Sunday, December 14, 2008

Towels Galore

One of my earlier posts, “Colours of India, included a photo of colourful Sarees in India. Well, here is the Sri Lankan answer to it – towels!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Do you Chrome?

I have been hooked on this latest browser by Google. As usual they have come up with a catchy name – Chrome. I’ve see so many wonderful things written about it on the internet. They have covered it’s latest features so comprehensively and I don’t intend to describe them here.

But the nice thing about it is that once in a while I discover another not-quite-obvious nevertheless useful functionality. It is like finding pieces of cashew in your wattalappam – makes the experience that much richer.

For example, You can press Control-F and bring up a search box to search for contents on the current webpage you are on – ok, so no big deal; but then as you type your search text on that search box, the browser dynamically highlights matching words on the current webpage – good, but give me more you say? Now look at your scroll bar on the right hand side of your browser… see those orange colour small horizontal lines? They show you matches on the other areas of the webpage you cannot currently see on your browser – neat eh?

I’ll give you another. Have you noticed a small animation (a spinning circle) next to the text “New Tab” when you type in a URL and press ‘Enter’? Well, that gives you an indication that the page is being displayed… if you look at it closely, you will find that initially it will start spinning on an anti-clockwise direction, and the moment it finds the website and starts to download contents, it starts spinning on a clockwise direction. Talk about attention to detail!

I hardly use any other browser now. Cheers Google!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Boys will be boys.

89 batch AGM for year 2008 was held at school in September. We were all thrilled at the turnout. Some say it was the magic of digital age, namely SMS and Email that raked them all in. Whatever it was, it certainly helped in the selection of the new committee. Once the formalities were over, we all headed towards the nearest ‘waterhole’ which happened to belong to one of our batchmates – in front of a Castle of a hospital.

It started well, with plenty of food and drinks around and smokers and non-smokers ending up in the same air conditioned hall. We couldn’t ask for more. The biggest mistake was trying to get a democratic vote from a very diverse set of individuals who by now had so much alcohol in their blood, that if any of them started bleeding from any open wound – the blood would have evaporated. All the more reason to avoid confrontation.

But it was exactly where we were heading. The subject was the batch trip – the contention was whether it was boys-only or family-friendly. There were harsh words spoken as well as stand up speeches from each participant going around… and again around the table, but no agreement in sight. Some of us sat back and enjoyed the spectacle. It was nostalgic in the sense that this is exactly what we used to do in our school days (minus the alcohol of course).

The trip is on. But to this day, I don’t think we were able to find a resolution to the argument. Should be an interesting trip – wouldn’t miss it for the world!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Choice is yours

Ever heard of that "song" called "Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen"? I'm sure most of you have - it was a tremendous hit in the 90s. The message is simple, we are free to live our lives the way we choose - even when it comes to wearing sunscreen. The lyrics were written by "Mary Schmich" and I thought was brilliantly put. It sure made me stop and think for a while. I came across those lyrics very recently and thought I should share it will you. It goes like this...

Wear sunscreen

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Censorship gone mad.

National TV channels - wonderful entities, aren’t they? For some time now they have been censoring out certain scenes. Nudity, I can understand – but cigarette smoking and liquor consumption? Isn’t that going a wee bit too far? Just the other day they were showing an old black-and-white movie starring Paul Newman (I forget the title of the movie). Can’t even remember how I ended up deciding to watch it. Come to think of it, I do seem to have a very short memory these days. At least I remembered that I have been having memory lapses – thank God for that.

Moving along...

Let’s face it – those days smoking cigarettes was in fashion. They smoked like chimneys and drank like fish. The fellow in charge of censorship on that TV channel that day had had a field-day! After the first 20 minutes I just couldn’t take it anymore – out of the first 20 minutes I would have seen maybe about 5 minutes of the movie… the screen was “squared-out” the rest of the time. Of course I tried that watch-thru-the-t-shirt trick, but alas! No joy!

I just hope the same rule will not find its way to the PayTV channels – our last resort.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bag it!

It is pandemonium at the local supermarket. Eggs, Crisps, Fresh meat and Baby dipers all in the same bag. Customers cursing all the way from checkouts to their vehicles. They have stopped issuing free bags at the checkout. Either you are supposed to buy those plastic bags, or bring your own bags. The reason? – Another step towards protecting the environment. A good initiative I must admit, but they don’t seem to have planned the implementation that well. They could have issued quality paper bags instead of the plastic ones and avoided all the fuss.

Any comments?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Are you a 'Java Graduate'?

