I can’t believe it… I wrote an entire blog article titled the gloat house… ok not the entire article just 99% of it while I was in church… and now it has disappeared completely. I wonder if I was being punished by the forces up from above for not paying attention. Especially since the preacher was berating us on how people keep their phones on while in church. And while he is preaching hell fire and brimstone there I am tapping away at my black berry. I am quite sure I saved it. And now it’s gone?
Sunday, August 30, 2009
"7 Days in advertising - The brick house chronicles" a must read for those who work in the ad trade.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
And so on Sunday evening I dragged my sorry ass to the Cinnamon Grand to attend "The Oval Ovation to Muthiah Muralitharan"
The first stress of the day was when I realised that the pants of my new suit would not meet around my belly and would not or could not be buttoned. Ahhh I huffed and puffed and took a deep breath and squeezed my stomach so tight that I nearly pooped and managed to button it up below my belly. Oh what relief. But it was short lived as I realized that while it felt slightly uncomfortable to stand with my gut sucked in it was virtually impossible to sit without feeling extremely uncomfortable and run the risk of my pants splitting. Ok time to move to planB after all if this one was small the another should fit. No such luck. Everything else was too big. So I had no choice but to wear a jacket and pants which did not match.
You could say I was not in the best of moods when I walked in and it took a turn for the worse when I realised there were not many people I knew. Actually that is wrong to say. There were many many people I knew. Like the entire Sri Lankan cricket team, CEOs of big business, International sports castors etc. Sadly none of them knew me. So there I was trying to spot someone, anyone I knew and did manage to say hi to a couple of people who I had known or passed by somewhere in time. Well fortunately for me I did not have to pretend to socialize and network for long because knowing this might happen I had gone quite late. So within a few minutes of entering the hall I had to go take my seat. Well things began to improve from thereon though not in leaps and bounds.
Firstly I was amazed to realize that I had been assigned a seat in the Presidents table but that had its own set of problems mainly because I was the most insignificant person there. And to make small talk with them was virtually impossible. Well fortunately the proceedings began and it was not as painful as I thought it would be. Except for the bit when MTV (this is Maharajah telvision and not Music TV) decided to do a sit down interivew. When the entire event was around felicitating Murali they started talking loads of BS about the future of test cricket. Well the food was fabulous as usual. Infact the memory of the starter makes my mouth water right now. Smoked salmon in cream cheese along with crab cake. And oohh my goodness the dessert.... I actually get turned on when I think of it. Cappucino cream and amarullo slice together with cookie ice cream. Well the main course was nice but it was quite expected.
Well I ended up at home at aroun 11 after all this. I was quite pleased with myself that I did not have anything to drink other than for a glass of wine. I had a presentation the next morning at ten and was supposed to work on it after I got home but ended up falling asleep as I was too tired to do so. And waking up the next day and rushing through the presentation... well guess thats another story.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
We were asked to come in to the Hilton at least by four which we did and it was a good thing. Firstly the entire surroundings were bristling with military personnel toting machine guns and looking at you menacingly. Then there was a long line of people waiting to be registered. And sadly once you are registered you have to hand your phone over. I was looking forward to taking some pics and uploading them into face book along with updating my blog and doing some stuff while we would have to wait for everybody to come in and the place to be secured before the general came. But it was not to be. Well after registration it was time for checking. I must say I was checked thoroughly. Everyone had to even remove their shoes. I am thankful that I did not wear any socks with holes in them.
Once inside I could see lots of big names around me. You could say that one could feel the excitement and the anticipation. And after a long wait the man himself walked in. Firstly I have always thought of him as kind of cruel. He did not come dressed in his uniform but decided to don a civilian outfit instead. The place was also full of other Army top brass they too were not in uniform. However it was easy to identify them because they were allowed to carry their mobile phones inside.
