Went to office. My slipper broke. Walked downstairs. Asked the security guard for a safety pin and he ran into this other office and came out with this lady wielding this large stapler. She grabbed my slipper and fixed it. I was touched by this act of kindness. I really do believe that the good and bad you do comes back around. Stick to the good! Must buy her a chocolate sometime.
Just 2 days back Dad went to India for a bridge tournament. I’m working from home and running around Colombo with my Mum for lunches and dinners. Yesterday went to Aunty W’s place and had an awesome lunch and gossip session. Day before it was lunch at Cinnamon Grand’s Chutneys. Then we had a coffee at Coffee Stop and ended the day at Sugar Bistro. But all these great moments sadly ended when I got a call from one of my closest friends. His grandmother who is 88 years has been diagnosed with cancer. She has just 6 months to a year left. I’m devastated since he really has been through so much in life. His Dad left him when he was young. His Mum suffers from depression. It was his Grandma who looked after him. I admire him a lot. I just wish life would give him a break. All I can do is be there for him. And I will.
I’d like to stress at this particular juncture that this article is not some biased judgment based on my own ideals and whatnot, but rather something I have concluded based on my friends and family, who have run into difficulties by not discussing certain things before marriage. I’m not stating that these are issues that will be faced by everyone but it’s best to touch on these subjects before tying the knot. Additionally, these would be more relevant to Sri Lankan males than anyone else. So here goes.
● Who’s Paying? Basically, as tradition would have it, the bride’s side pays for the wedding while the groom’s side pays for the homecoming. We’ve somewhat progressed to a point where both parties go half and half for the total cost. But it is my own personal experience that one party may try to push off the total cost to the other party. What can I say? Love has proved to be blind, idiotically so.
● Who’s Living Where? Is she going to live with you in your parents’ home or are you going to live with her in her parents’ home? Don’t do either. Live separately. Trust me on this. However sweet she seems, you will see her dark side and you will discover your own dark side. You will draw out your adamantine claws and she her fangs. Yup, not pretty.
● Are You A Gold Digger? Well, you can’t technically ask her this but I’m sure you can find a way. Plus you need to know if her parents are gold diggers. The chance of you marrying someone who embodies the values and morals of your mother’s era is quite rare. Marriages used to be based on good faith, character, integrity, honour and companionship. Nowadays, most women are more interested in what car you drive, what job you do, what your income is, where you dine and what your house looks like than honour and gallantry.
● Am I Marrying Your Family Too? Before you know it, the mother-in-law comes creeping into the marriage bed and starts demanding things for her beloved daughter. Most mother-in-laws are crafty and devious and would stop at nothing to better her daughter’s life, even at the cost of yours. Insist that you are marrying just her daughter and not the entire family. You better spot the signs early before it is too late.
● Do You Like Things I Despise? Like clubbing, for instance. Or shopping in Singapore over the weekend? It can be anything. You just need to put your cards down on the table and state what you do like and don’t like. This is imperative.
Needless to say, there are a myriad of things that you need to discuss before tying the knot. But these are some of the things that I would regard as being quite important. The rate of divorce is quite high and, if you are planning on looking for wedded bliss, plan it right and avoid being a casualty of divorce.
Marriage. What a conundrum. I have often wondered whether it makes sense to marry, especially since nearly all my married friends fight like Vampires and Likans. Many tell me not to marry whilst there are those who do tell me it is something that would offer a great deal of benefits in the long run. Benefits? I wonder. The divorce rate at present is quite high and it is set to rise higher. The younger generation has done away with arranged marriages (almost) and prefer staying single. It is true that marriage does lead to a lot of issues. After all, marrying in a country like Sri Lanka does mean you are marrying another family.
You do end up embracing their issues, their insecurities, their fears and their hopes and dreams. Marriage is a lot of hard work. You are in essence dealing with another person, through whom you expect your hopes and dreams to come true. As many members of the older generation have told me – Marry because you want to, not because others want you to. This does ring true. There are many positives about marriage with companionship and security being just two important ones. Frankly, I don’t know one couple who has not fought and the way they fight (claws and teeth bared) is more than reason to think twice about marriage.
