Friday, December 27, 2013

Nature’s energy drink.

I am a gym junkie. If you look at me this is not an evident fact. But that does not stop me from visiting the gym 6 days a week. More importantly it also does not stop me from experimenting with all sorts of nutrition supplements hoping that it will give me a little edge. In the hope that it would help me to shave off a couple of inches off my ample waist. I have tried them all. Pre workout, post workout, while working out. If there was a powder or concoction which promised a better performance I would swallow it in a jiffy without any hesitation. However most of these supplements were not that helpful as it said in all their communication. Being in the communications field myself I should have known better.
After 8 years of looking aimlessly I have found something which really helps my work out. It was something which was in front of my eyes but which was invisible to me. Because I was blindly searching for something foreign thinking it was better.
I am talking about the humble king coconut.
I take a bottle full of king coconut water and sip on it during my work out. Amazingly you don’t get tired halfway through your workout when you do so. Which means you can perform at full capacity right to the end of your workout.

What a shame I had to wait 8 years to find this out.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The most amazing all you can eat sea food deal in town.

Yes I could not believe my eyes and ears when I heard about it myself. But it is true. All you can eat sea food at the Kingsbury Ocean for just 1800 Net. I actually thought that they would have a minute spread of sea food to select from. But I was absolutely wrong. There were prawns, crabs, calamari, a variety of whole fish including tilapiya, garoupa and Modha plus fish roe in their selection. Of course it did not include Lobsters, Oysters and giant prawns that would have been too much to expect. But for the price they charge this was an amazing spread. What surprises me most is you can have a variety of preparations of just one item if needed.  In addition to the sea food they provide rice and stir fried vegetables as well. Just read what we ate for you to get an idea of what heavenly treats awaits you at the Ocean. We had Tempura Prawns and Handellas for starters. Then ginger garlic prawns, Prawns in red curry, Hot butter cuttle fish as well as cuttle fish in tamarind sauce, devilled fish roe, Grilled Tilapiya and  steamed Modha as part of our main meal. Normally a meal of this nature would have set us back by 30,000/- Sadly the price does not include dessert but I believe it is still worth it. This offer is on during lunch on week days I would not miss out if I were you. 

Marvelous Marble Beach!!!

I woke up to the sounding of crashing waves. The room was dark with a few rays of light streaming through the blinds. For a few minutes I could not figure out where I was. I remember leaving Colombo at 4 in the evening after picking up my fellow travelers. We could not have chosen a worse time to set out on a long journey. The CHOGM traffic cock ups added to the misery. It took us nearly two hours to get to the Kandy Road and a further three hours to get to Dambulla. Making a traditional six hour journey stretch out for nearly nine excruciatingly long hours. It was past midnight when we arrived at our location. We were bone tired and just crashed without really taking note of our surroundings.
I got out of bed and tip toed to the door and opened it.
And stepped into one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever come across. The kind of beach that would have inspired Alex Garland to write his novel the Beach.
I had arrived at the Paradise Beach Hotel Trinco which is maintained by the Sri Lankan Airforce.
During the war this area was strategically important as the terrorists used to launch attacks on planes landing in China Bay from this location. So this area was captured and taken over by the air force and they built a camp in this extremely large property.
One must say that one good outcome of the war was that beautiful beaches of the North and East of our island did not fall into the greedy clutches of the business community who would have just gone and started massive hotel projects without any care or concern for the community or the environs.
But now that the war is over our giant mighty military machine has realized that they have large areas of prime real estate under their control. So instead of waging war on  terrorists now they are battling other hoteliers for a portion of the tourist dollars in this country.
The great thing about Marble Beach is that it is inside an air force base  which means it gives the people who stay exclusive access to a fenced off private beach. Which is absolutely nice even though it is breaking the laws of our country as the beach is considered public property. Of course as any red blooded Sri Lankan I did not give a toss about the ethics of this – since it did not affect me -  and went about smugly enjoying my holiday.
Marble Beach has about ten independent villas built on its sprawling property. Each has a different theme and style. The distance between the villas are such it is virtually private. The rooms are comfortable but it aint  no 5 star hotel. Fortunately it has air-conditioning and decent beds. But the bath rooms needed a lot of work specially the fittings and overall the little details of the rooms were not looked into. For instance the light switch was by the door and not by the door.
It was the same with the food too. There was a buffet for breakfast and dinner. The food was tasty specially when it came to the Sinhalese cuisine. But I would not advice anyone to go their because the food was awesome. It was adequate.
Then why on earth should I go there? I hear you ask muttering under your breath.
I have three words for you. The beach! The Beach! The Beach!

