Archive for February, 2010

19
Feb
10

The Coconuts

As I sit here typing this, my body screams in agony. I felt like I was sweating half my weight away before I got into the shower. About three quarters of an hour ago, I was called out to the back yard by my wayward father who thought it a good idea to get a dude to pluck coconuts at this time, when the Sun was meting out fiery vengeance on our little ball of rock like a drunk pissing on a fire hydrant. Except far dryer and less likely to turn some of the local bloggers on.

So I ventured out the back door, to be met and greeted by the sun, which gave me a handshake of- actually, just gave me a handshake. That’s hot enough. I stared defiantly in a direction 45 degrees away from it and said sternly “I am Sri Lankan! I eat your puny little radiation for breakfast with some pol sambol!”

The sun said “  “ because it cannot speak and continued to shine down on me. I went out and wondered which tree the dude had climbed atop first. See, our back yard is not that wide but it is quite long. I went near the first tree and looked up; nothing. Then moseyed over to the one after that, and looked up to be greeted by my eyeballs being filled with bright white light. I looked away for a moment, and then took a few blind steps in some random direction waiting for my eyes to get back to normal again. After stumbling about for a bit, I look up again to be greeted with little black dots slowly growing larger filling my vision. Somehow it all seemed to be in slow motion. After a moment or two it dawned on me that this was probably not a real life game of space invaders, but the bounty of the great coconut tree plummeting towards me at 9.8ms-2.

Yeah, thanks a lot God. What have I done this time?

I shriek, causing a nearby gent to question my manliness down to my “Sensitive Skin” shaving cream, and make haste for the patch of ground outside of the circular area that the coconuts will fall on.

As I run with my arms stretched out in front of me, I trip and fall flat on my stomach. A coconut falls straight into my hands. I just lie there holding it when suddenly it says “YOU!”

“Me?” I ask, perplexed.

“Yes, you plucked me, didn’t you?”

“I did no such thing, fruit! You are a fruit yes?”

“I’m a nut. Ignorant human. Plucking coconuts willy-nilly and destroying the environment!”

“What would you know about the environment? You’re only a coconut”

“I am the environment you fool”

“But I’m not doing anything! People like vegetarians are the real threats to the natural balance!”

“What’s a vegetarian?”

“Something that eats all the plants”

“Oh. And you aren’t one of those people?”

“No. I’m one of the good guys. I even try to eat as many cows as I can so that they can’t pollute the place with their flatulence. If not for people like me, we’d all be farted to death by cows”

“I see. I feel I should apologize for my haste in judging you as I did after I was born”

“You were born?”

“What do you think happens to coconuts when they get plucked?”

“Killed?”

“No. I have a dream. A dream that one day all coconuts will achieve sentience before they are brutally chopped open. A dream that one day WE may sit in front of a TV nursing a beer and watching Sirasa Super Star.”

“Can’t say I think much of your dreams. Super star? Really?”

Just then another coconut falls right next to me. I stare at it. “Hello”, I meekly say.

“It does not talk, sadly. Out of my bunch only I and a few others have developed” said the Original coconut.

The newcomer just sat there, staring glibly at me through its one eye, it’s muteness countering the other’s talkative nature.

It was then that I realized I would never make such poetic observations in real life and woke up. I could taste sand on my lips and a lump on my head. And of course the damn sun.

Shaking a fist at it, I walked off home to go clean up.

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18
Feb
10

Shopping

I needed new jeans yesterday. No I am not getting fat. People just buy jeans you know? Pondering the wonders of modern social media and leveraging the knowledge of the masses so easily, I tweeted a question and checked twitter a few minutes later for the replies.

Nothing. My dreams of social media guru-dom shattered, I tweeted again, this time more desperate sounding to jump over the hordes of lolcat pictures that had taken prominence over my jean quest. After a while a few lazy replies rolled in. I was sent an email with a flyer about a sale at Crescat. I feverishly read the short text. Huge discounts! Name brand clothing! Names that didn’t sound suspiciously like actual good brands! Names that weren’t “Adibas”!

After getting there and a brief exchange with the salesperson who was breathing down my neck the whole time, I saw them!

