, all added to by Muslim prayers broadcast through speakers as old as time. It’s a new day.
As the sun rises, so does the temperature, the tropical coolness of the morning soon replaced by the humid heat that accompanies the bevy of school children in their starched white uniforms. The train station soon becomes a hive of bustling humanity. Ladies in bright coloured saris and bright umbrellas stride along. Already sweating, breasts heaving with the effort of running for the morning bus, the little damp patches appearing in every ones arm pits; the men normally in short sleeved or rolled up white shirts, world market pants and their old leather satchels.
Teachers, clerks, government servants, young executives all jostle each other to get a seat on the bus or train. School vans roar by with young curious faces peering out of crowded windows.
As the first morning rush begins traffic coming into the city from all parts of the island builds up and the humidity and heat almost brings everything to a standstill.
The upwardly mobile add to the traffic chaos in every micro car possible from Maruti, Suzuki to Toyota. Motorbikes with father, mother and many times two children weave in and out of the traffic dangerously. Strangely the only one in a helmet is the rider.
My day has already begun. Up early, I have dropped my daughter to school and let myself into office at the usual time of 7.15am. The office is a converted motel with a beautiful garden in the middle. The garden brings relief from the humidity, but is a haven for mosquitoes. My first act as soon as I walk into my office is to switch on the air conditioning to keep at bay both the heat and the mossies. I hear the support staff come in and soon my second cup of coffee for the day arrives. If still hung over from working late the night before, I send the driver for the islands miracle hangover cure, the king coconut. A coconut that yields water rich in nutrients. Two Paracetamol are washed down with the coconut water. All while I power up the computer and check my mail in readiness for my early morning calls to clients. Couple of the early birds like me in office wonder in for a chat, an offer to share their breakfast or for a quick chat and smoke. Late morning after I finish my calls I step out of my office, use the restroom, and turn the corner to where the swimming pool area lies. Quick light up of second cigarette for the day and the third cup of coffee. Check also the small cannabis plants we have grown. Dismay to realise that one of the support staff has cut the grass over the weekend and destroyed our little project. She knew very well what they were, but the excuse always she had no idea. This is our little punishment for not contributing to the little cards with boxes she brings along for pretend charities for us to contribute to. A hundred rupee note changes hands as a box is ticked.
The real workday starts when the still blurry eyed creative gods grace us with their presence at work. After collecting what ever is ready for client approval from studio and creative, I am usually off for my routine client visits. The sun is up, so the first act of getting into the car is to please request the driver to set the air-conditioning on full. They don’t like it as it burns off the precious petrol they randomly siphon off at night for sale.
Client meetings over, I return to office. Late lunch for me as I first pick up my daughter from school to go home. Today was Pork sausage, papadams, pol sambol, red rice, mallum, fired sprats and beans cooked in rich coconut gravy. This time is precious for me as this is the time I have some quality me time with my daughter. The domestic is from the south, the food therefore is delicious. Southerners in the island nation are extremely good cooks.
After lunch it’s time to switch my mobile off for a quick power nap. Heaven help anyone who dares disturb this precious 30 minutes of absolute peace in my bed with the soft drone of the air conditioner lulling me to sleep. I get up stand under the cold shower with the water on full and I am back in office by 3pm. When I walk in back to my office the envious and angry look of the other three A/E’s who are in my team is obvious. Quick visits with them to all the other departments to check on work in progress and another round of calls to clients. Sometimes an internal briefing or another meeting at clients. By 4.45pm as in every office, the minor staff begin to leave in time for their bus or train. They travel far, working after five means for them, hardship and inconvenience in getting home.
By 5.30pm everything is quiet in office again. The time when the actual work begins. I spend a good two hours writing my call reports, briefs and finishing any other paperwork. By then I have forgotten how many cups of coffee I have finished for the day. Then it’s walk about time. Chatting, fooling around with only the hardcore who remain, the 20% in any office that does the actual work. By 8pm we have adjourned to our nearest watering hole. Many glasses of the local arrack is drunk, all accompanied by various items of food called bites. Some form of protein fried in onions, green chillies and devilled with liberal dashing of chillie powder. Pork is the protein of preference.
The hardcore amongst us return to office by about midnight. Last check up of work, one last coffee and smoke for the road before heading home. Luckily for me, five minutes down the road. The five minutes also is due to the now deserted roads allowing the fastest possible speed to travel in a car from point A to point B. Quietly slip in home, other than for the noise of the garage door opening, another long cold shower and bed.
The night is cool, the bed and the arms of my wife are soft, like the soft scent that arises from her body. Paradise.
I am in Paradise, no not the Coldplay one, I am in my Paradise Isle.
4 September 2012
First the cricket.
Cricket in Sri Lanka has never been commercially viable. In India, it’s a big billion dollar business.
So if the cricket stops,
The traffic to India from SL’s negligible.
India contributes heavily to tourism in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka lose.
Sri Lanka is a very profitable trade partner for India.
Indians come to SL only for duty free liquor business or as expats. No big loss for Sri Lanka. Some will welcome this.
Culture & Religion
Both are the same. No one really will miss the other.
2 September 2012
8.30pm. The weekend’s officially over for some like me. Monday and the week ahead looms. The TV drones softly in the background. A football match in progress. I look up to check, Barcelona playing Valencia. Now keep glancing up, as I love the way Barcelona play although I am a Real Madrid fan. It’s been a day filled with sports. Starting from Para Olympics to the Belgian Grand Prix, Liverpool playing Arsenal, then Manchester United playing at Southampton. Now the Spanish league. Feel guilty I have been missing prize fighter and the boxing.
Random thoughts speed basing through my head. As usual in my sports socks, sarong, Odel SL tee, and Redskins hoodie wrapping me in a cocoon of warmth, all of course enhanced by the smoke I had not too long ago.
Although my whole body feels completely and totally relaxed, I get the sudden urge to call a friend, jump in the car, meet at R & B, play a game of pool, finish a bottle of Jameson’s and get home past midnight. Officially passing midnight means I have successfully managed to start Monday slightly inebriated. The best and I believe the only way to be completely in readiness for another week of drudgery looking forward to Friday night and the weekend.
But I am in England. In the stix. It’s cold and drizzling slightly. You can’t wiz around drunk and stoned here. Most importantly, R & B really exists in my imagination. Far away in a land called Sri Lanka, the Paradise Isle.
One of the most fucked up countries in the world, but to simple me, the Paradise Isle.
Have a better week everybody!
I know you’re not here.
It’s never the same moon.
Why in the world would you?
Stare up at the full moon in the sky.
Tell me is the moon in NY a full moon?
So many people from the middle-east visit my blog that google ads now have a ‘muslim singles’ banner on my blog. But no its against their religion and law in their countries to have anal sex.