Thursday, December 31, 2009

Its christmas time! it is SHIT LIST Time!

Yes tis the season to be jolly and this is the time certain people decide it is time to do so at other peoples’ expense. And we are besieged by loads of people coming with a list asking for a donation since its Christmas. These people include the post man the garbage man (in fact two years back we had a fake garbage crew go around the area collecting their tips before the real guys showed up) the news paper man the guy who sprays your garden and so many other people you never knew existed to improve your life till they appeared at your door step. A benign smile on their face and a list thrust out towards you and beaming a expectant filled smile at you. Invariably the first few people who have contributed seem to have donated large amounts of money. And it would be beneath us to put less than what the others have given; at least that is what I think they hope we would think. Sadly no one takes the bite.

But this year in my office we are faced with a crisis thanks to the list.

Some bright spark has decided without informing me that since this year there was no staff bonus there would be no tips for the people who showed up with lists. Well apparently over 15 groups of people have turned up and had unhappily walked away with these words ringing in their ears. Except the garbage man decides to take action about not having their palms greased. And from that day forth they have decided to collect only one bag or garbage at a time from our office as a sign of protest. Suddenly we are faced with a mountain of garbage because of an idiotic decision to save a thousand bucks.

What is worse is the indignity of it all.

Imagine being held to ransom by the guys who collect garbage? One side of me wants to fight this tooth and nail. Pull out my little black book call all my contacts and complain and try and get these people fired and stir up a hornets’ nest.

But the more rational side of my mind is saying put all this effort into getting some new business and your effort would be well rewarded. After all the guys who do this are doing it because they don’t have any other means of earning a living. Surely no one dreams of being a garbage collector when they are young! And I am sure they could do with the extra money. So with much difficulty and swallowing my pride I told the admin guy to go ahead and give the Christmas tips to the garbage guys and the postman after all one cannot live in a mountain of garbage and one does not want the post to be thrown into the dumps.

So here I am licking my wounds. My pride injured, Ego dented at least I can say I managed to save the day.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Images of Uda Walawe National park

42 amongst elephants

Well I always wanted to be able to wake up in the jungle on my birthday and finally managed to do so for the first time in my life this December. I was fortunate to be able to get a bungalow inside the Udawalwer national park on the days that I wanted. Generally this is the most challenging part of an excursion to the jungle since during school holidays it is virtually impossible to get one. But for my luck there was one available though it was not my first choice. But this bungalow did have one advantage which the other did not have which is a river. So I was fantasizing about bathing in the river with a chilled beer in hand when I found out that the 4wheel drive of my vehicle needed to be repaired. The bad news was United Motors had no parts available. And it would take up to three weeks to get it down. This was not some expensive part costing a couple of lakhs but just a silly switch which would cost roughly 6000 bucks. Another reason why I should not buy a vehicle from United Motors. Well I had an alternative of getting the parts hand carried down from Singapore it would cost 50% more but it was worth the expenditure. But damn the part was not available in Singapore either. So I had only one choice which was to disengage my four-wheel drive and make sure that I would not be stuck in the mud when chased by an elephant.

The journey to the park was uneventful, We left Colombo at seven in the morning and arrived at the park gates by 11.45 Whilst there was not that much traffic it was not completely a stressful drive. Once again I was appalled at the bad driving manners of people in our country. I am not an aggressive driver and consider myself a peaceful one as well. What I can’t stand is people hogging the road and not letting others pass even though they are driving quite slow. In fact I had made a mental note to publish a special post about the bad driving one would experience on Sri Lankan roads and realized that I have already done that sometime back on a post titled Bloody Bustards.

Anyway it was just me and my family on the first day in the jungle. And my cousin along with his family was joining us for breakfast the next day which was also going to be my birthday. It had been raining heavily in Uda Walawe and the roads were absolutely muddy and I was worried if I might get stuck in the mud without even going off road. But somehow we managed to get to the bungalow without any problems. It was wonderful to be away from it all amidst the quite serenity of the jungle. Sadly the currents were too strong in the river and therefore a river bath was out of the question according to our tracker Kapila a nice young boy from the area. He had an interesting story to tell which would be an independent post of its own in the near future.

It was heavenly to be away from the concrete jungle and the work pressure amidst the greenery and the sound of nature. No phones ringing no urgent calls even though the work pressure back in the office was at boiling point. I thanked god for an able team who could shoulder the responsibility without calling me every two minutes trying to figure out what to do.

Believe it or not the entire day was spent eating and reading and just chilling out. I did not go out on any sight seeing or anything of the adventurous kind. Other than read the entire twilight series consisting of four E books. They were pretty good and the last one was exceptionally amazing. If you have not read it I suggest you do.

The next day saw the arrival of my cousin and his family which livened up the whole place some more. It was also the day of my birthday and they were sweet enough to have brought a butter cake with one large candle and I was forced to cut the cake and blow the candle as everyone sand happy birthday.

That day was quite eventful as the water pump did not work in the night and we were stuck without water. I was thinking to myself if the lack of water some kind of hoodoo following me in the jungle because this was the same thing which happened in Lunugamwehera a couple of weeks back. It was a case of water water everywhere but not a drop to wash. It was raining cats and dogs and it bone chillingly cold in the night. But we had none to even have a wash or go to the loo. Fortunately we managed to wait till morning before the tracker went and got someone from a close by outpost in the jungle. He managed to identify the problem instantly and we had water for ablutions. Enough elephants were seen to fill a shelf full of albums. I spent my time mostly doing nothing other than reading reading and even more reading. And I felt quite well rested by the time we came back to Colombo on Saturday to face another challenging week.

A dearth of words…

I have gone through a dry spell for a couple of weeks. My last real post was on the 14th of December. Though subsequently I did a cut and paste job which cannot be really called a post.

It is not that I have had nothing to write about but it has been due to a combination of being too busy with work and too lazy to write. But suddenly the words are bubbling inside me and it needs an outlet to erupt. So here I am back at my keyboard typing like crazy and hoping to get it all out of my system.

But wait isn’t it a working day in the middle of a busy and short work week? Yep it is but it is the holiday season anyway and I need a break even though I have not done a bit of work so far for the day. J

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Socrates' Logic:One day the great Greek philosopher Socrates (469 - 399 BC) came upon an acquaintance who ran up to him excitedly and said, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?""Wait a moment," Socrates replied. "Before you tell me I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Test of Three.""Three?", exclaimed the student."That's right," Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my student let's take a moment to test what you're going to say. The first test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?""Oh no," the man said, "actually I just heard about it.""All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second test, the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?""No, on the contrary...""So," Socrates interrupted, "you want to tell me something bad about him even though you're not certain it's true?"The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.Socrates continued. "You may still pass though, because there is a third test - the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?""Well, not really...""Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me at all?"The man was defeated and ashamed. This is the reason Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.It also explains why he never found out that Plato was having an affair with his wife.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Murder of innocents at Continental...

A young life snuffed out before reaching its full potential! It would arouse the ire of anyone. Specially if you had to eat something so tiny. I am not talking about murder of humans. But it is still murder most fowl. Ok not fowl but more of the crustacian kind. Anyway this is the little prelude to an incident which took place on Saturday at Colombo continental or intercontinental whatever the case maybe. We were attending a training program and had broken for lunch and I was happily trying to eat healthy by spending a longer time than usual in the salad section. I was about to serve myself from quite a large dish of tomatoes when my eyes went to the name card which gave the name of the dish. It said shrimp salad??? Could it have been somekind of mistake? A typo? There were only tomatoes and some garnishing on the dish. I looked hard once or twice more and finally saw what I was looking for. A few microscopic shrimps hiding under the tomatoes. They were so tiny I am amazed how someone could peel them. Well I think it would have been far better to have called the salad a tomato salad instead and let those little prawns grow up to be eaten later and larger. :)
I wanted to attach a picture of this murdered baby prawn for you to see and since in close up all prawns look alike I even balanced it on a tip of a knife for size comparison. And guess what i cant seem to access the media card of my phone. So it will be uploaded on another day. Ughhhh sometimes technology sucks the big one.
Overall we found the service at this place has deteriorated very very badly so much so the waiter who was serving us tea dissapeared and we had to serve our tea and help ourselves to the cake by ourselves. Well the good thing is overall the program was excellent and all of us thought it was extremely worth sacrificing a complete saturday for attending it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

F'in Effies

Yikes it was another thursday night which would have been far better as well as less costlier staying at home. Instead I had to drag my ass to the waters edge hardly able to breath thanks to a tie around my neck. Now I know why I have successfuly managed to avoid wearing tie for the past four years except for two occassions along with this one.
You might wonder why all this sufferring. Well a little bird has told us we were getting an Effie. Damn it! Yeaah! This was good news. Specially since we nearly waited without submitting our sole entry. The lazybones that I am I had forgotten all about it till the night before the entries were due. So we (ok my team... I was cordinating all this err from the gym) put our heads together scripted a little AV got it edited got the necessary material together got client signatures and got the entry delivered on time. Ahhhh!
I can still remember a colleague calling me and wanting to abandon the job as we did not have enough material and me agreeing. I agreed and then called back and said no let's do it with what ever we have in hand. Which was one of the wisest decisions I have ever made. We were all thrilled when we heard about the effie till someone told me that it was not there in the line up of the commercials which were being set up for the show. I was devastated to say the least and was wondering how I was going to tell the client who I had already shared the info with.
Well thankfully we got info from another source that our name was on the awards book and therefore we had to have had an award. Well wheels were set in motion and it was found that someone in the organising committee had actually forgotten about us.
So tickets were bought. People forced to beg borrow or hire suits since it was supposed to be black tie. I was pleasantly surprised to see that now in Colombo you can hire suits for an occassion just like you would rent a tux abroad. And they even adjust it to fit you. Costs only a thousand bucks with 3500 deposit. Well after all this excitement all of us arrived at the effies a little worn out.
If I were to say that it was a masterpiece of mismanagement I would not be wrong.
To start off with I wanted to double check the date and venue of the show and visited the website. Can you believe it that it said the date was the 27th of November while an article on the blog section gave the accurate date. The event was no better. For instance the ticket said seven pm the show started thirty minutes late. Sadly those who had got invites have been kept waiting for an hour cos the invitation had said six thirty.
Also the show was all patriotic with local flags flying and raban players kandyan dancers and stuuf... which was in complete contrast to the black tie event which we were dressed for. Well the food was average the entertainment was worse except a baila session by some legends of sri lankan music. The most entertaining act for me was when the two compeers actually tried to sing baila to introduce the act. Let me say there was no chance in hell they would be upstaging the main performers they introduced. The winners were all hyper the rest were not. Artificial congratulations hugs and kisses were exchanged all around. I decided to head home thanking god that I could still make it for my workout the next day instead of having to cancel it.

Sent via BlackBerry Dialog.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Good joke I had to share

A woman asks her husband, 'Would you like some bacon and eggs? A slice of toast and maybe some grapefruit and coffee?'?? He declines.. 'Thanks for asking, but I'm not hungry right now. It's this Viagra,' he says. 'It's really taken the edge off my appetite.'?? At lunchtime she asked if he would like something. 'A bowl of soup, homemade muffins, or a cheese sandwich?' He declines. 'The Viagra,' he says, 'really trashes my desire for food.' Come dinner time, she asks if he wants anything to eat. 'would you like a juicy rib-eye steak and scrumptious apple pie? Or maybe a rotisserie chicken or tasty stir fry?'?? He declines again. 'No,' he says, 'it's got to be the Viagra.... I'm still not hungry.' 'Well,' she says, 'Would you mind getting off me? I'm starving!