Unfortunately for my shallow pockets, the original price of these jeans happened to be high enough so that the significantly reduced price was nearing the price of lesser name-brand jeans. Hiding my acute displeasure at this revelation, I continued to flip through the rack pretending to be interested in it all. The attendant continued to stare at me with a “I know you’re not going to buy anything, get out of here before I throw you in the pit with the lions you vermin” look. After a few seconds of browsing, I left, giving the attendant a “You’re wearing ‘Nikey’ shoes, you don’t get to do that to me!” look.

So naturally I headed off to the House of Fashions, the home ground of many a Sri Lankan looking for clothes but not wanting to pawn a kidney in the process of getting some. Or the plain cheap. I will leave it to you to decide which category I fit into.

In there, I was surrounded by a world of utter chaos. It was like Jurassic Park in there, except with clothes as people. Nay, it was like Sri Lanka in there, with clothes as free speech! I found my way up to the third floor where the men’s clothing was.

After nudging my way through a few fat old men and a few fat old ladies, I found the jeans. Okay jeans. Jeans with dubious sounding brands, but still jeans that didn’t look like they’d been through a bad 80’s music video. I was looking through the selection when I saw a middle aged woman staring at me. She smiled. I smiled back and thought “Now which pair evoked that reaction?” so that I could steadfastly avoid it. After picking a few to be on my shortlist, I took them and asked the nearest attendant where the fit-on room was. He said there wasn’t one. But how could this be? Was he just saying it because he thought jeans-customers didn’t deserve the fit on room?

Deeply hurt, I went back to the shelves and put back all but the pair which seemed least likely to get me laughed out of a public meeting. I held it against myself to check the length. The woman was still hovering around the men’s section. I ignore her and loosen the top button of my shirt as I was feeling stifled. I turn back to my jeans and the woman suddenly jumps in out of nowhere and lands on the baskets full of clothes in front of the shelves, and lies across it.

“Radish meh!” she says.

Fearing for my life and not wanting to forever be afraid of vegetables, I run away, clutching the pair of jeans to my chest and screaming repeatedly “It’s ravish! You’re old! Rape rape RAPE!”

I end up at the counter, breathless. Cycling to Galle wasn’t this daunting. I quickly pay and exit. And run half a mile to a bus stop far away from there.

***********************************

And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is why I am in possession of a pair of jeans that are just a little bit less comfortable than my usual size 32’s. Wonder if I should exchange it or just let it stretch or whatever it is clothes do as you wear them.

…most of it is fictitious, if you didn’t already realize that…

09
Feb
10

Busorama Part Deux

You might have heard about my love-hate relationships with buses before on these pages. The aluminium clad cans which are our own means of (occasionally) rapid transport.

First, a warning. This post is rated PG-You’reNeverOldEnoughForThisShit.

This scene repeats itself in countless buses on countless routes. Someone gets on a bus, finds a seat, and sits down. So far so good. But if the seat happens to be an aisle seat, that is, not the window seat, you are most probably in for a ride full of so much writhing and cringing it could be mistaken for a screening of Twilight at Cannes.

When I was little, my dad told me that I would face many injustices in life. Like the fact that women got us kicked out of Eden, yet get free pass into the best clubs. I mean, come on God! Really?

He also said “Son, by far the worst thing you will experience will be The Aisle Seat… the aisle seat… aisle seat… seat ….seat… seat… sea…” and walked slowly backwards before turning and running up the stairs.

But nothing he could have said has prepared me for this… this travesty that is the aisle seat of a crowded bus!

You must be wondering by now what I’m going on about. You must be wondering why you read this blog at all. You must be wondering if I’ve completely lost my legos. Is that the right toy? Non sequiturs aside, this post is about those times when some rabid beast of a man positions himself right next to your seat and… Does what can best be described as a war dance on your shoulder. I shudder at merely typing it! You know, when you’re sitting in a crowded bus, and sooner or later some male positions himself right next to you?

There are normal people, and then there are people who do this. They will slowly nudge themselves forward till they make contact with your shoulder. Then when you move away, squashing the person in the seat next to you, they’ll come closer. It is a complete mystery why this happens. I mean, if I were standing, I sure as hell wouldn’t be doing the Privates Salsa on some strangers’ shoulder.

The best way to get rid of these vermin, I’ve discovered, is a multi-stage process. First you stare them in the eye. Stare, not look. You convey a message of “Get your crotch away from my shoulder you vile creature, or face the wrath of my balled up fists of fury on your weakest point!”. If he doesn’t respond to this, gently nudge them with your elbow. No, not there. Creep.

