Welcome to Darkside Daily

When I'm not writing about my experiences in this journey called 'life', I'm singing and uploading my own interpretations of modern music. Click on "Cover Songs" to hear them, or on the YouTube logo on the right to see my YouTube channel.

Friday, October 31, 2008

.....More Subtle Than Something Someone Contrives

There's something about the look in your eyes
Something I noticed when the light was just right
It reminded me twice that I was alive
And it reminded me that you're so worth the fight
My biggest fear will be the rescue of me
Strange how it turns out that way

Could you show me dear, something I've not seen
Something infinitely interesting
Could you show me dear, something I've not seen
Something infinitely interesting

There's something about the way that you move
I see you're mouth in slow motion when you sing
More subtle than something someone contrives
You're movements echo that I have seen the real thing
You're biggest fear will be the rescue of you
Strange how it turns out that way

Could you show me dear, something I've not seen
Something infinitely interesting
Could you show me dear, something I've not seen
Something infinitely interesting

~ 'Echo' by Incubus ~

This one's for you, sunshine ;)

31st May, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I'm exhausted. And I like it.

There is something personally gratifying to be completely and utterly physically exhausted. Despite how that may sound, I am definitely not masochistic; I assure you that the only 'rush' I experience out of cutting myself is the rush to the first aid cabinet.

When I was in college, I used to play basketball for at least two hours every day without fail. Somehow I'd drag myself back to my room (which, despite changing blocks several times during my studies, was never on the ground floor) and simply collapse on the floor. There I'd lie for at least 30 minutes, sitting under the fan, drenched in sweat, feet on fire and muscles burning from exertion. It was a good feeling; so good that many times I have considered just laying like that till morning (of course, I never did though; I may be a guy, but I have some sense of cleanliness - my room mate's continuous wailing helped too). I may never have been a great basketball player, but I have always considered myself an athlete. Being able to tell myself at the end of the day that I squeezed out every drop of effort (and perspiration) into the game left me with a feeling of achievement, which made the resulting body ache, exhaustion and occasional bruises, muscle pulls and rolled ankles completely worth it.

So after a few minutes of lying comatose on the floor, I'd gingerly pick myself up and have a nice hot bath. Yes, a hot bath; despite the fact that I lived in 32 degree heat, for there are few things on earth more soothing to aching muscles than a hot bath. That, and being pampered by your girlfriend over a late dinner after a nice hot bath .

Physical exhaustion and mental exhaustion are too very different things. Mental exhaustion leaves you feeling helpless, and incapable of handling anything more that comes your way. It is a state of desperation, occasionally depression, and has a much longer lasting effect on a person.

And, it is something that is so prevalent in today's world. Everywhere I look, everyone I meet, is exhausted from dealing with the stress and strife of today's modern life. We are told by our elders that it is necessary to go through this phase to become complete. What they're really telling us is "this is the real world, get used to it".

This is not a rant, I'm not complaining about the way life is, or how hard it is to get through it while still holding onto your sanity.

No. I'm just tired. Physically exhausted. And I figure, I should enjoy this while I can, because soon there won't be oppurtunity for me to run the floor, or to push myself to the limits during my evening runs, or working out in the gym. Soon, I'll be employed somewhere, most likely Colombo, and the only type of exhaustion I'll be experiencing will be the mental kind.

So, let me enjoy this. While I can.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dear Sabby (Ms Perfect)

You'll be glad to know that comments are now working again! Curse you, blogspot!



p.s. for those of you who have no idea what this is about, click here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Weather I'm Right, Weather I'm Wrong

As I type this post, the birds are chirping outside my window, the sky is blue, the bright sunshine is bouncing off the dew on the leaves and I'd readily believe I was dead and in heaven if it weren't for the sound of the lawnmower outside. However, just 24 hours ago, the view from this very same window was one of such gloom and darkness that had Noah experienced anything remotely close to this he wouldn't have had any trouble convincing people to jump on his ark.

The weather these days has had the temperament of a 16 year old girl on her first date ("Ok we can hold hands. No second base! OK fine a little second base. No! Let's go back to first! Ooh let's go all the way. No, don't TOUCH me! Ooh I love you...") Naturally, it's all because of global warming and the world coming to an end (or maybe it's that time of the month for Storm). But in spite of this, we still have dedicated 'professionals' that monitor the sky, cloud formations, wind speeds and millimetres of rainfall and attempt in some bizarre way to predict the weather for the next few days.

