Thursday, July 28, 2016

Jobs the movie....

I thought I would be inspired... I was.
I thought I would be motivated.... I was
But I never thought I would be moved to tears while watching the movie Jobs... I was.
I had read most of the books on Steve Jobs. Devoured virtually all of the articles about his life. I thought I knew all that there was to know about him.
In fact I was hesitant in picking up this movie.
But this had something which a documentary or profile does not usually have: emotion.
There is a point of caution however. In the end you have to realize that this is a movie inspired by the life of Steve Jobs. Not a movie based on his life. The sad thing is one gets engrossed so much in the story that it is quite difficult to separate the fact from the fiction.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

In support of Murali

To be honest I don't think there is anyone supporting Thilanga Sumathipala with regard to his recent comments bad mouthing Murali on consulting for the Australian cricket team.
I believe even his own children would be supporting Murali.
There were two things which lead me to write this article. One was a facebook post from one of my colleagues which stated the following:
"The man who crossed over to the opposing side so he could get a National List seat in Parliament feels he has the right to cast disparaging remarks about Murali coaching the opposition... Ironic much?? "
And of course the tongue in cheek newscurry article which accused Thilanga of being unpatriotic for owning a Chinese Restaurant instead of promoting Sri Lankan fare.

Truth disguised as humor was the first thought which crossed my mind.
What is good for the goose is good for the gander was the second.
And that was the thought which resulted in this little post.
I have always been amazed at the dichotomy of people having one set of values for politicians and another for sportsmen.
We rarely raise an eye brow or a finger in protest as the politicians around us plunder our country and coffers in gay abandon. However when it comes to sportsmen people are quick to criticize and cast them as unpatriotic even if they step into a grey area outside the well defined lines of public opinion. What really makes matters worse is that none of this activity, even border on illegality. Which is something one cannot say about the activity of most politicians.
Why is it that we tolerate the worst from the people we ourselves have voted into power? People in whose hands we have entrusted the future of ourselves and our loved ones. Whilst expecting those who entertain us to maintain strict moral discipline. On the other hand if you look at music and cinema - the other industry we look to when in need of entertainment - moral values are quite lax?
Why the double standards?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


I thought he was having the time of his life. It was his birthday. His desk was decorated with balloons. He was being showered with kisses from a lot of females. And when you are working in a bank a lot of females mean a lot.
I nearly fell off my chair when someone whispered to me "This is absolute torture for him".
I was confused. I thought someone was trying to be funny.
"He is dead scared of balloons" they added when they saw the look of absolute confusion on my face.
To be honest I still thought they were making fun of me. Till I got home and googled it. Of course it is a genuine phobia. There is even a name for it: globophobia.
And then I felt really sorry for him. Because for him being next to a few bunches of balloons next to his desk would be as terrifying as it would have been for me to sit next to a few cockroaches on my desk.
Yes I am dead scared of cockroaches. And it is no laughing matter. Just like you should not be laughing at someone being afraid of balloons.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Alcohol and the human elephant conflict!

Over 70% of those killed by elephants are drunk men.
Did you know that? Neither did I!
This was one of the many interesting facts which I have learnt after talking to several experts in the field of elephant conservation.
To me you have to be a special kind of idiot to venture out in the dead of night wearing bright colored clothing, very well knowing that their is a definite threat out their. I am told that most of the time they step out of the house for something trivial. As into buy some sugar or get some beedi. Something which could have easily been postponed for the next day. But then fools go where angels fear to tread.
I always thought by educating people about the perils of going out during the night one could overcome this problem.
But I heard quite a different opinion from the lady who is in charge of the Human Elephant conflict in the Department of Wildlife.
Her opinion was that if we are to make a really credible impact on the number of people killed by elephants. Then we have to do some community outreach and counselling programs which would reduce the use of alcohol among people living in elephant infested areas.
Wow I thought to myself. That is indeed a very workable opinion. And a great example of lateral thinking.
Something I definitely did not expect coming out from the mouth of a government servant. Nevertheless a point well worth considering.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Orlando effect aka the reverse butterfly effect

