Monday, December 31, 2007

Romancing 2008

Awww... it was wunnerful. Totally womantic.

What am I gushing about? The dawn of 2008 on my end of the stick.

Since end of year usually means we're completely broke thanks to heavy bouts of christmas shopping and the mismanaged economy of the country, 31st night partaing was gonna be an unwelcome expense for the BF and I. Thus we decided to change the routine this year and celebrate in a low-key fashion. However, nothing about this 31st night was boring for me by any means. Noisy and crowded it was not... but a fabulous time I did have. Er.. why do I sound like Yoda? Never mind. Onwards...

So I'm seated at my dressing table dolling myself up for the night when I get this sms from him, inviting me to a particular location for dinner (undisclosed, to preserve the special-ness of the night). I drive myself there, and he is waiting for me. Within the next few minutes, I am silently led to a table set for two, dressed with floating candles. It is the only table around. Next to it, a pretty and painstakingly decorated christmas tree sparkles, giving the whole thing a very magical touch. As you can guess, I'm already feeling gooey and girly, and can't stop grinning my ass off.

I was seated at my chair by a polite BF, who was also doubling as the waiter and chef for the night. Yup... he cooked for me! (don't we gurls just love a guy who does that?) I asked him what was on the menu, but he refused to tell me. Mind you, I've been begging him to do it for two years, so I was one happy puppy when I saw how much effort he'd put into the whole thing last night.

But I digress. Let me share the rest of the night with you.

My waiter first brought me sparkling wine (the non-alcoholic kind, coz I stopped drinking some time ago) and we toasted to the new year and it's possibilities. Then he brought out a mushroom soup that I thoroughly enjoyed, followed by a fabulous 100%-authentic-BF-made mixed grill! Yummyyyyy. The food was impressively flawless, and I know for a fact that he did not cheat. During dinner I found out he'd been cooking since 5.30 that evening, the poor darling. Gush gush. I stuffed myself to the brim with the meats, egg, mountain of mashed potato and vegs. Next came the simple yet ideal dessert of peaches and ice-cream, which again, I whacked.
Dinner was, in a word, delicious, and I couldn't stop telling him that.

We spent the rest of the night curled up watching a hilarious movie that made us laugh till we cried, and then went crazy and danced like idiots to some funky tunes all by ourselves. At midnight we became kids again, and lit sparklers and spinning wheels and watched them sizzle in the dark of the night. We revelled into the night till exhaustion caught up and I fell fast asleep against him, not even realizing it when he gently covered me up with a convenient quilt to keep me warm. The next thing I knew I was being nudged awake at 4 am, because it was time to go home. Neither of us really wanted to end the night and part, but we had to, because mothers (especially mine) don't understand and jump to unnecessary conclusions.

And so ended 2007. It was by far one of the best new year's eves I've ever had... and it didn't cost a cent. :)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Kingdom Memories

I can't remember the last time I got to do nothing and enjoy it as much as I did last weekend.

A recent client event in Kandy gave me the perfect opportunity to turn business into pleasure and make a holiday out of work. Not having any annual leave liike the rest of my office, since I've just started working here this was my chance to seize a bit of official R & R. Plus my mum was out of town, which meant I could avoid a good dose of nagging, interrogation and opposition to claiming some freedom and independant travel. And so, I figured that I'd book myself into a hotel in the area for three days, giving me time to work on the event as well as taking a break in between.

But all was not as easy as I expected. To start with, I never realized that that many people were interested in Kandy, cos every single hotel of repute and some safety standard that I called was completely booked up. At one point, I'd almost given up hope, when desperation led me to calling up Hotel Thilanka as a last resort. There was a bittersweet moment when they confirmed that they did have a room for me. For lack of options, I made the tentative reservation, but didn't exactly whoop for joy at the prospect of staying there.

Yes, admittedly, I sound snobbish, but dude... the name itself doesn't sound very grand or assuring, does it? I'm sure I'm not the only one who's assumed that a hotel named 'Thilanka' is probably a foster-sister of the ill-famed 'Janaki' or likewise. It conjured up visions of a sleazy run-down two-star motel in my head - one swarming with German pornographers and horny couples looking for a night of action. To give myself encouragement, I checked every review I could find online on the place. Quite surprisignly, all of them were positive, and written by families and 'respectable' people. And so, with less reservation but still a little seed of doubt, I packed my bags and drove myself to a three-day stint in the kingdom of Kandy.

Let me start out by saying that Hotel Thilanka was completely unexpected. It's a wonderful jewel of a place, beautifully situated atop a hill and extremely well maintained by a very professional and courteous staff. Except for it's name, the place far outshone alot of three star places I've been to in the past. The rooms were comfortable and quite posh, the view from my balcony breathtaking, the gardens gorgeously landscaped, the pool a real treat and the service exceptional. They also had a lovely ayurvedic spa set-up that was fashion in a village/rustic style, that promised alot of good things. And yours truly is one heck of a lover of massages, so this was an added bonus to my delight.

Over the next three days I managed to let go of every ounce of stress I've been whining about in the past year. For the first time in ages, I got to think of absolutely nothing... I slept and slept, enjoyed some quite reading time on my balcony whilst seated on the fabulously comfortable and sleep-inducing padded deck-chair that the rooms provided, guzzled down the food which was, in two words, unexpectedly delicious, happily abused the superb hot water shower and rested like I haven't rested for a long, long time. Not having alot of occupants, the hotel offered set menus for meals, especially lunch. Normally, I'd have been disappointed to have missed out on the choice afforded at a buffet, but Thilanka's chef is a wizard. The food was divine, rich and beautifully presented in courses, that it almost felt like 5-star gourmet. Needless to say, I gobbled and gained twice my weight in three days.
It's also been some time since I took a dip in a pool, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself in their's. The water was chilly from the climate, but oh-so refreshing, and I jumped in more than once.

Similar to Kandalama, the hotel also features a bevvy of wild and extremely cheeky monkeys, who'd take any given opprtunity to sneak into my room and steal things, if I had accidently left the balcony window open. Luckily, I only lost a hotel box of matches to the fellows, and enjoyed watching them piss other guests and the hotel staff off with their antics.

I need to spend a few minutes telling you about my massage. Maaaaaaan.... it was goooooooooooood. I almost fell asleep while getting a 30-minute foot massage that left the toes tingling for more. It didn't stop at the foot - they even massaged my calves to the point where my legs absolutely refused to get off the table and walk after they were done. To top it off, local occupants get a 25% discount on the already reasonable prices and that made me very very happy indeedy.

Amongst everything, I even managed to find time to do some sightseeing in Kandy, and went to the botanical gardens and the Temple of the Tooth for some culture and sightseeing. I've been to both these places before, but it seemed like a whole new experience nevertheless, and there was so much more that I learned and appreciated this time around. Perhaps it was because I went of my own accord and not someone else's... or perhaps it was because I'm able to understand more than I did the last time I went, which was in the dim distant past of my schooling years. I revelled in my visions of what ancient Kandy must have been like, from what I saw at the Maligawa museum... all that gold, gemwork, grandeur... how beautiful a sight to behold it must have been. Very often, we fail to think about the cultural past of this country, and appreciate the majesty of what was. Sifting through the history and the stories told at the museum and the temple made me wish I'd been born back then, to see the kings, courtiers and bejewelled women, and to live in the simple and uncomplicated beauty of the past. Sigh. Why can't we live by the same rules and principles, I wonder... you have to be a completely retarded madman to think we're better off now, judging by the disasterous results of our so-called development.

Peradeniya was treat too. I couldn't remember the flower garden section from my previous visits, and was totally taken aback with how fantastic it all was. The landscaping took my breath away, and it was almost magical... for a moment I completely forgot it was Sri Lanka. Once more, there was enjoyment to be had, courtesy of the screeching bats and a group of hyperactive monkeys.

Now here I am, back at work on a Monday morning, disgruntled and stressed to the core at having had to leave my brief period of utopia behind. Perhaps it's a good thing, in a way, that the holiday was short-lived, else complacency may have set in and I wouldn't have enjoyed it so much, neyda. (Yeah... that's me trying to fake a good reason for coming back to Colombo.)

Ah well, I can only look forward to more gems of opportunities to sneak my way into some other haven in the future. One thing's for sure - these trips are God's way of reminding me that life can certainly be worth living, if you just give yourself a break once in a while.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

CHRISTMAS INC-orrigible? INC-apable?


A.k.a. "MY viewpoint of FBT's seasonal musical."

It wasn't even two weeks since I'd fagged myself out with 'Blood Brothers' when I staggered with the BF into the Johnpillai residence at Surein's invitation to be a part of Christmas Inc. At first glance we'd made up our minds that this was not what we expected. Rows and rows of little people... at least ten years our junior, seated around a be-spectacled guy thumping out notes on a piano, who by the way also seemed a good decade younger than I. In the course of the evening I found out that Mr. Specs was actually the musical director of the play, and the kids gaping at him were the cast. I also found out that he was leaving the country that night, and would be returning five days before opening night.

Uh oh.

Honestly speaking, my first insinct was to turn around and head home, but Surein is a long-time friend and theatrical comrade, and I owed him more than a "no way". BF and I were in the middle of giving each other worried looks, when all of a sudden Mr. Specs (hereinafter to be known as DAN the MAN) started playing the keyboard again.

And then the heavens parted.

I mean it quite literally... it felt like a who new realm just took over the place, right before my eyes. The motley crew before me opened their mouths and began to sing, and my mouth opened along with them... in shock and awe. These kids could sing, dammit! They sounded like a friggin' junior philharmonic choir! I could see BF's eyes open up too. Perhaps we were wrong to have judged so quickly, because this lot were sounding better than all the choirs and theatre groups I've worked with in my entire life, and they were all younger than 18. Suddenly, a show seemed quite possible. Even Surein was looking a bit astounded. One hour into the rehearsal, I decided this cast didn't need any outside intervention from us so-called 'actors'. Hell, they could certainly sing way better than I could, anyway. I asked Surein if I might help out backstage instead, simply out of fear of looking really, really bad in front of these kids, had I tried to display my theatrical experience to them and ended up sounding like a throttled chicken in comparison. That and the fact that I'd never had the chance to actually watch a play I'd been involved in
- my entire theatre experience being ON stage and never off. This would be a definite first for me. BF on the other hand, was conscripted to become part of the comic relief in the show. And so, Christmas Inc began.