Oops that was six words but you get the drift don’t you?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Important Travel Tip regarding clean toilets

One of the down sides of travelling in Sri Lanka is access to clean toilets. Us guys can easily do it outside behind a tree but when you are travelling with females and little kids this becomes even more important. In fact access to clean toilets is so important to me I pay nearly double the market price for Ceylinco VIP insurance just so that I can access the VIP rest areas which are situated in about 8 locations throughout the island. But fortunately I don’t have to do so anymore.
Because I have learnt that every food city outlet throughout the island has a very clean toilet on offer to visitors who patronize their outlets. I was originally told of this by a friend and then I have visited at least two outlets where I found visitors toilets which are extremely clean. Thanks to the extensive food city network now access to a clean toilet is no more a problem wherever you go in this country.

I must raise my hat to the management of Cargills for being so thoughtful my sincere wish is that those who make use of these facilities will at least buy something from these outlets as a gesture of appreciation. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A not so funny humorous perspective…

I was on the road to Wilpattu with some overseas visitors. We had stopped in the heart of Puttlam town to buy some provisions. When I heard giggles in the background. It seems my visitors found the name board of a store funny. I looked at the board they were referring to and for the life of me could not understand what was so funny. It was another regular “dealer board” as we call it in marcom jargon with a name of a paint company dominating it and the name of store spelt out in small lettering. I was wondering if there was some kind of typo  - as it is bound to happen in Sri Lanka – which made them find it funny. There was nothing I could see. After much probing it came out they thought that the brand of paints which was advertised “Asian Paints” was extremely funny. After all no one would had a brand of paint called Negro Paint or Chinese Paint or Caucasian Paint for that matter. I could see where they were coming from but to be honest I did not find it as amusing. However I could not resist telling them that they called it Asian paint because the only colors were on offer were shades of Brown and Yellow. J

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sri Lankan Ingenuity at its finest aka as Poor Man’s zoom.

Sri Lankan Zoom Lense

I kid you not this is a true story.
At first even I thought this kid was crazy when he was holding his phone against the viewing lens of a pair of Binoculars.
I saw this strange sight as I was spending a couple of days (yet again) in the warm embrace of the Master Campers crew in their camp site in the middle of the Uda Walawe jungle. Our visit has started well. The moment we drove into the camp site we were able to see a baby elephant and its mother drinking water on the opposite bank of the river virtually a stone’s throw away.
When I saw this site I knew things were about to get even more interesting.
It was not a sophisticated phone. In fact it was a cheap Chinese phone. Because the young man who owned it was not a sophisticated person. He was a poor young laborer who did most of the hard manual labor on the campsite. But he was not poor in ingenuity.
When I made enquiries about what he was doing he said he was taking a picture of a rare bird which was a Black dwarf king fisher. The bird was so far away I could not even catch a glimpse of it.
But amazingly see how the picture turned out.  I know the quality  is not the greatest but I don’t think any one would believe that this picture was taken by placing a camera against a pair of binoculars.

Pure Genius.
This is how the pictures turned out.

Friday, October 4, 2013

An interesting book with an identity crisis – The Professional by Ashok Ferrey

I was excited from the moment I heard that there was a new Ashok Ferrey book was out and it was a full novel instead of a collection of short stories. My excitement was at fever pitch when I got the book into my hands and started flipping through the pages. The start was excellent and all it did was to whet my appetite to devour the book.
But as I was getting deeper in to the book something kept gnawing at the back of my head. Believe it or not it was a video of (one) of my favorite comedians Papa CJ. 
However there was nothing funny about this  video as this was a serious presentation he was making at a TED conference on “Being Yourself”. The sad thing was that this gentleman who was so used to making jokes could not make a serious presentation without drifting into comedy mode. To such a degree it diluted the point he was trying to get across. It was ironic.
This book made me feel the same way.
It was a beautiful story about a young man who has to resort to being a male gigolo to make ends meet while he is in the UK. The way the book started I believe he intended to write a dark, deep, serious story quite similar to Colombo by Carl Muller - but somehow he could not help but digress into the funny quirky humorous Ashok Ferrey we all know and love to read.

And therein lay the issue with this book. At least in my eyes and make me refer to it as a book with an identity crisis. Having said that I must confess that I did thoroughly enjoy reading the book and have no regrets in purchasing it.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Good food at the Paradise Road Promenade cafe.

The Thai Style Fish Cakes were out of this world
Actually great food to be quite honest. I just did not want to be too complimentary on those folks from the heading of this post itself.
For those who don’t know this is the little café which is on the top floor of The Paradise Road Promenade down Dharmapala Mawatha. It is a quiet place which is rarely crowded and is a lovely place to spend a couple of hours with a book or magazine. I go there regularly to fill up on coffee and cake. Yes they have the same legendary double chocolate cheese cake, chocolate cake and carrot cake served at the Paradise Road Gallery café but in addition to that they also serve an amazingly good Passion fruit meringue cheese cake which is NOT available at the Gallery café.
Oops I realize that I am digressing. This post is not about the divine sweet treats that are on offer at this location. You see I just discovered that the promenade café does great mains as well as desserts. Something I have not found out for all this time and I am kicking myself for it. I knew they had a limited menu but I was never motivated to try any of the items there as I have NEVER seen anyone consuming anything other than cake and coffee. What a shame. The other day me and one of my colleagues walked in their for coffee and cake and decided to try some of the food out as we were ravenous.
What a wise decision it was. What I did not realize was that they had a full time chef on duty and he makes the food then their freshly. Since we were the only people here it was like having a private chef prepare a meal of us. Which was a lovely feeling
The food was absolutely lovely. Especially the Thai style Fish cakes we ordered. The subtle flavors were tantalizing the taste buds. Heavenly, exquisite and out of this world were the words my dining partner used whilst rolling her eyes orgasmically as she was savoring the food. We also ordered a vegetable salad as well as a lemon chicken dish which were all good. The portions were generous and the prices were quite reasonable I thought.

