Sunday, November 25, 2007

Who dares Facebook?

The latest craze in online social utilities seems to be Facebook. I'm not the sort of fellow who spends hours on end online. But after several of my friends raved about it, I finally decided to try it out.

Although I use less than 10% of facebook's various tools and functionality, I have already hooked up with several of my long lost friends thanks to it's vast reach and great search engines. I find it to be a great "friend locator" than anything else.

There are some who registers but avoids putting their profile details including photographs due to privacy concerns. Maybe they have a point,.. but I guess without such profile details, it defeats the whole purpose.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Three-wheels will do.

What has got three tiny wheels, has a two stroke petrol engine with barely enough horsepower to run a toy aeroplane, a handlebar from a 1970s Italian scooter and a flimsy metal cage covered with cheap vinyl? A pile of junk you say? No,.. it is what we South Asians call a trishaw (aka “poor-man’s wheels”, “tuk-tuk” or “three-wheeler”). It is one of the best things to come out of India since Sunil Gavaskar.

When used properly, the “trishaw” can be an excellent and the most efficient mode of transport on busy and congested roads of metropolitan Sri Lanka. And I emphasize the words “when used properly”! ‘Cause most often than not, they are the worst traffic offenders ever.

Ever seen a trishaw trying to overtake a vehicle which is fifteen times more powerful than itself? It ain’t a pretty sight. You can’t help feel for the poor trishaw driver… even a staunch roadhog will stop or slow down his or her car and let the trishaw move ahead before the trishaw’s engine burns out. But once in a while, one would indulge in a little game called “whatever-you-can-do, I-can-do-better”. Let’s admit it; all of us have done this at least once, right?

If there is one thing that trishaw drivers can’t seem to tolerate more than anything, it would have to be idling in traffic. The dude or dudette (come to think of it, I’ve never seen a female trishaw driver) will try to inch away into any available space, not really thinking of a way to come out of it. For some reason it always reminds me of running WinZip on my harddrive.

If you have ever traveled in one of these mobile play-houses you would have come across a whole set of new experiences. Image courtesy of Lankapage.comLet’s just say it would rival the scariest theme park ride you’ve ever been to, sometime complete with sounds and neon lights too. Still, it will give you a unique experience that would leave a lasting impression. Must be the reason why a certain South African cricketer nearly ended up with more than he bargained for after his trishaw ride through Colombo. Even with all the brickbats we throw at them, on a rainy and dark night, especially when you are late and don’t have your wheels with you, I’m sure you would be glad the step into a trishaw. And don’t forget, not so long ago a trishaw driver did manage to get elected as the mayor of Colombo City. So they must be doing something right.

One little piece of parting advice though; make sure you agree on a fee with the driver before you step into the trishaw.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

7th Year bash!

In August, Interblocks turned 7. How best to celebrate than organizing a party… food, drinks and music,.. ahhhh Good stuff!

We all headed down to the Mt. Lavinia beach last Friday night. Invitations were extended to our customers as well. And they turned up in numbers. A four-piece calypso band was in full swing when I arrived. Drinks were flowing and all sorts of mouth watering smells were emanating from the Barbecue grill.

We were mingling with the customers and also a few former members of our staff when the music changed from live Calypso to a more night-clubby DJ type (complete with disco lights and a make-do plywood dance floor). Soon a few brave souls, doubtlessly with slightly higher levels of alcohol in their systems, started showing their moves on the plywood. As the night went on, the drinks kept coming, the food became more and more non vegetarian, and the music turned from Dance/Funk to Reggae to Baila and even to good ol’ big-match Papare.

We wound up earlier than usual – Thanks to an impatient DJ (I say, bring back “Curzon DJ”). Apart from a minor injury to our graphic designer’s left Shin, which he insists was caused by a misjudged step on the stairs onto the sandy beach, the worst damage were a few tired feet. We had a good time. Kudos to the organizing party. My only regret is me failing to capture that prized photograph of 17 empty Smirnoff bottles on the ledge behind the bar tables.

Cheers to all the participants!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Do you know him?

He is big..ahem..! Athletic at times - especially when playing badminton. Drives a mean Honda City. Has a special connection with Africa, to be more precise, with Nigeria. Yes, you all know who I am referring to… The Nigerian white-boy of course!

Sad to see you go Suresh. It was a pleasure working with you. Have a good one!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Food for Thought.

Yesterday was one of those bad days where nothing seemed to go my way. So right after work, we decided what better way to drown your sorrows than some good grub at one of our favorite restaurants.

We ended up at the German Restaurant (Bavarian Barn). Located at "Galle Face Courts, Colombo 03", it is a nice and cozy little space with plenty of atmosphere and authentic German food. We haven't been there for years and pleasantly surprised to see nothing has changed all this time. Service was excellent, food was never too late and the portions were just the right size. Oh,... and the food was smashingly tasty too!

It was a bit pricy I must admit. But then again, you’ve got to spoil yourself once in a while at least.

Recommendation: Beef Stroganoff with buttered noodles and tossed salad. A glass of good full bodied Spanish Red to wash it off with.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bring it on!

Cricket; it's a funny game. The only sport I can think of which involves at least a full day to complete one game. To most people that is way too long to be a spectator sport. But if you ask any Sri Lankan out there, they will tell you otherwise.

Being a full blooded Sri Lankan, I am no different. I stayed up till 3 am this morning, despite it being a weekday to witness the Sri Lankan team crush New Zealand to book a place in the final. Having won all their games so far in this tournament, the Aussies look favorites to take the other final spot over South Africa.