The Process

I have to admit, the going was tougher than I'd thought. We had a completely new and inexperienced cast who could only commit to weekend rehearsing, a production budget of a tiny bit more than Rs. 0.00 thanks to a no-sponsorship philosophy, a production crew who'd never been a production crew before, a helluva funny (and yet helluva confusing script) with no particular plot and plenty of unfinished areas, a missing writer and music director, the pressure of obligation to three chosen charities that this play should benefit, and less than two months to make it happen. Not to mention a first-time 'choreographer' in the form of yours truly, who had no idea what she was doing half the time.

Argh.

I wasn't the only one writhing in skepticism and alarm. Enter Ruveen Dias, who walked in one afternoon in a sleepy daze, having agreed the previous night to take on the role of Herod in the show. He took a look around at what we had to offer, and raised one eyebrow, and then the next. He spent the next few days begging for reminders as to WHY he'd said yes to the part.

Over the next 6 weeks, havoc reigned supreme at the Johnpillai residence and a few other cost-effective (free) joints that doubled for rehearsal space. I learnt that when you work with people who've not done theatre before, you tend to be somewhat cool in their eyes because you have. I must say it was quite a welcome change to the bitching and insults I've dealt with at other rehearsals. These kids actually WANTED me to give them dance steps and advice, and what's more amazing is that they actually ACCEPTED it. Wow. What was more amazing was that Ruveen a.k.a Herod, who'd previously wanted to bang his head against a wall for getting involved, was actually starting to enjoy himself thoroughly. He even agreed to letting me teach HIM a few dance steps and furthermore, practiced them!

Surein gave me a free hand to do as I pleased with the choreography and anything else I wanted to get my hands dirty with, and I had the time of my life. True, the cast was no group of ballerinas, but they tried their best, and it was fun churning out silly bollywood and broadway numbers, and not getting slapped or slandered for it. The singing talent kept taking my breath away, as did the sheer determination of these kids to do their best, regardless of their shortcomings in experience.

I enjoyed watching BF having a ball of a time with his role as one of the three kings (and/or wise men), alongside the ever-hilarious Ashan Dias and extraordinary Gehan Cooray. Between the three of them, they kept the cast, Surein and I in stitches all throughout the Christmas Inc experience. Then came the puppets. If you didn't see the show, you missed a real treat by way of a puppet show featuring a cow in a bowler hat, a retarded sheep and two sick-looking goats, all manipulated by the show's wise men (and/or kings), who went to town with it. Handling his sheep puppet was like a wet dream to BF, who's always had this peculiar fascination for making his hands talk. His eyes would light up like a three year old on Christmas day whenever he took the puppet into his hand, and very soon, he and the sheep became one (in a COMPLETELY non-sexual way).

Closer to show date saw alot of stress coming out, and well as a whole new lesson in the power of prayer and work ethic for me. The set designs were entirely handled by one tiny and pretty Korean friend of the JPs, who worked harder than an ant on steroids. She cut, chopped, painted and pasted her way to putting up quite a decent looking stage set, which I thought was a fantastic achievement for someone who did it for the first time, and for free, out of the sheer goodness of her heart and an effort to help friends. Dan the Man returned five days before opening night and put together a superb orchestra that gave such life to the music. Surein's wife Anushka masterfully dedicated herself to raising funds for the production by selling CDs of the show that the JP siblings had tirelessly put together. Dominic JP ('Domkey') single-handedly did just about everything else, from helping with CD sales, recording tracks, assisting with musical direction, playing in the orchestra, and even taking on a stage role at the eleventh hour. Not having money for producing new costumes, we dug into the costume cupboard at the Wendt and put together somewhat decent lot of clothes together, with some help from a lady who sewed the rest, and the cast bringing in their own stuff. Three days to shownight, the Workshop Players trooped in and took their places as the backstage crew. They handled everything from lights to props to make-up, and gave a by-now-much-frazzled Surein a reason to relax a bit.

The Product

I watched it all happen, with an occasional poking of the nose into make-up and costuming. Slowly but surely, the play came to life on stage. It was wild, it was whacky, it was reeking of accidents and inexperience... but it was brilliant.

There's no doubt that my initial fears and hesitations had ben replaced with much excitement and pride at seeing Chirstmas Inc finally happen in front of audiences. The three nights of shows brought us mixed responses. A few people sadly missed out on the fact that this show was not meant to be a commericalized professional production, but rather a heartfelt effort to help people in need, and a community project to convey a very relevant message. There were the audience members who felt they'd been cheated out of their ticket money, because they didn't get the show quality they thought they deserved. How I wish we'd been able to please them all, but then again, this wasn't a professional theatre group... there's no way we could have lived up to the standards set by the more experienced entities out there. That's ok though... because to me, this show was far from disasterous, and because many others did get it, and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Whilst it's not fair to blame or fight a person for not having liked the show (to each his own prerogative, I say), there was much more to this production than the glamour and entertainment expected of it. Had the critics opened their eyes to more than what they saw on stage, then they would have understood what I understood in the process of working on this show. Here was a set of young people with more heart, more determination, and more promise than I've ever seen in any other group, coming together for what I personally think was a wonderful and worthy cause. It was not perfect by any means, but it was magical in it's own quirky way. Nearly three weeks since the show ended, I'm seated here still singing those goddamn tunes in my head.

After starting out as a full-on critic, I ended up being humbled and proud to have been a part of this production.

And the best part is... I got to watch the show.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Eyes Wide Open

It's been an interesting couple of days, to say the least. In the last week I've gotten a bigger glimpse of the world outside my bubble than I've ever seen before, and I do honestly believe I'm waking up to smell the coffee now, in the realisation that I am one very lucky person.

Let's start with my first revelation. Last Wednesday, I attended a research study on behalf of one of my clients. The research called for a team of us to go outside Colombo and visit families belonging to the SEC 'E' market (households that earn less than Rs.5,000/- per month) and find out about their lifestyles. To begin with, the mere thought of an entire family living on less than 5k a month - the same amount I'd probably spend on one night out or a pair of shoes - was an eye opener. We all know they're out there... we've seen them on documentaries and news features... but trust me, you will never EVER really understand or sympathize until you've been in their homes, and seen it for yourself. What truly humbles you is the realisation that it could very well have been you in their shoes... because there isn't a single thing different between you and them as human beings.

These were familes that defied every rose-coloured notion I had of what poverty is all about. I was never really affected to the core by someone's else's squalour until I went on that research, and sat with five of these families. The houses (if they could be called 'houses') were barely standing wooden/mud pens, with plastic roofs, that did not and could not stand against rains or wind. It broke my heart to see them so eagerly welcome me as their honoured guest, by offering me the one unbroken plastic chair they had. There was no furniture to speak of, save the odd make-shift wooden rack or table that singularly served as a 'closet', ornament cabinet, kitchen utensil cupboard, food storage facility and dining table, all in one. Looking around made me realise the triviality of us Colombo-ites making a dance about painting our houses for Christmas, when these people didn't seem to have the money to build themselves sustainable walls to begin with.

As I sat and talked with the five women whose homes these were, I found myself wanting to cry on several occassions. The level of education on basic things like family planning was appalling. Each respondent was no more than 25 years old, but had a minimum of four children to feed. Our research task was to investigate what comrpomises these people had had to make in their household shopping and family's nutrition as a result of recent inflation in the country. What a redundant exercise that was! These people had no idea about nutrition to begin with, and shopping was considered an indulgent luxury. Their understand of health was making sure their kids weren't hungry all the time, and if that meant feeding them rocks to fill them up, so be it. It broke my heart. To the clusters of children surrounding me in every household, I was something of a god, in my clean clothes and make-up. I could barely control the tears when one mother begged me to take her 12 year old daughter back to Colombo with me, and let her work in my house in exchange for food and a bed.

What struck me more was how resilient you become when you know nothing more than abject poverty. All these women, inaddition to being mums of four to five kids, were also the sole breadwinners of their families, having had the misfortune of being married to lethargic and drunken baboons for husbands, whose sole purpose in life is to throw the little money the family makes into drinking their fill until they're ready to stagger home and beat the shit out of their wives and kids. Not one of the husbands I was introduced to did so much as lift a finger to go out and find themselves work. Instead, their long-suffering wives wake up at 3 am to boil grams, make stringhoppers or porrige to hopefully sell on the roadside, in order to feed and clothe their children. It's a pathetic, but very real life that almost 20% of Sri Lanka's women lead. And yet, with all this, they smile. I may have sat there on those plastic chairs, gasping in horror at what I deemed was a 'plight', but to these women it was life as it had always been. There was such an air of dignity and acceptance in the manner they spoke with me, that it was truly humbling. Their children may have been dressed in tatters, but they wore brighter smiles than toothpaste commercials. And what's more, I also found that the poorer you are, the bigger your heart is, for all these impoverished families had opened their homes to dogs and cats, who seemed to be lovingly looked after.

The research experience left me frustrated at the system, aching to help, and infinitely grateful to the Lord for blessing me with so much that I take for granted way too often.

My second revelation came in a different format, which was a larger number of young people of my age. 64 to be precise. A few friends and I took up a offer from the Jaffna Centre for Performing Arts, to travel to Wennappuwa on Saturday and conduct a four-hour drama workshop with students from the north and south. At first, my mind was boggled with hesitation and fear of what we'd have to deal with, considering the political sensitivities that would certainly arise from mixing up ethnic groups from such far corners of the island. We were forewarned that most of these participants came from the centre of war-torn areas, and had a humongous load of personal baggage that we should be considerate enough to avoid. None of them would be fluent in English, and so the workshop would have to be conducted triligually too. With much trepidation and nervous jokes about losing our lives in the course of the day, we headed off to the venue.

The workshop was incredible. It was the one event I wish the bastards in government and the LTTE had witnessed, for here were 64 adults born in racist environments, who'd been brainwashed to hate each other because of race, getting along like long-lost friends. Although they didn't speak each others' language, there was never a moment of confusion or resentment at the lack of communication. They came together in the love for theatre, and I watched them work with each other in a way that even we dont as a drama group. And the talent was awe-inspiring. There was such truth in everything they did, and they were superb without knowing it... absolute raw talent. To think that 95% of these people would never have the opportunities that I'd had to take their art onto the main stage was truly saddening.

Once more, I was struck by how priviledged my life was, through the various drama exercises we did with them. We asked them to do group work and dramatize personal stories, and there was the predominant theme of war and militarization coming out. When they improvised home living, they'd squat on the imaginary toilet 'hole', and wash clothes in a river on a stone. Whilst one of our team members mimed 'bathing' by turning on a shower, the participants drew water from the well instead. Our differences were also quite obvious to the eye - whilst my team was so much healthier and happier looking, these students had rough living written all over their thin faces. It was a hard slap in the face, and a real kick off my pedestal. Amazingly, none of my previous concerns about working with these students even made an appearance through the entire programme, and I truly enjoyed marvelling at the font of talent I saw that day.

