Friday, August 30, 2013

Things that annoy me

An incomplete list of things that annoy me.

1. People who insult or complain about Sri Lanka. Do not ever find fault in Sri Lanka, if I'm within hearing distance. Each time you say something against Sri Lanka, I picture what the imprint of my fist would look like on your cheek!

 2. Coriander. The most dreadful taste on earth! I hate any form of coriander, seeds or leave. I even hate that smell it gives off. Not only is this about hate, coriander makes me nauseous. I dread it like I dread the plague!

3. Sweet and sour food. Pineapples and raisins do not belong in my rice! Sweet and sour fish? Sweet or sour for me. This is why I eat very little ketchup. It's too sweet. Why can't people eat spicy food for their main meals, and leave the sweet stuff for dessert!

4. Photographers. Anyone with any kind of camera who keeps taking a million and one pictures, I hate you. And not pictures of things around us, but making all of us pose and taking ten pictures of one pose! Even worse are the poses. "Okay guys! Crazy picture. Ah! Perfect. Crazier picture! Now look sexy. Now the duck face." Please do not ask me to pose for a single picture. I won't feel left out when you upload all those as soon as you get home and I'm not in any of them.

5. Attention seekers. You know how you are in a group, and there'll be this one person who wants all the attention? If that person is you, die! Don't try to always be the leader of the group!

6. People who text during a face to face conversation. What do you want me to do while you send a thousand smiley faces to someone? And do go all, oh! you can talk, I'm still listening.

7. Air conditioning. I swear, anything below 26 covers me in goosebumps! I like hot weather, sweating is better than freezing, now turn the damn AC off!

8. Cigarette smoke. If we are talking and you are smoking, blow the smoke so that it doesn't end up in my face. It's not the cancer I worry about, or how rude it is to blow smoke into someone's face. But the cigarette smoke smell makes my head spin. Unless you want me puking on you, yeah, do not stand close to me while you smoke.

9. On a similar note. The smell of alcohol. It's disgusting and I do not want drunk people around me.

10. Ultra skinny jeans. Both men and women, let everything below your waist breathe! If you have to wiggle to get into our jeans, maybe you shouldn't be wearing them.

11. Loud music. If we are hanging out and you start playing super loud music, well, I'll just go home. I'm not going to shout over the music, so we won't be having a conversation and I'd rather go deaf at home than with you.

12. People who talk during movies. I'm not paying 600 rupees or more to listen to you talk! Don't always shift around in your seat or munch on potato chips as loud as ever. Keep quite, and let me watch the movie!

13. Table manners and whatnot. Here's the thing, if you place a chunk of rock hard meat in front of me, don't tell me I can't first judge your cooking skills and then go into battle with my food. If you don't give me a knife, I can't break the chunk of meat.

14. Guessing ages. I'm terrible at it so don't tell me something like, oh! Guess how old I am.

15. Gossip. I absolutely hate it when men and women get together and talk about someone and then in front of them, pretend to be their best friends. Don't be a backstabber. And don't gossip. It's such an ugly habit.

16. People who don't spoil me a bit. Look, I know this is selfish but I'm still a child. So I have crazy mood swings and quite random needs and wants. If I hint that I feel like ice cream, go get me some ice cream. I won't always expect you to be at my beck and call but like, spoil me just a little bit. And if you say that you feel like ice cream, and I say that we could go now, and you say oh no, you don't really need ice cream, well why did you tell me you felt like having ice cream before? You either want it or you don't and if you don't, why did you make such a useless and dishonest statement before?

Monday, August 26, 2013

The younger sibling syndrome

The Nation

When I was a kid, my father told me something that ran along the lines of, “Duwa, since you are the younger one, throughout life, you will always get the smaller share.” He was talking about sharing food with my brother. Food, even when it was supposed to be divided equally, saw my brother getting a bigger share. If there was an extra chocolate, Aiya would be the one who got to enjoy it. This isn’t the only perk he enjoys as the older sibling.

My brother has never been a dictator, nor has he bossed me around. There are some stories though, that make me question just how much torture a younger sibling is expected to suffer.

This is one of those stories I know only because my parents love to retell it over and over again. As a toddler, I was really chubby and would spend my days in my playpen. My brother had a tricycle and was old enough to enjoy the freedom a playpen does not offer. Yet, he needed more entertainment. So he would take one of my toys, place it a few inches outside the playpen and wait for me to reach out for it. Aiya would then ride over my pudgy hand with his tricycle, leaving me screaming and crying.