Everything was good other than the fact that I am just kicking myself for not having discovered the food side (for the lack of a better word) of the Promenade cafe before. 

The Vegetable Salad - excellent

The Lemon Chicken sandwich with Pesto was good too.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Ships that pass by day…

She walks out of a dressing room after a fit on.
He is seated on a chair, head bent over his phone waiting patiently for someone.
Their eyes lock together and light up and they automatically smile warmly at one another. 
Just like good friends do when they see each other after a long time.
There is genuine affection between them and he nearly stands up to walk over to her and give her a big hug. Just the way he would have done before.
Then a dose of reality splashes all over them both.
They are not meant to be friends. That was a long, long time ago.
They had parted bitterly. 
Shards of jealousy, anger, and betrayal ripping through the bonds that held them together so strongly before.
But now there was no boiling rage.

Just sadness on how two people who once shared such intense feeling that one would know when the other was thinking of her; could have grown so much apart. 
Just like ships that pass one another during the day. Seeing, observing acknowledging and then moving on leaving a cluster of ripples behind which will disappear within minutes.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Have you discovered the “The Base ball’s”?

I just did and thought they were great. They are a bunch of good looking guys who take popular songs and then do a classic American style 50’s version of them. Listen to this version of “Torn” which they have done, its absolutely wonderful and really infectious.  The  most amazing thing however is that these guys are from Germany.

Curry Rice - my favorite dish at Pedlar's Inn Cafe

Pasta’ salad and sandwiches are fine but sometimes a man has to have something hot fiery and ricey which will sit in his stomach like a ball of lead. I am that kind of man who loves his food hot and spicy. Wait that is an understatement. Hot and Fiery is more like it.

 Now I know I have been joining in the chorus of praises which have been sung about the Pedlar’s Inn café. I think they deserve each and every one of them because they really do an excellent job. However I have found one tiny weenie thing lacking in their offering. That is a dish which would fit the need which I have outlined in the earlier paragraph. Till I found this thing called Curry Rice tucked away in a corner virtually hiding away from my hungry eyes in their menu. I ordered a “Prawn Curry Rice” and I can say it is a chilli aficionados’ dream come true. As the name so aptly puts it across the dish consists of a (slightly) wet fried rice mixed with a delicious and tasty prawn curry. They were extremely generous with the prawns as well. To me every mouthful was heavenly bursting with flavor and spice. If there was one improvement I would suggest it would be to serve it along with a salad and some fries as well. The cost was about 900/- but it was great value for money. I just thought I should share it on here just in case there are some people out there who share similar yearnings. But I must confess I can’t wait to drive down to Galle and try it once more. Just to make sure that what I wrote was correct. J

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Illegal Gardner – Another beautiful Read

Sometimes reading books on Kindle has its benefits. Especially now that there are books which are published exclusively for the Kindle app. Not only do you have thousands of options to choose from but they are also only a couple of dollars each. In this case I found this gem of a book by the author Sara Alexi for just 5 dollars which I thought was absolutely great value.
The story is absolutely beautiful. It is about a middle aged English Lady who has moved to Greece to rediscover (and revive) her life and a Pakistani illegal immigrant who she employs as her gardener. I found this book to be a collision of emotions and metaphors. Rich versus poor. West versus East. Male versus female. There was anger there was sadness there was joy. And of course there was also a love which could never be consummated as well as kindness and caring.
But in the end it was a beautiful story which was even more beautifully written.

The good news is you don’t have to own a kindle reader to read these publications. Any person with a laptop, tab or smart phone can read them using the Kindle reading app which is quite easy to install. 
If you don't you are missing out on some great words. Just see for yourself a page capture which I am posting below. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

The real show begins after the CHOGM

Sadly the show I am talking about is not the kind where models strut up and down on the cat walk. Rather a kind where religious persecution and harassment will raise its ugly head. If you noticed the past few weeks the incidents of harassment by the Militanat Budhist groups against other religions have reduced. I actually thought the fire had died a natural death.
But it seems I was wrong.
Apparently it is because of the impending CHOGM. The powers that be do not want any negative publicity which would make some of the world leaders refrain from attending this event. It is believed by most in the religious circles that once the final head of state leaves the island then all hell will break loose and the maniacs will have free reign again to do as they wish whilst everyone turns a blind eye.