It is said that the flutter of a butterfly's wings in Brazil can cause a tornado in Tokyo. It seems that I am experiencing the reverse of it at my work place.
The metaphorical tornado is of course the "Orlando" shooting. And the butterfly's wings that are flapping is one of my colleagues.
My colleague was acting more angsty and irritable than usual. Even the slightest of misunderstandings could trigger an over reaction of gigantic proportions.
For the life of us we could not understand why?
When someone said it is because of Orlando we thought it was someones idea of a bad joke. But having listened to his point of view and giving it some thought I realized that their could be some truth in it.
As you know the Orlando incident resulted in a lot of anti gay rhetoric in the online world. Our colleague - who was a champion of Gay and LGBT rights - was aggressively responding to some these negative statements. He never realized that he was getting too involved. And all the negativity he was experiencing in the virtual world was leading to toxic relationships in the real world.
Who would have thought that this tragedy would have such far reaching effects.
One thing is for sure, I never did.

Monday, June 13, 2016

A lovely little place to stay in Vienna… Springer Apartments!

You can’t find it on AirBnB. Neither can you find it in Tripadvisor. Hence my post on here. But this is a gem of a place right in the heart of the diplomatic district of Vienna. It is less than a minutes’ walk to the HaupBhanoff station. To call it a station is an understatement. Technically it is a giant shopping mall in which you can also catch trains. It has a lovely super market, food court, all types of clothing stores as well as a star bucks. This place is like a little self-contained universe. I could not think of a more conveniently located digs.
The apartment that I stayed in was lovely. It was large, comfortable as well as very artistically designed. And it had everything which would help me to live comfortable including fridge, oven, washing machine toaster and even a dish washer.
There was one down side. Which is that they don’t clean the place till you leave and you have to remove your own garbage. Similar establishments I have stayed in before clean apartments once a week and remove the garbage for you daily.
But to be honest I didn’t mind cleaning a bit myself because the apartment even comes with a vacuum cleaner.
And the best part is that I paid less than 50 Euros a day as I stayed here for over three weeks. I am posting some pics from their website which is here.
I sincerely hope that someone out there found this information useful. J

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Power of perception!

Actually the heading “The problem of perception” would have been better suited for this post. Whilst thinking of how to start this post my thoughts took a trip down memory lane. It was to an advertising campaign done by the Rolling Stone magazine. Not to sell more magazines. But rather to educate potential clients that their perception of the magazine’s audience has transformed over time.
Well my encounter with wrong perception happened with Cake and pies and all things nice.
We all know that Mitsi’s is a place which is renowned for their delicious cakes and other sweet treats. In fact their reputation for dessert was so strong that I never thought they did any other type of dishes. Boy wasn’t I wrong. 
Mixed Grill

Grilled Cheese quite delicous!
Recently I was taken there for lunch and much to my delight I realized that they have an amazing range of savory and meat dishes. Quite similar to German Restaurant. We had a mixed grill which was really out of this world. Though it is not the typical portion served in local restaurants with a fried egg on top. Regardless it was wonderful. Some of their other dishes were also pretty good such as their grilled cheese. Overall I was quite impressed with the food as well as the price which was far easier on the purse than the trusty German Restaurant. However there is one fly in the ointment which is that they don’t have any pork dishes available out of respect for their muslim clients I guess. Regardless of this I am looking to explore the menu further with great relish. Expect more posts on the savory delights at Mitsis.

One of the loveliest places to have a beer….