I thought he would talk down to the people. After all he was a great man who had achieved the impossible. Even though there were lot of top businessmen and CEOs present at the function you could see the heroic adoration in everyone’s eyes. Well he started by saying “I have a difficult task ahead of me” and everyone burst into laughter. And then I knew that I had made the right decision to come for the event. He was humble and straightforward and came across well. He apologized for not being a good public speaker. But he did give some wonderful insights about what measures had to be taken to make sure he won the war. Actually some of his statements really inspired me and gave me food for thought. Actually what he said made brilliant business sense. He said capability should take priority over seniority. As well as execution was important. As well as keeping to a time line.
This is so true I have a friend who was leading a battalion of men in the front and he told me he was given targets just like a CEO and his mission was to achieve them as per the plan. He had the freedom to use whatever resources were available instead of asking for permission. And he would sometimes get calls from the general while an operation was going on giving him instructions.
Well the general got two standing ovations which I thought he richly deserved. Also it was nice to see Prof. Gunapala Nanayakara fawning over him and equaling him to all the great military types in the world. From sun tzu to ho chin minh to Genghis khan.
I must say I never expected to laugh as much as I did at this function. But I did there were two extremely hilarious moments. Both were during the question and answer session.
The first was when someone had asked a question why was the military still hiring when the war was over? His first response was I thought I had to explain this only to the president. Well I must say I too had been skeptical about the ongoing recruitment. In fact I was of the opinion that they were hiring because certain designations (ranks?) required a minimum number of people which one should command over. But his answer made complete sense. He said to hold the area with people coming back in to the war zone you need a larger force than when just attacking. His example was Jaffna. It took 15,000 to capture Jaffna but now it takes 40,000 to hold it. He said otherwise what would happened is it would end up like what Iraq and Afghanistan have become today. I must say this makes sense. So guess we will see more bodies in the military than before.
The second situation was when professor GN asked him about people from other forces taking credit for the victory he was told he could refuse to answer the question. The generals answer was I don’t believe in retreating which had the house roaring once more.
Well sadly once everything was over I had to rush out without getting a chance to talk to him because I had to have access to my phone as some important stuff was being done at the agency. Otherwise maybe I might have been able to pose for a photograph with him. He he. Well all in all it was a pretty eventful evening and I must confess that I am glad I did not miss it.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
She was pretty and good looking married to an equally good looking, rich criminal lawyer who had a successful career defending those who lead a life of crime.
He was a poor boy from the outstations coming to make a living in the city. He was a trainer at the gym I go to and was popularly known as Kalu Jagath. He was dirt poor and was trying hard to make ends meet. Living with his wife in Ratmalana in a little room he used to travel to Colombo 5 by bus sometimes at 4 in the morning to be at the gym by 5.30.
His wife became pregnant recently adding to his concern about his financial stability. He was good in his work. And was liked by everyone.
Infact lots of ladies at the gym used to get him to do their streching because it was believed that his streching was very good due to his experience as a masseur. Some of these ladies used to wear short shorts, And there is plaenty of opportunity to touch and feel when you are streching someone dressed like that. However no one reported anything negative about this boy. So this is the background to this story...
I had not seen him for a couple of days when I was informed that he was sacked. What is really startling was the reason why he had to go. Because he had been staring at a client's behind as she was jogging on a treadmill. Sadly this client had been an expat wife of a lawyer and they have threatened to sue the gym if this poor boy was not sacked.
To say I was floored was an understatement. Now if you have been to the gym you would see that the treadmilles are right in the front of the hall. Behind sthe treadmills there are a row of striders and behind the striders there is a couple of feet of free space and then a glass door. Apparently this boy was staring from behind the glass door at the lady and she saw him looking at her bum through the mirror in front of her. I must say this lady is amazingly alert. For her to notice someone staring at her from so far away. Well sadly due to her position he was sacked without even an enquiry after all they say money talks and bullshit walks. Well I dont know about this boy being a bullshitter but he sure had to walk away from a job thanks to the idisyncracy of some mad woman who thought her behind was worth looking at.