This Chirstmas has been one helluva eye-opening experience for me... I've been given two opportunities to understand the many blessings showered on me, and how incredibly lucky I am to lead the life that I do. I can't believe just a week ago, I was bitching about being broke and how absurdly stressful life was. I must've been mad, coz my life's a walk in a very lush park, in comparison to those I witnessed in the last four days.

So perhaps I should share a bit, eh?




Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Go Suck An Egg

Last night, I posted a rant on the mis-governance of this country. This morning, I had well over 50 comments on the matter, out of which just 2 disagreed with me, in pure filth. SO, to those two 'learned' individuals who thought otherwise, therein lies my point. You can wear your rose-coloured glasses for the rest of your life, and sing songs of praise to the corruption and greed that runs this country, but please know that I am not alone on the other side of the fence.

That said, I have removed said post, not because I am apologetic by any means (you must be joking... I still stand by every word I said), but because I realized with rest and contemplation that exuding negativity is what got this country into a mess in the first place. And so, since I have nothing nice to say about the administration or you who got so nasty with the biased comments, I am not going to say anything at all. You are entitled to your viewpoint, as I was to mine.

I could have gotten defensive, and I could have used intolerance to my advantage. But that would make me another parliamentarian who can't handle criticism. Or a blog reader who can't respect another person's opinion.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Risk? Hahahahahahah

Told my techno-savvy boyfriend last evening to help me build a website. I wanted to name it http://www.ihateclients.com/. Anyone from the ad frat will probably agree with me wholeheartedly, and hopefully even send me big bunches of flowers. (hint)

Maaaaan the kind of people who run companies in this country.... it sometimes makes you wonder who the hell let them out of kindergarten, let alone gave them a job at the top. To think that we've even developed an atom's worth commercially amazes me, coz there ain't no way in hell these guys are going anyway but down in the near future. I sometimes think life is so unfair to have put imbeciles like my clients in positions ABOVE me, because I actually seem to have more up there than they do, and THAT'S saying alot! There's a poster that hangs above my desk that says 'People who think they know it all really annoy those of us who do", and I swear I couldn't have said it better.

OK... what am I ranting about again? Oh yeah... Sri Lankan advertisers, a.k.a 'clients' to those of us who suffer their whims. I sometimes wonder about why the devil events like the 'Chillies' and 'Brand Excellence' exist at all, because really... we hardly have any noteworthy material to show for it, save the one-off scam ads that are produced with much eagerness. But then again, if it weren't for the scam ads, we'd have VERY little effective creativity to show off to the world when it comes to the local advertising industry. And it's not the fault of agencies at all... it's those buffoons we have to deal with, and produce the ads for.

With the exception of the rare few clients who actually think beyond their own noses, not a single corporate manager in Sri Lanka is willing to show some balls and think differently when it comes to advertising. Every briefing starts with 'we want something out of the box and new', and in the process of a vicious and tiring cycle, the jobs end up looking just like what they did before, or worse.

I'm suffering it as we speak. I've sat here and churned out many an idea and script that I and most of my office think are fairly good, only to have the client pour a boiling hot tub of oil on our excitement. I can understand if the ideas were absolute crap, and didn't do justice to the brands... but the alternative ideas that the client suggets are just BEYOND ridiculous, and you sometimes wonder why you speak to them at all. Brands in this country (again, with the exception of a precious few) will NEVER make it to an iconic status, simply because Sri Lankan marketers will NEVER make new decisions. They just don't have it in them to think out of the proverbial box, and unless someone else has tried it and succeeded, they'll never give new thinking a shot.

The best part is that no matter how much you tell them this, the idiots live in denial. In the mirror, they see themselves as dynamic and creative leaders of tomorrow, paving the way for brand effectiveness in the country, when all they are, are miserable lice who just follow the rest of the pack, because they fear rejection. In a nutshell, they're shit scared to take a risk. There is not an ounce of foresight in the Sri lankan strategic thinking machine... we live for the day, and damn tomorrow's potential.

Gah. Rant. Sigh.

It's not just the government that consists of a bunch of dickheads.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Vrooom...?

Wahh... badly want a car.... (ooh looky that rhymed.)

Leaving my previous office meant returning my company vehicle to them, so I am now suffering the general populace's ire at having to take taxis to wherever I want to go. I won't do buses coz there's a long story behind my phobia that warrants a whole new blog, so I'm currently forking out cash on a daily basis on trishaws and cabs to get to office, around and back home.

It sucks!

Pardon me for sounding like a spoilt bitch, but after having driven myself around for one year, the inconvenience levels have risen drastically at the absence of my own vehicle. It's not only about the convenience factor either... driving was my one claim to independance - to go wherever I please whenever I please, and to feel powerful and in charge for that brief travelling period. When YOU'RE a semi-subjugated Sri Lankan female, you'll understand what I mean.

And so, I really, really, really, badly need and want a vehicle of my own. The new office has been nice enough to grant me a vehicle allowance that will help towards investing in my own wheels, so these days I've fervently seeking my baby. I refuse to buy a 'suitable' car; by which I mean a gender-appropriate Swift, Maruti or Starlet. For whatever goddamn reason, people I speak to about my want for a car automatically presume I'm looking for a little bug-like one, just because I'm a lady driver, and that, let me tell you, gets my GOAT. There is no way in hell I'm gonna be a Tweety's Grandma and chug away in a tin egg. No siree... this feminist wants an SUV. (Ideally a Hummer, but both the price and the steering wheel are well beyond my reach.)

I'm all too used to seeing eyebrows shooting up in curious amusement everytime I tell someone I'm looking for a 4-wheel drive. Nobody understands what I, Ms. Tiny Loudmouth, would want with a jeep, but I've been dreaming of driving one for so long, that no amount of bubble-bursting will sway my search. There's something POWERFUL about driving a 4X4, y'know? You don't get walked all over by them buses and vans, like the way you do when you drive a small car. ESPECIALLY when you're female. To me, an SUV is a power symbol, and proof to myself that I've made it. I can do so many things with it, without worrying about undercarriage or tyre damage. My dreams of off-road thrills are that much closer.

The problem, however, is the constantly-increasing price factor. With the new budget coming into force, even second-hand vehicles are going up in price, all because of some greedy lame-asses in parliament. The vehicle of my dreams is moving further and further away from my grasp, and it's so depressing. Just last week I thought I found a baby for myself (test drove and fell in love with a cute recon Cami) , only to have my plans thwarted by the bank, who said the interest rates had gone up and increased the installments to an impossible amount. Since then, I've been looking around, but haven't found one within my budget. The ones I HAVE found that are price compatible, are in crap condition, and will not help me in anyway.

Gah. This car-shopping business is such a pain.

If you know anyone selling a 4 wheel drive for a reasonable price, please do let me know. I promise I'll give you a free ride.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Playing Hostess

Gosh I'm tired! I swear, I don't know how the society laydeez do this whole entertaining thing on a regular basis... it's bloody exhausting!
The guys from my old office came over for the day. I invited them to lunch, and promised them a home-cooked meal, since I felt I owed it to them and the years of bliss they've given me. I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do, but quite obviously didn't realize how much effort it really takes...

We'd planned for the whole lot to come over by 10 am, to give us some time before lunch to catch up, and play some games (yeah... we're real card game addicts.). This meant I had to have my cooking done by the time everyone arrived, coz it woulda sucked if the whole visit went by with me stuck in the kitchen. So I woke up this morning at 6 to make sure I'd have everything ready an done by 10. And then panic began.

While entertaining all those thoughts of good luncheon-hosting for weeks ahead, I'd completely forgotten about buying the damn ingredients I needed for the cooking! Thus, a better part of the morning was spent bribing my slug brother to drive me to the market to get the stuff I needed. He, having gotten his license just a few weeks back, spent another good hour getting me to the shops. I hurriedly bought the groceries, and rushed back home to make time, and immediately started preparing my 'gourmet' dishes. I'm an average cook, and can manage an omelette or two, so I figured my decided menu of biriyani would be a piece of cake to handle. That's because I hadn't considered that it was biriyani for ten people, which is something I've never attempted before.

For one thing, we didn't have pans big enough to cook in, so yours truly had to improvise with making several pots of the same dish, to be combined once it was all done. The cooking was eventful to say the least, what with the constant tears thanks to the never-ending number of onions I cleaned, the planned tempered potato & cauliflower overcooking into pure starch pulp, and the cat making off with a large portion of the marinated chicken. Nevertheless, I did manage to get my act together by and by, and have my fare ready by quarter to ten. I had somehow completed a menu of biriyani rice, boiled eggs, chicken korma, raita, malay pickle and potato & cauliflower mish-mash.

Was just beginning to feel rather proud of my accomplishment, and grateful to mum for having cleared up the house a bit and laid out the table for me, when I suddenly remembered I'd left the rice in the cooker too long. A stressed check confirmed it too, now matched the potato's consistency.

Had I known that my visitors would delay their arrival by 2 hours (!!!), as they are typically prone to do, perhaps I would have saved the panic attacks for later and gotten more sleep.

They eventually turned up at 1.30, and to put it in a nutshell, we had a blast. We played game after game - giggled at 'Mad', shrieked at 'Twister', created a cacophony during 'Mafia' and got hysterical over 'Uno'. In the interim, they ate my biriyani, and took second and sometimes even third helpings!! Made the whole pre-process totally worth it. I now know why women beam like sunflowers when people compliment their cooking.... it felt DAMN good to be told that my efforts were successful. :))

Cleaning up was less of a pleasure, but mum helped out. As soon as the guys left, I put on my shoes and went out with mum on a window shopping expedition for cars. Spent the rest of the evening checking out vehicles that were way too expensive, and haggling with dealers who assumed that my gender made me stupid.

And now, I've just gotten home, and collapsed onto my bed. And. I. Am. Tired.

AH well... twas worth it. It was great to see the guys today... I was reminded of how much I miss them. Maybe I'll invite them over again soon.

But I'm hiring a caterer next time.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Crossroads

Imagine the scenario. You've been walking for some time along a familar path. Some spots along the way have flowers, some display thorny weeds and potholes. It's a generally satisfying walk, with light breeze and bunnies hopping beside you. Nothing too exciting... just nice and relaxing, for most of the time.

