Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cricket Starts And We Decipher Songs

The much awaited cricket season in Japan started last Sunday. Much awaited by us, not the Japs. They don't know Jack about cricket and couldn't possibly have been waiting for it more than I do for Ranjan Ramanayake's next film. Anyway, as I was saying the cricket season started which I must say is a wonderful thing: if nothing else, it makes you feel at home a bit. We were to play a friendly game with another team which was based on a location some 200 kilometers away from where we are, so off we went in the wee hours of morning which is to say at about 8 a.m. The wheels were trusted with the experienced hands of Solomon, which we thought was a smart move. Within 10 minutes we realized it wasn't the case, as during those 10 minutes he violated more traffic rules than all the other people here did during the past two years put together. So after we entered the highway D took the driver's seat and we prepared an argument in case a traffic cop stopped us: the whole point of allowing people to drive only if they hold a driver's license is to make the roads safe. So which is better - a bad driver with a license or a good driver without one? And if the cop still disagrees, the last option would be to get him in the car and let Solomon drive further 100 meters which will surely make him agree.

So then, after so many heart stopping moments we arrived at Shizuoka, the place where we were to play the match. Everything was set to play, the Sun was out and we thought it was gonna be a good, if not great start to the season. Alas, it wasn't to be so. Shortly afterwards the clouds started gathering which was followed by a drizzle and the temperature started dropping at a rate faster than [insert something here which has a very high rate]. When we bowled the last few overs the temperature couldn't have been more than 4 or 5 degrees Celsius. Wearing only the cricket trousers and stuff, it was cold as hell when it freezes over. Then, just when we finished bowling it promptly rained thus ending the match. It seemed sort of stupid traveling some 200 kilometers to bowl 35 overs and come back, but such is cricket.

On our way back we got caught in a mad traffic and the car wasn't moving at all. As a means of passing time, being the intelligent lot we are, we got engaged in a few 'intellectual discussions' such as the latest movies, Shakira's bottom and IPL. When even that bored us, we started to actually listen to lyrics of the songs that we had playing and found out how rich the Sinhala language was. We were listening to Kasun Kalhara's songs, among others, and that song Sanda Sanda Wage came up. Cool song, I must say, and you can listen to it here if you want. We listened carefully and found out that it is a song about nothing but the plain and obvious facts, yet it's a nice song. It says moon looks like moon, flowers look like flowers, you look like you and I look like I. What else can they look like? If we still dumb it down and convert into a mathematical formula, it'll look like this:
A = A, B = B, C = C and D = D
As long as A != B and B != A
Then A = A and B = B
Lucky Newton wasn't in Sri Lanka or else we would have been learning Physics by songs.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Illegal Signatures and School Days

I'm good at forging signatures. I probably shouldn't divulge potentially harmful information such as this, but I trust you fellows not to let my secret out. I know you lot is a good bunch. Anyway, I'm quite good at it, and usually withing 20 to 30 minutes I can reproduce one good enough for petty crimes - the ones that are more or less harmless - of others. I often struggle to reproduce Sinhala signatures though - they are too complicated - and that is perhaps one reason among many why I sign in Sinhala. Not that anybody will ever think mine is worth reproducing, but still. English ones are a different matter though - I only have to keep practising the curves, and eventually I get it. The key is finding out where the lines start and where they end. Because it is near impossible to do a perfect impression starting a line from a different position to that of the original. If you study people's handwriting you will see that though they are vastly different and unique, they all carry some very common characteristics too. For instance, take the block letter F. There are three main ways in which someone would write it; one - draw the two horizontal lines from left to right, then the vertical line, usually from top to bottom. Two - draw the vertical first, then the horizontal lines. Three - draw the top horizontal line, then the vertical and at last the lower horizontal line. Almost all the time people write lines from left to right and top to bottom. Of course there are exceptions but generally above mentioned are the three ways in which F is written. So, if you can look at the handwriting and find out start and end points, then the rest is only a matter of practising the curves.

