Monday, February 25, 2008


The past month and a half have been abuzz with plenty of PR and advertising on the Chillies (no need of introduction, no? If you're local or logged into Kottu, then surely you already know what the Chillies is.).

Aney why? Why create such a gynormous hype over something so very... un-spicy?

Disclaimer : These views are MINE and MINE alone, ah. I don't represent the rest of the ad-frat, and I certainly don't claim to know it all. Must make a point of saying that, lest I have to entertain not-so-diplomatic responses to my blog.

Anyhoo, I went for my very first Chillies Award night two nights ago. Having attended all the forums, seminars and workshops that preceded it and having being duly impressed by the calibre of the jury, I was raring to see this wonderful spectacle that much hype had been made about.

The Run-up

I didn't realise how big a deal it was until I accidently walked in on three of our female staff members trying on their outfits (WITH make up, hair AND accessories, mind you...) and modelling them to each other in the office bathroom three days before the event. At first I just smothered my snigger until I left the loo, and then went to my desk and guffawed on the sheer ludicrousy of the 'latwalk' to a friend. She, however, didn't seem to share my mirth, and petulantly informed me that of course, one MUST be sufficiently prepared for the awards night. Society, it seemed, became snobbier and more fashion conscious at the event, and you should rather choose to die than be not snapped up for the Hi! magazine. Therefore, due detailed attention to dress should be decided on and carved in stone by the time the event night came around.

I had two looks on my face when she told me that. One was a thoroughly amused "WTF?!?", and the other was an "OMG-I-haven't-thought-of-my-outfit-yet". I usually have an issue with the whole planning ahead thing when it comes to dressing up. Which means that 9 out of 10 times, I panic two hours before I'm supposed to be somewhere. And now I had begun to panic, albeit three days early, which gave me a running start.

Everyone else seemed to be shopping for new wardrobes for the night, but I was too lazy and broke to think of it, so I settled for a home-made version of jazzing up an already-available sari. problem is, I decided to jazz it up only on the morning of the event, which meant much time was spent running around looking for something to pass off as a jacket (The last time I'd worn the existing one, I was 20 pounds lighter) and a frenzied bout at a nearby salon to trim hair that hadn't been cut in too long. Half an hour before the awards ceremony was due to start, I was finally ready.

The Awards Night

Next came the mad dash for parking at the SLECC. I'd been told that one was expected to be early, because the Chillies have historically started bang on time Surprising, I thought, for something bourne of the advertising industry. I was even more surprised to find that I was one of the four vehicles that had actually come on time.

Once we finished standing outside the SLECC with the BF for twenty minutes, breathing in the sexy fragrance of the nearby Beira Lake (also by which time the newly cut and carefully styled-and-sprayed hair had been brutally raped by the wind), we were let into the hall via security body checks. Wasn't I pleased when the Hi! photographer asked us to pose for him. (On afterthought, probably due to the fact that we were one of the few people actually present. But nevertheless...)

The hall itself looked quite nice, in a very disco-party kinda way. The tables had been done up with colourful glowing toys that were swiftly stolen and taken home by most of the participants of the night. I have one under my pillow as we speak, mostly because there isn't anywhere else to keep it. Each table had branded exercise books (five of which are also somewhere near my pillow) and a complimentary Hi! mag. The stage looked promising, as did the rows of buffet ware lining the back of the hall. I took my seat and eagerly waited for the night to begin.

And that's where all the excitement and build up ceased to be.

For 6 hours from then, my face took on various shades of boredom. I saw nothing worth writing home about. The same three agencies kept winning (my congratulations go out to them), but kept shrieking at each win like it was their first one. After a while, it was like watching re-runs. The ads themselves, I felt, weren't all that. It's true what the judges said... Sri Lanka has MILES to go before they can even breathe the same air as the international agencies. Lets hope the anti-scam treatment and harsh judging works in favour of this industry, and we only get better.

The entertainment lacked...well... entertainment value, except for the final drag show that did wonders for my listless spirit. But even that was slightly lack-lustre, in comparison with with drag acts they've put on before. Note to organisers - next time you put on a show, invite more of Lou Ching Wong and Jerome, and less of Sangeetha's exposed belly, please. Either that, or get her into a flattering outfit that doesn't kill what the alcohol has built up.