But suddenly, you come to a junction. The path splits ahead of you. On the left is a continuation promising the same walk, with nothing else to be seen in the horizon. Same bunnies, same light breeze, same potholes and same flower spots. A continuous long walk, with the possibility of the path taking a circular route and ending at the same junction.

On the right, the trail dissapears into a mist. You have no idea what's behind that mist- happy endings or sad... darkness or light. You don't know if the path ends at a steep drop or if it goes on to an end. And you're not too sure if you're feeling adventurous enough to find out, either, since all the walking has put you into a comfort zone, and there's really nothing wrong for you to need to choose a different direction in the first place.

So... which direction do you take? A lifetime of the same scenery, or something you have no idea about, that quite possibly ends in failure?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Maternal Instinct...

...is something I'll probably never have. I assumed it a long time ago, but my assumption was confirmed ten-fold yesterday during a couple of interviews I sat through with an office colleague. We accompanied this research agency on visits to a few ladies in the locale, to interview them on their lives and their children, for a project we're working on at the moment. We asked the women about how they feel about motherhood, and their fondest memories about their kids, who were seated next to them.

Maaan.... it was all so alien to me. Their faces went all gaga-gooey, and their eyes would tear up while huge smiles splashed across their faces when they described what a sheer blessing it was to be a mom. All the while, the demonic imps next to them screamed, wriggled and ran around uncontrollably like wound-up toys. What amazed me more was the look of 'awww sweeeet' on my colleague's and the researchers' faces everytime the little tykes pulled their hair or disrupted the interview process. All I wanted to do to those kids was strap them to their seat and plaster their mouths. The more I sat through those interveiws , the more I was yearning to speedily escape, because the moms kept carrying the kids to me and saying "see the nice auntie...go play with the nice auntie." This auntie was NOT feeling nice, I can tell you that much. All she wanted to do was scream and bolt, but instead, she had to grit her teeth and smile benignly for the sake of a succesful research.


So yeah... I came to the conclusion that maybe mothering just ain't for me. I can't fathom how the majority of the female race does it... go all gushy over mini-humans like that. I don't have the patience, or the in-built nurturing instinct that I am 'supposed' to have, to give up my freedom and sacrifice my sanity in the name of motherhood. The only living beings that DON'T evoke my sympathy and undying affection are humans, whatever size they come packaged in. Other peoples' kids are fine... cute and cuddly to look and coo at... because you know that at the end of the day, someone else has to deal with the whining and pooing. But to have to do that myself... hell, I'M still whining and pooing. There's no way in hell I'm gonna be mature enough to take care of another little me. I'd lose the one sane nerve I have left. Gimme dogs and cats, or even slugs to look after and I'll do it with joy. A fur-less, noisy baby who will in a few years talk too much...NO.

In general society, this makes me a heathen of sorts, but I don't really care. Society can go stuff itself... it'll be some time before I want to play Mummy.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Ode to Fleadom


You know how some folks say that certain activities help them to de-stress, like cleaning the house or weeding a garden? Well, I'm not some folks. I've recently discovered my own method of stressbusting, and boy does it work like a charm for the ol' grouse. It comes in the form of a tiny little creature called a tick. Thats right... my heart lifts and my emotions soar at the thought of a parasite, and I wanted to share this new-found joy with everyone.

I don't know if it's the weather or the moggies he socializes with, but since recently my dog Tuti (short for Tutankhamun, after that rich pharoah bugger up the Nile whom I fantasize occasionally about) has started displaying miniature black lightbulbs on himself. Looks like one of those costumes from Pirates of the Carribean (I watched it recently, hence the reference to demostrate my indepth knowledge of movies). At first we though it was just another fashion faux pas of his, because he's given to his phases - like the time he took a liking to sporting my underwear on his head. On closer inspection they turned out to be a community of insects, commonly known to the local as a 'makka' in the mother tongue.

Having brought up countless canines ever since I can remember, ticks are commonplace in the homestead, and don't evoke the stereotypical shrieking and exclamations of 'eeyah' from any of the household women. Nor does it spur us into action by way of speedily transporting said dog to the vet and wrining our hands in abject dismay, until a stinky solution costing the earth is poured onto the fur and we grimace at the sight of the ticks falling off and scrambling all over the floor.

No. We pride ourselves on our primitive methods, and thus, as we have for many years, we immediately swooped down on a thoroughly perplexed dog and began using those glorious tools called fingernails and proceeded to pluck at the parasitical baubles.

It's been two weeks since, and we're still plucking.

I know. You'd advice me to use the stinky solution and have it over with in a day. But here's the thing, mate... it's LOVELY to pick ticks. It's actually relaxing and very zen-like. There's something so releasing about picking out a crawly little bugger and flicking him down the toilet. It's a sense of accomplishment, I tell you, to collect them in a bowl of water, and at the end of a grooming session, proudly survey your pluckings, backstroking in their new swimming pool. So much so that it's almost become an unspoken contest between Mother and I; working tirelessly from two sides of dog and competing to pluck out the most number of fleas.

We're not the only ones benefitting either. You should see Tuti. He flops down on the floor and surrenders himself to our greedy fingers with a sigh of content and a look on his face that is very much reminiscent of a maharaja enjoying a sensual oil massage at the hands of his harem. The cats are incredibly jealous.

I have to admit, I'm now addicted to the art of de-ticking my dog. Before them creepy crawlies came, I couldn't tear myself away from Yahoo game demos. Now, all is forgotten and trivial in comparison to the joys of playing Nazi to a bunch of fleas. After two weeks of fur-weeding and strict prohibition from hob-nobbing with strays, Tuti's little companions are a dying race. Soon, they will be gone, leaving a fond memory of the happiness their exorcism gave me.

You should try it sometime. I swear, it's a rewarding expeience like no other. Ask you dog to think about it.

And if you're too squirmish, you know who to call for the job. ;)

Friday, November 2, 2007

So Far, So Good

You know what... this new job thing ain't so bad after all...
That's not to say I'm not shivering in me boots anymore, coz I still have to prove that I'm worth my salt in this place. Since yesterday I've done practically nothing because everyone's too busy to attend to me and my ignorance just yet. I have been warned, though, that come next week, my work will load up with much speed.

I've kept myself quiet without irritating any of the new office mates just yet. We'll give it some time before they get to know me, neyda. I'm seated in my cubicle in the corner, watching the rest of the ad world buzzing by, and taking down mental notes on the whos and hows of the place, until such time that I have developed myself a satisfactory opinion of my decision to move here.

It's a far cry from my previous office, this one. Not professionally, of course - this is a much larger agency and everything's alot more professional and structured in that sense. But the people just aren't the same, and nor is the culture within which they work. Having thoroughly enjoyed myself in a real home-like atmosphere back at the old place, with such a down-to-earth, warm and unpretentious team that became my family, the new place is kinda alien to me. that's not to say that the people are bad... just different. Much more 'stylish', I would say... a little more interested in themselves than each other, and not so passionate about their work and company as my old team is. It's a younger, 'party hard' crowd (most of them), and everything is just a tad too superficial. But that's possibly me being very biased because of my loyalties to what I left behind.

What struck me as foreign was that yesterday was supposedly the company's first anniversary, and absolutely no one wanted to celebrate it in any way. The management held a meeting and formally announced that one successful year had passed, and that was it. Not a fly seemed too interested, and everyone just went back to their workspaces, to silently click away at their machines and occasionaly crack a really posh joke that I just didn't get. Back in the old place, we'd be hugging and kissing each other while finding more excuses to party about an anniversary...

Also, when new people joined the former office, we'd do everything possible to make that person feel welcome and enjoy him/herself. There'd be team activities, initiation rites to giggle at and sing songs galore. Here, people barely gave me a second glance. I wouldn't say hostile, but it's certainly a much stiffer environment than I'm used to.

Workwise I still have no idea. Most probably I will, when my training begins next week. Until then, I shall wait, and watch , until it's time for me to change things. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Baby's First Day

AAAARGHH!! I'm starting to shit bricks now. Hey themissingsandwich, if you're reading this, I hear ya, babe. I'm going through exactly the same mental motions and it's freaking me out.

D day is here... I'm starting work at the new place tomorrow, and it's come around way too fast for comfort. I was just starting to settle down into my 'pre-new job' leave, and before you know it, it's time to start waking up early again.

A million... no.. zillion things have addled my mind today. (Well... just a few things, actually, but a zillion sounds much more dramatic and apt for an interesting read, don't you think?)
What if I hate it? What if they hate me? What if I screw up on my first day? What if I don't belong there? Will I be happy? Will leaving my previous job/life be worth it? Will I like being under someone's control? Can I manage to get through 6 months of probation? Did I make the right decision when taking this job? What if I made a mistake? What do I wear? What do I say? Will I get my period as a result of all this self-induced stress?

I can't stop feeling paranoid about this. It's been four years since I last started a new job... I'm out of my comfort zone here and am feeling far too vulnerable for my liking. What if I don't make a good first impression on these people? I don't know them... they might eat me alive. They weren't a very friendly looking bunch, the last time I saw them.

I took at least a good three hours deciding what to wear, and settled on a fairly smart pant-and-shirt combo. Not too creative and not overdressed either. I wouldn't want to look desperate to please (although I am, but they don't have to know that), so I'm keeping it simple.
Since this is kinda sorta a new journey in life that I'm starting tomorrow, I figured I'd also try the whole 'something old, something new' crap that brides do, for superstition's sake. A new pair of pants for luck, old earrings, a book for the 'something borrowed', and my mood to round off the 'something blue'. I'm also taking the comfort of friends along with me, to keep me psychologically secure throughout the day. A necklace from BF, a lilac (my favourite colour) shirt from my good galpal Dil, a bracelet from an office teammate and my mom's hairclip.

I don't want tomorrow to come.... wah... but I guess I have to face it. I'm gonna either make it, or break it with this new job, and I HATE not knowing which end result it's gonna be.

Gah. Argh.

Here goes nothing.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

EEK-quus

I find the abuse of animals in anyway distasteful, regardless of circumstance or reason. So yeah... I gasped and groaned through gritted teeth when Alan Strang first got off on and then blinded six horses in last night's performance of Equus. That's because the production (on a whole) was so damn good, it made me forget that it was a bloody stage play, and I got way too worked up over the story rather than watching the actors itself. And that rarely happens to me when watching a play, because my little experience in drama usually makes me immediately watch out for the technical glitches and individual performances from a critic's point of view, rather than letting the magic of it all take over me like it's supposed to.

So a standing ovation goes from me to His Lordship Steve for giving me my money's worth of entertainment and thought-provoking theatre. I've been reading the criticisms and comments from fellow audience members on other sites, and I have to say, I didn't care about the lack of originality in the local production. There were plenty of little things, in retrospect, that I have critical opinions on, but I was blown away by what I saw in the totality of the production, regardless of all that.

And now onto my OTHER not-so-positive personal opinions about the nuts and bolts of the Equus machine. By the way, I'm no expert... and these are only my viewpoints, and I do not, in any way, represent the mass audience or expert critics.

The Venue

SUCH a pain to go to. The show started at 7.30, and I was there from 6.45 trying to find parking, which wasn't available. The auditorium itself is marvellous, and ideal for this kind of intimate theatre experience, but I wish they'd done something on the logistics front, because it was annoyingly inconvenient.

The Organisers

Rude and inhospitable, from the point of ticket purchase to sitting down at the show. It's a good thing the show was good, because they certainly didn't do much for my enjoyment. There's professional efficiency, and then there's downright obnoxious.

The Script

Aiyo. For the average theatre-goer like me, the script had little to offer, save big words I didn't know the meaning of, and an ending that left me grappling for explantation. I'm used to the 'beginning, middle and end' concept in storylines, and this play made me question the point of it. It was one of those scripts that was so blatantly 'avante-garde' to me, that I figured I had to be an abstract artlover type to see sense in it. OK, so we figured out why this kid did what he did... er... so what? We question 'what is normal'... so what? What is this play supposed to DO for me, as an audience? The script left me unsatisfied.

The Set, Lights and Sound

Nice. It worked for me. minimalism focused on the intensity of the story rather than distracting the eye. The lights didn't shock my system, though, and I've heard some experts say they were predictable... but then again, do you go to watch the lighting, or do you go to watch the play? I did, however, wish they used more reds to bring out the passion and dangerous mental conflicts in certain scenes. But that's just me trying to be stereotypical.

The Acting

Ok.... THIS area I have plenty of things to speak on. But before I do, I also have to respect this cast for holding an audience captive for 2 and a half hours, despite the shortcomings. This is just me nit picking, but from an overall perspective, this cast outshone any other I've seen on the local stage.

I have never seen Rohan Ponniah act, but throughout my life have been told some marvellous things about him, so I went to see this play with great expectations. And... I'm sorry to say, I was bloody disappointed. The souvenir informed me of his many acting credits, but I failed to see the glory as many others did. To me, all he did was articulate and say everything in the same way. It was an ACT, and his portayal of Dysart lacked sincerety. Just too affected for me, and I say this without any bias, because I was so sure the man was the God of stage acting before watching Equus. It was tedious, and I personally felt he could have delivered some of those lines in better ways, but props to the man for having learned all of them! And his over-emphatic articulation did get my attention when it came to every single detail of the story.

Tracy shook her head around too much that it often distracted me from what she was saying. I don't know if she did that on purpose, to give a mild eccentricity and epileptic personality to Mrs. Strang, but it didn't work for me. Again, I felt there was too much 'playing', and less truth in her performance. Even Shanaka's acting was not really upto what I've seen him do in the past. I felt he could have done much more with his role, and I know this guy is a damn good actor. All in all, the parents were lack-lustre to me.

Subha wasn't seductive enough for me. A little too subtle. Ranmali was too wooden in her delivery. Not quite convincing enough for me. Janice, I thought, was awesome as the nurse. She needs to be on stage more... I would love to see some future peformances. Dominic came and went, but made his mark. As always.

The horses weren't all that, I afraid. At least not for me. I thought the visual representation was beautiful, but I didn't see the grace and power coming out of their movements, and they walked like they were blind before actually being blinded. Knowing full well of Shannon's ability as a dancer, I'd have expected so much more in the leg work and body movement to bring out the sexual elegance of a horse, but sadly I didn't see it last night.

And last but not least, Hiran as Alan Strang..... he stole the show. There is not one thing I found wrong in the guy's performance, except maybe for his gorgeous body which I found positively sinful. My hat is off to Hiran, for outshining and completely outdoing all the 'seasoned' actors on that stage last night. There was such truth and beauty in his portrayal of Strang, that I almost wept in sympathy by the end of the show. Enough said.

So there it is... my take on Equus. Negative nit-picking aside, it was a brilliant production on the whole, and one that justified my love for theatre. Would I watch it again? No. It was memorable enough to last.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sayonara, Dignity.


The best way to come back down to earth a notch is to make a complete arse of oneself in front of the very society you try to pretentiously emulate. Interestingly, the gods decided to favour (or torture) me with the experience last night. Lets just put it this way... it'll be some time before I show my face in Colombo 7 public again.

The BF and I decided to hit El Cinnamon Grande last evening to try out the Japanese food promo going on, which is part of the bigger World Spice Festival taking place in Colombo. For about the past year now, I've developed myself a nice little craving for Jap cuisine, and poor BF has been my guinea pig for experimenting by visiting restaurants and trying out the stuff with. With Jap food being quite an expensive dining experience in Sri Lanka, I was more than excited when I learnt of the Cinnamon Grand having this 'all-you-can-eat' promo for a reasonable price. And so, the guinea pig and I took a chance on it.

The promotion itself was very well executed, with Jap chefs flown in from... well... Japan... and a delectable array of authentic fare on offer. The hotel had taken it one step further and gone to the lengths of creating the ambience to match the food, and it all came together to create quite the experience.

But that's not what this blog is about. This blog is dedicated to one of the many things fate and my addle-minded body is cuelly capable of when it comes to me.

Before I go on, please note that I took great pains to dress 'Japanesey' last night... sifting through my wardrobe clutter to find the perfect cherry blossom (well, they LOOKED like cherry blossoms) outfit and wrestle my hair into a style worthy of high-society dining. Had I known what I was in for, I might as well have worn my oldest pyjamas.

Anyways, we go to the Cinnamon Grand, me feeling posh and hoity toity and all, and went into the promo area. Spying a couple of local celebrities and posher relatives around, I immediately did that detestable female thing and started to strut around and be 'in' with the crowd. You know... stupid things like flicking my hair all over the place, strutting on heels that were hurting my hamstring and pouting like Marylin Monroe. BF couldn't care less, of course... being the completely unpretentious creature that he is. He was more interested in making faces at the octopus balls on display.

So there I was, preening and parading like a cherry blossom peacock, getting BF to serve hold my plates so that I could serve even more stuff and overload our table, since it would be SO not done to and 'goday' to keep going back to the buffet too many times. I took just about everything there was, with the exception of the octopus and boiled algae (yuck), wagged my ass back to our table and laid it all out in the most fashionable way, all the while giving snooty looks at the rest of the diners.

And then...

And then I tipped the table on myself.

Yes. Exactly. I stepped on some goddamn shaky table base, held on to the edge of the table to sit my heeled and unbalanced (in many ways) self down, and brought the entire table down at myself, Japanese cuisine and all.

The next thing I knew, there was boiling hot Miso soup drenching my pants, and pieces of raw tuna splattered all over my cherry blossoms, with some wasabi and soy sauce for added effect. Not only that, I had also managed to fling the crockery onto the floor, and a loud crash and smash confirmed that I'd shattered some.

All this at the table for two situated next to the entrance of the place, which meant EVERYBODY saw me. Nice going, Dramaqueen.

There was quite a long bit of stunned silence from the diners and I swear the Colombo 7 ladies were dying to snigger fashionably. it wasn't just a few pieces of food... the ENTIRE TABLE was all over the floor, and more entertainingly, all over me.

I must say BF should be given an award for his ability to move into action with Road Runner reflexes. Why shouldn't he have... he's been through this plenty of times before, and is an old pro at girlfriend disaster recovery. While I stood there looking a wide-eyed and complete mess, he calmly helped the waiters to start cleaning up and transferred the remains to another table whilst instructing me to go to the washroom and clean myself up, without so much as batting an eyelid or sighing like he used to do back when my clumsiness was still new to him. I know he was dying to laugh out loud, because it was almost expected to, and COULD only have happened to me.

The restaurant manager pointed the way to the washrooms. True to myself, I just HAD to rush into the wrong one, and end up staring at a man who'd (thankfully) just concluded peeing. For a moment, both of us wondered what the fuck the other was doing in that toilet, until he came out of his shock and indignantly informed me that the ladies was next door.

Try guessing how loud, long and repetitive my scream of "F***!!!?!!!?!?!" was, once I found my way to the right bathroom.

I tried to use a wet face towel and wash off the soup and fish combo that had by now trailed right down my outfit, making it look like I'd purged beancurd. However, all I did was make it ten times worse, because I ended up with patches of wet trouser that gave out the 'just-peed-alot' look. SO, yours truly used her creative skill, and decided to wet the WHOLE outfit, in the hopes that a uniform wetness would trick the viewing eye. Dumbass.

BF raised a questioning eyebrow at me when I walked back to the table, red-faced and drenched from head to toe in my new wet-look, but didn't say a word. Neither did anyone else, but that was sheer fear of making too much noise with their laughter. Not a sound was uttered by my tolerant better half about the catastrophe, right through the rest of the evening... not even when I mentioned that my new look was soaking the plush Cinnamon Grand chair I was sitting on. He was extremely gentlemanly, and even went back to the buffet four times over on my behalf (self-inflicted disasters make me hungry), so as to save me further embarrasement. I apologized profusely to the hotel management, and offered to pay for the dishes I'd broken, but they were very nice about it all, and even offered me a t-shirt to wear (which I declined, because, of course, it didn't look Japanesey).

The rest of the evening was fairly non-destructive, and we polished off quite a bit of food. We even felt adventurous enough to try out stuff I used to balk at before, and I have to admit, it wasn't half bad. BF even succeeded putting a smile on my humiliated face by making a smiley face out of the dessert he served for me.

Oh... and Anarkali was there.

But this blog isn't about her either.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Prima Taste-less?

Wednesday night saw the family and I trying out a new restaurant in Colombo. We occasionally get into this sudden fit to experiment at the risk of disappointing our wallets and stomachs. This time's venue of choice was the new Singaporean place in Rajagiriya, named 'Prima Taste'. Decisions were made based on the rave reviews I'd seen in some city magazines, as well as personal recommendations from friends who'd tried it out. So off we went, salivating at the thought of some authentic S'porean goodies. The last time I went to Singapore in 2005, I ate so much good food that I still haven't gotten the tastes out of my memory, so you can imagine how hyped I was about the chance to experience it all over again.