Guess the show must go on. No it has to go on. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Continuously present Absence

Your absence
Is a continuous presence in my life 
Like a deep cut which never heals
Lying by my side silently in the night 
And accompanying me as I go through my day
My silent companion alongside emptiness 
Like dark clouds across the sun 
But beautiful memories break through... 
Shining rays of brightness 
Of times and smiles we shared
I wish fate had not been so cruel 
As to grab and throw away 
the last few minutes we shared
Because there was so much to be said 
Of how much I cared.

The most Amazing Prawn Curry!

I never thought that I would ever sit down and actually write an ENTIRE post about a prawn curry. But I have to. This post has been a couple of years in the making. Better late than never I say. So here goes.
I have been a great fan of traditional rest house meals. Especially the traditional rest house breakfast. The fresh bread and string hoppers; the sambol and fish curry and kirihodi makes me salivate just by writing about it. However very rarely does one order extra items when consuming the traditional breakfast.  Because there is no need for it as the food is plentiful. Unless you are travelling with a bunch of hungry mates, no let me rephrase my word extremely hungry mates to Wilpattu and you need to break journey.
Which is how I came across the Puttlam Rest House sprawled across a huge compound in all its dilapidated glory. It is as good or as bad as rest houses come. You get the same old fashioned sixties style furniture which seems to be too big for the space and the terribly kitsch curtains which haven’t been washed in ages and loud music blaring away from a television or radio. Sometimes if you are unlucky from both.
My mates wanted something special in addition to our breakfast and taking the advice from a waiter we ordered the prawn curry as extra.
Cue Drum Roll  followed by fanfare.
The prawn curry  looked absolutely sensational. Quite a generous portion of medium size prawns lying in a thick red fragrant gravy which looked absolutely delicious. And when the first mouthful entered my lips I wanted to stand up and wave my hands in ecstasy like a spaced out hippie at a rock concert.
The taste was so wonderful. Out of this world! The curry had a tinge of Thai red curry in it maybe because they had used lemon grass as a spice. The prawns were so fresh and tasty they melted in your mouth. A trick to learn oh your prawn aficionados is that the bigger the prawn the lesser the taste.
And since then we were hooked. Every time we go to Wilpattu we make sure we stop here for breakfast and we and enjoy extra portions of prawn curry.

In fact one of these days I am going to drive all the way to Puttlam just so that I can enjoy the prawn curry once more. It is so worth it!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Golden voice and the Golden Hoot

They say every dark cloud has a silver lining. But can a silver cloud have a silver lining? Or as the case maybe in this particular instance a golden cloud have a golden lining?
It all started when I decided that I wanted to go and see Isla Grant and Al Grant in concert. The amazing fact is that this thought came to me whilst I was on a treadmill listening to a live set by Swedish House Mafia. Maybe all the Electronics and monotonous beats of Electronic Dance Music made me yearn for some good old fashioned tunes.
I can see a nod of disapproval of some of you reading this post. Surely isn’t this kind of music too old fashioned? I agree; but I do listen to a wide variety of music. If you go through my iPod you will be surprised to see Golden Oldies to hip hop to rap to Rock to EDM to heavy metal comfortably coexisting next one another. I listen to them all as long as I like how it sounds. Now I must confess the name Isla and Al Grant was not familiar to me – though some of her songs were - till I heard that Gold FM was bringing them down. It was only then I realized the power of her music. Firstly I loved her voice which can only be described as smooth and rich as honey. I also admired the simple and easy going manner of her lyrics.
One of the advantages of being in the communications business is you are privy to free tickets. I was informed that I was on the list to get free tickets for the show. Great! I was informed that the tickets for the show were selling like hot caked. It did not bother me. After all I was getting my free tickets right in front. So I waited. Then I got to know that all the tickets for the show were sold out and I still waited. Who cared? After all I would be comfortably ensconced in a front row seat which even money could not buy. When it was five days to the show I began to worry. There were no signs of my tickets. Neither was there any sign of tickets two days before the show. Just one day before the show I discovered that I was NOT getting tickets after all. It seems that there had been such a demand for the tickets the powers that be had thought of selling them instead of giving them away. It is completely understandable. I just wish they had told me so. To add insult to injury none of the contacts over there at the station even bothered to reply messages I sent. Just to stress a point I did not badger them for complimentary tickets but instead I wanted to know if there were any extra tickets available to purchase. My enquiries were met by a wall of solid silence.
It was the day of the show. The radio was blaring out an Al Grant or Isla Grant song every five minutes it seemed. Pictures of this beautiful couple - who had flown down the day before - appeared on the fb page of The Kingsbury. There was excitement in the air. At least amongst those who had the tickets for the show. It certainly did not include me.
Even though my search for tickets had come up with zilch I had this feeling that I will not miss out on the show and I would get the tickets somehow or the other.
And my gut instinct proved it was right once again. Because at around 3.30 they managed to put some extra tickets out and I managed to purchase mine.
I was lucky even though the tickets were right at the back it was adjoining the sound console which meant the sound was really great. The hall was full of people whose average age would have been 60. One would be have been excused for wondering if they had been dropped into some kind over 60 convention.
Isla Grant came on stage and sang her heart out. Her voice was a treat to listen to. So was her accent and listening to her say “we are going to play you another wee song” ever so often was an absolute treat. It was worth all the trouble and anxiety I had gone through.
But this was just the cake. You know what the icing on the cake was? With a cherry on top?
Hearing this mature audience hoot Duminda Silva vociferously when the compeers announced his presence. As they say in the Master Card commercial it was Priceless!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Worse verse