If they still fail to react, then you are left with the firm push from your elbow. That’s usually enough even for the likes of Steven Hawking so stand straight.

There have been scattered reports of women doing this kind of thing for quite different reasons *cough*theWhackster*cough*, but that is best not discussed, lest I suddenly see the sky above my current position blackened by the hail of heeled shoes arching their way towards me.

@Halikazeez being assaulted by a female

09
Feb
10

A Buffer of Humour!

Someone told me a few days ago, that I had a layer of humour, or lightheartedness between me and the world. It was the first I’d heard of it, and it struck me as something I would expect to be told if I was forty and driving a station wagon. It sounded like something I would be told in a circumstance such as if my forty-year old self’s kid had just kicked him and he just laughed it off as an eight year old’s angst.

As it were, I was told this just last Thursday, if I remember correctly, and I was still only twenty, the last time I checked. It confounded me. So naturally I just went along with it and agreed wholeheartedly. When I got home that night, I got to thinking about this water-bed of fluff that I had between me, my mind, and the real world. I realized it didn’t exist. It was a myth. Like women who can’t cook.

What it is, is just my way of coping with life. I don’t put up a barrier reef between myself and the tides of problems, pain, anger, idiots and sheer complications that wash up on the coasts of my senses. Sometimes you just have to ignore it. I’ve got a story to tell today, if you’ll indulge me.

Imagine you’re an island. If that saying about no man being an island is a thorn in your side, imagine you’re a woman first, then imagine you’re an island. A small island, smaller than the country we live in, located somewhere in the middle of the ocean, replete with sandy beaches and palm trees. Now imagine life as a great big storm brewing out at sea. Swirling, tearing through the air making sea creatures exclaim in surprise for miles and miles. You can imagine their cries of “Goodness me, that could put a dent in our plans for camping out this weekend” if you please. But you’d better not, since that would distract you a bit from the big picture. The big, gray, spinning mass of clouds that make up your big picture.

Now, you’re an island. Most storms wouldn’t matter much to you. You’ll survive. A few trees torn up, and a couple of television serial actors lost, but nothing you can’t grow back or work into the storyline. Eventually the storm subsides and life goes back to being the calm, rolling mass of water in front of you. Little ebbs and flows this way and that along your coasts, leaving your lips all salty and dry. The storm, having raised hell and then having smashed it down on the ground again, has left only scattered bits of debris around for you to pick at and inspect. The strips of seaweed torn up from the ocean bed and thrown at your feet are occasionally interrupted by bits of a ship, or pieces of wood. Sometimes you find a coconut.

Life doesn’t give you lemons, it gives you coconuts. Lots of coconuts. All the little odds and ends you find on the beach are covered in sand, your sand. They’re you flavoured now. All the things life throws at you are changed the moment you perceive them shooting towards you. You coat them in a nice even layer of yourself. Making it oh so easy to just pick it up, look at it, and if it’s not of any interest, throw it away. If you see something shining in the distance, a little piece of ship that washed up on your shores, some little bit of someone else’s life that you find interesting, pick it up. Take a nice long look at it and think about it. Lick it. Gnaw on it for a bit, testing your teeth on it like when you were a kid. Take it in and do something with it. Maybe write a post about it.

Everything else, the corroded bits of hull, the swollen bodies of sailors staring at you with their legs buried in your sand, the birds picking at them one by one, every single detail that comes across as not something to worry an island over, just let it be. The water will eventually come over and drag it all away again. Feel every rusted slab of metal tear at your shores, every bit of wood getting stuck on the roots of trees at the edges of your sands and hear all the little noises they all make. Then just make a note of it and keep looking along the beach till you find something interesting to gnaw on.

If islands gnaw on things, that is. Selectivity is the key here, and an island that chooses right is an island which gets called out for having a buffer of humour between it and the sea. Choosing what matters is not difficult. Living isn’t difficult. Being an island isn’t difficult. Just be aware that all the places on your shores that were ravaged by the storm will heal, and that everything that turns up should be dealt with. Most importantly, dealing with something doesn’t necessarily mean doing something to it.

Well, at least that’s how my brain works. I just refuse to acknowledge any unsavory vibes happening around me, and just deal with what I have to. It might not seem like the best way to live a life, but somehow, it works for me. Just look at my blog.