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…