Let me be serious for a change.

I recently had the opportunity to work with a highly talented bunch of individuals from a leading University in Sri Lanka. From what I have seen so far, them lot seem to be die-hard Java fans. Being as old as I am, I was brought up as a C/C++ programmer. But I had the opportunity to work with many other programming languages since then; one of which was Java. I thought it might be useful if I share some of my views in trying to answer the age old question that software engineering students seem to be having when coming out to the industry.

“What language should I specialize in?”

Naturally, we tend to side with the programming language which we are most familiar and good with. At the start of your career this is good as it gives you a jump-start at your job placement. You have enough things to worry about than having to learn a whole new programming language.. right?... well, the answer might not be that simple.

Yes, it is good to do the thing you know. But generally speaking, you will know a particular language well mainly as most of your course work would have been based on that language. Maybe a particular lecturer was better in teaching you one language as opposed to another. Maybe the course syllabus was setup a few years ago and at the time a particular base programming language was selected as the most popular in the industry. Maybe you had friends out there who were experts in one language and your judgment was biased based on that.

Maybe you shouldn’t be worried about a specific programming language after all. Wouldn’t you like to shock the interview panel of your first job by saying “I can program in any object oriented language out there”? Can you really do that? What if I tell you that most software developers with more than 7 years of work experience generally think like that? Given the opportunity they really can. True, they might have to get a quick refresher course on the latest technologies associated with the new language, but the language syntax is fast becoming a non issue. Online and compiler help is so good these days that I was able to learn Java on the job within 2 weeks.

But can you do that as a fresh graduate coming out of the University? Perhaps not on your first job – as most of the time, it is the hardest to secure. But from day one, in my opinion, you should think as a software engineer.

After all, your degree is in software engineering – not in java programming (or in any other language for that matter).

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Brain Freeze

When Kelso did the Brain-Freeze thing on “That 70s Show”, it brought back memories of me trying to gulp down a cone of Allerics ice cream before the “Ice cream Van” left. Yes, those were the days, when any half decent ice cream was delivered to your doorstep on those famous Ice cream vans. And Allerics was the preferred brand those days. Of course the impending arrival of such a van can be heard miles away by its instantly recognizable tune – before you could say “where is the change”, all the neighborhood children flocked alongside the road with a few rupee coins clinched in their little palms.

Just the other day, I saw a familiar sight, a white and green coloured van, with a catchy tune playing and of course those unmistakable “tube-lights” on it’s roof… I started walking up to it almost as if I was in a trance. My heart was racing – could it be an Allerics comeback? Alas, No, it was “Elephant House”; the next best thing to Allerics I suppose. I captured the moment with my camera-phone. But strangely I was not in a mood for an ice-cream cone this time.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Divine intervention required - Parking available.

I was able to snap this on Castle Street, Colombo recently. Funny eh?

It got me thinking. As Joan Osborne puts it, what if God was one of us? Some might cry out “blasphemy!” even at the thought of God being compared to mere mortals. I mean no disrespect by this. But think about it; what if????

For one thing, I’d certainly like to know what he (by he, I mean he or she) drives. Would God drive a fancy fast car, a classic limousine-type, a common man’s Japanese car or maybe an environment-friendly hybrid? I’d bet on a hybrid... y’know him inventing the world an all... I’m sure he’d like to keep it clean.

Whatever it is, he will have no problem finding a parking space … at least on Castle Street.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My perfect 10

I must admit, when Santhoshi said I was “tagged” my initial reaction was “huh?”. Then I checked out her blog and figured out what it all meant. So here goes…

1) Innocent smiles that my two girls give in their sleep
2) Chocolate biscuit-pudding (with extra dark chocolate)
3) Smell of freshly cut grass (don’t get excited, I meant grass as in what makes up your lawn)
4) A good Paulo Coelho or a Arthur C. Clarke novel
5) A close F1 race with Raikkonen, Lewis and Alonso battling it out in front.
6) Beach
7) A good night out in Colombo with Live music, Dancing and my closest friends
8) Italian food
9) Access to internet from anywhere
10) The thought that someday I will learn to play the guitar

It’s my turn to do the tagging now. I wish to tag…


Friday, May 2, 2008

Mayday Mayday Mayday!

It was the 1st of May or May-day! Simple interpretation – yet another holiday. The fact that there was a high probability of lesser traffic on the roads made me decide to visit Kandy and do some long outstanding social calls.

But what I didn’t bargain for is my car throwing up Air-Conditioning problems halfway on my way to Kandy. Yes, it did just that.

