I'm starving

It's Saturday morning. My bags are packed - I'm leaving the city to attend a memorial service, rather the Sinhalese version of it - in the mountains. Nuwara Eliya, the "Little London" as it was known then.

I'm waiting for my travel companion - my cousin bro - who seems to have found "last minute matters" to attend to. I get fidgity; I need to do something. So watched a DVD claimed to be the mother of all cannibal movies. Bloody, horrible, not a topic that suits a calm Saturday morning. Nevertheless.

Cannibalism - quite an interesting topic though. The so called "civilised" people vs the "barbarians" of the jungle. Who's civilised and who's not is a great question. Simulated by the argument, my soul is searching for something. Knowledge, love, the meaning of life, happiness - I don't know. Probably, a mix of all that. My soul is hungry.

I feel lonely in the middle of all these people.

I'm looking for a signal from my soul mate. I miss the intectual conversations we used to have. Comparing Buddhism and Christianity, and learning more about human faith.

What we fail to understand is that no matter what "label" your religion carries, they all mean the same thing. We fight for religion, we fight for language, race, country and waht ever our greed hold on to.

Sri Lankans are a great example in fighting for these meaningless things. We are fighting a civil war, fighting for boundaries. Ask a Sinhalese, if we had managed to maintain a united Sri Lanka, would they ever leave their home towns and re-start in the "claimed" land. Ask a "displaced" Tamil in Germany, if he would relocate to Jaffna if he was given the land?

The most probable answer to both questions would be a big "no."

In a day and age where international travel is a regular thing, and bounderies are almost non-existant, we are fighting for them. Killing each other, by the dozen. We, as a nation, must learn to respect each other, respect life.

Tsunami was a great awakening, a sign from Good to remind us how valuable life is. Barely a year later, we have forgotten all that. Today, tsunami has become a big business.

Disgraceful. Shameful.

This country needs a miracle. A messayah. A Buddha. A revolution.

I hope we find a way to appreciate life, find forgiveness and find peace in this blessed land. Soon.


Three Cheers for Rice

We LOVE rice. I mean the food, not Condoleezza Rice.

Sri Lankans have rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They love it, they want it. Take away their freedom, but don't take away their rice. Rice here is a national symbol, an icon that deserves to be put on the flag.

A Sri Lankan rice and curry meal is indeed a great treat. A treat fit for Kings. Fit for kings - that's the problem. The preparation requires an army of chefs, and loads of time. If I were a King, probably i could afford to have rice three times a day - the way it's meant to be, in this paradise isle.

But the trouble is, this is the 21st century. The king goes to work, while the queen probably does the same too. There are no armies of chefs at home. The national dish didn't evolve with times; it still commands laborious hours forcing the queen of home to wake up at wee hours - probably by 4 O'clock - to prepare the majestic meal. Imagine the number of hours this nation wastes in cooking their rice every single day?

If the womenfolk at home spends 4 hours a day in cooking (in average), that would be 20 hours during the weekdays. Keep 6 each for the weekend and she's spending a good 32 hours a week cooking. Let's be fair, and say 25 hours a week. Now multiply by the millions who do this every day... What a waste of time..!!

Ask a Sri Lankan guy to spend 25 hours a week cooking - to see what he has to say.

I'd say, evolve, people, Evolve..!

Just look at our neighbours - the Indians. They also eat rice and curry. True, their dishes are different, the preparations different, and the taste is different. But they have evolved. For the rice-fancy men who MUST have their home-made food, the city of Bombay offers a lunch-distribution network that is more complex, but a lot more efficient than DHL or FedEx. The women cook at leisure and send the lunch over to the guy's office - fresh. For those who wouldn't mind where the food came from, there are "ready to microwave & eat" rice and curry packs. Or the restaurants have "monthly tickets" and they deliver.