This is the gym I go to virtually six days a week. Next to work I spend most of my time here. After you start visiting the place a couple of days you tend to realise that all is not what it seems to be. That beneath the posh exterior there lies a complex web of competitiveness, jealousy and undercutting just like you would see in the political arean. And just like as in politics the main reason behind all this is money. You see all the trainers here do a business on the side which is called "PT" which is the short form for personal training. Most of the trainers get a very basic salary which would not be sufficient for them to lead their lives and it is the personal training which gives them their actual income. The gym is a place where you pick up clients. And now the place has been named Bodybar the pun seems more appropriate.
Well this situation has resulted in two things. One is that you can never get a trainer to assist you unless you have money or you have boobs. I believe the reason for this is that there are a higher number of ladies using personal trainers than men. So when someone new comes into the gym and if he gets PT jobs it is at the cost of someone else loosing his income. This has resulted in the second aspect where there is an insane level of rivalry between the trainers.
Since KJ was popular among the ladies I believe another trainer thought he would be a threat to him and somehow set this entire thing up.
But what I am really sad is about the people who own the gym... they are filthy rich. So rich that they have forgotten what it is like to be poor. They just dropped him like a hot potatoe without giving ear to his side of the story even though I believe he would have been proved innocent in a normal court of law. What a shame.
its been that long since you were snatched away.
I can still remember you lying on that hospital bed.
tubes all over you.... looking deeply into my eyes...
the feeling of helplessness that came over me...
not being able to do anything other than pray...
I can remember praying.... looking up to the cross at infant jesus church...
not just praying... crying... pleading... begging.
sadly my prayers fell on deaf ears...
I still wonder why? How?
why you? What have you done to deserve this?
was it my sins that you are paying for?
would it have been different if we took you to another doctor?
I remember 12 years ago today...
leaning over and whispering into your ear...
its ok to go darling.... its ok....
I still have the memories...
of you running down a corridor.... smiling
of you holding my hand....
one day you wanted me to move the sun
to stop it shining into your eyes...
you know I would have if I could...
and it still hurts as it did then
12 years ago...
in memory of little S who departed on 21/08/1997
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Well anyway to get back to the story firstly to get to the Lionel Wendt took a huge amount of time. Thanks to the roads being closed for our dearest first lady to get to the event. Secondly we had to park further away than usual cos the parking area in front of the wendt has been cordoned off for her escort. So I get to the Wendt after a long walk and sweat pouring down me. Alas I realise that this was not going to be the end of me having to suffer for her security. Women and children were lined in one side while the men were asked to line on another. And all of us were searched. Quite thoroughly I might add. So thoroughly I might have enjoyed it if I was the other way inclined. I sometimes wish that it were the females that had to search the men. Sadly that's not going to happen anytime soon. Anyway I finally managed to make it to my seat. Actually I must say one part of me was quite relieved that such a thorough search had been done. Because I felt so much safer. Infact the thought did cross my mind of what could happen if she was targetted. How many children would have died. Of course one could argue why did she come at all? Firstly by not coming she would not have endangered the lives of nearly sevenhundred people who were at the event. Secondly the economy could have saved quite a bit of money. If you saw the amount of vehicles which were part of her convoy you would have agreed with me too. I saw at least one Mercedes Benz S class. A couple of Landrover defenders. Then the brats too had come with their own escorts along with their own BMWs. All together there would have been more than twenty vehicles used by these three NIPs (Non Important People)
On the other hand I was wondering if it was as wonderful and enjoyable as one would imagine. Firstly not knowing when you would be attacked. Secondly the inconvenience of not having a moment of privacy. Doing everything in front of your security. I have heard people laughing about our second in command - who is well known for his weakness for women- having to get a pharmacy opened in the middle of the night so he could by Viagra and this is in full view of his security.
Coming to think of it I would rather have mylife whcih is not as complicated.
This was written on Friday night
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sometimes I cannot believe what I have become. I never saw myself being a father when I was young. He he though I sure would not have led an opportunity to father a kid slip by. But recently at a client meeting (on a poya day) I was reintroduced to Dominos. And amazingly it was better than what it was those days. So after dropping in at the Hameedias show room in rajagiriya I took the kids and went to domino's and ordered us some Pizzas. Well they said it would take fifteen minutes. And we walked out of the place 35 minutes later quite happy that it has taken longer. It made me smile at my sri lankaness how most of us would put up with people not keeping up to their word with a patient smile. Well the pizza was fabulous and the kids loved it though they wanted to go to Pizza hut at first. In fact they loved it so much that we ordered pizza again this evening because we were feeling hungry. A perdinner snack. Well once more I ended up eating way more than I should and am feeling stuffed. I still cant believe that I have actually managed to post a couple of articles on my blog in the past few days even with the work being hectic. And other commitments taking pride of place as well. But I have made a promise to myself to see if I can at least do one post a day. The main reason is that I want to be able to write. I have so many things I want to say. But the moment I am in front of a keyboard I am stuck. In fact I think that I might be better off writing with pen and paper and then typing it in.
When I see people who can say what can be said in one word in ten I cringe with envy. But well I am sure if I keep typing away one of these days I will be able to make the words gush and let it pour forth. I read two interesting books in one day and I am trying to see in my mind if I should mention them in another post. After all the title of this post is I cant sleep. Well the words are indeed pouring out. And I think it is time for me to head to bed and catch up on some Zzz. I am sleepy and tired. Not only because I missed my Saturday afternoon nap. Also because I stayed up till nearly two in the morning reading when I should have been sleepy.
Sadly I am not looking forward to the week ahead. Firstly there are so many minor issues I need to look into it is not funny. Also a certain colleague is not pulling his weight. I have one charity project already and I really cant afford another one. Well I made the mistake of hiring him and even a bigger mistake of confirming him (as well as giving an increment) when I should have extended his probation. Well that is what I am the eternal optimist. And now thanks to that I am pushing a bus uphill. Well well I am hoping for a miracle. Cos I sure do need one.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
What really saddens me is that this is done by a top agency who has a proud heritage. And what makes this even worse is because this is not the first time they have done such things. Well I think this is because of foreign Creative Directors who really don't have a great sense of responsibility for the company they work for. Because in less than three years they would be posted to another location. So by the time their crime is discovered it is too late. Well I think its sad. What really saddens me further is that while a lot of agencies and advertising associations are talking about scam which is still original creativity no one in the industry or related bodies are doing anything about copying which is a crime which is far worse. Well guess this is Sri Lanka.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Much has been written about this incident and I don?t think I can add anymore to the disgust which has been expressed by my fellow netizens. But there is one aspect about this story which really amazes me. Which is, how this boy?s entire family gathered around him and supported him in his vindictive deed.
I heard that when Nipuna was taken to the house of SSP Gunawardene by his son that the son had told the mom that he had brought a present for her. And the mom had not only hammered young Nipuna but also stood on his face and asked him if he can feel her weight?
I was trying to put myself in a similar situation. Firstly I don?t think my dad would have supported me in something like this. And most certainly definitely not my mom. No way! I cannot believe that a lady, a mother could be full of so much violence.
It made me think what kind of background these people would have come from? What a lot of violence this family would have been exposed to for a son and a mother to get together and harm an innocent boy. I am so glad that I did not grow up in a family like this.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Well isn’t that the whole idea of democracy that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. But I have been seeing many situations where this is not the case. Where certain people are above the law and only us normal people are subject to it. I see this virtually every day when I go to the gym. There is a famous ministers son who comes in various vehicles all unregistered. There is one vehicle which I have seen him using for over a year but still it does not carry the sri lankan registration plates. Well I know politicians are scum and they really don’t have any idea of decency and are supposed to behave in this manner. However today something really surprised me. I was on the way for a meeting down Dutugemunu street when a huge Toyota Land Cruiser without the number plates (only having the CC plates) overtook us and hogged the road. He was going on the wrong side of the road as well. My Driver pointed out to me that this vehicle belonged to one of our leading cricketers. He lives in the same area and he says that this guys is seen driving a number of vehicles using the same registration plates. He also pointed out that this gentleman always drove on the wrong side of the road. Even when the road was chockablock with traffic. What he said really surprised me. He said that a lot of people gave way to him when they realized who he was. For some strange reason this really infuriated me.
Now not only do we have to take shit from politicians but we also have to take shit from cricketers. Does there fame and fortune justify behaving in this manner? I don’t think so.
What really bothers me as how I and all the people around happen to tolerate this kind of nonsense. I know how people are afflicted with road rage during rush hour. I have seen how they toot horns shake fists and generally behave in a bullish fashion to each other. A politicians vehicle has an armed escort and we have to give way and shut up and put up so to speak; if not we could risk injury to life and limb. But a cricketer? How can we let him walk all over us or drive all over us in this instance and still smile and put up with it? Have we been trodden on so much by the powers that be that we have become shivering masses of jelly without a strong bone in us? Sadly I think the answer is yes to all of the above. And what is worse is that I am quite comfortable to sit and watch and grumble without lifting a finger to do anything about it.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Well its amazing 41 years after I stepped into the world. I have been invited to sign as a witness to a wedding. Well ok this is the second time I have been asked to do it. But it is a first time I accepted the offer and actually doing it. Does this mean someone thinks I am somebody? Does it mean that I have finally made it in my world? Well I am kind of honored and proud that some one thinks highly of me enough to want me to put my signature as a witness on a commitment they are making for life.
But being a witness has its own set of challenges. Specially when you haven’t been one before. Sadly there is no easy reference online or a book called “Witness for Dummies” I wish there was so I could find out if there were certain do’s and don’ts. Are you expected to give a present? And as a witness should it be substantial? Not the usual crap you wrap up nicely and leave at the entrance? Well these were some of the questions which were going through my mind. And worst of all does it mean that I have to wear a suit and wait for a couple of hours? Phew sigh of relief firstly the signing would take place the day before the wedding which means that I did not have to wear a suit. And the only person I could turn to advice was my secretary (well actually the title is not quite correct but I really cant refer to her as my jack of all trades or should I say Jill?) She told me that the witness is expected to give a envelope with a substantial cheque in it. And she rolls her eyelids and says “the witnesses at my wedding did so” And who were they? Well one was Ken Balendra and the other was some Sabaratnam another corporate big wig whose company I cant remember as I type. Uggggh I wish my bank balance was like Mr. Ken Balendra’s. Then I would have made sure I would leave an envelope with a substantial cheque in it. Sadly I am not. Infact I am over my neck in debt thanks to my trusty credit cards who I cant resist taking out of my purse when I should leave them locked in my house. Under security. Well I promptly asked for a second opinion from my chairman. Who said NO you don’t have to do it. Maybe the way I asked he thought I wanted him to say NO. Or worse still maybe he thought I might hit him for a loan for the said substantial sum. Hmmmm not a bad idea maybe I should save it for another occasion.
Well anyway the day came and there I was at the signing. “The Signing” ahhh much more impressive. Like a title from a John Grisham novel.
Well actually the entire event was quite uneventful. Other than a little mini battle of the bosses between the two intended mother in laws. Oh I forgot to mention that the bride and the groom have decided that each of their bosses should be the witness. So each intended mother in law was saying how good their offspring’s boss was. I was wondering if this was going to become some big pissing contest. But thank goodness it sort of fizzled off. And there I was talking nicely to everyone trying be important and social like a proper witness should be. When I saw it….
Yes the other boss had a dreaded envelope with him! Ohhh what a tragedy was going to unfold. Would I be letting my side down? And amazingly the envelope looked quite substantial from the outside. Well at this point of time there was nothing I could do other than grit my teeth and curse those who told me that there was no need for an envelope. Well I text me secretary and say darn the other boss has brought an envelope. She texts me back cheekily and says “I told you so” Ughhhh I can see the look on her face right now in my mind.
Well what is done cannot be undone. I thickly waited through the ceremony and made some noises and tried to divert the attention of everyone present onto something else after the signing so that the focus would not be on the substantial cheque. And I did it. But guess I need to give them one in the near future. If I can find the bucks. Or better yet I will just borrow it from the chairman.