Loneliness creeps in

Where once happiness reigned

Sadness sets in

As the seconds of the count down begins

Tears replace smiles

Anxiety... where joy abound


New beginnings entice

Precious memories remain...

Forever engraved. 

Criminally Corrupt!

A bribe of 95% of the value of the order?
I nearly fell off my chair when I heard it. For a moment I thought the person in front of me was playing a joke on me. Trying to take me for a ride. “What does he have to gain by lying to me?” I thought to myself when I saw the earnest look in his eyes. He is just another young entrepreneur trying to eke out a living in this corrupt world. Sadly he did not any one in high places to back him. That is why we were having a chat? He was here to see if I could give him some work because he wanted to get married and needed to save some money for a wedding. Sadly I could not help him much. All I could provide was a listening ear and some tips on how he could drum up more work. However we ended up talking for more than an hour. And it was during this conversation that this fact came out that.
This is a young television documentary and event producer. He had recently got a purchase order from one of our government boards – notorious for corruption I might add – for 5 million rupees. This was for a documentary to be filmed in the Northern Central Province. At first he was overjoyed because it was a wonderful order. It was only when the word filtered in as to how much he had to pay each person who had been involved in obtaining this purchase order that he realized that all was not good. In fact it was very bad. Because all he was left with was 250,000/- after everyone had been paid off. Which was not sufficient for even the travel to check out the locations which is required for this kind of project.
So he declined the project and with that a young man’s dream was shattered. And the light of hope was snuffed out in two people’s hearts.
Nearly ten years ago I had met the Transparency International country representative who said that that level of bribery was around 40% in countries such as Sri Lanka. According to him this was high – when the justifiable global standard of “cost of business” was 10% - though in African countries it could be as high as 70% .
I did the math 4,750,000/- out of 5,000,000/- was no ten percent or forty percent or seventy percent. It was NINETY FIVE percent.

This certainly was not justifiable or acceptable. This is criminal.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Scenes from the movie of life

He felt warm tears on his chest

He looked down to see her shoulders moving gently as she shed her tears, her face hidden against his chest.

“Why are you crying?” he asked her softly
“You got everything you wanted.”

“You are moving to a beautiful country”

“to a new career… to your husband”

“You have been dreaming of this moment for a long time now”

“But I am leaving my heart behind” she said

And he held her even closer because there was nothing else he could say…

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A new perspective of vulnerability

I always thought being vulnerable was being open or susceptible to harm or injury. However I came across this lecture on TED by Brene Brown who is a researcher who studies human connection which gave a complete different view to the definition of Vulnerability. In fact she felt people who connected well with others believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful. I am still trying to come to terms with this concept and have watched the video below many times to try and grasp it further. But to be honest I have still not been able to understand it completely. But what I believe she is trying to say in simple language is that by trying to block (avoid) what may hurt us we close up other aspects of ourselves which deprive us of joy, creativity, love and belonging. If anyone can shed some light or has another opinion  on this I would very much love to hear it.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Scrounger

Actually the title of this post should have been “The well off scrounger”.  Even though it is a good Oxymoron I  somehow felt that it would give the plot away.
My perception of a scrounger has always been of someone who is not so well off having to borrow stuff from other people. Stuff he has no intention of returning. But the person I am writing about is completely opposite of this description. He is young, a professional who has a good career with great prospects and is definitely more than well off. In fact he can be categorized as rich. Even though he is a man of means this guy never pays. For instance if someone is hosting a group of friends for drinks or tea he would order a pack of cigarettes saying that he would pay later and conveniently forget about it. It is the same when it comes to going on outings with friends. He will say he will pay his share on a lter day and conveniently forget about it. Even when reminded after many months he will quite thickly say I will pay later.
This gentleman belongs to a profession where there are lots of fees which have to be paid to others and I was told whenever he pays his dues he always keeps a small portion of the money back. For instance if he has to pay 10,700/- he will pay the 10,000 but never the 700.
It is the same if  he sees a pack of cigarettes. He will help himself to it till it is over. Without even thinking about the owner of the pack. The best thing is he does not smoke. At least when he has to buy his own.
These are not one off random events which I am writing about but something I have observed over a span of nearly ten years. What is happening as a result of this is that people are slowly but surely moving him out of their circles. Guess that is understandable. What is most interesting is apparently that his mom is just like him at least when it comes to paying back her fees. 
It was only when I heard this tit bit of information I realized that scrounging too is hereditary. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Good Bye Hard Copy