What an amazing view
 I rarely drink beer these days. But that doesn’t stop me from making notes of ideal places to have a beer when I am travelling.
Guess old habits die hard.
We were at the tail end of a thousand kilometer road trip and making our way from Tangalle to Matara in order to enter the high way.
I wonder if you have ever noticed the beautiful stretch of beach which greets you as you take the bend passing Tangalle town? . It always amazes me that a beach in such close proximity to a town could look so untouched.
I have noticed it many times. And each time I pass it I say damn I wish I could sit here and chill for a while; sipping on a beer.
Now they have a shop. And they have beer! And one of the loveliest and windiest sit out areas with a magnificent view.
But the good news stops their.
The food is horribly expensive. The menu doesn’t have that much variety. And the quality of the food and cooking quite poor for the money they charge.
Horribley expensive less than average food. The cuttle fish in the pic was meant to be hot butter cuttle fish
The next time I pass this place I am still going to stop. As the view is too good to be avoided. But I shall sit and consume only a drink and go for lunch elsewhere. So my stomach will not accuse me of torture.
I believe they also have a few rooms to let on top of the premises. I must say it would be heavenly to wake up in the morning and admire the view with strong gusts of wind brushing against your body. Well it does seem like a dream as long as you don’t have your meals there. In that case it would turn into a nightmare.
The name of the place is called “Emmalaya rockview” and you can find them on TripAdvisor.

The comfort of your presence....

The comfort of your presence...

sometimes it's all I need....

just to feel you close....

so eyes can meet via mirrors

making soft lips transform into a smile

even though rarely a word is exchanged

it makes me feel warm inside.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Isn't Karma a Bitch

"Oh goodness these Sri Lankan men are useless!"
"I will never even associate with any one from Sri Lanka - even though I am Sri Lankan"!
"These people don't even know how to loving or be romantic"
"Or even how to make love properly".
"I want to marry a Sudda (foriegner)".
This was the constant stream of drivel which was spewing out of the mouth of a certain lady I know. And yes she got involved with a white guy which made her even prouder and more arrogant as she strutted around insulting the entire male population of our country.
Unfortunately for her the white guy turned out to be one of these confidence tricksters who tricked her out of over 5000 euros.
For someone who was constantly complaining about the lack of sexual prowess of the Sri Lankan male she certainly got screwed. :)

Island Mentality!

"Every one wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die". This was a phrase I came across many many years ago.
And it crept back into my thoughts as I was contemplating on how to handle a situation I am facing right now.
I have realized that this is true with a lot of people. They want the best of what an organisation can give them but yet don't want to put in the effort required to achieve it. Some call this "The island mentality". Apparently most people who are in islands are like this. Lazy and lackadaisical with no energy to motivate themselves to get their asses in to gear. The laid back attitude of Jamaicans and people from Philippines being a good point of reference. Coming to think of it these same people who seem lifeless over here in Sri Lanka transform themselves to bundles of energy the moment they migrate to another country. Though Australia and UK too are islands. Guess it has to be called the "tropical island mentality". As someone said it is the salt in the air. Just like it corrodes metals it seems to be corroding certain peoples brains.

Saturday, May 21, 2016


He sits quietly in front of his computer…

A luminous square of nothing staring back at him.

Urging him… no challenging him to write something.

He types… then deletes it.

He types again… and deletes once more.

The past few hours have been a constant cycle of typing and deleting.

Someone has told him that he needs to open up.

Be more personal. Show more emotion.

But how does one describe emptiness? How can one define it?

It has no size or texture.

No form or color.

But it is ever present.

It blocks out the sunshine of a beautiful morning.

It sucks out the joy of victory

It is sitting next to you in the passenger seat... silently…..

Transforming a delightful drive into an arduous journey….

It sitting behind you at meetings… lying next to you in your bed…

Even accompanying you to the shower….

It is not a sickness so you cannot treat it…

It does not have form so you can’t fight it.

It is everywhere… It is in everything….

But it is nothing.