The Venue

The restaurant itself is quite spanky (Probably because it's still new...local eateries have a tendency to lose interest in their interior upkeep after a few years), and is very much Singaaporean in atmosphere. Pristinely sanitary looking white dining areas, with minimalistic decor and furnishing, finished off with some flourescent blue lighting accents and a large black & white mural of metropolitan Singapore adoring one whole wall in each dining section. The finishing touches of large single-glass window panes with dark wood square latices brings it all together to make the diner forget that Sri Lanka is out there. No doubt there has been Singaporean involvement in designing this interior.
The Menu

I feel I must make mention of the menus too. This was the first time I'd seen menus that made me so hungry. Classy and international in look and feel, they carry full-page pictures of succulent dishes, and look very much like those gorgeous recipe books that we buy off the shelf and use for eye candy alone. Plus, it is worthy to note that every single dish listed on the menu was authentic to Singapore, which is a very pleasant surprise to a diner like myself, who, through previous experience, expects the same old local-chinese fare to be presented. My excitement mounted when going through the menu here, and the mouth began to water at quite a speedy rate.
But that's about as far as the positive element of the night went.
The Rest

When you've got the winning combination of a fabulous looking restaurant teamed up with a menu that can drive the patron crazy with desire, then the worst thing you could do is kill all that expectation you've built up with a lacking end delivery. Unfortunately, this is what Prima Taste did to me.

For starters (pun intended), nothing I ordered was available. I went through around six different dishes (when, mind you, the list isn't all that extensive either) before we came to one that was actually available. And it was quite ridiculous too. For instance, we ordered the black pepper crab (signature dish, as boldly displayed on the menu), were informed that it wasn't available, but we could try the chillie crab instead. How on earth could a restaurant have the crab available, but not the pepper?? Then they said they could serve me laksa noodles, and not fried noodles, as I ordered. EH?!? It's the same noodle, man! With the same preparation, except for a soup being added to one... the one you COULD serve me! A giggly, blushing and highly embarrassed looking waiter informed me that my incredulous looks were nothing compared to what he'd gotten from other diners for the last month of operation. It almost made me feel sorry for the man.

At one point, everything became quite hysterical. During his stammering explanations as to why they could serve only 25% of the menu, the waiter revealed that everything was still in Singapore. That included the chef and the manager, in addition to the pepper crab. Not able to hold it in any longer, my entire family just burst into teary fits of giggles. When asked why they gave us such a glorious display on the menu, we were told that the menu's came from Singapore too. The laughter just got worse.

Then there was the incident with the oysters.

The menu presented a dish of oysters with chillie prawns. Dad asked the waiter if this was available, and we were promptly informed that it, in fact, was. He was quite proud about it too. The conversation went something like this-
Dad - "Do you have the oyster dish?"

Waiter- " Yes sir. Oyster is available"
Dad - "You're sure no?"

Waiter- " Yes sir. We have the oyster dish"
Dad - " Are they good oysters?"
Waiter- "Very good, sir."

Dad - " You're sure they're fresh, right?"

Waiter- "fresh oyster, sir. Oyster hondai (good)."

Dad - "Ok. Bring us one portion of it."

Fifteen minutes later, he brought us a fancy presentation of six chillie prawns. We dug around looking for oysters, but found only a weak-looking salad leaf underneath.

Dad - " Ko oysters??" (Where are the oysters?)

Waiter - " Why sir... oyster sauce, no, sir?"

Guess how much sniggering erupted at THAT point.

All in all, the fare served last night was, to me, a disappointment. We had the laksa noodles that tasted very much like packeted soup noodles, Singapore fried rice that hadn't any salt, chicken satays that were far too sweet, oysters with chillie prawns that you now know about, and Singapore Chillie Crab that... well... didn't have any chillie in it.

It all made sense when, on our exit, we spied a counter selling ready-to-cook packs of Prima spice mixes for each of the dishes lined up on the menu. As expected, the black pepper crab mix, amongst some others, was missing. I have to admit to some indignation. When I choose to pay a restaurant, I would prefer if some chef used his skills and made me the food from scratch rather than done what I could easily do at home for a pittance of the cost. And what then, I ask, is the point of having the Singaporean chef in the first place?!?

I should also warn any future patrons of the place that their costs exceed their service, and we ended up with a bill that gave us more pain than the ache that all the laughing left in our tummies.

And so, in a nutshell, Prima Taste ended up being the dining experience that is definitely not authentic to Singapore, even though several other elements would have been. If you feel like trying it out for yourself, I would advice you to call first, and make sure the chef is around.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Feelin' Pawsh

Ho hum. Have just come home after a very upmarket day, and feel extremely Beverly Hills-ish. Watch me strut.

Not that i could or did afford any of today's happenings... luck just brought me opportunities that I put into use, and it all rounded up to a day of living the celebrity lifestyle. You see, I received a couple of vouchers from the BF and relatives in the last few months for various things - professional massages and a five-star meal to be precise. Then, on my birthday, my mum gave me a Macbook (The most expensive gift I've ever received in my life!). I also do radio voicings and occasionally model for commercials because of friends in the ad industry who drag me into them. (And because I'm jobless and broke enough to do it)

So, today was one of those rare days when it all came together. Woke up today to a fabulous looking head of hair, thanks to me having cut it a couple of days back. slipped on a pair of jeans, drove myself to a commercial voicing in my Peugeot (the one I haven't returned to my old office yet), went and met the Apple guys about my Spanky Macbook, sashayed my way into the massage parlour where I was treated to half an hour of pure bliss by way of the world's best head massage (which, btw, left my hair looking even fuller and better!), spent another half an hour trying on shoes and clothes at a shopping hotspot, and finished it off with a grand lunch at the Cinnamon Grand, alongside a very well-groomed boyfriend who looked particularly smashing today.

Shah, no?

I am now going to lounge in bed and try to get my brother to feed me grapes.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Age and a Highly-Strung Ham.

Ouch.
Remind me of them good old days when hamstrings felt normal, please.

Ouch.

So, yours truly decided to give unnecessary risk a whole new meaning when I attempted to demonstrate a 'split' while dancing at a mini-performance this weekend. The last time I did a split was around twelve years ago, at some absurd school show. Two dozen years later, you'd think wisdom would have set in along with age by now, but nooo... I just had to go and try it again, didn't I...

I blame senility. And his sister denial.

BUT, on a positive note (abject pain aside), I did manage to split quite successfully during the performance. Not once, but twice. At least I know it's still possible, and I don't need to do Anlene shots just yet.

The reason for all this pain and misery? A cast trip.

Having recently concluded our run of 'Blood Brothers', the WSP committee got together and organized a cast trip for all thoe involved in the production. This year's venue of choice was Hotel Mermaid in Kalutara. (I was pleasantly surprised by the place, btw... I fully expected some two-star sleazy joint, and instead enjoyed some fabulous comforts worthy of a four-star hotel) We went with a massive to-do list in hand, complete with numerous group activities and what not. Everyone was on an all-time energy high, singing boozing and dancing at the drop of a hat all the way there.... everyone, that is, except me. All I did was curl up in the back of the chaotic bus and want to nap. I figured it was because I'd had a late night the previous evening, and told myself that once we'd gotten to the hotel and started on our activities, I'd be up and hopping like an energizer bunny.

Once at the hotel, we got our keys and made our way to our quite plush rooms. Assuming that it would take the gang a few minutes to settle themselves in, I plopped on the bed and turned on the tv. Before I knew it, I was snoring like a bulldog with sinus trouble.

And that's all I did, and can remember from the rest of the trip.

Of course, it was interspersed with short moments of awareness, when we rehearsed for and participated in the evening's performance (we held a grand 'oscar' style awards night to honour individual efforts during the production),where my thigh so rudely gave out in the middle of a 'cats' dance number. Then there were the few times I descended on the hotel restaurant to stuff myself with whatever food was available. But apart from that, I saw more of my bed than I did of anyone or anything else related to the cast trip. I still have no idea what happened on that trip with the rest of the cast, because I was far too busy dreaming absurdities under my very nice white bedsheet for two whole days.

Gah. I remember when cast outings were nothing but 42-hour raves, with sleep finding us only once we'd gotten back home. High intensity vacations filled with water polo, volleyball, dance competitions and spirited jam sessions. But now.... now all I do is fart in my sleep right through the whole trip. Next stop, menopause.

Sigh. Ouch.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

missmanagement

Nope... that's not a typo on my title.... read on.

So it's over. Another chapter of my life closed today, when I bid farewell to the office I had practically lived in for the last four and a half years, and the small but wonderful group of people I came to love as my extended family. I've always prided myself on being a somewhat hard-hearted bitch who can move on quite easily from one phase to another without much icky nostalgia and sentiment, but maaan.... today......God, it was so friggin' tough to leave that room, and I, miss cool clown, so lost my bearings and broke down in tears. I wasn't the only one... everyone else took my cue and started bawling too, and it was a nice little puddle we created in that department today.

I know what you're thinking. "Get a life, woman... it's just an office. Not like you died or anything."

But you know... I think I did die a bit today. I gave up more than 'just an office'... I gave up part of me.

When I first started the company off, I was a clueless bit of fluff, struggling to figure out how to set up a business and figuring out what to do with it after that. Ever since then, it's been one long roller-coaster ride of trials and triumphs alike, and I not only molded the organisation, but also myself into the professional I am today. From sitting alone on the floor of a large room with a PC next to me (the only thing we could afford at the time), to a fully fledged (and fully equipped!) place full of highly dynamic people, this baby of mine grew up fast to become quite a worthy contender in it's industry. And I am DAMN proud to say I was a part of all that, and moreover, that I actually led the way.

Leading a team of people was something I knew nothing about. I didn't know what to do, or how to do it. But through the years of making mistakes, I worked out quite a successful formula of management techniques that helped us to achieve. Forget Kotler, Drucker or any other guru that the marketing notes adulate. This formula was bourne out of sheer ignorance of the so-called 'laws of leadership', and created through a long process of falling down until I learned to stand in my own individual style.

