Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cut and paste: Traffic Wardens Funeral

As the coffin was being lowered into the ground at a Traffic Warden's funeral, a voice from inside screams

"I'm not dead, I'm not dead. Let me out!"

The Vicar smiles, leans forward sucking air through his teeth and mutters

"Too fucking late pal, the paperwork's already done"

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The quaint little “Peddlars Café”

To drive all the way to Galle to enjoy a cup of coffee and a sandwich would seem quite extreme to some. But trust me it is worth it if you are going to be doing so at the Peddlars Café down Peddlars street situated in the Galle Fort.
I have done so especially when the company is right and I know at least two others who do the same.  This is one of the quaintest little cafes I have had the privilege of coming across. I loved the décor and the ambience. And the sandwich we ordered was absolutely heavenly. I was expecting something mediocre – since this was Galle after all and not Colombo – but it was exceptional.  Even the cappuccino we tasted was awesome. I loved the taste of the frothed milk on top which was nice and creamy and seemed like a dessert. In fact the second time I went there I sprinkled sugar over the froth and ate it, as one would eat curd.  Apparently the secret for such great tasting froth is that they only use Ambewala milk. Well good for them and good for me because I ended up having my second cappuccino as well. While I have not tasted their entire menu I have heard only good things about what’s on offer. And yes just writing about it makes me want to visit it once more.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Stepping into the Colombo Courtyard.

I am a sucker for great design especially well laid out living spaces. And the Colombo Court Yard building has been fluttering its eye lashes at me enticingly every time I pass it. And I pass it virtually every day. The little glimpses of what I got whetted my appetite to step into it one of these days. But I never had a reason to do so till it came in the form of entertaining my friends M and M at a place which is outside the regular haunts.
It was one of the best decisions of my life to step into this place.  It is a design addicts dream come true. Each square foot of this place has been planned and designed with utmost care and impeccable taste.  Admittedly the spaces are quite small but it is amazing what they have done with the place and it is an absolute treat to soak in the atmosphere.

We experienced friendly service right from the moment we stepped out of our vehicle. I had entered through the exit but the valet parking guys – yes they have a valet parking service which is better than what I have experienced at 5 star hotels - were pretty decent about it and did not make a fuss.
We started out at the cloud café which is an open air space on the roof top with an extreme minimalistic and zen like theme. But it was a humid night and threatening to rain so we moved to the air-conditioned loft lounge bar. It is a lovely cozy place and once again Kudos to the guys who did the interiors. Breathtakingly amazing and damn comfy – that’s how I would describe the place.  It had nice music most of the time  (till they started playing an entire album of old Michael Jackson hits which was not cool but it is better than the choconut lounge which was playing auld lang syne when I visited it in May) though it was a little too loud. But the waiter was kind enough to switch off the speaker on our end so we could hear ourselves speak.  The drinks were reasonably priced and the mojito M had was decent though full of sugar. The only dish we ordered was pretty good.  Actually everything was good till some uncouth rich people came and started ordering champagne and behaving like pigs and got the waiters to turn on all the speakers and increase the volume of the Michal Jackson song which was playing and dancing around like absolute jackasses. We thought we should take the cue from the song which was playing and “Beat it” as their actions were intruding into our comfort zone so to speak. And that is exactly what we did. 
Overall we had a great experience. I believe we enjoyed ourselves as much as we would have had at seven degrees but did not have to pay the 5 star prices. The fact that the place was not teeming with people was an added advantage. I definitely see myself going there once more.  Most definitely.
If you check out the place take a moment to appreciate some of the great art work which is absolutely awesome.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Discovering Khalil Gibran!

"When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him

may be clearer in his absence,
as the mountain to the climber
is clearer from the plain."
 Khalil Gibran

I had a “oh fuck” moment as I read these words for the very first time. It was as if someone was imprinting it into my soul with a red hot branding iron, except that the sensation was amazingly wonderful.
A few minutes later I was feeling elated and sad at the same time.
Sad, because it seems that I had wasted half my life without discovering the wonderful writings of Khalil Gibran. Elated that at least the rest of my life would be spent immersed in the beauty of his words and wisdom.
SH had told me about Khalil Gibran at least a year back. Specially of his book called “The Prophet” but I never thought that the reading experience would be this amazing and shunned it aside.  In fact I can remember thumbing through a greatest works  compilation of Khalil Gibran at the Odel book shop and putting it back on the shelf once more. An action I regret to this day.
But a couple of months ago I was going through a lot of angst.  A lot of bitterness and self doubt was welling up inside me. RC who knew of what was going on walked into my office and thrust her own personal copy of “The Prophet” into my hand and said “I found a lot of comfort in his words when I was having issues. I hope you do too; sadly I can’t let you keep it as this was a gift”.
And since then I have been infatuated… no addicted to Khalil Gibran.
I have never found a man who can say such great things with such humble simplicity. His words mesmerized me so much that I had to probe further. And what I found out mesmerized me even more.
Khalil Gibran was born in Lebanon but raised in the USA. He is both a writer and an artist. His book the philosopher is the second largest selling book in the world next to the bible. That the university of Maryland has dedicated and entire faculty to study his work. There is an interesting article on him here as well as here if you would like to find out more details about him. But right now I want to share with you one of my most favorite passages from “The Prophet” talking about goodness.

"And one of the elders of the city said, 
Speak to us of Good and Evil.
And he answered:
Of the good in you I can speak, 

but not of the evil.
For what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst?
Verily when good is hungry it seeks food even in dark caves, 

and when it thirsts it drinks even of dead waters.

You are good when you are one with yourself.
Yet when you are not one with yourself you are not evil.
For a divided house is not a den of thieves;

it is only a divided house.
And a ship without rudder may wander aimlessly among perilous isles 

yet sink not to the bottom.

You are good when you strive to give of yourself.
Yet you are not evil when you seek gain for yourself.
For when you strive for gain 

you are but a root that clings to the earth and sucks at her breast.
Surely the fruit cannot say to the root,

 "Be like me, ripe and full and ever giving of your abundance."
For the fruit giving is a need, 

as receiving is a need to the root.

You are good when you are fully awake in your speech,
Yet you are not evil when you sleep while your tongue staggers without purpose.
And even stumbling speech may strengthen a weak tongue.

You are good when you walk to your goal firmly and with bold steps.
Yet you are not evil when you go thither limping.
Even those who limp go not backward.
But you who are strong and swift, 

see that you do not limp before the lame, deeming it kindness.

You are good in countless ways, 

and you are not evil when you are not good,
You are only loitering and sluggard.
Pity that the stags cannot teach swiftness to the turtles.

In your longing for your giant self lies your goodness:

and that longing is in all of you.
But in some of you that longing is a torrent rushing with might to the sea, 

carrying the secrets of the hillsides and the songs of the forest.
And in others it is a flat stream

that loses itself in angles and bends 
and lingers before it reaches the shore.
But let not him who longs much

say to him who longs little, 
"Wherefore are you slow and halting?"
For the truly good ask not the naked, 

"Where is your garment?" 
nor the houseless,
"What has befallen your house?"

Is it not beautiful? I have never come across writing as profound as this.