Over the years, Air-Conditioning (or AC) has become a vital component of some of our lives… especially with people living and working in the city. We’ve got accustomed to it so much that we find it difficult to cope in a non-AC house even for the weekend. So I had two options, either to turn back and head home or wind down my shutters and go for it. Being a member of the Male gene-pool, I chose the latter.

With hindsight, it was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made… it is right up there with me trying to conquer my fear of heights by climbing onto the cashew tree way back when I was 12 years old. My elder brother had to climb after me to get me down in that instant. I was never able to face my friends who were there that day for quite some time afterwards. But then that is another story.

The problem with holidays is just that. Just like you and me, everyone else like AC repairmen are also on holiday. So by about 2pm I was really feeling the heat. The winded down shutters blew in all sorts of smells and smoke right into and thru my car. By the end of the trip I smelled like a garbologist at a smoker’s convention.

It was an incident worthy of a Mayday call right on the 1st of May or May-day! Is that weird or what?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sree, Bhajji and the White man.

What an absolute disgrace! Men slapping other men. Men slapping? Men don’t slap. They punch. That is the manly thing to do. And grown men sobbing in public like a 5 year old girl who just dropped her lolly? What is going on?

These Indians are crazy. Either they are in-your-face-agro like what they did in Australia a few months ago or crying their hearts out like they’d been hit by a canister of tear-gas at a JHU may-day rally. Anyone who can see through a Klinsmann fake dive at a soccer match can surely see through the sorry sight of Sreesanth sobbing after the cricket match the other day. Surely he was trying to milk it for all it’s worth. I’m sure he didn’t bargain for Bhajji to be handed out a 10 match ban for all his trouble.

As for Bhajji, he had it coming… sooner or later it had to happen. He really deserved to be punished.

And what do the Aussies think of all this? I bet Symmo and Pointing must be having a good laugh over a pint. The problem with these sub-continent types is their “white-man-complex”. Either they go all out and lick the white man’s boots, or they call everything a racial conspiracy and try to get the upper-hand that way. The latter worked somewhat in the nineties, but it is not fooling anyone anymore.

So maybe they must invent something new. Forking out some serious cash and getting the white man into the IPL might just be the tip of a grand “iceburg” of a plan.

Only time will tell.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Simple things in life

Food, especially the Sri Lankan kind, is amazingly addictive. Sri Lankans living in foreign countries will vouch for the truth in that statement. But where there’s a void – there’s an opportunity. The more enterprising individuals among us can and do make a killing out of importing exotic Sri Lankan goodies into countries like USA, Australia and UK where large Sri Lankan expatriate communities exist. But there’s nothing like getting some poor sod to bring you a parcel from your mother. Why, just the other day I learnt that someone I know had even sent a couple of Lumpri (fresh from the oven, with the Banana leaf and all) on a Sri Lankan flight from Colombo to Birmingham – what will they think of next?

This all reminds me of some favorite local food-brands combinations. These are flavors you’d never quite experience the moment you step out of the island.

* Elephant House Fountain Cafe hot dog
* Carnival ice cream
* Pilawoos chicken and cheese kottu (Did you know that the good ol’ Pila was featured on the Time mag? Strewth!)
* Kist tomato sauce (mind you not Ketchup)
* Harischandra coffee
* Fab Lumpri (with extra coconut oil… hmmmm Yum!)
* MD woodapple jam

Then there are the all time favorites – the generic kind.

* Isso vadai
* Chinese roll
* Roast paan
* Pol sambol
* Lime soda

Of course this is by no means an exhaustive list. Infact, I’d love to know what type of Sri Lankan delicacies tickle your taste-buds. So spill the beans by all means.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Colombo goes Bananas

Suba Aluth Avruddak Wewa! It was a great time to be in Colombo last week. The days leading up to the Sinhala and Tamil New Year weekend was very exciting even to the people who didn't celebrate the occasion. City sidewalks were packed with vendors with all sorts of goodies including various exotic food items and clothing.

Here I have captured a busy Banana vendor in Battamulla. His produce covered a good 25 meters length of the sidewalk.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Google SPAM?

I heard so much about "Google Ads" thought I'd check it out. I registered myself using my Gmail account (being the obvious thing to do since they are both in the Google arena) a few days ago. I was informed that I would get a confirmation email within several days.