So, if there's anyone out there who's gotten the opportunity to manage an operation, but as a result of inexperience is deathly afraid like I was, here are my tried-and-true management mantras-
  • Those on your team are people first, and employees second. Once you figure that out and get off your management high-horse, you'll understand what makes each person tick, so that you will then figure out how to motivate each individual to work to his or her maximum potential.
  • The simplest rewards can be the most rewarding. I never did have sufficient money in the company to hand out bonuses and increments like nobody's business. But that didn't mean that my employees weren't shown appreciation at every given opportunity. Personal letters, plenty of one-on-one chat time, ownership for our every success and occasional in-house funtime brought me a whole lot more productivity and loyalty than most other companies.
  • They won't love it if you don't. Who on earth wants to deal with a morose manager on a daily basis? My team knew I adored every minute I spent at office, and I made sure they got my drift through example, when I said passion for your work is the key ingredient to success. Result? I inform them of far better employment prospects in other companies and I get glares and outright (and often loud) rejection in return.
  • Trust them with your life. I don't have to spell this one out. My guys would've died for me, and I for them. It was this mutual understanding that helped us gel and develop brilliant teamwork.
  • You're not GOD. Nothing's worse than a manager who thinks he/she is above everyone else, and gives out the message that he/she can do no wrong. It just makes things worse when you mess up in front of your team. I made no bones about the fact that I was human too, and that sometimes I didn't know what i was doing. The strangest thing is, when you're honest about your stupidity, people respect you that much more.
  • Never stop learning. Never stop teaching. My company grew because we strived together to maintain a constant flow of knowledge. Anything we learned was passed around, and that ensured a well-rounded unit. Teaching people what you know makes you redundant in your job, which to me is a very good thing, because then, when you do leave, you're ensured that the company will survive and carry on.
If you've noticed, all of my points talk about what to do with a team, and don't talk about the other functions of management. This is because, without a team, you'd have nothing to manage. You take care of this one thing, and it in turn will take care of the rest. Guaranteed.

Alas, I am no longer managing the team... I'm moving on to try my hand at something new.

I feel sad and dreary, and yet, quite accomplished for all that I have learned from my experience here. I will miss my guys sorely... they made my job worthwhile. But whilst I am leaving behind a team of employees, I am taking with me a fantastic bunch of best friends.

Farewell, baby. Kiss.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Raindrops are Falling in My Head

It's one of those days.

Bleurgh.... the weather's reflecting my mood to perfection. Gloomy, dark, depressive and utterly unproductive.

I'm still at office, though everyone else has buggered off home. Got nothing to do for an hour, until it's time to shove off for a rehearsal at a friend's house. I've had a bad day... not bad things happening, but generally a really bad mood that's twisted me around its little finger and made the last 10 hours mondo crappio.

I suppose it boils down to me being female... we're prone to this sort of thing now and then. No, it's not PMS, dumbass... just another one of those days when everything ticks you off so much it borders on absurd.

It started off with a silent argument I had in my head with the better half... when he announced this morning that he was going to the gym with some work buddies in the evening. I totally over-reacted and made a scene out of it, even to the extent of ranting at him on email this afternoon. You see, I've been dying to go to the gym with him for the last year, but recently gave up the constant pleading and nagging because he really didn't seem interested, and always had a bunch of excuses each time I asked. Then suddenly, someone else suggests it, and he's packed and hopping along. Am I THAT much of a pain to go with, that all my wailing for the past year can be ousted with a single invitation from another person?

I know what you're going to say... Im being stupid and it's a 'guy thing'. Bullshit. We went to the gym together some time ago, and we both enjoyed it. But lately, enjoyment happens in two different corners of the world.

Anyway, long story short, I had a somewhat irrational female viewpoint to make, and I stretched it in my head to its dramatic best, so much so that I got worked up over nothing, and ended up simmering over every other relationship issue I've had in the past. All the naggy little doubts and concerns came flooding back and cooked itself to be one enormous lump of distasteful crap.

So much so that now, I'm seated here, 10 hour after the whole thing started, still obsessing.

I've come to the conclusion that my present state of mind and mood has nothing to do with a petty tiff about a gym. There's been plenty of stuff going on in my head for months now, and it's festered to a point where even the tiniest absurdity is setting off an eruption of irritability and depression. I am starting to become complacent and unhappy with my life, and it in turn is changing me into a person I don't like and never wanted to become.

Either that, or it's just one of those days.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Feeling Green


It's blog action day, and I'm doing my bit to save a tree or two. Hopefully, there's someone out there jobless enough to read my musings and take note, and POSSIBLY be affected in some form or manner.
So. I am a tree hugger. Not so much a kaftan-toting, unshaven flower child picketing over the rights of leaves, but someone who demonstrates a considerable amount of angst towards the likes of mismanaged deforestation. Simply put, if you kill the trees, I'll want to kill you.

I can be sensible enough to understand the needs of man and the necessity to utilise trees for various purposes. I do, in fact, sit in chairs and eat at tables myself. And life wouldn't be the same without paper. However, I am also learned enough to know that several environmentally conscious organisations and nations have adopted strategies to ensure the sustainability of the eco-environment, whilst at the same time felling trees for whatever end goal. What I detest is lethargic entities that know of this, but don't follow suit. It's quite apparent that no amount of public outcry or well-meaning pleas from environmentalists are going to change man's ways, given the state of our planet today. If people listened, Al Gore wouldn't have had to do anything worthy of a nobel prize. I think it's high time a more nazi-like approach was taken to sort out this whole issue, and violators of nature were taken severely to task without question.

I look around me today and am saddened by the way this country and more so this world has 'developed'. Gone are the days where I can sit under a tree and listen to a happy bird sing, or smile at a naughty squirrel while enjoying the cool fresh breeze swirling around me. Ha. Nowadays, just FINDING said tree is called a vacation, and requires extensive travel. I am quite amused with so-called contractors and real estate developers who harp on about their grand plans to ruin a perfectly good scenery. I am even more amused by the sheer idiocy that compels some people to buy into that crap. If the city life was all that hot and happening, then why the dickens do city dwellers pay out of their nose to 'get away' on weekends? For god's sake, you have to buy TICKETS to see the squirrels now!

There's no point in me repeating what everyone else says about the state of affairs today - how illness is spreading, animals are suffering extinction, the air is poisonous, etc. etc. blah blah. I think it's come to a point where saying it is not even necessary, simply because we're all living in a hellhole anyway, and not knowing it puts you in the comatose category.

There's no two words about it. The world is fading fast, and unless we want to end up withered slivers of diseased corpse, then we need to do something about it, WITHOUT waiting for someone else to start and win a Nobel prize along the way.

If not for the sake of the trees, do it for your own damn sake.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Clogged

Another Sunday. The days are flying by too fast, and then again, not fast enough. I'm dreading the inevitable move out of the office at the end of this coming week, but also quite eagerly looking forward to 10days of doing nothing before starting at the new place.
A lot's been going on in this muddled mind of mine, besides the work-related stuff. Life's little variables are starting to become a royal pain in the ass, and I'm suddenly feeling very sick of it all.
Not like you want to know, but my sinusitis made a comeback last week and hasn't had the decency to leave, which means the ol' head feels like ton of bricks, and the nose hasn't enjoyed air for sometime. My brother the newly-graduated quack says that the case is severe, and calls for a draining of the inner mush, which requires me to stick a tube-needle up my nostril and break the bone to suck out the hardened pus.

Enjoy your meal after reading THAT.

I have still to decide whether I want to put myself through all that nonsense, or wait till it clears on its own. Meanwhile, the condition it's in at the moment is making me drowsy and irritable, and life is certainly not cheerful.

Similar to the clogged sinus, several other elements in my life are giving me reasons to ponder on their longevity and feasibility. (Ooh look I used big words.... good girl.) Feels like life is changing in many ways, and I don't really know what to do about it. A classic case of heart Vs. head Vs.gut. What do you do when you know that certain decisions you make will hurt other people that you don't want to hurt? Like, for a long time? And how do you know it's the right decision to make?

Adulthood sucks.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Spidey-itis

You know how Spiderman claims that 'with power come responsibility'? Well, I've got the Spiderman Flu. Symptoms consist of mixed emotions and feelings of annoyance, despair, confusion, alarm, rage and immense stress.

Things are NOT happening the way I planned, and it's pissing me off big time. Let me explain -

Remember how I mentioned in a previous post about making a difficult decision to leave my current workplace and superteam? Well, my present office is something that I created and built up, and am so damn proud of. I mean, I don't own it, but I started it off from scratch and put it together without a single dog in my group helping me out (and I clearly needed the help at the time too!). Over the years, the number of employees have grown and developed with me, and we're quite a competitive entity now, and I can't help but feel quite bucked about the strides we've made and the way we've transformed from a bunch of clueless beginners to a well-oiled professional agency.

I've nurtured so many dreams for this place, and many a wish for where it would go in the years to come. Through the years, the place and the team have become so much more to me than just a company with colleagues. This is, and will always be MY baby. When I made the half-hearted choice to take up a new job offer that came my way, I immediately set about making plans for how my baby would manage in my absence. I'd gotten together a hard working team with plenty of passion, who were by now trained enough to run the show irrespective of my existence in the company. Even now they've taken on the task of making things happen without me, and that's exactly how I want it to be.

BUT, I didn't take into consideration that evil little thing called 'Management'. My company belongs to a larger corporate entity, run by a coven of slime-balls who work for themselves and no other. Up until now, I'd managed to fend them and their greedy hands off the company, and dashed alot of dreams bourne by personal ulterior motives. When I made the official announcement of my resignation, they pounced on the opportunity, and have begun work on taking control of the place. These people have little or no regard for my team, nor an understanding of how we work. It just so happens that this operation can offer several benefits to certain snakes in the group, and my going away makes their mission a lot easier.

And that's where the Spidey-itis comes in. This decision for me to move out was not one that could be made lightly, given that, as a manager and a leader, I was responsible for more than just MY career. I have a whole company full of other individuals, whose careers and job satisfaction rests on my shoulders. I'd made promises to my team, and I'd brought them to believe in me, and now, thanks to my choices and the demons around us, those beliefs will be torn apart.

Frankly, it SUCKS. I wish I could take a bazooka to the top management and blow all of them apart for being the conniving wolves that they are, but I can't. If it was a case of them doing something to benefit the company and the team, I'd be fine. But I know that's not the case. They have vested interest in this operation that could very well compromise all that I've worked so hard to achieve.

I can't help but feel so guilty for putting my guys into this rut. Here I am, floating away to a new job and a clean slate, whilst leaving them behind to fend off the rabid dogs. How dare I.

And now, it's too late for me to do anything about it. I've already given my word to the new office, and officially resigned from this one. I've invested money and time in replacing my post here, and there's no way in hell the group would take me back now, since it bogs up their agendas.

I can only be there for my guys, and hope that they'll stand up for themselves and my baby as much as I would have, were I here. I guess it's up to them now....

I feel like I'm letting so many people down, especially myself. I was given powers and I didn't use them wisely, and now so many others have to bear the result of it.

I hate Spidey-itis. Antidote, anyone?

Long Live Mother Nature!