Sunday, February 28, 2016


"I have prayed about this" she says looking at me defiantly!
"Oh!" I say doing my level best to keep my face dead pan knowing very well that with those few words our discussion has reached a stale mate situation.
We are having a conversation about a communication plan for an event. A task which she is not capable of handling as she has not done anything similar ever before. But she is not willing to consider the roll out plan I am recommending. And there is nothing I can do because who can argue with "this is what God has laid on my heart".
Of course the turnout at the event was not as high as they expected. But then again it is shrugged off as "Gods Will".
I am a believing Christian. Though not one of the Bible thumping holier than thou art rabid kind. But I do encounter them a lot. And over the years I have realized that 99% of them are just normal people just like us. Bitchy. Argumentative. Horny. Jealous. Jumping into conclusions and revengeful as well. But most of them cloak their negative actions in what I would like to call "God Speak".
Being rude and hurtful is saying it with love and truthfulness.
Being stubborn and obstinate is carrying out God's wishes.
If something is not going the way they want it is the work of the enemy or a spiritual attack.
And if it is an argument which they can't win of course it is earthly wisdom.
Ultimately it is the same shit in a more holier saucer.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Bloody Peasants!
This was the comment made on a fb post I had shared where Derana made an apology for criticizing Kishani Jayasinghe on singing "Danno Budunge" in an operatic style.
I resented that comment.
As much as I resented all the negative comments made about the performance.
Because this, along with most of the other comments supporting the performance reeked of - a false - sense of superiority. A "my tastes are far more refined than yours" kind of haughtiness. Which I found unpalatable.
But it did get me thinking.
This was a national celebration, with a nation-wide audience, telecast live on national TV? Not a concert for the Colombo elite in a small intimate surrounding.
And the question which begs to be asked is did those who put together the show think about the audience when doing so?
To me the first priority when planning a celebration is to focus on what would please the audience? What would thrill them? What would they appreciate?
Not to get them to try and appreciate what I think is good and then cry foul when people don't do so.
My question to all those people who are shouting about casting pearls before swine is this?
Wouldn't you have to be an absolute fool to do so?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The 5 3 2 technique for happiness

This little nugget of valuable info is embedded in my previous post titled "What should have been the most popular TED talk every". However in this modern world of seven second Vine videos and 140 character text messages watching an entire TED talk to find the key to happiness would not be appealing to most people. This video distills what Professor Amit Sood was saying into sixty seconds and three easy steps. This is 1 minute you will never waste.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Validation Queen

"I don't eat fruits, or potatoes or pork or chicken and very" she said to no one in particular.
30 heads looked up in surprise around the breakfast table.
A few, exchanging knowing glances. Which read a desperate "Oh no!"
"I always try to eat organic, and try to eat healthy" she continued.
Now there is nothing wrong in sharing your lifestyle choices among friends.
But not among 30 strangers who were seated for a networking breakfast before starting a life realignment workshop.
Right throughout the workshop this continued.
She interrupted the lecturer constantly.
We knew how she started her morning.
We knew how she treated her work colleagues
We knew how she went about her day...
In fact we knew far more than we wanted to.
Sadly not what we came to learn....
And as she started going off on a tangent once again my eyes met with the person who was seated behind her. Who raised her eyes in exasperation and mouthed "Validation Queen!"

Friday, February 5, 2016

What should have been the most popular TED talk ever

I could also have titled this post "the most uninspiring TED talk title in history" and that too would have been quite accurate. But this TED talk addresses a problem virtually everyone I know is faced with. Not being able to focus or Mind wandering. Remember reading a book and then realizing that you cannot remember what it was that you read? Sounds familiar. Not only does he outline the problem but he goes where many other TED presenters rarely do: which is giving simple practical solutions to becoming more focused.
This talk is as life changing as the Amy Cuddy talk titled "Your Body Language shapes who you are". However this has only 23,000 views unlike the millions of views generated by Cuddy's talk.
Firstly it could be because that this is a TEDx talk which is technically a TED franchise. More importantly it could be because of the complete lack of sizzle in the title. But then this guy is a Professor of Medicine at the famous Mayo Clinic in charge of resilient living. You really don't expect him to have the marketing muscle to come up with a snazzy title. But I sure wish he had someone to help him craft a better one as he sure has something very important and interesting to say. Let me end my piece with one of the quotes which remain etched in my mind and hope that it intrigues you enough to click play.
"Science is nothing but the systematic study of spirituality".