Several days came and went but no response... I thought maybe my humble blog just wasn't worthy of receiving the honor of hosting Google Ads and was quite seriously worried about losing out on millions of dollars of potential income through them. Quite accidentally I noticed there was an interesting email on my default Gmail SPAM folder.

Surely Gmail cannot be so pedantic as to prevent it's own Google Ads email (well, they are in the same Google family after all) from reaching my inbox?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Some mothers do have ‘em! – Part 2

For those who read my last post, I am about the reveal our findings. For those who haven’t the foggiest what I’m on about, following is somewhat of a dramatized (and mostly cynical) version of personalities we (my drunken school buddies and I) believe exists in some Technical Organizations in Sri Lanka. All readers please keep in mind that I have not tried to portray any organization in particular. I’m attempting to paint a picture of a rather fictitious office. Any resemblance if exists is purely coincidental and not intended.

Big Wig

Is the Boss, the Don, the General, the El Supremo. Forget the board of directors - this person has absolute power – no matter what the constitution or company articles say. Anyone with half a brain will quickly wise-up to this fact. “Arse lickers” will waste no time – they will start working on him as if there is no tomorrow. The Big Wig will get the best spot in the car park, the best room in the office, the best laptop, the best furniture… I think you get the picture. But what is less apparent is that the Big Wig almost always listens to the Director’s recommendations.


Although the Big Wig can ultimately overrule any action of a Director, it rarely happens. The relationship between these two is similar to a typical hierarchy in a Sri Lankan household. As the famous saying so eloquently put it, “Pa is boss as everyone knows, but what Ma says always goes”. And in most organizations the Big Wig is wise enough to allow the directors to make recommendations. Unlike the Big Wig, a Director’s absence is not highlighted very much. As a result some directors tend to take time off willy-nilly and can be seen at trendy coffee shops or the local golf course during the day. They also tend to travel a lot… and on business class too. Such liberties are mostly seen as wasting company money while contributing Jack (which sometimes is not very far from the truth).

Senior Manager

Way past his/her best. This person is very unlikely to move higher in the corporate ladder. The company doesn’t have the heart or in some instances, the courage to let him/her go. So instead, gives a corner room and assigns some unimportant piece of assignment and a couple of subordinates to keep him/her occupied. Most of the time it will be administrative work that is impossible to complete.


Supposed to report to the Senior Manager in theory. But is convinced the most effective way to perform is only if he/she bypasses two notches and reports directly to the Big Wig. And in most cases this is exactly what happens. As a result, most things the manager does (including stupid mistakes) get exposed at the highest levels of the organization and outside. By the time the mistakes are identified, it is too late to do anything. The cunning kind will always (and skillfully) put the blame on their subordinates in such cases, but is quick to claim any positive criticisms if any.

Junior Manager

Is the real worker. Most of the time, he/she will be called in to cover the Manager’s arse when the shit hits the fan. They work best when he/she has an un-dying appreciation for the Manager. Mostly a thankless job where he/she is not high enough on the corporate ladder to be able to claim fringe benefits like expense accounts, entertainment claims and worthwhile medicals nor he/she is low enough to be able to qualify for overtime double pay. Ends up working around the clock and develops alcohol addiction, heart conditions, gastritis and broken marriages as a result.


On par with junior Manager on the ol’ ladder. But has superior technical knowledge and the only kind who knows what exactly is inside the box that is being sold. Due to this reason, everybody (including the Big Wig) will tolerate their antics and occasional tantrums. A typical spoilt brat. Doesn’t give a damn about job security and what anyone else in the company thinks of them. Someday will be promoted to the Manager post and then his/her world starts crashing down like dominos.


Has no idea of the company’s goals. Does exactly what the Techie tells them to do. Best describes as a worker ant or a production-line robot. Only goal in life is someday to end up in middle management as a Techie or a Junior Manager.


This person sees the company best for what it really is. Will know exactly who pinched whose bottom at the Christmas party. But they don’t dare spill-the-beans or rock-the-boat during their “trainee” period. Secretly develops an infatuation for the most attractive person of the opposite sex at office. Most of the time this is the office Bimbo or the Chippendale in office admin.

Office Bimbo/Chippendale

Can be found in office admin mostly. Hired for their friendliness and attractiveness than anything else. Adds colour to the office. Also serves as the sole motivation for some employees to turn up at office in the morning. Usually ends up providing a rather entertaining story after the office Christmas party. Usually the Big Wig, a Director or a Senior Manager is also somehow entangled.


