Oct 31, 2007
Personally, I find that I can’t come to a clear consensus on the issue. On the one hand, I prefer to adopt a live and let live attitude; as long as what you do doesn’t affect me, then do as you please. But on the other hand, coming from a strictly religious cultural society with firm ideas on what’s right and wrong, into a culture that is inherently independent and liberal, I can contrast and compare and see the pros and cons of both. One of the things I love about America is the diverse people, opinions and lifestyles that are found here. Freedom of speech and expression are, in general, a way of life. Normal, here, changes from person to person. Not so back home, where anything and everything is frowned upon if it’s not in keeping with our social norms. However, I can see the value in that when I see the progressive chaos that exists here. There are no hard and fast rules so everyone just does what they please, and while that seems great at first, it gets tedious after a while. What is the happy medium?
I think it’s impossible to tell people what they can or cannot do. Should we? What seems wrong to me may seem so right to you. And how can I, then, impose my beliefs and my ideas upon you? What gives me the right to tell someone else what is and is not normal? But at the same time, is it feasible to say ‘you have one life, do with it what you wish’? So where do we draw the line, this line that allows some to live and others to die inside. This line that makes you an outcast if you don’t conform.
Because, as Janet Fitch so beautifully puts it, “People didn't fit in slots- prostitute, housewife, saint- like sorting the mail. We were so mutable, fluid with fear and desire, ideals and angles, changeable as water”.
Oct 30, 2007
It was afternoon when I got off the subway at B’way-Lafayette. It had just finished raining and the sky was still overcast, but sunny at the same time. Lots of silver linings going on. I strolled down Bleecker, in the general direction of where I wanted to go, but in no hurry to get there. I had on my Upstate sweatshirt, my snazzy converse, my ‘ghetto jeans’ as O likes to call them, all ripped at the bottom. Munching on some Italian pizza, with mushrooms of course, bought at a Mexican joint. Was in a bit of a Sinhala songs mood, so I was listening to my playlist titled, what else, ‘Sinhala songs’. What better place for an assimilation of cultures eh?
I really wished I had a camera. Generally, I’m not too fond of em; it’s a bother to carry around. You gotta be careful you don’t drop it, or spill a drink on it, or hand it to a random stranger. Also, if you’re too busy taking pictures, you literally forget to stop and smell the roses. But that day I wished I had one. The leaves were just turning varying shades of red and orange, raindrops sparkling on the ends, kids splashing in puddles. The couple holding hands with eyes only for each other, the rowdy teenagers on what I assume was a field trip, the corporate-types in their business suits grabbing a quick sandwich at a deli. The colors, the clothes, so vibrant; the emotions so palpable.
I got on the train back home at the end of the day feeling refreshed and new. It does that to me, this city, with its never ending, ever changing excitement. Its seductive sights and lingering sounds. I watched the sun set over the skyline out the window and Incubus was in my head.
"And in this moment
I am happy.."
Oct 24, 2007
Oct 23, 2007
The thing about a crappy week is that a great weekend seems that much better afterwards. New York, to me, is the most amazing city in the world. The vibe is fabulous, the people are fabulous and there just isn’t a better place to spend your Saturday night, which found me and the cousins and a bunch of friends at a bar downtown. Its always fun going out with the cousins, since we’re all within 4 years of each other and legal now, so booze and conversation flows freely and you can be as silly as you like. To top it off, a friend of ours was throwing the party, so [all together now] DRINKS SPECIALS!! Yea!!
So the night progressed, rounds of shots were bought by all, the band was toasted, the weather was toasted, my shoes were toasted and we just got increasingly drunker. On came the beer goggles and suddenly there are sexy men in every corner of the room, trying to buy you drinks, trying to get your number, and who are we to turn down free booze? Around midnight my cousins’ band LBW began their set, and I don’t know if it was the alcohol, the company, the city vibe or what, but I have never heard such great live music before. In my completely biased opinion, they were fucking awesome! Clapton covers, Mayer covers, some Oasis, lots of Hootie and some amazing originals. The crowd was really feeling the music and the band was feeding off the audience and everyone was singing along and having a blast. It’s great when you see the band actually enjoying what they do; the enthusiasm is higher, the music is better, the vibes are stronger. Doesn’t hurt that all of them are kick ass musicians either. Or that they were merrily drunk.
The festivities, such as they were, ended around 4.30, and then there’s always the interesting issue of how to get the boozed up groupies home. Subway rides are great, especially those drunken ones at 5am and the even drunker searches for the car which doesn’t appear to be where you left it. High heels aren’t meant for walking, not after having been danced in all night, and well, piggy back rides should only be attempted when you are sober. Oh New York, how I love you.