Then there is also the case of digging for gold. Just read the Sunday Observer and its matrimonial section. Prospective applicants are showing off their assets and wealth all in the hope of landing that perfect catch. What I have seen is that people marry for money and much less else. My own experience is that most women I’ve associated are after the proverbial gold. Whatever happened to this concept of – true love and devotion? Consider our parents (the ones that are in their 60s and beyond) who lived in a period when integrity, character and personality were of more importance than money. Times have changed, I fear, for the worse.
Marriage is an institution that needs respect. It is not just the grandiose weddings resplendent with white roses, a Merc, a huge buffet and diamond jewellery being splashed around. Marriage, in my honest opinion, is a farce nowadays. But these are changing times and one needs to accept the change that is happening. I do believe quite firmly that you really have to befriend prospect partners and then lay all cards on the table and discuss what is expected of each other. The days when we were supposed to marry for propagation, religious ideals, culture, tradition and wealth should come to an end. What I really feel is that marriage, in a sense, is coming to an end.
All of what I have ranted on about is quite debatable. I am not arrogant enough to say that marriage does not work. It may for some and may not for others. But it is a serious thing and needs to be treated with respect. for some and may not for others. But it is a serious thing and you do need to tread carefully. Don’t ever be forced into marriage if you don’t want to.
As a wise old lady once told me – It is better to miss the bus than to get on the wrong one
A classic day today. The only dull point was that @minzy24 got seriously ill. So @idnav0 and I took her to hospital. But she was ok. I spent lunch with @idnav0 at Cinnamon Lakeside and then we went back to office. She bought me awesome desserts! Trudged back to office and ran to Warren’s place. Took some oranges, grapes and strawberries with some red wine. Gave a chocolate to the threewheel driver too. Drank and smoked. Ordered Pizza Hut and ate and spoke. Just got home after parents picked me up. Now cuddled in bed after a Sothys do up in the loo. Happy I am.
(I wrote this while I was in Maskeliya over the weekend.)
I’m enjoying the cool climes of Maskeliya right now. The drive here was pretty decent. We stopped at the Tea Cup, which served some incredible Ceylon tea. Then we ended up doing some grocery shopping and reached Gartmoor estate. I’m rather disappointed to note that both Dialog and Mobitel had very patchy Internet connection. Luckily, I managed to inform office I will be offline.
I adore the cold but my ENT can’t handle it. We were invited here by some of my Dad’s bridge friends, who are some pretty financially well off people. I was treated to a myriad of stories that were packed with intrigue and greed. It’s pretty shocking to hear of the primitive behaviour that people resort to when money is involved…even against their own family.
While the majority does try to earn money by hook or by crook, there are some people I know who are wealthy thanks to sheer hard work. I respect that. I always used to tell people I suffered in my 20s to enjoy my 30s. While these last few years have been an orgy of indulgences in fine dining, socializing, philosophying, spa treatments, shopping and gallivanting abroad, I’m left contemplating the future.
I made up my mind it was a chilled out life that I desired. It was a life I embraced. I was frugal and still am. It had worked well and continues to do so. I gave up the hard corporate lifestyle around 6 years ago. I spent those 6 years recovering my health, losing fat and healing my mind.
I promised myself I would never get back into that unforgiving world of being trussed up like a Christmas turkey resplendent with tie and suit. But now there is an opening to head a company. And some spark of enthusiasm had lit my veins up. I have been promised good returns and even better levels of stress plus unforgiving work hours. So am I zany to take this on? My parents, quite predictably, told me not to.
But why I’m diving in is because:
1. I have nothing to lose.
2. Even though I gave up thinking of the corporate world 6 years ago, I need to think about it now, since the world is changing. One cannot be complacent and think it will stay the way it is. My life could change for the worse and I need to keep moving and offering value to earn so my future continues to remains bright.