The biggest fraud since fried ice-cream. All-fart and no-shit type of person. Manages to convince the Director or the Senior Manager to extend his/her contract for another year by claiming credit for someone else’s work. Or in some cases simply by using fear tactics. Appears to be busy most of the time in order to put off anyone trying to figure out exactly what this person does in the organization. While middle management and beyond falls for his/her charade, the actual worker ants and below will ridicule this personality behind his/her back everytime they get the chance.

Well,.. did I leave anyone out?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Some mothers do have ‘em! – Part 1

Big-match weekend! What a great excuse for getting back together with my old classmates and swig a few beers on a searing Saturday in Colombo.

Although I promised to be at the “grounds” at 11 am, I got held up at the dentist. I had to take my seven year old to the dentist y’see. It’s amazing how her teeth needs attention just as she is about to lose them for more permanent ones. I have been delaying it hoping for the toothfairy’s visit. Maybe I forgot to tip the toothfairly when I was young – for she never arrived in time. I digress...

Anyway,.. it was way past noon when I managed to haul myself up to the grounds. As I was reaching the entrance… “tweet, “tweet”... oh great! An SMS on a Saturday can only mean one thing… emergency at work! Cursing, I checked out the SMS. To my relief it was from one of the guys I was supposed to meet.. telling me they took off to lunch. They want me to come to FD for lunch. I knew better than to complain… after all I was at fault for being late.

As I was reaching FD, I could hear them blokes a mile away. Even from outside the door it was apparent that large volumes of alcohol are already in their bellies and in their bloodstreams. I pity the waiters who have to put up with such boisterous sorts in such instances.

I entered the private dining area to the obvious delight of the guys already under influence. Once the handshakes and high-fives (yes, we are still sixteen) were over, I settled down and promptly orders some drinks (soft ones… yes, they did “boo” at me for that). For some reason, seeing these guys already “blowing in the wind” and the prospects of “catching up” with a few tequilas wasn’t really attractive to me at the time. At Zanziba’s on a Friday night would have been a different case altogether.

Before long, the food came. And it was disappointingly ordinary for FD. Maybe the waiters wanted to teach us a lesson. After all it was Chinese and Confucius did say “He who is drunk will get no tasty food”. Or was it my mother-in-law who said that? Nevertheless, we were all famished and started to gobble up the grub. As the food hit our stomachs and the digestive enzymes did their thing, the conversation turned more civil and actually enjoyable (mum, if you are reading this, we didn’t speak with our mouths full). At this stage I must inform you that three out of the seven guys there were in IT industry, one in telecom, another in apparel (or in “garment” as we Sri Lankans like to put it) and the remaining two managing their own businesses. Quite predictably we started sharing stories from work (yes, we do not have a “life”... none of us are in entertainment or hospitality or fashion or advertising.. okeeeyyy??)

When we started comparing our workplaces, their personalities and their management styles (don’t you just love such talk?... they give me goosebumps), it dawned on us that there were definitely clear and identifiable groups of personalities across our workplaces. So we started to explore that over the traditional lychees. Of course being the sensible and leaner member of the group, I went for the caramel-de-cholesterol pudding.

I wanted to let them know that I might just be able to blog it... but then that would have been too geeky and would have surely received an even louder “booo”. be continued!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A brief tribute to Sir Arthur C. Clarke

Anyone who played table-tennis with Sir Arthur C. Clarke at the Otters sports club will remember him to be a bit grumpy whenever he lost. But as far as I know that was the only flaw in this genius of a man. His contribution to futuristic theories and science fiction has been phenomenal. While “2001: A Space Odyssey” has been one of his most popular works, I especially enjoyed “Childhood's End", "The Fountains of Paradise", “Richter 10”, “The Hammer of God”, and the Rama series. He somehow manages to inject humanity and consciousness as well as technology into his stories. As a Sri Lankan, I have been honored that he adopted my country to settle down in.

In one of his famous quotes he said "The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion". But I don’t believe he would have minded me saying “May he attain Nibbana”!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sorry Machan

They say every individual is different and cannot (or should not) be stereotyped. But I disagree and think as Sri Lankans, we clearly show certain “qualities” that give us that unique signature style. Now… I’m not taking about these new age, culturally merged, fast-food bellied, coffee shop loving, lets-do-lunch type Lankans. They have a totally separate set of habits – which I don’t intend to go into on this article. I’m talking about the original, full-blooded Sri Lankan you find at the Sunday Pola*1 or on a typical “Private Bus”*2.