I love books. Good old fashioned books. I love having them around me. And I love seeing all of my books lined up in the shelves. Believe it or not it gives me a sense of comfort.
Sadly things have begun to change.
It seems that I have been abandoning my trusty hard copies in favor of the more convenient soft copy.
In fact the last couple of hard copy books I read have been left half way on my bed side stool; on my desk or in my carvehicle; never to be picked up and continued with again.
I always read books on my phone. But now that I got an Android Phone and the fact that Kindle app works so beautifully on it has made reading on my phone an absolute blissful experience.
I find this far more convenient. Especially when it comes to the ease of keeping up with the story line and reading in the night without glasses and lights.
Also the kindle App has opened up a wide array of reading resources which cannot be found anywhere else. I have discovered that there are many authors who write only for kindle. Giving me access to some amazing reading material for just a couple of dollars. Sometimes as little as two or three.
I realized that I was truly converted when I was reading the hard copy of Dan Brown’s inferno and was wishing I had it with me on my phone so I could access it every time I had a few minutes to spare.
It was then that I made a promise to myself from here on now I will always chose the soft copy – if its available - over the hard copy on all future reading materials which I plan to purchase.
Some might call it Betrayal.  I just call it convenience.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Another Amazing Sri Lankan – Shanaka Fernando founder of Lentil as anything

Some people dream whilst others go about and make their dreams come true. 
Sadly I don’t belong to the latter but I am glad to have come across this story which really warms my heart. What makes me even more proud is that this is done by a Sri Lankan. Amazingly someone I came into contact with during my misspent youth.
Lentil as anything is a vegetarian restaurant in Australia. But what makes it special than any other such enterprise is the fact that it might be the only restaurant in the world where there is no price list and they don’t insist that you settle the bill once the meal is over.  In fact one can pay whatever they feel like or even choose not to do so at all.
What a beautiful Idea!
What makes it more beautiful is that the model is still working and the restaurant is still functioning many years after they opened their doors.
It seems people at large are much nicer and have more good in them than we give them credit for.

Kudos to you Shanka Fernando! For having the courage to do something different that actually makes a difference.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

And we consume this stuff????

1. Budweiser beer conditions the hair
2. Pam cooking spray will dry finger nail polish
3. Cool whip will condition your hair in 15 minutes
4. Mayonnaise will KILL LICE, it will also condition your hair
5. Elmer's Glue - paint on your face, allow it to dry, peel off and see the dead skin and blackheads if any.
6. Shiny Hair - use brewed Lipton Tea
7. Sunburn - empty a large jar of Nestea into your bath water
8. Minor burn - Colgate or Crest toothpaste
9. Burn your tongue? Put sugar on it!
10. Arthritis? WD-40 Spray and rub in, kill insect stings too
11 Bee stings - meat tenderizer
12. Chigger bite - Preparation H
13. Puffy eyes - Preparation H
14. Paper cut - crazy glue or chap stick (glue is used instead of sutures at most hospitals)
15. Stinky feet - Jello !
16. Athletes feet - cornstarch
17. Fungus on toenails or fingernails - Vicks vapor rub
18. Kool aid to clean dishwasher pipes. Just put in the detergent section and run a cycle, it will also clean a toilet. (Wow, and we drink this stuff)
19. Kool Aid can be used as a dye in paint also Kool Aid in Dannon plain yogurt as a finger paint, your kids will love it and it won't hurt them if they eat it!
20. Peanut butter - will get scratches out of CD's! Wipe off with a coffee filter paper
21. Sticking bicycle chain - Pam no-stick cooking spray
22. Pam will also remove paint, and grease from your hands! Keep a can in your garage for your hubby
23. Peanut butter will remove ink from the face of dolls
24. When the doll clothes are hard to put on, sprinkle with corn starch and watch them slide on
25. Heavy dandruff - pour on the vinegar !
26. Body paint - Crisco mixed with food coloring. Heat the Crisco in the microwave, pour in to an empty film container and mix with the food color of your choice!
27 Tie Dye T-shirt - mix a solution of Kool Aid in a container, tie a rubber band around a section of the T-shirt and soak
28. Preserving a newspaper clipping - large bottle of club soda and cup of milk of magnesia , soak for 20 min. and let dry, will last for many years!
29. A Slinky will hold toast and CD's!
30. To keep goggles and glasses from fogging, coat with Colgate toothpaste
31. Wine stains, pour on the Morton salt and watch it absorb into the salt.
32. To remove wax - Take a paper towel and iron it over the wax stain, it will absorb into the towel.
33. Remove labels off glassware etc. rub with Peanut butter!
34. Baked on food - fill container with water, get a Bounce paper softener and the static from the Bounce towel will cause the baked on food to adhere to it. Soak overnight. Also; you can use 2 Efferdent tablets , soak overnight!
35. Crayon on the wall - Colgate toothpaste and brush it!
36.. Dirty grout - Listerine
37. Stains on clothes - Colgate toothpaste
38. Grass stains - Karo Syrup
39. Grease Stains - Coca Cola , it will also remove grease stains from the driveway overnight. We know it will take corrosion from car batteries!
40. Fleas in your carpet? 20 Mule Team Borax- sprinkle and let stand for 24 hours. Maybe this will work if you get them back again.
41. To keep FRESH FLOWERS longer Add a little Clorox , or 2 Bayer aspirin , or just use 7-up instead of water.
42. When you go to buy bread in the grocery store, have you ever wondered which is the freshest, so you 'squeeze' for freshness or softness? Did you know that bread is delivered fresh to the stores five days a week? Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Each day has a different color twist tie.
They are:

Monday = Blue,
Tuesday = Green,
Thursday = Red
Friday = White
Saturday = Yellow.

So if today was Thursday, you would want red twist tie; not white which is Fridays (almost a week old)! The colors go alphabetically by color Blue- Green - Red - White - Yellow, Monday through Saturday. Very easy to remember. I thought this was interesting. I looked in the grocery store and the bread wrappers DO have different twist ties, and even the ones with the plastic clips have different colors. You learn something new everyday! Enjoy fresh bread when you buy bread with the right color on the day you are shopping.

Don't forget Gatorade for Migraine Headaches. PowerAde won't work. Pass this information on to friends so they can be informed :)ang

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Fantasy Sushi

Volcano - Tempura Prawns, Avocado, Tobiko and Crab Stick

Sometimes Colombo can be a place full of culinary contradictions. For instance the best Chinese food I have eaten comes from an Indian Managed hotel chain. Of course I am referring to Golden Dragon by the Taj.

And now I realized the best sushi I have eaten is at a sea food restaurant. Yes it is better than the Sushi I have tasted in Japan or any other Japanese restaurant in town including Ginza Hozen which till now was the number one Japanese food destination for me. Even though it was pricey no one else can came close to the flavor and freshness of the food… till now.

The seafood restaurant I am referring to of course is the newly opened Ocean restaurant at the Kingbury. I must confess I am not too impressed with the so called opulence of that hotel. In fact I think it is a bit… hmm the word I am looking for is Godey I guess. To me it is a classic example of how all the money in the world cannot buy a person good taste. From what I know they had put in a whole load of money behind this project as they wanted it to be a luxury hotel. Now for those who do not know a luxury hotel is supposedly beyond a 5 star hotel. Hotels such as the four seasons are considered luxury hotels. When I too am a politico I shall experience them. I must also state that my observations here are made after visiting the lobby areas and the restaurants. Maybe the rooms are different but guess I will stand to be corrected when the hotel gives me a complimentary night.

Oops I am digressing. Let me get back to the main subject matter once again.

The décor of the ocean restaurant in complete contrast to the rest of the hotel is amazingly lovely and out of this world. The food is damn good too. Even though on my first visit I did the wrong thing by ordering food which I was familiar with at the lagoon. Which was the wrong thing to do as it did not measure up to my expectations. However on my second visit I tried something different and also followed the advice of a friend to try the sushi which as described by her was “out of this world”… and it was.

Even to call is Sushi is a misnomer. Hence the reason of titling this post as “Fantasy Sushi”. The Kingbusry have brought a special chef down who specializes in the art of sushi. Instead of just reproducing the standard type of sushi which all of us are used to this gentleman does his own creations. Yes they are creations because they are lovingly rolled and hand crafted by this guy and served in the most beautiful manner. I actually had the opportunity of talking to him and his you can see the passion in his eyes when he talks about how he comes up with his creations. You cannot believe that so much love and effort can go into something which sells at roughly 750/- a dish. Even though each portion holds only six pieces they are quite big in size and could be described as extremely generous. But before I forget I must mention the flavors he manages to infuse into the sushi is astonishing. If my tongue had a life of its own it would have got down on its knees spread out its arms and looked heaven words and screamed halleluiah at the top of its voice. Trust me it is that good. He cal also do Sashimi even though it is not on the menu.

I found the service at the Ocean excellent too. All the chefs come out and mingle with the people and everyone is extremely friendly and nice. And the waiters and managers are very attentive. Sometimes the niceness can get a bit sickeningly sweet but it is all good. For the first time in my life I had a valet telling me “Thank you for visiting the Kingsbury”! I nearly fainted but it was still impressive.

Anyway the point is I can’t wait to go back to the Ocean to experience more of the tantalizing taste of their Sushi than their sea food.