There's this nifty little concept that's buzzing around the blogsphere that i think you should get involved in.
Apparently, Oct 15th has been declared "Blog Action Day', and bloggers around the world can unite and publish posts on nature on the same day. Hopefully, this will make a statement, and communicate a single universal message to the millions who visit our blogs.

Check out the link for info and sign up! I did.

http://blogactionday.org/

Monday, October 8, 2007

Cats in My Cradle

So last week we celebrated World Animal Day and all…

Colombopetrescue’s recent blogpost on her late dog Picky inspired me to write this tribute to some of the dearest friends I’ve had in my life- my legendary cats of the past. I say legendary because each has a story of it’s own, slathered with highly interesting personalities, that has provided much dinnertime conversation amongst human friends and family. Thus I felt the most fitting thing would be to pay tribute by way of immortalizing them on the internet.

If you’re a cat person, then you’ll know what I mean when I say that they are a delightful species of pet to own. Independent, beautiful, full of energy and riveting to look at, a cat can be the best possible companion for a like-minded person.

Me being the sort of girl who really goes for the chilled out attitude of a cat, I’ve housed more than my fair share of them in the past, earning me various labels from the amused society that surrounds me (As if my blog URL didn’t give you enough of a clue…)
In 28 years I have enjoyed the company of 15 cats consecutively, plus a myriad of others who drop in from the neighbourhood. Mine were Pulun, Sooky, Booshie, Twinky, Simon, Martin, Dudley, ‘Feet’, Stevie, Lonely Bat, Nangi, Tigger, and more recently Socksy, Hades and Isis. Each could not be more different from the other, and each has left their pawprint firmly embedded in my font of pleasant memories.
Pls note that the supportive images are not those of my cats (I didn’t have any softcopies to upload,) but are some I found online, that have remarkable- even twinlike- resemblances to my own fellows.

Pulun

Meaning ‘cottonwool’ in Sinhala, Pulun was, in one word, beautiful. Pure white with gorgeous blue eyes, she was the cat who commanded respect, with her ladylike qualitites and breathless looks. I don’t remember much of Pulun’s antics, save that she had a way with the boys, and as a result mothered a fair amount of squirmy half-blood kittens in her time, more often than not in one of my mother’s kitchen cupboards, inside shelved cooking pans. The photogenic one of the bunch, she’d sit serenely for any camera, knowing full well that every side of her was a ‘good side’. Tragically, Pulun was kidnapped, and if memory recalls, murdered by some insane neighbours, although I have little recollection of this, owing to it being my early years.

Sooky

Sooky was a ball of silver Persian fur, and the star attracting after Pulun’s untimely demise. She spent a good long life in our household, birthing litter after litter and becoming one of my mother’s favourites. One could call Sooky the ‘Grand duchess’ of the household cats, a role she played with much grace. That said, with all her finery, Sooky did have the inbuilt evil streak in her, and treated us to many a dismembered rat, squirrel and bird in her day.

Booshie

Sooky’s first born and my favourite, owing to the fact that he was MINE and not merely the household feline, so much so that he was my topic of speech in a grade 2 effective speaking examination. Booshie grew up with me, and became my best friend in those dim distant days of being the ‘weird kid’ who didn’t make many human pals. He was silvery grey just like his mother, but short furred and chubby. His emerald green eyes would stare at you and set your mind blank with awe. His colour wasn’t the only thing Sooky’d passed on to him, because Booshie could be lethal with any other smaller creature fated to cross his path. Booshie loved dressing up, and had quite the collection of outfits tailored by mother, that he’d wear before going to sleep in his very own customized cot. He’d follow me around wherever I went, and was never far from me at night. More often than not, I found myself being rudely pushed off my pillow because Booshie felt it to be more politically that he slept on it instead. Needless to say, I was heartbroken for years after Booshie died as a result of a snakebite.

Twinkie

My goodness. This one is a living legend amongst the archive of stories about my cats, due to her very unusual name. Or should I say names, because there were not one, not two, but THIRTEEN of them. Anne Mary Jennifer Sandra Sally Senorita Fredericka Booshina Silvia Twinkerbell Esmerelda Agatha Edith was she. I can still say it all in one breath. For practicality’s sake, we called her Twinkie.
Twinkie was sliver of a cat, sexy in her slim glossy black-and-white coat, and commanded the attention of all the perverted tomcats in our neighbourhood. SO much so that she was quite pregnant, quite often. She lived a good long attitude-filled life, until she decided one fine day to run away from home and never return. To this day, I don’t where she went.

Simon, Martin & Dudley

The musketeers three. Born of Twinkie, each couldn’t have been more different than the other.

Simon was the eldest, as one of a previous litter. The thug of the pack, he was big-made, rough looking and always wounded in battle. Bill Sikes of Oliver Twist comes to mind with Simon, even down to his raspy gruff voice that would rather wheeze than mew. This cat had the guts of a Doberman, which he showed off with pride when it came to the family dogs.
Martin, on the other hand, was the quiet guy, often found cowering behind a curtain from Simon’s eyes. One could not help but feel sorry for Martin, watching the sibling abuse he went through, and how he took it all with silent dignity, right up to the day he couldn’t take it anymore, and took up permanent residency with our neighbours instead.

And Dudley…. Dudley was a different kettle of fish altogether, and has gone down in the family history as the cat who will never be forgotten.

Because… Dudley was gay.

I kid you not. I had a homosexual cat, who knew it, and was proud of it. How did I know he was gay? Because apart from the long hours he’d spend on grooming his gorgeous bushy tail (when his siblings, mother and father were all short-haired strays), and the many times he’d cower on his toes on the kitchen cupboard with a petulant mew at the sight of a cockroach, Dudley would, at any given opportunity, try to mate with his brothers, much to their disgust. Even the neighbourhood thugs gave up their fight for his territory, simply because his ogling attentions scared them. ‘Dudders’, as I fondly referred to him, lived a long and sexually unsatisfied life, until the cat flu got the better of him.

Stevie

Shortly after we lost Dudleykins, a completely new personality entered our lives. A little black ball of fur we found on the street on rainy evening, whose tiny eyes had tragically been pecked out by crows. We rushed her to the vet, expecting a decision to put her to sleep, but were told she was healthy enough to live a full life minus her eyes. And so we took her home and promptly named her Stevie Wonder, given her colour and physical limitations.
Stevie grew up to amaze us and all those who witnessed her will to live a full and happy life. With her heightened sense of smell and hearing, she was often better than a cat who could see, because of her sense of focus and sheer determination. At kitten stage she’d bump into walls and chairs when trying to find her way around, but soon developed a map in her mind, bourne of the many accidents. This map and extra sensory perception allowed her to streak around effortlessly in a few months, and even climb the trees in our garden. She even started making very human like sounds, and had ‘words’ to express what she wanted, as that was her only understanding of communication.
Sadly, Stevie was mauled one afternoon by a neighbouring dog, on the one strange occasion that she dared to venture out of familiar territory. In the four years that she did live, she taught us many a lesson – one being that no obstacle was beyond overcoming.

Feet, Tigger & Nangi

Three kittens whose tenure with us was short-lived as a result of our fosterparenting schemes, but who left their mark nevertheless. Feet was christened simply because of his questionable attraction to…well… feet. You couldn’t walk by without being startled by a bundle of fur and claws shooting out from under a table and securing itself to your toes with razor-sharp teeth.
Tigger and Nangi were from a litter and were by far the cutest things we’d housed in a while. Tigger got his name from his bouncy, bossy personality and stripes, whilst Nangi was a typical little sister… pretty, demure and painfully shy.
All three came and went, but remained forever.

Lonely Bat

A brother to Tigger and Nangi, and the one that got left behind because of his obvious lack in the looks department. Initially named Bat due to his large cavernous ears and vampire features, the ‘Lonely’ stuck after he lost his siblings to other parents. If having a crooked face wasn’t bad enough, LB also had to deal with a crooked tail end, resulting in quite a bit of amused laughter from the rest of the cat neighbourhood.
With all his ugliness, LB was quite the poser. Take out your camera and he’d be there, giving it his all for the sake of a portrait shot. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the lens couldn’t bear it.

Hades

Another one of my all-time favourites. Black and beautiful, Hades had an attitude to kill. Despite the fact that he lost his family jewels thanks to my mother’s no-breeding motion, Hades ruled the roost with an iron paw. We’d often be greeted by loud complaints, should we have dared to ever leave him alone for too long, or delayed his meals. The two female cats in the house were subject to his bidding, and could be found cleaning him from head to toe right through the day, as he glowered at anyone who so much as smiled at the sight.
With all his gas, Hades was a pushover when it came to me. He couldn’t survive a day without being cuddled and cooed over, and loved hearing what a wonderful puddytat he was. He’s follow me around like a leech, never leaving my side unless there was a mouse or cat biscuits involved. By night, my stomach became his bed, and I was rarely allowed the luxury of movement until His Lordship decided it was fitting.
His attachment to me made Hades insanely jealous of any other humans getting too close…especially my boyfriend, and any time spent on the phone was promptly cut short with a protesting paw sneakily pushing on the phone buttons. Visitors were treated to threats and scoldings, right upto the time they’d leave.
Hades met his untimely demise at the hands of a bastard who drove his van over my baby’s head one fine day, when he went out for a walk down the lane. I hope that man rots in hell after a long and painful death.

Socksy

One of the two left with me at present. Socksy, silver in colour and sporting white socks and twitchy whiskers, was gifted to us by an aunt who found her lost on the street. From a loud-mouthed adolescent, she’s grown into a dignified grande dame, and spends her days ratting on the rooftop or scaring birds away. Socksy’s a bit of a scaredy-cat, and will never speak out of turn. Once in a while, when mood permits, she’ll become a pain in the neck unless you spend the whole day cuddling her and pampering her with massages.

Isis

The last feline member to have taken up permanent residency in our household. Isis was brought home by my parents while I was abroad, and I first met her when she’s been ours for almost a month. So much so that she found my presence obtrusive, and has treated me like a guest ever since. She’s tri-coloured with the most beautiful eyes, lined in black like an ancient Egyptian princess, thereby earning her the name.
Looks aside, Isis is a little druggie, addicted to Whiskas biscuits. There is much wailing and pleading to behold whenever we visit our kitchen, and she will not rest until a sufficient portion of the snack is dished out. The rest of her time is spent flirting with the line of interested tomcats next door.


There you go. My exceptionally long and arduous ode to the cats in my life. If you’ve lasted long enough to read upto the end, you, my friend, are a kindred spirit with as much affection for felis domestica as I am. I purr to you.