In most parts of the world, your lunch is delivered to the office. Works out to be fresher, cheaper and convenient. But here, in the paradise island, we love to go against the convention. Our hand-made shoes are cheaper and home cooked meals are cheaper. Who cares about the resources, who cares about the woman who wakes up so early every morning? Where's the compassion in this so called "most hospitable nation" on earth?

Why can't we be efficient in preparing our meals? Why only rice? Even if we MUST remain a rice-loving nation, why can't there be new innovations, new recipes? Russians love potatoes, and they have thousands of different recipes. Some take just 5 minutes to cook.

Why not pasta? Why not noodles? Why not roti for lunch?

We just love our rice. A lot more than our women. We don't really care if the wife, mom, sister, or the maid has to get up at 4 in the morning to cook for us, day in, day out. Do we?

I'd say, Evolve. Guys, love your rice, but love your women better.

Or learn to cook.


Return to base

Life in Taprobane

Twelve years is a long time. Making up my mind to return wasn't difficult. Once that's done, the rest was easy. Most of my friends, here and abroad, thought that I was nuts. Perhaps, to an onlooker it might have seemed that way. Leaving behind a Grand Cherokee for a Nissan Sunny or a Honda City, and a modern cosmopolitan city for a city like Colombo wouldn't seem to be a fair deal. Anyway, I'm glad that I'm back. My soul needed to return to base.

Sri Lanka is a fascinating country. It has changed in many ways. In many ways it hasn't at all. The roads are still the same - not even an inch wider. There are humvees and shiny beemers on streets that are also frequented by stray cattle. That's the capital - Colombo. Strange, but true.

And the women. I remember the female students of Colombo Campus. They very rarely wore jeans. There were 'baila' songs making fun of women wearing "men's clothes" 12 years ago. It's the opposite now. It's refreshing to see fashionable women. But, still, I think this country has no sense of fashion or there is a significant lack of it. There are some gorgeous women, but shy to show-off their curves - wearing loose pants. Why? There are some designers trying to capitalise on the "exotic oriental" roots we have and trying to bring about a local fashion-scene, but unfortunately, the country seems to be embracing Levi's and Diesel. "Barefoot" has almost single-handedly made the sarong fashionable. Cool. We should have had more of those.

Most annoying thing at the beginning for me was the early shutting down of the city. There's hardly anything one could do in the evening. No paying bills, no grocery-shopping. Not a single bookshop is open after 6 pm. Why? Oh why? Do I have to leave the office early if I have to buy a pencil from a bookshop in Unity Plaza (Colombo 04)? A pencil isn't worth a short-leave; so I have to wait till the weekend. Lovely. Same goes for take-away food, salons, and everything else.

Then, you discover that there's one supermarket that's open till 11pm (if you don't mind the drive), and some of the gas-station mini-marts are open till late. Hallelujah. At least there's beer in my life. One could survive on a liquid diet, I suppose.

I keep discovering ways to address my needs. I'm slowly changing in to an 10-hours-a-day person. 12 would be a push. I'm used to an 18-hour day, and now there is so much time left in my hands. No more buying vegetables at 1 O'clock in the morning. No more cruising the city in the night. This is Sri Lanka. Buy vegetables every Sunday; and don't go cruising in the night.

But, there is a constant smile on everyone's face.

Why, i wonder.


Welcome to my life

I have been thinking of blogging for a while. Contemplating when to start and what to write. Where to blog. Then, it happens. You stumble upon a link that takes you to a blogsite. Never thought I would be blogging from Monday the 20th February, 2006.

I have been a bit reluctant to start, somewhere deep down a tiny voice kept saying that it might not be a good idea to "expose" my life to the rest of the world... If I were to talk talk about my life - which I like to live to the fullest - there will be names that I wouldn't want to spell-out. People whose paths have crossd mine wouldn't necessarily like me talking about them. If I make-up a name and describe the person or the actions, my buddies would figure them out anyway. Now, that's a sensitive area...

I just want to share my life experiences in this paradise isle (I have come back to Sri Lanka about 6 months back) with the rest of the world.

Let's see how it goes.