So, this skill of mine came in very handy while at school. I'm not sure if it still is the case, but back then if you were absent you were supposed to bring a latter from your parents the next day, stating the reason why you were absent. But of course there arise the need of being absent without your parents knowing due to a variety of very important reasons ranging from going out on a date (for the lack of a better term) with your girlfriend, going to the latest movie or just because you felt like. But there is a better chance of government media in paradise being unbiased than your parents writing a letter for something like that, so we had to do it for ourselves. And I was the go-to man when they needed to get it signed.

So one day, a Tuesday morning as I can remember, this dude comes to me early in the morning.
"Machan, sign this quickly please, I was absent yesterday"
I never ask many questions, so I just signed it and away went the happy fella to show it to one of the discipline masters before the school starts. He (the discipline master) read the letter and was like;
"Oh, your grandmother passed away? I'm sorry son, please accept my condolences. But is one day enough?"

"Uh... yes sir, she passed away on Saturday, so we had the funeral yesterday. So it's alright. Thank you sir"
Now, our school had a 'College Diary' in which you have all the pre-planned school activities were listed on the left hand side pages while the right hand side pages were blank. We were supposed to write all these letter on it - no letters on pieces of paper were accepted for any reason whatsoever - and that day too the letter was written on this diary of my friend. So, the discipline master casually turns the pages for no reason and finds out that the grandmother in question had died not once, but thrice.

We heard that the discipline master, who was a man with a good sense of humor, had a good laugh before punishing the poor dude. Oh and he too must be credited since he never said a word as to who actually signed it because had the word got out I would have been in deep shit because my father, at that time, was the assistant discipline master.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Funny Side of Killing Akon

I didn't know who Akon is. Scratch that. I still don't know who he is, and can't really be bothered to Google either. But apparently the dude had said or done something against Buddhism/Buddhists. Nobody bothered, but now that he had decided it's cool to visit us islanders, seems some of the said islanders aren't really happy about it. To the point of wanting to kill the dude. I was baffled with a little bit of WTF-ness to go with it.

But then, a couple of days ago I saw one of my friends had joined one of the 174,566 'Kill Akon' or 'I hate Akon' FB groups and I proceeded to read the comments to it. Someone had asked what's going on to which the reply was, "I really don't know"! In an instant, even faster than one of these guys could shout Kill Akon, my WTF-ness was turned into a LOL-ness. You could even say it's a LMAO-ness or a ROFL-ness, if you like to be really dramatic, but that's not the point.

The point is, only a handful of morons really think that it is essential to kill the dude in order to preserve Buddhism in Sri Lanka, but there are many a thousand who's quite ready to succumb to their marketing strategies, if you will, just like my friend. But I don't think that it's really fair to generalize every Buddhist in SL branding them with words ranging from 'ignorant' to 'myopic' to even 'plain dumb'. It is no different from branding every Muslim a terrorist.

We live in a funny world don't we?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Live Happily!

It's all in your mind - see the cup half full and that'll do wonders.

It's not just you. Take a look around, there's always someone who's worse than you are.

Learn to appreciate what you have. You'll always see there's someone else who's willing to give an arm and a leg to have what you have.

Have friends. More the merrier.

Take a moment to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Success isn't about how well you earned; it's more about how well you lived. Remember the Mexican Fisherman?

Learn to love yourself for what you are. You couldn't choose what you were born or what you look like, but you can always choose what you will become.

Travel. The world is big and there's a lot to see. You'll be poor with rich stories to tell.

Give more. Give your lunch to the homeless woman down the street, feed a stray dog, treat the little kids in your neighborhood with chocolates once in a while. It'll make you feel good.


Love unconditionally and tell the people you love that you love them. It maybe the last time you see them.

At last, stop denying. Life isn't fair - admit it and deal with it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Skiing, Nose and Work

So it's been some time since I last wrote something. It is not due to blogger's block though, which is the same as writer's block but only happens to bloggers, but the sharper minds out there must have figured it out already. It is a term coined by that drummer, RD, or at least I heard it first from him in an email exchange. He likes it, doesn't he - not having blogger's block, but coining terms I mean. By the way, why is it called 'coin a term'? I mean it's not like you toss a coin and it showers you with terms appropriate for describing what's in your mind or something. And who coined the term 'coin a term', really? But I digress. The point is, I couldn't blog of late because first I was away, then I got the worst cold a man has ever endured in the history of mankind, and then I was busy. Not 'boru busy' but for real.