Although Sri Lankan team’s chances of wining the world cup will be a lot more if they get to play South Africa in the final, every Sri Lankan’s dream would be their team triumphing over the mighty Australians. For we are a sentimental lot – we love to reminisce our famous 1996 world cup win over Australia. And what a treat it would be to do it all over again.

Image courtesy of Cricinfo.comCome Saturday, drums will beat, trumpets will sound. And under the hot Caribbean Sun Sri Lankans will go head to head with a formidable opponent. We will have the local crowd behind us and I can almost hear them saying….

"Bring on the Aussies maan!"

Monday, February 26, 2007

Spruce up your ride

I’m pretty much a chocolate-ice-cream guy. I like my biscuit-pudding made with a lot of dark chocolate. I don’t much fancy those orange rinds and cashew nuts which according to my wife, “completes” the pudding. Likewise, I like my car to be unmodified and still be in it’s original condition even after a decade.

I used to make fun of people who “pimped up” their rides. I used to laugh at those ridiculous “spoilers” that so often resembled a clothes-line used to dry your undies than a performance enhancing accessory of an automobile. And those neon lights underneath the vehicle body? Were they expecting the car to breakdown anytime and the neons able to help the mechanic sliding underneath it? How about those things called body-kits? Surely the additional baggage must not be good for the poor engine.

Then came NFS. No Viranjan, not Network File Systems, NFS as in “Need for Speed”. Yes, I’m referring to those awesome series of computer games. In no time, I was an avid player. Sleepless nights hunched over the keyboard modifying my ride. Adding 18 inch alloys, new exhaust systems and complete Nitrous systems to give me that extra boost on the stretch. I was addicted. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any crazier, they started releasing movies like “The Fast and the Furious”… most recent being “The Fast and the Furious – The Tokyo Drift”.

It was like a virus. I’ve got it now. I was pretty much pulled in by the sheer power and adrenaline in the experience. Suddenly I found myself chatting about such modification with people 10 years younger to me driving modified Subarus and Hondas. And I was enjoying it too. Can you believe at one stage I even seriously contemplated getting rid of my faithful Nissan for a two litre twin turbo Subaru Legacy? Not that the thought has completely vacated my mind either. Aren’t humans supposed mature as they aged? Maybe I am not human - I’d like to think I am not as old as some might think.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Colours of India

It may be an overpopulated and a dusty city. But Chennai is full of colour and culture. Check out the vibrant colours of the photo - it was taken at a shop which dedicated itself to Sarees. For any readers who might not be from the subcontinent, it is a common garment worn by women of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and other countries in that vicinity.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Thanks Roman!

Some call him Roman. I never knew why he was called that and never felt the need to ask either. For the people out there who knows why, now is the time to state your comments to this post. We know him to be a professional graphic designer cum web developer. He is equally skilled in playing the guitar and a great singer too. All in all, a very pleasant and fun loving guy.

We shall miss him, for he will be bidding farewell to his friends and colleagues on his journey in sharpening is graphics skills. I am sure he will make a lasting impression on his new friends down-under.

Although hastily organized, we all met at a popular cricketing venue in the heart of Colombo on a Monday night. Usually the place attracts blokes who love to get sloshed after work. But this time members of the fairer sex were gracing the occasion and were willing to tolerate the barbaric drinking session on account of Roman - that itself speaks volumes of his likeability at the workplace.

There are always one or two who get one too many inside of them on such occasions - don't we all know that! Usually "flat-trick" takes this honor and he didn't disappoint this time either. We eventually managed to calm his nerves down. Hope he managed to ride his motor-bike back to his crib without much drama. Avoiding an earful from his missis, well that's another story.

Anyways, Roman - if you are reading this, hope this somewhat disastrous get-together didn't disappoint you too much. Although if it did, we will understand. As you rightfully said... "Let's keep in touch with Blogging". Thank you for the marvelous contribution at work and the endless tunes you played for us on numerous occasions. Next time you have a Foster's or a VB, keep in mind that we will be toasting to you too.

Have a great one mate!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sunday afternoon Jazz

I have been meaning to check-out "Jazz Unlimited" held at a popular Rugby club every 1st Sunday of the month. But my Sundays have been pretty hectic for some time.

It was a warm Sunday afternoon in Colombo; time was around 3.30pm when I arrived at the venue. Jazz was already in full swing. The crowd pleasant and colourful. Foreign expats easily outnumbered locals. Beer was flowing and mouth watering Bar-B-Q aroma filled the air. I recognized a few prominent faces. Also a few nods from people whom I've met in passing before. There was even a bouncy-castle and pony rides for the kids.

I settled down at a table with some company I new well. Started tasting refreshing chilled Carlsberg beer. Ahhh, what a way to spend your Sunday afternoon. I was already regretting not making it before.

Jazz was getting better with every performance. Either that or I was getting drunk on Carlsberg. I even got to witness the thinnest smoke I have ever seen. Towards dusk, the music was transforming from Jazz to Blues with a stunning performance of Gary Moore's "Still got the Blues" by Shafee, the ex-WildFire member.

Live music wound down around 8.00pm. There was still a relatively large crowd hanging around when I left. It was indeed a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I will certainly be there next month... maybe with my family too.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Following Your Dream

Have you read a good book lately? If not, try Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist"; a wonderful tale of dreams, adventure and discovery which can be an inspiration to people of all ages.

The incredible simplicity adopted in writing this story takes your breath away. It is highly captivating and makes you all warm inside. I will certainly be checking out more works of Coelho soon.