3. I hate saying this but money is god. Money is more important than ever. With my country becoming more commercialized, money is very important.
4. It is a challenge. I have worked like a dog most of my life. I was not built to mope in defeatism. But, like all of us, we need constant reminders of what we can do. If I do fail so be it. At least I did try.
5. There’s only so much of high living one can do. It becomes stale. The urge to get into the fray is becoming a bit unbearable.
6. Being assaulted by stress reminded me those days that every cent you earned is damn important. Life is hard. There were times I forgot this when I enjoyed myself the last few years. I can’t afford to forget it since it leads to complacency.
Hard work, in whatever way, leads to success. I must not let money change my values and ethics in me. This is what I’m afraid of most. But I believe life is a journey. Let’s see how this trip goes. The worst thing that can happen is you get fired and THAT can be a blessing.
People judge how happy and successful you are based on how much you have earned and what your social status is. But this is relative. As I’ve seen in my short life, anyone can earn money. But not many can earn money in an ethical manner devoid of bribery and nefarious activities.
My parents and their parents were very stringent when it came to ethics, values and morals. Anything that went against such were frowned upon. I believe these ethics, values and morals rubbed off on me too. It was not easy growing up with such draconian ways of living but they have certainly helped me become what I am today.
I’ve listed down 8 things I’m proud of. All of which can find certain roots in my personality and how I’ve been brought up.
● No Debts. Being frugal is a real difficult philosophy to embrace. Now more than ever we are accosted by capitalism and commercialization. Everywhere we go all we see are brands aggressively advertising. Most people I know end up spending their hard earned money on stuff they don’t need. My parents brought me up on frugal habits. They enforced it very strictly. I never got whatever I wanted. I only started purchasing whatever I wanted when I started working. I busted my very first salary. Ever since then, I always made it a point to save. And this decision has worked very well. I’ll never give this philosophy up. The worst thing that can happen is being broke and begging for money from people.
● All Loans Paid. I’m governed by certain set of ethics and values. I can’t give those up. There have been a few rare instances where I was compelled to borrow small amounts of money. These instances were like when I was stuck at work till late with no money for transport etc. But, unlike most people I know, I’ve always paid back every single cent.
● Career Opportunities. In an age when people rely on contacts whether they are from school, parents, relations, societies, friends or their church/temple/mosque, I’m proud to say, every single job I had was won through my own hard work. None of it was handed to me on a silver platter. I started off as an Intern in a bank and I reached my zenith as the Head of a Creative Department in an ad agency. I went through 8 or so careers and worked hard at each job I got.
● Parents Come First. I know most of the time I’ve always put my parents first. Like in any family, we’ve had fights. I guess we will have many more to come. But I know in my heart I’ve done far more than and sacrificed far more than most kids when it comes to looking after my parents. I know they have done a lot for me too. This is why I’m loyal besides doing my duty. At the end of the day, they are the only ones who will be there for you.
● Friends And Loyalty. I choose my friends very carefully. Having lived for over 30 years, I’m suspicious of people and I’ve developed this uncanny habit of knowing what people are after. While I’m a very friendly person in general, I choose who I want to socialize with very carefully. And once I do open my arms in friendship, I will do whatever I can to be there for you.
● Company Politics Is A No Go. One of the many reasons I’ve never climbed the corporate ladder faster is my refusal to form cliques and start backstabbing others. I’m all about going to work and just coming back home after a hard day at work. I’ve no interest in utilizing other people’s weaknesses for my gain. I’ve no interest in oiling up other people’s viewpoints of me to get raises or promotions. Let the work speak for itself. I got a conscious. Duplicity and being nefarious is not part of my make up.
● Good Manners, Kindness & Compassion. I practice all 3. I can’t begin to state how much I’ve achieved in life by being nice to others. It’s so cool. It’s unbelievably rewarding. I know for a fact I’ve made many people happy by listening to their problems, offering them a helping hand, taking them for a meal, doing charity, being gentlemanly and helping them being confident in themselves. I swear all this positive energy via kindness and compassion has offered me a bounty of blessings.