Let me tell you more.

As I once told you here, we were planning on going a ski trip again and the plans were set in motion the last Saturday. Five of us paradise islanders who live here rented a car, hopped in at 4.30 in the morning and were set off for the skiing place some four hours and 300 kilometers away. We trusted the wheel with the most reliable hands that were there, let's call him J, and put K, the guy who's been there, done that in the front seat because we thought wisdom comes with age. It wasn't the case, we found pretty soon. K was supposed to be doing the 'navigating duties', because then it's easy for J instead of him having to look at the screen and drive too. But K who was in the front seat constantly forgot his duties due to a combination of the iPhone in his hand and the inability to concentrate that comes with age. He was quickly demoted to the back seat, driver was changed and J was given the 'navi duties'. Mistake again; we forgot J was a leftie - not in a political sense - and he constantly messed up left and right, just like the JVP who claims to be lefties but totally act the other way around. Anyway, with all these hassles we managed to be there in time, put on our gear and were on the top of the mountain in no time.

Now, I said in that post mentioned above that I thought I had got the hang of this whole skiing business. Alas, it wasn't the case, I realized pretty soon. Yes the weather was bad, there was some drizzle but even if it wasn't so, it would have made a little difference. I'm sure I must have looked like a comedy show or something. I even suspect that the Japs behind me might have had bets on how long I would stay on my feet. Anybody who had bet any more than 10 would have lost badly. And by ten I mean ten seconds. However, in a combination of sliding - on feet a little and on my back a lot, and rolling, somehow I managed to end up at the bottom of the mountain, some three hours later. That was the end of skiing for me - for this year at least. I mean, why can't they ski on a... flat land or something? The next day I let the other more able people to do their skiing and went here and there sightseeing in our comfy car with one another guy who thought it'd be cool to break his leg the first time he tried skiing. Check out some pics here on my photo blog.

Upon returning, I did the stupidest thing. After two days in cold weather and getting wet, I was on the brink of a bad cold but without thinking I took a shower at midnight. Crap. The next day I woke up with the above said worst ever cold, with a totally blocked nose. So blocked it was, I seriously considered sticking the vacuum cleaner to my nose and do a complete nose cleansing, like once Maks mentioned somewhere, but I can't find that post. But unlike these crazy women, us men have our limits so I stuck to more conventional methods of tissues and medicine. Two boxes of tissues, one complete nasal sprayer, shitload of Kottamalli - that is Coriander for you non Sinhala speaking people - and five days later, I'm still recovering.

So I had to take the Tuesday off because of the said cold and since nobody needs a vacation more than the person who just had one. But then to compensate for that I had to work my ass off up until today. Oh yeah, now today, Saturday, I'm at work. By which I mean I'm sitting at a desk in my office, blogging. That's hard work you know.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I grew up in a time when things, by which I mean life, wasn't as convenient, fast, high-tech and crazy as today. It was more like sedate, slow and hard but to compensate for all that, it was beautiful. It was nice. Everything had it's own pace, and we moved along enjoying life and the simple pleasures it brought.

When I was a kid, I enjoyed, played with and got to know the world around me. The games we played were real - be it a backyard game of cricket, a simple hide-and-seek or kite flying when it was the season. They were fun, challenging and taught us a thing or two about life. Backyard cricket isn't as easy as you'd think; to not shatter neighbor's windows which is essential in ensuring future cricket, rules had to be imposed saying anyone who hits it to a wall on either side of the wicket will be out. Even when playing on the road it was the same; on one side there was the river and on the other there were bushes - hit it straight or be gone was the order of the day. We became so good at hitting it straight, our straight drives would have put Sachin Tendulkar into shame. It was challenging yet fun. So was hide-and-seek though it wasn't the normal hide-and-seek you'd think of. The unfortunate souls who get caught will be tied to the nearest tree, and will have to remain be tied until a team-mate comes to the rescue. Often, though, when we were called back for lunch or tea, we'd go back leaving the tied be tied - intentionally or just because we forgot. Yet screaming for help was no option since our pride was at stake - sometimes we'd stay tied for hours trying to cut ourselves loose. If you managed that, you get the hero status and something to boast about for the whole eternity. Which is about two weeks. Otherwise, usually the mother of the one who's tied will come untie him while cursing us, and a good old ass whipping for the poor dude will follow making the whole thing hilarious. Kite flying was fun too; the whole process of making one is an art of it's own and you had to know little tips and whatnot to be a master of the art. But finishing one, making it fly, keeping it there, it was all wonderful memories. We knew the world around us; we had time, we had space. Wonder how many kids today know how to fly one let alone make. Forget kites, many fifteen year olds today don't know how to hold a bat and the only places that remain today the kids can play hide-and-seek are the two bedrooms in their houses.