Oct 17, 2007
Oct 16, 2007
I am not a fan of bandwagons but this one is worth getting on. It’s a subject I feel strongly about, something that I feel is important and we should all pay attention to. I don’t know how effective this movement will be and what kind of impact it will have, but I hope it is a big one, because it’s definitely an important one.
I think, being from a poorer country, and an island to boot, most of us are more aware of the environment and its significance. We grew up seeing trees out of our windows and at some point or other have probably visited mountain, ocean, forest and swamp. We know and have seen, therefore can appreciate the beauty and majesty of nature. It’s harder to appreciate a tree when it’s something that grows in a park, not in your garden; when you haven’t seen the flowers blooming or watched the squirrels fornicating :)
A lot of us green people feel helpless more than anything else, I think. Helpless because not enough people care to make the effort, because in the end it can only be a collective effort that can make a difference. Helpless because we know there is only so much one can do and say to change someone else’s attitude. Helpless because we are just one person in a world of billions, and how much of an impact can we make. I was reading N’s post and he had some great thoughts on the subject.
So I do what I can. I recycle, I buy only used books, I reuse my polythene bags, I turn the tap off while I’m brushing my teeth. But sometimes I wonder if anything I do really makes a difference. Logically, we know that it’s the little things that add up in the end, but when the results aren’t instantaneous and tangible, it makes you wonder how turning the tap off really makes a difference in the grand scheme of things.
I watched An Inconvenient Truth last year and, apart from the politics woven into it, there are some frightening facts and figures that really should make us think and act. Statistics, more than anything else, show you whats what, and when it was all put together like that, it really had an effect on me. A must watch, for everyone, if only just to make you realize how small and human and mortal you really are.
In the end, however, there is just simply no reason why you should not be green. Whether you buy into global warming or not, whether you think the earth can heal itself or not, even if you don’t give a rat’s ass, this is a win-win situation. There is nothing to lose by being environmentally conscious, and everything to gain. It saves money, it helps the environment, it’s healthy. Doing your part is what will, in the end, make a difference.
Oct 14, 2007
Now, I enjoy a healthy debate, but what I dislike about it is when the other person is so certain and adamant in his view that he won’t even consider your argument, even though you have a solid one, with facts and logic and all that good stuff. Nothing will ever sway them, and they will merely restate their points with the hope that if you say it enough times, everyone will believe you. We see similar situations in the comments sections of some blog posts, mostly the politically motivated ones. Some will just go on and on till you stop reading in disgust. How can there be a constructive exchange of views when you are inflexible in your opinion, refusing to acknowledge that the opposition may, god forbid, make some valuable points?
Anyway, a few days ago U asked me if I thought pornography was wrong and degrading to women, from a feminist point of view. I had to think about that for a while, well for 4 minutes anyway, because that’s all he gave me. So I came to the conclusion that, in my humble, feminist opinion, pornography, of the voluntary kind, cannot be considered degrading to women because they see it as a career, a way of making money, and is a personal choice. I’ve watched a few documentaries on pornography and prostitution, strictly for educational purposes of course, and while I know that this doesn’t give me conclusive evidence to support my view, what I learned from it is that many women take pride in it, in their bodies, their art and the way it empowers them. And also I suppose one could derive pleasure from knowing that some man is, well, getting off on you.
I’d like to hear what others think of this. Not based on morality, but from a woman’s point of view. Or, for those of you who are not women, how do you regard women in the industry?
Oct 10, 2007
I have this habit of starting a mini library where ever I am. I start off with zero books and then eBay away till my shelves are stocked. And then am faced with the task of packing them up when I move. The newest additions to my library are White Oleander, which came highly recommended, A Time to Kill by John Grisham, and These Happy Golden Years- the final book to complete my Little House on the Prairie series.
I am a Laura Ingalls fan. There, I said it. Now laugh all you want; my roommates sure did. “I would never have imagined it of you” said O, like I had told her I molest little boys or wear the same underwear three days in a row. The truth is, I kind of got hooked on it from the House book. It was interesting, the stories about the settlers, how they built their houses, hunted, survived on the prairies. And so this final book was missing from my collection, the climax, where Almanzo begins to court Laura and inevitably marries her (that sounds so strange, to say courts, instead of hooked up or ‘did’), and I just finished it. Aaah closure.
I have a thing for series. When an author catches my eye, I hunt down his/her books with a vengeance. I did it with the Nora Roberts collection and now I’ve read every trilogy she ever wrote; I did it, obviously, with the Harry Potter series; I did it with John Grisham, who writes quite possibly the most fascinating law fiction ever. Which is why I had to buy A Time to Kill. I borrowed it from someone, cried like a baby while reading it, and fell in love with it instantly. So I had to have it in my collection.