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Desperately seeking....

"I have never loved anyone as much as I loved him" she says. 

I scratch myself wondering how to respond?

This is not the first time I have heard her say this. 

And I doubt this is not the last. 

How can someone fall in love with someone you have never met?

Whose just an image on a computer screen? 

Yes you talk to that person. You spend time. You share emotions. 

But a hug is just an emoticon. And a touch is something you can only dream of. 

Then I suddenly realise I should not be too critical of her. 

Because I too have been in a similar situation. 

An emotional connection with someone who there was never a chance of meeting. 

Fortunately I did not let it destroy me. 

Sadly that is not what I see. 

All I can see is a desperate lonely soul. Drowning in a sea of misery created by longing.

Clutching at every straw of affection thrown at her. 

Hoping to save herself....

Sadly she will not listen when I say happiness is within and not without.

Sunday, January 24, 2016


Remember the band KISS?
They said it was an acronym for Knights in Satan's Service.
Or Stair ways to heaven by Led Zeppelin? They said it has lyrics worshiping Satan when back-masked (Playing it backwards).
If you haven't heard of either of these bands - after all they were bands of my youth - I am sure you would have heard "Hotel California" by Eagles? Well it is said that this song is about witchcraft, demons and human sacrifice.
A lot people and organisations protested vehemently about this.
What did all this negative publicity and public outcry create?
These bands became even more successful!
It helped to create a new wave of popularity. So much so record companies loved it as all the negativity helped to sell more records.
I remember someone mentioning a similar case in Sri Lanka. Not to do with music but to do with drugs.
Where an anti-drug campaign actually contributed to the increased use of heroin by creating awareness and making people curious.
I can see something similar happening these days once again with the new group who is consuming our attention in this post BBS era.
I can't seem to escape all the "down with racism" posts featuring their symbol. Especially in the online landscape.
I wonder if they realize that all this hue and cry is actually helping their cause instead of harming it?
The stronger our opposition. The more vociferous our criticism. The more we feed the monster. Helping it to become bigger and more dangerous.
It is we, who are against them that are making them heroes in the eyes of the others.
In fact what that started out as a simple tattoo on some guys chest would not have become a movement today if not for all of us who have vehemently opposed it..
This is why I am not even mentioning the name of the group here.
Sometimes the best form of defense is to do nothing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Three circles of blessings!

Three circles of blessings converged in the last week to bring me an absolutely wonderful experience.
It started with a walk outside my office and stepping in to a store to check out the price of a phone. To my amazement they had special deal through which they were giving a 30% discount. A price too good to ignore. And so I am the owner of a brand new phablet with a HD screen.
The second circle of blessing was to wake up one day and discover Netflix is accessible in Sri Lanka. And with the help of a cost effective VPN softwear one can access the USA Netflix feed whose line up is even better than the Netflix one enjoys in Asia. It is not just movies one has access to but also a huge amount documentaries and TV series. Including loads of programs by my favorite celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain.
And thirdly I realised the new phone was 4G which was quite a welcome surprise. Also much to my delight I realised that using 4G does not drain my battery as much as I had thought it would.
So now where ever I go I am never bored. Watching Netflix on 4G on a HD screen is as good as looking at Blue Ray movie. And much to my amazement the Dialog 4G coverage and reliability is damn great. And to think all this time I thought otherwise.
I know in the larger scheme of things this is something insignificant and inconsequential. But it has made a world of difference to me. And it is always wonderful to go about your day feeling blessed!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Doing the wrong thing for the right reasons

It was a innocent face book question which caught my attention. What would you do if you were pulled over by a cop for a traffic violation?
1. Explore the possibility of paying a bribe.
2. Leave your license with the cop and pay the fine and collect the license later.
3. Don't know.
For me I always would chose the first route. Not only because it is the most fast and hassle free solution. But also because I would rather give my money to a hard working cop any day than contribute to the upkeep of the fat cats in the government. Yes at first glance paying a bribe seems wrong.
However I cannot help but feel sorry for the traffic cops - or for any Police Constable (pc) for that matter - who stands on duty by the roadside for as much as 6 hours at a stretch. The average traffic cop has far higher probability of having some kind of lung infection than the average citizen thanks to all the vehicle fumes he inhales. I also know a senior company driver would be getting more money than one of these guysl. They too have to provide for their families. They too have to buy books, give milk and pay their children's fees.
Isn't it better to have your hard earned money go to ease a life like this than to grease the pocket a of an already rich, fat politician?
To me the answer was always yes. But I still felt troubled by it. Once I made my comment I turned a page on the book I was reading - Shantharam - and saw the phrase "doing the wrong thing for the right reason". Somehow I thought this summed up my situation perfectly and it was sign from fate telling me not to sweat the small stuff. I don't think it was a coincidence that I read this part right after my anxious moment. But I am just amazed how two parallel paths in my life converged to give me a sense of peace and clarity without ever touching each other.

Saturday, January 16, 2016


I was shaking with anticipation in a beautiful tea house in Vienna. Maybe it was lust?
I was going to be eating my first scone!
The fact that they were serving scones triggered a flood of memories. Of me devouring Enid Blyton books and thinking how delicious this thing called scones must be. Be it fantastic four. Or famous five or the secret seven scones was a delicacy which was featured in every volume. So much so that I had created a mental image - the phrase mental fantasy would be more apt here - of hot scones with cream and strawberry jam as something heavenly. Something so delicious that it would melt in my mouth and make me quiver with its delightful tastes.
My excitement grew to fever pitch when they brought the scones ensconced in a crisp white napkin. I was quite literally shivering in anticipation as I felt it's warmth in my hand while applying a dollop of cream and Jam on it.
As my hands lifted this morsel of divine goodness to my lips I closed my eyes in anticipation of the closest thing to a food orgasm I was going to experience.
What an anticlimax it was.
It tasted nothing like I expected it to be. It was dry and hard and clumpy and if not for the cream and jam completely unpalatable.
Thinking this negative experience was a one off I have tried scones at several other places but everyone of them could be described as eating brittle cardboard with cream and jam.
What a buzz kill. Guess certain fantasies should remain just that... A fantasy.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Wow! It has been over a month since I have posted something on here. As far as I am concerned there is no better way to start my first post for the new year with a subject which has been titillating the entire country for far too longer than necessary.
The dark cloud of global negative publicity which seemed to have spread to each and every corner of the world concerning our presidents statement about bras and whipping with sting ray tails seems to have a silver lining after all. I was talking to a gentleman whose business is contracting A list performers the other day.He told me that suddenly Sri Lanka is on the radar of these performers. All thanks to this negative publicity. In fact someone from JLO's management team had expressed interest in performing in Sri Lanka as a direct result of this situation.
Bra-vo Mr President! Bra-vo!
I must confess I went for the concert because I was the lucky recipient of two VIP tickets. Yes the organizing of the event could have been done much better and the security could have been tighter. My heart bleeds for those who paid 35,000 bucks for their tickets to have their privileged position usurped by a bung of ruffians.
Yes I don't think Live events deserves the kind of beating they are getting from all of sundry. Which to me is taking the shape of a witch hunt.
I have contacts in the entertainment industry and what my trusted sources tell me was that the late start was beyond their control. One was because some of the sound equipment was flown in only that morning. And the other because the entire lighting and stage set up had to be reassembled as the specs the local crew were working with was different to what the advance crew had with them.
Also this entire furore over taxes: it is standard industry practice! You never give 100% of your tickets to the CMC for stamping. Firstly you don't know how many tickets you will sell. Secondly it is going to affect your cash flows significantly since you have to pay. And most importantly thirdly no one wants to be faced with the challenge of trying to get money out of an absolutely corrupt government institution.
My sincere hope is that this will not be the final nail in coffin of Live Events. They deserve another chance.