We have come a long way since the days when I was someone he could bully and tease. He still does annoy me though, patiently waiting for an opportunity to be a typical older brother. Yet, it’s all part of siblinghood. As the younger one, I have accepted that more often than not, I have to bow down to my brother. While I do protest against the never ending duties a younger sibling is weighed down by, I still feel happy and proud to be able to, in a way, return the favour. For without my brother, I wouldn’t be able to do many things. He has to put up with my clumsy ways and computer illiteracy. He even tolerates my off-key singing, which not many do.

Sadly, I have seen that many people do not accept their role as a younger sibling. Best put, you are a serf to the tsar that is your older sibling. If you are good enough a serf and your sibling is good enough a tsar, your relationship won’t be strained. As a younger sibling it is your duty to respect your older sibling, even if the age gap is just a year.An older sibling deserves to be respected. If he doesn’t have a place to sit, offer him your seat. Don’t talk back to him.

When sharing food with an older sibling, offer the bigger share to him. It is unfair, but he has a right to it since he was here first. Don’t be bitter about the perks your older sibling enjoys. He will earn his independence before you. You are likely to receive less attention from your parents. You have to accept this, for there are many perks of being the younger sibling too.

One of the most important things between siblings is love. Siblings rarely say they love each other. Yet, the bond siblings share is extremely strong and that love is difficult to replace. Yet, some people tend to think siblings don’t matter. They don’t appreciate their siblings.

Something most people without siblings ask me is what it is like to have one. They say they wish they had a brother or sister, for they can’t imagine what life is like with one. Truth be told, I can’t imagine what life will be like without a sibling. Of course being the younger one means I’ll always get the smaller share, yet, I know that only Aiya will drive for more than an hour in heavy traffic to pick me up when he could be watching a geeky TV show on vehicles instead.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Another's Shoes

Have you ever walked in someone else' shoes? Literally? I have. I often wear my mothers shoes (shoes include all types of footwear!) and sometimes whatever is lying around. Once I wore a man's rubber slippers. They were huge and wearing them felt... weird. Like the slippers would come of any second, and I had to press my feet into them to not trip over. Funny thing is a few minutes into wearing them, they actually became quite comfortable.

Now let's look at the not so literal walking in someone's shoes. Sometimes we fail to understand another's problems. We laugh at them and say, "Dude! I've got real issues. Just grow up." It's not fair to say this though. I mean, what are real issues? How are your issues more real than another's issues? What makes one issue real and another issue not real?

I used to rarely ever fall ill. Rarely take medicine and I absolutely hate taking pills. A recent back ache left me taking pain meds two times a day. And I would wake up needing the pills. I realized that I was actually living on pills. Mild painkillers, but if not for them, I would be in pain and unable to say, read or type. I'll just sleep or rather try to sleep all day. So I'm doing things, or going about because of these pills. And for the first time I know what it's like to be someone who has to take these pills to go on with life. Most people don't take anti-depressants seriously. "Who needs pills to stay happy?" we ask. Imagine though, if you woke up feeling sad, or unhappy. And you can't get through a single day without taking your pills.

For some reason, Thailand gives me slight, very slight nosebleeds. I've never understood why. Anyway, this time was worse. I couldn't blow my nose at times, without ending up with a tissue with small blood stains. Again, nothing serious. But imagine all the people who go through nosebleeds everyday? Who blow their noses and end up with a blood soaked tissue? Blood is a terrifying sight, and seeing your own blood isn't easy to just forget.

So pills and nosebleeds are quite normal things. Or rather, they are easier to understand. The problems we face in life. Recently, things between a friend and I went downhill. So downhill that things will never go uphill again. I was feeling quite down, and my grandmother talked to me about it. And many people didn't take any notice about this. They didn't ask any questions, they just accepted it. They took, "I'm fine" for an answer and left it at that. Yet, Athamma saw that for me, this wasn't just another bump in the road. Years from now, or even months, I will look at it like a very small bump in the road. But when everything was going down, when the truth kept hitting me hard, over and over again, she knew that it felt like my world was crumbling down. And she never told me that people have bigger issues, or that I have had bigger issues. She simply held my hand, in unsaid words, saying, "you'll be alright, I'll always be there."