My other all time favorite series is the Anne series. My aunt sent me the collection of 8 when I was like 10, and I’ve read and reread them a million times because the writing of L.M. Montgomery is so beautiful, it still catches me off guard. Sometimes I have to pause and reread a sentence a couple times because the wording is so stunning, the descriptions she gives are so breathtaking, that they deserve time for absorption. Apart from the writing, the story itself is fascinating. My only problem with it is, the man’s name is Gilbert. I mean Gilbert! Yes, I know a rose by any other name and all that, but Gilbert?! Sigh.
Anyway, I’m currently reading White Oleander. I’m liking it so far. The prose is beautiful, the writing is simple and the story has my attention. Read on.
Oct 9, 2007
Sometimes, you find family where you least expect to. And home isn’t that far away after all.
Oct 8, 2007
The insides red
I can still taste it
We sat on the step, that last time
And were silent
And the stars, so bright
The air, so sweet
With those flowers that are
The only flowers
And you took my hand
And were silent
‘till everything tasted of you
‘till I couldn’t breathe, but didn’t want to
And we were silent
And it was all said.
Oct 4, 2007
So there I was, snacking away in my atheist bliss, relaying tales of a drunken night to U, when he says rather pointedly “you know T, you have no self control. You need to cut down and cut back”. “Gasp!” says I, “how dare you! I have oodles of self control”. And so he very unnecessarily gave me numerous examples where I may have faltered in the control department. “Ok so what’s your point man?” said I, a tad put off. “You should fast with me. But I don’t think you can do it”, cockily he replies. Oh it’s a challenge then. All right.
So now I am fasting. Just the food though; I still drink liquids, inclusive of alcohol, and I listen to music, and I do all that other stuff you’re not supposed to do during Ramadhan, and for this I have many good reasons coughexcuses. Well for one, I don’t wake up in the morning and eat before the fasting period begins, so this means that when I go to bed around 2am, the next time I eat is at 7pm. Therefore in order to avoid collapsing in a dehydrated mass on the way to class, I drink water and milk. Apart from that, you know, I’m a science person first, and I just don’t think it’s healthy to not drink water for 12+ hours. The alcohol, well, I think the last few posts should explain the necessity for that quite clearly. The other stuff, well, I’m not Muslim, and I’m not doing this for spiritual reasons, so…
So at first it was kind of hard. I missed the snacks, especially during the past few weeks. But on the other hand, it’s a pretty great feeling to say “yeah, still going strong” when U asks if I’m still fasting. And he was right. I do feel like I have some control, at least in this department. And you find that after a couple days it’s not really that hard. Of course, those doing the complete routine might disagree, and for good reason. But this is my first time doing this, and it’s interesting to note the psychological take on it. If you don’t think about it, you don’t want it. That’s one thing I should keep in mind. Also, after some time you lose the need for food, whether you’re thinking about it or not. It’s just not there. I’m beginning to like this fasting business. After this month is complete, and yes, I will make it through the whole month, I might try my hand at it again, this time cutting out food and something else. And by the time next Ramadhan comes around I’ll be ready to do the whole thing as it should be done.
Of course my family didn’t really get it. It’s hard to explain to your mother that you’re fasting so you can prove to some boy that you have self-control. So I resorted to the age old Sri Lankanism: just. And of course, like all mothers, a half explanation is simply grounds for making up your own, and when you involve the siblings in this game, they can come up with some good ones. So far I’ve heard that it’s a new type of diet, I’m too cheap to buy food (!), I’m too lazy to go the gym etc. but the best, and current, one is that I’m involved with a Muslim man and/or am trying to impress one, therefore I’m fasting in a desperate attempt to be a pseudo Muslim. Ha!
Oct 2, 2007
This series has come at a perfect time for me, when I’ve been feeling a little blue about not going home for Christmas, when everyone else will be back. Cricket just makes me happy, and once again, by cricket, I mean when WE play. Preferably when we win, but the game itself also. *yeah, this is the cue for all the men reading this to roll their eyes*. Of course, for those die hard cricket fans who like to analyze every ball and how it’s played, it might be different. But for me, there’s something about the blue and yellow that cheers me up. Something about Sanath’s smile and Vaas’s look, all that happy team bonding, Lion flags in the stands and the papare. Cricket is so Sri Lankan for me, quite like a good kiribath or an arrack and coke. It’s more than just a game, more than winning or losing. It’s all about the spirit. And I am quite proud of the fact that we play with integrity and haven’t been involved in match fixing and the like, at least to my knowledge (and if we have, please keep that happy fact to yourself and leave me in my ignorant bliss). It’s rather what I feel our country should be like, the image I carry in my heart as opposed to the facts in my head.
So yeah, it’s all about the spirit, and its doing a good job of perking me up during this rather glum time. And I actually had more to write but with the cloud that is tomorrow’s exam hanging over me, I can’t, for the life of me, remember what it was. So, go team!