Then, when we were a bit older, still the world was different. Cell phones were only heard of - even home phones were the exception, not the norm. Telephone was expensive and it was for emergency, not for casual chit chat. It was funny that you had to wait until there were certain number of applicants in an area to get a land line even. Otherwise it was too costly for SLT to provide a phone connection. So it wasn't easy, but we were still... OK. No last minute cancellations of appointments - if you said you would come, you would come. Only the 'important' people owned a cell-phone, for which the popular term was Celltell, and as kids or young ones you were not trusted to even touch them. Rich and poshy uncles and aunts would flash their half a kilo bricks in parties and family gatherings showing off their 'class'. We would watch in awe. It was also a good time to have a girlfriend; you didn't have a few thousands of rupees worth monthly mobile bill to worry of, no late night texting, and you'd have to wait with patience to see your princess the next week. Inconvenient, but romantic. Anticipation is a wonderful thing.

We weren't caught up in the rat race that is education. Until I finished my Ordinary Levels, I only attended two tuition classes and that too was not because it was necessary - just for fun, rather. School education was quite enough and that left us with ample time to sit back and enjoy our lives. To do other things - hang out with friends, play, go fishing or go after a chick you fancy. Moms didn't want us to get better grades than our neighbor's son, when we were still in grade five. Saturdays and Sundays were actually free, believe it or not. School holidays were that; holidays. As opposed to 9 to 5 tuition classes you have on holidays today. Sad, what it has come to.

Everything wasn't at your fingertips as today, but it was OK. Information was hard to come by, so it made whatever you get worth it. If you wanted to know Vivian Richards' Test average, you had to look for it. Maybe in old newspapers, sports magazines or as a last resort you could consult the next door neighbor cricket crazy uncle. He will most probably tell you the stat, but along with dozen stories like how he listened to it on the radio when Sobers made that epic 365. If you wanted to know the meaning of scaturient, acromonogrammatic, necromorphous, dolichofacial or unguinous, you had to look it up a dictionary. Or an encyclopedia which consisted of about forty volumes that weigh 72 kilograms in total, which could only be found in a library. Learning was slow, but you remembered what you learnt. Mail were actually something you sent using postal services and you needed stamps. You had to go to the theatre, or to the nearest video rental shop to rent a VHS if you wanted to watch a movie. And you had to rewind it to the beginning too, before watching. Being pals with the dude in the best video rental shop in town came with many advantages. You are the dude friends come to, then, when they want to know about the latest movie released four months ago. Music was something you listened to on radio, and you had a collection of only the favorite songs recorded on cassette tapes, each of which had 16 songs maximum. Friends were people actually you knew, and 'poking' every one of them would come with serious consequences. We learned to appreciate what we had. In short, life wasn't easy but it was wonderful, relaxing and..... humane.

And then came computers.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Isn't GoogleWave all tosh?

Google is good. The search engine that is. Not just good, it's brilliant. So is GMail. I'm a GMail user from the very beginning and love it. So are many other Google services; they really have set some standards. However, Google Wave is just not one of them.

Simply put GW is more or less a hyped up chat program I think. Fancy name, cool interface, and more or less all the forms of media we know is put together - except voice and video chat. So basically you can text chat, add some pics and/or vids to it. Oh and also you can Tweet and Blog from within it, but that's just about it. I can drag-drop an image or a video to Skype and do the same - watch it online or watch it after downloading, they're all the same after all - plus I like the much simpler Skype interface. So yeah, it'll take a bit more for GW to make me a fan. But then again as much as I don't care about GW, I'm damn sure they don't give a crap if I become their fan or not either.