Before you write off someone as an attention seeker, look into their problems. Sometimes, I worry over the simplest things. There are times when I have panicked over a missing post-it. I would worry about a missing pen. Some name scribbled on my notebook. Yet, for me, these are real issues. What if I had written something important on that post-it? What if I don't have another pen to write with? What if the scribble meant that someone else went through my notebook?

So walk in someone's shoes for a bit. You will then understand why people are the way they are. And you would also give your life more thought. Sometimes we think our problems aren't real enough to bother people with them. Yes, my backache is nothing compared to say cancer or AIDS. But it is still something. The central moment of my life may not be 'real' to some people. Yet, it is still extremely real to me. And when you are down, you don't need someone to kick you anymore. You don't need people who say, "your problems are so simple. Trust me, you don't want to be me right now."

Walk in someone's shoes, and picture what their life is like. It will be uncomfortable at first, but slowly, you will understand their life. And you will find comfort in it too.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Maintaning Friendships

No man can live alone and throughout the journey that is life, we meet new people. Of these, those you have a lot in common with and are able to be comfortable with easily become your friends. Some friendships take time. From friendship blooms love, through the mutual understanding between two people and acceptance of the various individual differences.

Friends are the people you want to spend your time with and as time passes the memories will also collect. However, some friends do not last forever. Sometimes, best friends stop being as close as they once were. You stop sharing all your secrets with them and spend less time with them. Sometimes, friends become strangers to you. Someone you knew all your life will suddenly or slowly stop being your friend. This is especially so when you realize certain characteristics that you do not agree with.

As with all kinds of relationships, friends too have their various arguments and rows. There are times when these are resolved and whatever differences are soon water under the bridge. However, there are times when friends are pulled away from each other for various reasons. What is important is to not let resolvable issues end friendships.

The culture most of us are brought up gives us the opportunity to mingle with those from various ethnic communities. Sadly, many tend to let cultural and other beliefs decide who one could be friends with. While our beliefs do say a lot about who we are, they should not be a barrier to the various relationships we form in life. Instead, it should help us be more tolerant and accepting of beliefs that vary from our own. This is the foundation of friendship; acceptance and tolerance. No two people are alike, this is what makes us all unique. However, if we are unwilling to accept the differences in others, we cannot maintain friendships.

Age is also a huge factor here. When you are young, you will associate with people your age. However, as you move on in life, you will make friends with those older or younger to you. This will require a lot of understanding of another’s opinions and explanations. For while people may have a lot in common, they do not have everything in common. While your preference of ice cream flavors may not end a friendship with someone, your moral beliefs may. If these differences are acceptable, then you must make an effort to be more tolerant.

Time is also a huge barrier when maintaining friendships. The friends you made during your school years will slowly move away from you and you will slowly move away from them. Very often we see our parents meeting long lost friends and we promise ourselves to always keep in touch with our friends. However, once you stop seeing them on a nearly daily basis and once your life slowly changes, it is difficult to maintain friendships. Today social networking allows people to stay connected. Yet, being friends on a social networking site is not the same as actually being someone’s friend. Thus it is important to not only make time for your friends but also make it a point to meet frequently. It need not be for a long time, a meal or movie would do.

Friendship doesn’t just happen. It needs a lot of working on. An effort has to be made to be someone’s friend, and you must never wait for the other to make that effort. It might throw you out of your comfort zone, but make that first move. Attitudes like, “I won’t talk to him until he talks to me” will not help maintain a friendship.

Be the shoulder your friend could lean on. When you hit rock bottom, there will be someone you can talk to. He may not offer a solution to your problem, maybe he can’t. However, that friend will be there for you and listen to your complaints and problems. Most assume friendship is a one way agreement; you tell, but never listen. This will only make your friendships short-lived. Listen to your friends’ troubles and offer words of advice whenever you can. Be the friend you look for in life.

Keeping your promises is also important when maintaining friendships. Do not be a backstabbing, two faced friend. Friendship demands honesty and if you are not willing to be a good friend to someone, do not expect others to be a good friend to you.

No matter what, do not forget your first friends. Many people abandon their friends for luxury, wealth and fame. Yet, when nothing else is left, they realize what they need to most in life are those friends of their past. People you grew up with know your story, they understand you. You may not have a lot in common with your best friend during first grade, yet, they will understand you more than someone you met two years ago. Give people of the past room in your life.

Maintaining friendships is not easy. Time is the easiest barrier to overcome. Do not let silly issues come between a friend who is worth your time. It is not easy to trust and love someone, a true friend isn’t easy to find. Thus it is important to maintain friendships and cherish them until the very end.

The Nation Jeans, June 30 2013

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Lies cover disliked truth

The first lie you were ever told was by your parents. They are one of the few people who can lie without their facial expressions, giving them away. Rarely do they ever tell you about the lie either, and the truth leaves you with feelings of shock and fear. You would sometimes wonder, “How many more lies have they told me?”

The lies begin with Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. My grandmother called thunder ‘gonibilla’ and we believed it was a demon. When we were small, my brother and I would stand by our grandmother impatiently while she prepared milk toffees. She would try to shoo us away. When we wouldn’t stop bothering her, she would widen her eyes and say, “The gonibilla will get you if you don’t leave.”

The lies started as stories to stop us from being a bother. They were also told to keep our imaginations alive. Yet, there were more to these lies. Lies told by our parents that are hard to forgive.

Since our garden is home to a few fruit trees, we prepare fruit juice on a regular basis. The first time my mother gave me star fruit drink, I was a bit worried. Yet, I trusted my mother, when she said it was made of star fruit. I ended up falling in love with the fruit.

I have happily enjoyed avocado juice, centella or gotukola juice and a few other drinks that weren’t quite appealing at first. My mother never had the need to hide the type of fruit used to make fruit juice. Which is why, when she gave me a glass of lime juice, I gulped it down, although it was sweeter and less limey than usual lime juice.

The next day too, I was given a glass of the same lime juice. A week later, having downed many glasses of the drink, I walked into the kitchen while my mother was making it. I was truly shocked to find out that the lime juice wasn’t from lime, but from cucumber. I admit that cucumber juice is absolutely delicious, yet, the lie still remains a lie.

I also love sago with milk. My grandmother used to keep a glass of chilled sago for me to drink once I returned from school. One day, the sago seed was missing. Instead there was quite thick milk that tasted slightly different. I asked my mother if the sago had been added. She said that the sago had been mixed with milk for some time, and that it had dissolved. I believed her and drank the milk. My mother laughed at me once I emptied the glass and told me it was barley and not sago.

My brother and I, like most children our age are mortally afraid of vegetables. We grew up believing that contrary to what everyone said, vegetables not only tasted bad, but weren’t necessary. Thus it was unacceptable to learn that vegetable soup, which I thought consisted of potato and carrot, also included pumpkin and other undesirable vegetables. I was even deceived into eating kohila and canned tuna, which I detest.

The list goes on. I could write a book if I was to list all the lies told to me by my family. They may seem unforgivable, and as I look at my mother while she reveals a lie, I think how unfair it is to keep the truth from me. Yet, as she smiles, I can only think, “How well you know me.” For all those lies, they were only told because she knew how much I would dislike the truth.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Making the First Move

Have you watched Pride and Prejudice that came out in 2005? I think I read a version of the novel, but oh well! I can't remember. Anyway, you are more likely to have watched the movie which stars Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen.

(okay so just so you don't think I'm the kind of girl who remembers the actors who starred in the movie, and not the novel it self, I had to Google the above information)

So back to Pride and Prejudice, Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are incredibly in love but they don't know it and finally they have a 'moment' and realize there is no use in pretending to not love each other.

(don't tell me I didn't warn you)
I'm seriously going to reveal the end of the movie/novel!

Here goes. Final warning.


So  Mr Darcy walks over to Mr. Bennet's study, has a long chat with him and asks his daughter's hand in marriage. It is only when Mr. Benent approves that Mr. Darcy goes over to Elizabeth and then they kiss. So back in the day of Jane Austen, who wrote the novel, a man needed the female's father's permission before courting her. Which was all romantic, no wait, Romantic (notice the capital r!)

Today, men and women date without the intention of marriage. They date even though there is no love. Its something you do for fun, nothing serious. Not to say that love is dead. There are those couples too, who are together forever, and then finally get married and are well, happy, I guess.

Times have changed. The days when a twenty year old blushes and looks away quickly when her special someone looks her way are gone. No more do females spend days fixing up dresses for dinners where her special someone may finally ask her to dance. Those days are gone and yet, men are still expected to be chivalrous. Now I've heard of men who don't seem to know how to treat a female. They beat them, treat them like mere objects and don't consider them people with feelings and emotions.

Yet, there are still men who hold open doors for females. They believe in the whole 'ladies first' thing. They offer to help you out and treat you well. And to any female who says chivalry is dead, maybe you are associating with the wrong crowd. Because it isn't.

Still the question is put forth by even the most chivalrous of men; who should make the first move?

Here's why a male should.

  • For centuries and centuries, the man has been making the first move. They put so much effort into wooing a female and at the end of it all, realize it was all worth it. And as men tend to put lots of thought into what they do, if a man actually puts a lot of effort into pursuing a female who dismissed him the first time, well, you could be quite certain he actually loves her.

  • Its incredibly Romantic when the man does some cute little thing to ask a girl out. Not sit her down and have a 'chat' with her. Not send her a text that reads, "wna go out w me?" It maybe cheesy and gooey and mushy but it's incredibly cute and romantic.

  • Women don't know what they want. I'm assuming most women are like me. I don't know what I want in life. So I would go on with life, never considering a relationship because I assume I don't really need it. Yet, I'm sure if someone actually does make a move that way, and I give it some thought, I would realize that it is what I want in life. So if you don't make the first move, I wouldn't too (because I'm quite clueless about the world) and we would both end up sad and lonely for the rest of our lives. (Okay, that's highly unlikely, but it could happen!)

  • We are giving you the opportunity to dazzle us. We are giving you the opportunity to prove that you are worth the heartbreak and whatnot that will follow. So take up the opportunity and make the first move.

Now here's why a female should make the first move.

  • If a man can, so can a woman. If you are interested in a man, just make a move. Don't wait until he makes a move because he could be as clueless as a tomato!

  • We all know a man's brain over-thinks or under-thinks. He will either worry so much about it, and fear that he'll hurt you and will end up not making that move. Or he'll assume that you aren't interested in him and not think too much about all those 'moments' you two share and will dismiss it.

  • Men are quite dumb. The net must be pulled before the fish gets away. Men don't get that the prey is in the snare. Sometimes, the most obvious signs are not understood by them. So do the man a favor and just ask him out!

  • Even though they pretend to be pretentious idiots, some men are incredibly shy. If they were to ask a girl on a date the question would go like this, "Ummm so I was uh umm wondering if umm you would uh like to uh well, here's the umm thing. I know this umm place where uh they have umm really uh really good..." And by that time the woman is already married with three kids! So men are shy. Shy guys are incredibly cute! (However, treat a shy guy like a scared deer. Do not startle him. You'll either scare him away or kill him.)

Here's why a man need not make the first move.

  • Look, I have no real argument for this. If the female is a feminist, you shouldn't make the first move. You are in fact, better off not dating her. But if she is one of those "its an insult when men make the first move" thinkers, leave her alone. She's a monster in disguise!

Here's why a woman need not make the first move.

  • Okay, for centuries society believed the man should be the one taking those first steps. If you care about society's opinion then do not make the first move. Female Forward Peters are often considered immodest and simply put, slutty. For some reason women are thought to be these fragile and quiet species who should be treated as if they are porcelain dolls!

  • Some men are terrified of independent females who have modern attitudes. Men who are still quite conservative in their thinking do not like females who do what they do. If you are 'in love' with such a man, here's a warning. They are evil people who will slowly get very possessive and won't let you have your own life.

I guess these arguments can be twisted around a bit to answer the question, "who should pay during a date?"

If a man has a proper income and/or insisted on the fancy and expensive restaurant knowing I cannot afford it, I would expect him to pay. However, a relationship is a 50-50 deal. Either you pool in, or you pay for every other date. So the man pays for Date #1 and the female for Date #2 and so on. The better and more Romantic thing to do is for the male to pay for the first few dates. And after you are comfortable with each other, you can both contribute.

Now this is for the men who pretend to look in their wallet and fumble around looking for the cash they swear they have.

We see through your act, you stingy fellow! If you can't afford it, or don't want to pay, just tell us straight off. Most females work or have a steady allowance. We can afford to pay for the meal. Don't go all, "I must have left my money at home. I'll pay you back later."