Once the awards were given out and each winning agency had behaved like they were the ONLY cat's whiskers around, the after party began. Again, it bored the life out of me. Here I was, having waited for over a month to see what all the fuss about this infamous 'Chillies' Night was, only to be throughly deflated at what I expected to be a feverish carnival partai. All I saw was people getting drunk and gyrating in an unsightly manner with other people who they'd probably sleep with before the night was over, only to forget that they did the next day. Nothing exotic or funky about it. Sweat, liquor and filth. Oh yeah... and oodles and oddles of hypocracy floating around. Maaan... I felt almost lucky to be an unknown entity in the circle, because I could see the fake 'hallo dahlings' (said with the expected boru accent) and air kisses being spread around like STDs.

The only thing I found worth my ticket money was the array of fashions there. Versace would die. Oh wait... he already did. Galliano, then. I learnt of ten different ways one can wear a sari, and moreover that dressing up isn't really about what makes you look good or you're comfortable in. I lost count of the balloon-like get ups that passed by, and the half-grunge, half-insane look that the younger boys favoured. Then there was the mass aping of Mahinda, where most of the men sported a long self-coloured shawl around their necks.

And this is where my long blog stops. All in all, the Chillies had much to be desired. I expected more than I got out of it. I wasn't awed. I wasn't motivated to win the next time around. I wasn't inspired to better my craft.

I was just sleepy and bored to death.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


First and foremost, thank you to everyone who took the time to send me advice, messages of support and prayers. It's totally and delightfully surreal to think there's a world full of strangers who actually care and are with you when you feel most alone. I'm 100% convinced that mum benefitted from all your good wishes, coz she's back at home as of yesterday, and recovering slowly, but nicely. So thank you, all.

The surgery went off without a hitch, and she's now ovary-less. They've been sent for further testing, and we're awaiting results. She's in quite a bit of pain and can't move around much, but we're told that she'll be back and bouncing in about a month, once the body's healed. The hospiutal didn't help much with her comfort, what with those damn incompetent nurses making her go through ridiculous and unnecessary pain everytime they waltzed into the room to 'check' on her. There wasn't much point in keeping her there because my brother and I were doing most of the work anyway, since the nurses were never around when she needed any help. Plus that room itself was a deathtrap of a place. So now she's home, resting and enjoying her new-found status as Queen Bee, whilst I, my brother, the dog and two cats bow to her every whim.

For once, I don't feel like complaining. It's good to have her home.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Hospitals suck.
OK... yes, that was a redundant statement. But this one sucked alot more than most others I've seen.

I spent the night in my mum's hospital room last night and am now yawning buckets in front of this here computer, trying to keep my eyes from rolling up into a comatose but welcome state of sleep. There wasn't a single hour throughout the night that went by without a nurse barging in like an evil spirit to perform tests on mum or clatter about unneccessarily, just because she could.

Changing clothes to leave for work was an adventure by itself. The bathroom is THE most patient-proof one I've come across, and I wouldn't be surprised if someone concusses themselves in it soon. There's barely room to breathe let alone move, and everything's placed way too high or way too low for invalid use. Heck, even I had difficulty getting my act together in there, and banged my head more than once on protuding towelling railings. and shelves. Good luck to mum, who's a good foot wider than I am.

The nurses are a laugh. Either they're over-zealous trainees, or just not interested in patient care at all. In other words, some are rude and crude to the point of making quite a number of enemies, whilst the others are still at the bumbling kindergarten stage of their career. NOT good for one's peace of mind. They pricked mum in the same place when taking blood thrice over, because the junior who took it didn't know how to locate other vein areas. Another two, who were clearly quite fresh to the whole nursing thing, changed her bed sheets in manner similar to a performance of the japanese tea ceremony. Almost one hour was taken to fold those damn sheets like a national flag and ritualistically wipe spirits on the rubber mattress with a forefinger(you need to have seen this to disbelieve it the way I did), whilst mum was made to perch uncomfortably on a nearby stool until they finished. I can only imagine how absurd it's gonna be after her surgery, when she can't move at all.

I know nobody said hospitals are 5-star hotles, and some level of discomfort and inconvenience is to be expected, but this was bordering on ridiculous, considering the name and external image that this particular hospital portrays to the world. We'd have definitely opted to move her to another place, if it were not for the gyneacological theatre being at only this one.

Ah well... que sera sera. Lets hope her surgery and recovery thereafter are less disappointing than her surroundings.