Salmon and Ebi - Fresh Salmon, Prawns, Avocado, Cucumber, Chives, Red Onions and Plum Sauce

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Black berry slave no more…

When everyone around me was shifting to android based phones and i-phones I held on to my black berry tight. Regardless of what was happening around me. Regardless of the taunts from people telling me  how old fashioned and  how out of date I was. The i-phone was nice but I did not want to be an i-clone. None of the other android based phones really tickled my fancy. One other major fact which contributed to the fact of me hesitating to switch was my complete dislike to be typing on a touch screen opposed to a normal key board. I loved my Blackberry and it suited my personality like some people like their Volvos. Not as aggressive as a BMW or loud as  a Mercedes Benz. Quiet, sophisticated and understated that’s exactly what I wanted. And I was ready to compromise because I was in my comfort zone
Then I got myself a Blackberry 9900 which was the beginning of the end. For a top end phone it was bad. Really bad. Firstly the battery did not last long it gave me less than two hours talk time. Which means I had to walk all over the place with lots of spare batteries around. Which was an absolute pain in the ass. To add insult to injury the processor could not keep up with the capacity of the phone which meant constant hard restarts and the phone getting stuck midway of some action. Finally I could not take it no more and I made the move to a Samsung Note 2.
Holy Cow! What a change it was. It was so fast and reliable. The freedom of having to move about without lugging stand by battery packs was exhilarating. What a lot I have been missing out on.
But you know the amazing thing? I still miss my Blackberry.

Friday, February 8, 2013

I finally found the ultimate burger... yeah!

I am always on the lookout for a good burger joint.
I mean I have had a few good burgers in my forays into the world of all things food but none of them have made me stand up on my chair and sing hosannas as to how good it is.
At least till now.
Finally I believe that I have found the ultimate burger.
And it was in the last place I expected to find a burger instead of the ultimate burger.
Believe it or not I found it in the Paradise Road Gallery Café.
Yes, it is renowned for its good food in the fine dining arena. But what they have done to the burger is amazing. Just writing about it makes my mouth water.
 They generally say a picture says a thousand words. Sadly in this case it only tells half the story. One has to experience the flavor and bask in its bliss to really appreciate it. Trust me when I say this  it could be easily described as orgasmic.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Her hands were clasped together tightly…

her face  was contorted

her eyes closed tight 

One could have assumed she was crying

But instead she was praying fervently

That is when I saw her at church

But just a few weeks ago

I saw her in an office

She was arrogant her nose was up in the air

And she gave me a most disdainful and evil look

As if I was something distasteful that the cat dragged in

As she walked passed me

Because I had asked some wrong information

Made me wonder if it was the same person I saw this Sunday

It was… some people!

Blood in your hands...

They all knew that they will execute her in early December. By then all hopes of a settlement had disappeared.  She was to be executed by the 23rd of December.
Sadly she did not know it. In fact they had assured her everything will be ok. And that she would receive a pardon soon.
But on that fateful day they asked her to take a bath early in the morning. That was the first sign that something unusual was going to happen. Something, dangerous.
There was a lady who looked after her interests who had gone to visit her that day. She was told that she could not see her as a fire drill was in progress. Even she did not know the tragedy or is it better to call it travesty which was about to unfold.
The family of the dead child had gathered to witness the execution. So did some villagers from that area. She begged and pleaded for their Mercy. Ironically the lady of the household who insisted that she had to be executed remained tight lipped. One word from her and all this could have, NO would have come to a halt. But she did not utter a word. Her silence spoke loudly. Just like the cries of “kill her! kill her!” by her husband – the person who was open to a negotiated settlement in the first place. The villagers joined in enthusiastically and vociferously.
And thus a young and innocent life was  ended.
Many have written about this incident before and one of the most informative articles is the one by D.B.S Jeyaraj. We all know about the Indian translator who was used by the police to take her statement in Tamil. But what I have not read was about the translator who went to see her couple of hours later from the Sri Lankan embassy. The translator that endorsed the statement which she had been forced to make! Only if this official had made a hue and cry about it and protested at that point in time we would not be shaking our heads in dismay today. I think of all the people who were involved in this fiasco this guy has the most blood in his hands.

They walk amongst us...

From Thomas Cook Holidays listing some of their UK clientele’s genuine complaints.

1. "I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local store in Indian villages does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts."

2. "It's lazy of the local shopkeepers to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during 'siesta' time -- this should be banned."

3. "On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don't like spicy food at all."

4. "We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our swimming costumes and towels."

7. "The beach was too sandy."

8. "We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as yellow but it was white."

10. "Topless sunbathing on the beach should be banned. The holiday was ruined as my husband spent all day looking at other women."

12. "No-one told us there would be fish in the sea. The children were startled."

13. "There was no egg-slicer in the apartment."

14. "We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish."

15. "The roads were uneven.."

16. "It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home."

17. "I compared the size of our one-bedroom apartment to our friends' three-bedroom apartment and ours was significantly smaller."

18. "The brochure stated: 'No hairdressers at the accommodation'. We're trainee hairdressers -- will we be OK staying there?"

19. "There are too many Spanish people. The receptionist speaks Spanish. The food is Spanish. Too many foreigners now live abroad."

20. "We had to queue outside with no air-conditioning."

21. "It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel."

22. "I was bitten by a mosquito. No-one said they could bite."

23. "My fiancé and I booked a twin-bedded room but we were placed in a double-bedded room.
We now hold you responsible for the fact that I find myself pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked."