Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Imagine waiting with nothing to do when you have to wait for a client to call you in for a meeting or go for a long drive and you wish you had something nice to read and you had forgotten to take a book… Well I just found out a nice way to make use of this time productively by using your smart phone to read books. I have been searching for a cheap (free) and cheerful ebook reader for sometime and did not find any till I came across this little gem which is the mobipocket ebook reader. What is really cool about it is that it is the only pdf book reader which is completely free. Secondly it does not drain your battery like certain other readers do.
This has really saved me a lot of money because now I don’t have to purchase hard copies which can cost an arm and a leg. Most of this stuff is available online. For free if you tend to turn a blind eye to the ethical side of it. Recently I managed to read the new Dan Brown entirely on my phone. Now I am on my third book and so far it has been a great experience. And its really great if you are at some function which is breathtakingly boring. No one will forgive you if they caught you reading but they wouldn’t mind you checking your phone. It works brilliantly every time.
I am feeling stunned and to use the words of queen “a little high and a little low” and kind of despondent and depressed. Not because anything significant happened to me personally. But because I happened to read “The god of small things” by Arundhathi Roy once again. I had read this a long time back.
The first time I took it into my hands many years ago I stopped it after a couple of pages because the style of writing was unfamiliar to me and I was wanting a conventional story.
The second time was a couple of months after that I somehow got hooked and started reading it with relish.
Recently it must have been over a good 7 years I started reading it again. And oh what a lovely experience it was. It was like going down your favourite path after many years. And you end up rediscovering the old and the familiar in an totally astonishing manner.
One thing about AR is that she is one helluva writer and once again I had the ability to write like that. To say she is writing is an understatement. I think she creates thought spaces using her pen as a wand. Let me just share with you my favorite piece from her book to illustrate my point.
The Kathakali Man is the most beautiful of men. Because his body is his soul. His only instrument. From the age of three it has been planed and polished, pared down, harnessed wholly to the task of storytelling. He has magic in him, this man within the painted mask and swirling skins.
But these days he has become unviable. Unfeasible. Condemned goods. His children deride him. They long to be everything that he is not. He has watched them grow up to become clerks and bus conductors. Class IV nongazetted officers. With unions of their own.
But he himself, left dangling somewhere between heaven and earth, cannot do what they do. He cannot slide down the aisles of buses, counting change and selling tickets. He cannot answer bells that summon him. He cannot stoop behind trays of tea and Marie biscuits.
In despair, he turns to tourism. He enters the market. He hawks the only thing he owns. The stories that his body can tell.
He becomes a Regional Flavor. In the Heart of Darkness they mock him with their lolling nakedness and their imported
attention spans. He checks his rage and dances for them. He collects his fee. He gets drunk. Or smokes a joint. Good Kerala grass. It makes him laugh. Then he stops by the Ayemenem Temple, he and the others with him, and they dance to ask pardon of the gods.
Rahel (no Plans, no Locusts Stand I), her back against a pillar, watched Karna praying on the banks of the Ganga. Karna, sheathed in his armor of light. Karna, melancholy son of Surya, God of Day. Karna the Generous. Karna the abandoned child. Karna the most revered warrior of them all.
That night Karna was stoned. His tattered skirt was darned, There were hollows in his crown where jewels used to be. His velvet blouse had grown bald with use. His heels were cracked. Tough. He stubbed his joints out on them.
But if he had had a fleet of makeup men waiting in the wings, an agent, a contract, a percentage of the profits–what then would he be? An impostor. A rich pretender. An actor playing a part. Could he be Karna? Or would he be too safe inside his pod of wealth? Would his money grow like a rind between himself and his story? Would he be able to touch its heart, its hidden secrets, in the way that he can now?
This man tonight is dangerous. His despair complete. This story is the safety net above which
he swoops and dives like a brilliant clown in a bankrupt circus. It’s all he has to keep him from crashing through the world like a falling stone. It is his color and his light. It is the vessel into which he pours himself. It gives him shape. Structure. It harnesses him. It contains him. His Love. His Madness. His Hope. His Infinnate joy. Ironically, his struggle is the reverse of an actor’s struggle– he strives not to enter a part but to escape it. But this is what he cannot do. In his abject defeat lies his supreme triumph. He is Karna, whom the world has abandoned. Karna Alone. Condemned goods. A prince raised in poverty. Born to die unfairly, unarmed and alone at the hands of his brother. Majestic in his complete despair. Praying on the banks of the Ganga. Stoned out of his skull
If you haven’t read it I suggest you get it now if you want a pdf of the book just let me know and I will gladly mail it to you.
Monday, October 26, 2009
This is what baffles me for the past few days. When I see the queues miles long outside the petrol sheds. How on earth could the powers that be let this go out of control so soon. They were bragging to the world that we were the only country who was able to quell terrorism. But how come we can’t quell some minor uprising in a service which has been gazetted as an essential service? I must confess that I always knew something like this was going to happen… again. So I had made sure that I will not be caught with my pants down. While everyone was calling and worrying about petrol I was driving around comfortable knowing that I have three twenty liter cans of petrol sitting snuggly in a corner just waiting for a day like this. Thankfully I did not have to use it but it did help my boss out when he was in a spot.
Once again the president was out of the country when this catastrophe hit and it seems that everything has to wait till he comes back. Does this mean that the government does not have anyone capable of making a decision? I always suspected that in order to be an MP you have to be a spineless yes man. This proves it beyond doubt.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
I have always dreamed about some young lasses chasing me like that axe commercial with the Amazonian ladies in bikinis. But I never thought that this would literally happen to me in a super market. Keels Narahenpita to be precise. But my experience was not such a good one.
The main point of my irritation was the sampling operations which were being carried out. Firstly these buggers who do sampling think that they should have blaring loud music to create the much needed “excitement”! And this day fortunately the music was not too loud. Of course one reason was during the time I was spending at the Supermarket two calypso players were serenading the audience who quite bluntly ignored it all and went about their business. Anyway I was approached by four people trying to hustle me some stuff. And one young lady even tried to sell me Ponds miracle anti aging cream? Ok I know my I have more gray hairs than I should either she was being quite optimistic or absolutely desperate or a bit of both. Anyway having to tread wearily looking surreptitiously around to avoid yet another “promoter” beaming in on you is no fun. In fact it makes me wish that I could go back to my corner grocery shop. At least I won’t get harassed. And as if to push me back into the arms of the not so friendly mudalali and to add insult to injury they had charged me the price of broccoli for my cauliflower.
Yes for all of you who thought that Gastritis was due to bad eating habits this is good news. The reason I am making this post is because a lot of friends who suffer from gastritis did not know these facts. In fact I did not know these facts too till last friday.
It was at a client meeting which a lot of my colleagues hate to go to because the client loves to hear himself speak that I heard this news. It was still a two hour meeting but I left the meeting a little richer in knowledge.
Helicobacter pylori is an organism which is in our body and apparently it gets aggravated and increases in number which results in gastritis and leads to ulcers in the end. However there is a test which can determine if you are infected with this rascal and it can be treated. Just ask your doctor about Triple therapy. He should know. At least I think he should.
Monday, October 19, 2009
This was something which happened this morning and is making me feel like an absolute shit. That is one reason I am writing about it to get it out of my system. I have a tendency to get edgy in the morning when I am rushed and sometimes this leads to outbursts of anger. This morning was one of those mornings. No I did not have an outburst but its important to put things in perspective. Well I noticed that my elder daughter has only eaten the middle of her sandwiches and left the balance on her plate. This made me comment to the wife that “She” should not encourage the children to waste food. Of course I should have used the word “WE” but it was too late. Sadly my wife thought this was the beginning of an outburst and reacted automatically venting out on my daughter who was close by saying “See what you did! I told you don’t leave room for your father to find fault with me because if we end up fighting like this we will have to go in for a divorce” A few minutes later I was looking for her to take her to school and what I saw broke my heart. She was seated at the table eating the bread she had left behind tears streaming down her face. I felt like a worm. And I could have cried at the guilt which was flowing through my body. I realized that it was my words which had actually led to this situation. And sadly there was nothing I could do to correct this situation. It seems that my wife has been using my outbursts as a weapon to get the children to behave and keep things around the house. Threatening them saying that their actions could lead us to separate. I do not think she had any idea the impact of those words in my daughters mind. Sadly it dawned on me that many of us use guilt as a weapon to mould people into behaving the way we want. It is done unintentionally sometimes even without us being aware. However the impact is still as dangerous. I learnt the repercussions of it the hard way. I am sharing this online hoping that once reading this it might prevent someone from repeating the same mistake. But I still feel like shit.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I have been going relatively early than before since I have started increasing the frequency of my posts on here. Let me assure you that there is no co relation between these completely useless tidbits of info and it is mere coincidence. But this was a person I saw regularly every day when I go to drop my kids in school. She is a well dressed lady who comes out of the Narahenpita train station and feeds all the stray dogs on the road. And she does this every day. There are many times I see her bending over in her nice red sari trying serve food into little scraps of paper so each stray dog could eat without fighting one another. And she does this every day like a prayer. I don’t think she is a rich lady I believe she works in a a government institution in that area like the RMV. But it gives me fresh faith in the human race when I see acts of consistent kindness like this. The only reward she gets for her gentleness is my admiration and a wag of a tail and a woof of appreciation. I do apologize for the blurry photograph as well as the bad angle I was taking this while driving but I think you can make her out.
Friday 10 p.m I am still at my desk when I should have been unwinding and having a few beers with the boys. Sadly it was not to be because this week I/we have been busy as a bee buzzing around from one meeting to another and doing stuff hoping that no one will see the cracks appearing in the façade. There were so many things which have come up which I thought I should be writing about. But sadly I have not had the time to sit down to type a few words. In fact I have not had time to say hi to some friends. The highlights of the week begin with three F’s! No it is not the “F” word. Though I wish sometimes I could say that to a few of the people who I depend on to earn my livelihood. Isn’t it strange how you can love the industry you are in but hate what you do? He he now you know why this is called the oxymoron chronicles. Well the three “F”s are FOOD, FUNERAL and FRACAS.
Nothing much to write about other than the fact that I had to entertain someone at the Lagoon and wow the food was absolutely awesome. I believe Lagoon is one of my favourite restaurants which are on the top end of my FRL (Favourite Restaurant List) Yes the list is long and ever expanding. The highlight dish of the evening was Fried calamari with tamarind sauce. Damn that was delicious. So good that I am feeling hungry right now.
Sadly one of my close friends mom passed away. This was a close friend and sadly I did not have time to visit the parlor and condole with them but only managed to squeeze a few minutes to actually go to the funeral.
However this was no ordinary funeral. It was not because it was full of pomp and pageantry. It was an austere and simple affair. My friends mom was a teacher at Royal who was known as Madam to everyone. And it seems she has touched many lives because of the number of people who were present at her funeral. And they were genuinely sad. There were Lawyers, CEOs and senior government officials all united by respect and love and concern for this great lady. I have never had the opportunity of meeting her. In fact I had heard that she was a “tough nut” but it seems she has had a profound impact on many. Personally I felt her loss was more of an impact to her students than to the family she left behind. Though I really don’t have any basis for saying this. Guess you can call it male intuition.
Well it seems that there seems to be a major problem amongst two members of the minor staff where I work. And sadly it seems I need to get involved in this matter to sort it out. It is completely unrelated to work. And on the face of it you could call it downright silly. But it seems that some jealous individuals amongst the minor staff have been circulating rumors about another lady who is a co worker saying that she is having an affair with another colleague who is the age of her son. Why? The only reason being that they sit together and share their lunch!!!!! The lady is boarded while the boy brings food from home. Naturally you can imagine what kind of lunch would be provided by a cheap boarding house. But my first reaction to this episode when it was brought up to me was “What the FUCK?” Can these buggers just do their job and go home instead of trying to poke their nose into other people’s business. Firstly what business is it of those people even if those two people were having an affair? None right? And anyway if they have time to be gossiping that means they have too much time on their hands. These days we are so busy they cannot have idle time on their hands if they are doing a proper job. And it is a waste of my time focusing my time on sorting out internal issues not really connected to work when I should be spending my time improving the business.
Overall I have found out that most of the people who belong to the minor staff are absolutely full of jealousy. They are petty, selfish and cruel. Their primary aim is “What can I get” and it seems they really don’t give a damn about others.
In fact from here on I have made a firm decision that no more will I hire people instead I will outsource all the duties which involve minor staff thereby relieving me of the task of playing nanny.
Well this week was a six day week and it did end on a high. Literally because myself and a few mates ended up at the CH for an afternoon post work drink which went on till eight pm. But in the end it was a good and productive week which did not get F’d up.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
“The power of your subconscious mind” by Joseph Murphy was a book I have been looking for all over the place. I phoned all the popular bookstores as well as the more obscure ones and came up with Zilch. Guess I have been looking in the wrong places. And I finally found it today in a place where one would least expect it.If you walk about in Liberty Plaza you would see a little book store on the ground floor right in front of the uthum pethum card shop. I am being generous by calling it a shop. In fact it is more like a little book cupboard placed in an obstructive manner on the passageway. I have always admired and been amazed at the wide selection of reading material which seems to be overflowing from this cramped space. In fact there is only room for one man to stand which means every time a customer comes in the staff have to step out. This would have driven a normal salesman mad. But not Rohan the amicable owner as well as sales executive, book buyer and accountant rolled in one of Rohan’s book store Liberty Plaza.
Today the selection of books I saw in this space was more captivating than before. In fact it drove me wild with desire. Because virtually all the stuff I saw on his shelves I wanted on mine. He had such a wide variety of business books and autobiographies you might mistakenly think that it was a mini branch of Management Studio. I started talking to Rohan and found that he had a quite deep knowledge of books and authors quite unusual for a man from his background. And I do apologize for that statement. But you know what I mean. Anyway I thought I will put him to the test. And thought I will just ask for this book no one had and see what he would say. But damn it I had forgotten the complete title of the book. All I could remember was the phrase “Sub conscious mind”. The moment I mentioned this bit he knew the title as well as who wrote it and he smiled reached down and pulled it out from the quagmire of books and gave it to me with a broad smile on his lips. Seriously he did not even look he knew exactly where it was. I was dumb struck. I was in so much awe at that moment I could have knelt down and kissed his hand and worshipped him.
I wish I could have interviewed him and asked him his life story, But all I know is that Rohan Kannangara used to work at the KVGs (I think they had an outlet at LP long time back which closed down) before and then decided to start out on his own. I wish I could have asked him more. Like what made him take this bold step instead of But all I know is that he has a wife and a young son who is sitting for his A levels next year. And that his business consumes 99% of his time so he yearns for a holiday where he can spend some time with them. His biggest problem is the limited space he has.
It seems that he has done something right. And he has quite a loyal client list which includes me now. His specialty is autobiographies, business and books on Sri Lanka. But I did some great new books too including Dan Browns Lost Symbol as well as all four of Stephanie Meyers (author of Twilight) books. I also saw a great selection of John Grisham books as well. His prices are not cheap. They are on par with the other bigger chains or a bit more expensive. For instance a book I bought at Lake House Book shop in Liberty Plaza itself for 900 bucks a couple of weeks back was 1200 at Rohans. This means with his low overheads he is raking in the bucks. But his point of differentiation is service and knowledge. If you are looking for a book you should call Rohan on 0777961086 and see if he has it.I think Rohan and his little book cupboard is an inspiration for us all.
Friday, October 9, 2009
My neighbor passed away today due to the most unusual reason. Because of a power cut. I know it’s laughable isn’t it. But sadly it is not funny. He was in the Kalubowila hospital and when the island wide power cut took place this morning they realized that the hospital did NOT have a backup generator. Which meant the entire hospital was in the dark literally. He was hooked up to some equipment which did not give him the required support and his life slipped away. His son told me that three people died in the same ward this morning and that when he went to the hospital at four in the morning it was pitch black.
I am cold with anger at the careless attitude of the powers that be who can let such a situation come about. Apparently only the general hospital has a stand by generator. I thought our ministry of health was more capable than this. But I think it was my fault. I should have expected less.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
I am sure these simple words would sound Greek especially to the people who are at the helm of our country. In fact if I had the misfortune of uttering these words in front of someone from the military they would be looking at me and rolling their eyes and mocking me by turning the hand around head with a finger pointed upwards implying that I am mad. Guess it would be better than being shot. But what really got my goat was seeing a sign on the road which said road open only for residents. Yes these are bi roads connecting to Baudhaloka Mawatha. And the reason why these roads are closed yet again is because of another military exhibition. The 60th Anniversary of the army. I knew this would result in chaos. And predictably it did with snarling traffic jams around my office during the early afternoon when the school traffic was at its peak.
I was just thinking to myself what about the lost productivity? What about all the fuel which is burned while the cards are idling as they crawl forward. And I realized that no one in the government gives a damn! They never did and they will. Why should they?
They don’t have to pay for anything. Just enjoy being driven around in their escorts whilst us normal people stew in the traffic. And if they need another couple of million for an additional few BMWs they could always raise taxes. After all it doesn’t tax ones conscience (and intelligence) to do so when it is not affecting you.
I am all for the forces. I think they deserve to be felicitated and they need their hour of fame. But look at it who is really basking in the glory? Not the military. Other then a few of the big wigs it is actually the politicians once again edging the military away; pushing them into the shadows and stepping into the lime light.
Just a foot note I thought the picture of our President looking at the picture of the dead Prabhakaran and gloating over it was in very bad taste. Being
humble in defeat and gracious in victory” could be another axiom they might not have heard.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Well I must confess that till a couple of days ago I thought californication was an album by Red hot chili pepers. Till I read about this comedy on a blog. Well it said the first episode started with a nun giving him a BJ and some how this piqued my interest and made me get the first two seasons. I have watched five episodes so far and I am hooked.
The object of my fascination is Hank Moody played by David Duchovny (remember the X files?). A down and out writer who seems to attract all the women he can handle. Whose worst enemy is himself. But if you peel the layers of his rough exterior deep down he is a misunderstood romantic who is quite the philosopher. Just read the next few lines which was an answer to the question “What is your latest obsession”? by a radio show host.
Now isn’t that brilliant or what?
I love everything about this character. The way he comes out with these awesome one liners from out of nowhere. His apartment and yes even his shoes? I hang my head down further as I admit I googled and found out what kind of shoes he wore and actually found a similar pair on Amazon and placed it on my wish list.
Even I cannot understand what my fascination is with this man. I mean character.
Could it be that one part of me relates to the angst he is going through while another part of me wants to be the swash buckling arrogant womanizing don’t give a fuck son of a bitch he is.
To be honest I think the producers of the show brought in the mild nudity (this is not porn material children!) and obviously outrageous scenes which border on the controversial purely for that purpose. To create controversy to increase ratings. I guess it worked.
To be honest this is sex and the city with a male writer. But it still rocks and guess I can relate to Hank because after all he is a analogue man caught up in a digital world.