● Autarky. I love this Greek word. It means – self sufficiency. I remember learning about this particular word when I was studying Classical Civilization. Despite my mother’s best efforts in trying to spoil me, I know, I made it a point to get out of my comfort zone and take on real life. I was brought up on unhealthy doses of fear. I’m still afraid of many things. But I cherish the fact that I have overcome most of my fear and am moulding my future to be fully independent.
I just finished listening to some of Mika’s interviews on YouTube and I’m faced with indecision. I don’t know what to get for dinner. My mother just planted the desire for North Indian food since she craved a naan. And now both she and her prince have gone to the supermarket. I am, of course, left pondering…dinner or the lack thereof. I’m also craving red wine. But then should I? I had 3 cans of Anchor beer and sang along to Mika’s new songs till 2 am this morning. Quite jolly that was. I adore one track in particular – We Are Young.
Yesterday was quite memorable. I ran around town getting a rather emollient chocolate fudge cake from Sponge, a champagne bottle and a perfume (Dolce and Gabbana, no less) for our Boss’s birthday. Ovandi hitched along to choose the perfume. The surprise was well worth the hassle. He was thrilled. So were we. It was quite a spread. Then we all watched Side Effects in the evening. A solid film that.
But anyways, back to Mika. I’ve listened to all his songs and wondered where in the world he disappeared to. I’ve always liked the flamboyant artists like Queen and Elton. They speak sense you see. The hurt and shit they’ve gone through offers up such creativity. In most cases you can relate to the joy and bitterness. And then you wonder with this impending sense of doom – Why did I not do something amazing with my life?
I’ve won academic accolades, school prizes and the usual ego-boosting events. I’ve created amazing ads, tv and radio commercials etc. But I’m torn between contributing more and not giving a fuck. Why would I want to offer up something sublime to the world, like a song or a book, when it’s just a pointless and temporary exercise in vanity? After all, that is what it boils down to – receiving adulation, fame and money. And therein lies disappointment. I rather write for myself though. Ah, there’s an idea!
We live in a world where success is already defined for us. Success is getting a good education in a prestigious school/university, getting a fancy job with a fancy designation, buying a mansion and driving a fancier car. Do all this and you ARE happy. The irony is you’re not. I was the unhappiest ever when I was earning the most. I’d never want part of that world again. But we’re constantly reminded about how we should crave it.
Fighting such preconceived attitudes is a pain. Sometimes you ask yourself whether you were a fool to give it all up. Those instances are few. But they still remain like ‘vampirious’ leeches made to drain you. I blame this capitalistic and consumerist world, capitalism being a religion of the masses and you’re but a deviant. But happiness is not what you should have but being grateful for whatever you do have.
So I guess I won’t covet what a pop star has. I’ll just listen to the awesomeness he creates. Let him write and create through the wellspring of his sorrow. I’ll just enjoy the beauty of what he makes.
I need to rant a bit. I needed to write. I think I’ll get me some pizza now.
It’s been weird these last few days. Sometimes keeping your emotions and feelings in check can be a battle in itself. I spent my teen years and early 20s being a volatile bag of emotions. Too sensitive I was. And then I grew up. I became objective in my outlook in life. But there are certain things that you never prepare yourself for, like a mother who is growing feeble by the day, like a father who is becoming slower, like you being on the verge of marrying but wondering whether you should.
But I guess what alarms me most is that despite all my optimism, I know I am slowing down. I feel the best I can offer is way past now. I can’t remember the way I used to, can’t workout as hard, can’t stay up late or wake up early like 10 years ago. Of course, these are things that are inevitable and which you expect. But it still hits you with an undeserved force. What also kills you is that you’re alone in this journey.
I needed to pen all this down. Writing is therapeutic. It helps. It hurts. But this is life. All I can do is have some contingency plans. I’ve been blessed in this life. But that does not mean the rest of the journey is going to be smooth. Best advice Ro can give Ro now is – Suck it up and get on with it.