We smile at everything; when we are happy, when we make a mistake, when we are stressed out, even when we are constipated (that comes from my friend who admitted that smiling helps very much… go figure!). Heck, we see some lunatic driving straight at you the wrong way on a one-way street. He will stop right in front of your vehicle and give you the best smile he can muster - somewhere in that smile are an apology and a request for you to make way for him. Of course being a Sri Lankan you would know that.

We overuse words like sorry, aunty (or uncle)*3, sir, and machan*4. Very frequently using them more than once in the same sentence. For example, it is not uncommon for us to say “Machan, sorry machan”.

We have an opinion on just about everything. From running the country to the selection of the national cricket team, we believe we can do better than whoever is in control.

The concept of doing something on time is mostly limited to a few auspicious events during traditional New Year’s celebrations. Being late for something is no big deal for us. It is common for someone to not turn up for an appointment and not even apologize for it when they finally do meet. The strange thing is that the other party will be fine with this –they won’t even expect an explanation.

Sri Lankans are touchy-feely type of people. When friends meet they tend to hold each other’s hands throughout the entire conversation (especially if you bump into a friend of the same sex on the road). Most non-Sri Lankans will put a homosexual connotation to this behavior – but we know better.

Just try paying the bill after you’ve just had a meal in a nice restaurant with several of your Sri Lankan friends. Every single person at the table will want to pay that bill, regardless of who is hosting the meal or the amount of the bill. They won’t even hear of sharing! In such instances, I just give up – after all, it is nice to go back home with some money still left in my wallet for a change.

I’m sure the list goes on and on. Some of these habits can certainly be annoying,.. but then again that is who we are. Remember, we could do a lot worse.

*1 - Pola is a traditional Sunday roadside market where prices are negotiable and bargains are plentiful.
*2 - Buses in Sri Lanka are clearly categorized into Government (or Public) owned and Private owned. These privately owned buses (known as "Private Buses") are everywhere and easily outnumbers Government owned buses by at least a ratio of 3 to 1.
*3 - Sri Lankans use the word Aunty and Uncle to address or refer to almost anyone who is older than themselves in appearance. This includes total strangers they happen to meet on the road.
*4 - Machan is a very versatile word. Although the true meaning of it is "brother-in-law" most Sri Lankan males use this word as an Australian would use the word "mate"; to convey camaraderie. Occasionally females also use the word to convey the same meaning.

Monday, March 10, 2008

What's in a name?

We are trying to name our newborn baby girl. It appears that the most appropriate letter to start with is "J"; Ideally "Ja". I prefer a name that is not very common and with some nice meaning to it. Anyone got any ideas?

Friday, March 7, 2008

It's a Girl!

On 5th early morning we were blessed with a little angel of a baby girl. Keeping with tradition we will be naming her according to her time of birth. I hope people out there, especially Sri Lankans, will be able to help me choose some names. Watch this space for details.

Monday, March 3, 2008


If you were a kid like me growing up in 1980’s you would undoubtedly recall the TV series “Knight Rider” and “KITT”. Back then we thought it was the best TV program and of course the coolest car ever! I even recall people fixing the signature “moving red light” onto the hood of their vehicles to give it that KITT look. It didn’t matter what their vehicles were; cars, vans, lorries, trishaws, and even the good ‘ol push-bikes.

Well, guess what? Knight Rider is back, but without David Hasselhoff (thank God for that). It is supposed to be a new made-for-TV movie. The best part is it has got even a cooler KITT – a still-to-be-released Black Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. The word is, it has got a supercomputer that can hack into almost any system, an even better weapons system than it’s predecessor (guess the flamethrower is still in then), AI,… and get this – it has nanotechnology giving it the ability to shape-shift. WOW! It is the best car ever!

I’m sure I got you all interested in it now. So check it out.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


This blog has gone to the dogs – quite literally! I managed to snap this one on my camera-phone while idling in traffic this morning. Anybody care to comment on this photograph? A creative caption perhaps?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

At the blocks.

Six and a half years at the "blocks" came to an end on 31st January 2008. And what a tenure it was. Through the years I have seen ups and downs and some talented individuals too. Upto date it has been my longest stint and it in itself speaks volumes. Many a times I have almost been tempted by what appeared to be greener pastures. But on each of those occasions I have decided to stick with "blocks" which allowed me to contribute more effectively. So no regrets.

It is now time to open another chapter - nothing against "bankers", but I feel it is no longer a challange. Therefore I'm off to take the bull by the horns... so to speak. Hoping for a bull run anyway. So much for the "exchange" lingo... I guess I'll need to catch-up a bit.

Adios IB!