Friday, February 8, 2008


A state of bleaurgh.

Don't know how or where to begin. Can't think of the right words to put it down into pretty writing. Writer's block? Lethargy? Depression? Sleep deprivation?

Just feeling bleaurgh. That's the only way I can describe it.

All is in a whirl... there's no one feeling at this very moment; more of an amalgamation (shah... how the big word, ah...) of all sorts of wierd-ass sensations seeping through my gut into the rest of me. No, I do not have indigestion. If there was one word that sums it all up, I'd blog it down, but it's failing me... so the best way I can relate to it is putting together all the other words that describe it - confusion, stress, sadness, excitement, fear, longing, restlessness, detatchment, fatigue and a dash of something unknown. A state of limbo... not knowing which way to turn, where to look or what to look for. My hands are both tied AND being pulled in several directions all at once. So much is happening yet it feels like nothing is happening.

Perhaps it's because of the stress at home lately. My mother won't tell me what's going on with her. How can I be there for her if she won't let me? The last time she opened up was to tell me that her physical state was not too great (the previous post should clue you in), but since then , not much else. I do know she got her test results back and they were better than expected, indicating that nothing had spread anywhere outside her ovaries... so surgical procedure, if any, would be devoid of unnecessary complications. However, the doctor had asked her to get my dad down, so I'm figuring there's more to the story than she's letting on. But no amount of questioning will make her talk, so I decided to leave her alone if she wants some privacy in the matter. But being kept in the dark sucks. Dad came home last night, to make matters more dramatic. She checks into hospital tonight for surgery tomorrow. My fingers, toes and heart are hereby crossed for her.

Maybe the bleaurgh is rooted in fatigue and sleep deprivation. I've been on the go at a stretch for the last month now, with Bugsy Malone. "Who???", you say. Er... knock knock... read the papers or listen to YES FM. Bugsy Malone is a broadway musical that's currently on the boards at the Lionel Wendt, courtesy of the Junior Workshop Players. Another marvel by the legendary Jerome de Silva, assisted by yours truly. Tonight's the final performance, so if you've missed it, I feel bad for you. Damn, those kids are talented, and exceptionally so. Although its also been the experience that re-affirmed my staunch commitment to theatre and that of never bearing children, it's been a fun but tiring process of running around putting costumes together and helping with the backstage work. I still haven't made up for the sleepless nights of pasting sequins onto costumes, and the exhausting flurry of hopping from store to store looking for insane outfits.

Or maybe the thrill of the last two days is now having it's after-effects on me. My company sent me along with another guy from office to participate in the Sri lankan 'Young Lotus' competition. After a full day of panic-attacks, multiple bathroom visits, fervent prayers and nervous babbling, we won the competition, and are now being sent to Thailand in a month to compete regionally as the Sri Lankan representatives. It's a huge boost to ye olde career, I must say, and a fabulous exposure to the industry; not to mention a thrilling opportunity. I've been riding an ultra-high wave since we won it two days ago, but now the pressure of it all has begun to seep in. Winning aside, it's bloody alarming to know that I now have a ton of expectation coming at me from all sides to perform consistently and prove my worth. One month of arduous training and learning presents itself before me... I can see me not getting any more sleep than I have in the past month.

Thrill also came in the form of the Egyptian Embassy approving my visa for that ill-famed tour I plan to take Mum on in April. Hopefully, her surgery tomorrow will go fine, and she'll recuperate fast enough to go. Feels good to know I can actually do something to reward her for all the nasties she's had to face recently. Selfishly, it's also exciting to think of my dreams of Egypt finally becoming a possibility. But Mum needs to heal first... and so the excitement has to abate for a while, until we know she will. Did I mention my crossed fingers?

Something's missing, amidst all this hype. Life has been choc-a-bloc busy, and yet it feels so unfullfilled. I should be swinging off chandeliers or weeping my gut out, but instead I'm moving at slow-motion in a surreal state of detatchment and longing for something I haven't found. Nothing matters when everything SHOULD matter.

The frightening sensation of wanting to take my life flashed through me a few times, although I have no idea where it came from and why. I'm not that dumb to even consider it, but the fact that I felt it at all scares the shit outta me. I honestly don't know what to call this bundle of emotion I'm going through....

So shall we stick with 'bleaurgh', then?