How does one become a weatherman? Seriously, how twisted and sad must your childhood be for you to want to dedicate your life to watching the sky and telling an uncaring world when it's going to rain? Imagine the strength of such a person’s convictions, as he/she bravely endures the criticism and mockery of his/her peers as they all go to law school, business school, medical school etc and he/she plods off in the direction of the meteorological school. I actually had to google that to see if there was such a thing!

It’s not like they do a good job, at least not the ones in Sri Lanka. When was the last time they got a prediction right? Wait, let me rephrase – when was the last time they made an actual prediction? Every weather forecast starts off the same way; “Scattered showers in the North, North Central, Uva, Central, Western, Southern and Sabaragamuwa Provinces”. That’s seven out of our nine provinces, and the strategic insertion of the word “scattered” means that it may or may not rain where you are. If it does, well, we told you so. If it doesn’t, well, it just got scattered somewhere else. How convenient.

Then there are the more sophisticated weather reports of CNN, BBC and the other major news networks. Here we have an intelligent looking individual with a green screen behind them and a little clicker in their hand. They smile and show us a map of the world, usually starting with Europe, and little cloud animations all over the place. If they think its going to rain, they show an animation with water drops falling. If they think it’s going to be sunny, they show an animation of the sun shining. Seriously, are we in 4th grade?! We get it, you moron!

Sometimes they show us little diagrams with lines on them, supposedly depicting hot and cold fronts that give rise to wind currents and all that jazz. They show us how over the next few days the front will move in a north-westerly direction, thus giving rise to strong winds during Tuesday and Wednesday blowing from – err – this direction to that direction. OK, so I look at their map, then get up off my sofa, point myself north and say “Ah! Tomorrow the wind will blow from the left to the right. I must make note of this when I step outside, in case I accidently point my umbrella in the wrong direction and become the black Mary friggin’ Poppins.”

While I’m sure many ‘international business men’ out there are heavily dependant on the weather updates as they jet between Tokyo and Hawaii on ‘business’, I fail to see how the weather report can become such a fundamentally important part of the world news. Of course, I can understand if there’s going to be a tornado in Florida (again) then it should be newsworthy, but other than that I just don’t get how anyone would want to know what the temperature in Cairo is today. Except the people in Cairo, and I doubt that they’re going to tune into the BBC to get a weather update on Egypt.

As I finish this post, the birds have stopped chirping, the sky has turned grey and the first few drops of the impending shower fall on the leaves outside my window. By some miracle, the weatherman has been proved correct. You got lucky this time, O dealer of ambiguity, but mark my words; one day you shall be exposed for the charlatan that you are.

The Dark One has spoken!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ten Things I Hate About Interviews

This morning I got a call for a job interview, however despite my fervent efforts to get a job, I was only mildly interested in getting the call; in the last 3 months I had been to many interviews, some good and some just, well, interesting! I have since come to the conclusion that interviews are terribly annoying, and people only put up with them because it's the only way to get hired. Though I cannot claim to be highly qualified in the art of appearing for an interview, I can rant about some of the bizarre questions and statements I've come across till now.

1. "So mister... err... Gay-haan. Tell me about yourself"

What is the point in this question? Is it not enough that I took the trouble to painstakingly put together my entire life on three sheets of paper, and now you want me to repeat it to you?? Didn't you read it in the first place?? It's not like my story is going to change - you're not going to find out about my secret addiction to cough syrup or something!

And its not GAYHAAN!!

2. "Oh you're from Kandy? Oh. So how are you going to manage that?"

Seriously, is it so hard to believe I could find accommodation in the great city of Colombo? Is it easier to believe that I'd spend 3 hours on a bus to get to work, and then spend 4 hours on the bus to get back home, sleep for 5 hours and do it again?! I'm desperate, but I'm not THAT desperate!

3. "You studied in India is it?"

No. Actually I studied in Azerbaijan, but my spell-check was a bit out-dated and changed it to India. So I just went with it. Dumbass.

4. "Do you speak English well?"

The question is, do YOU speak English well?? Cos I'm speaking it right now aren't I?! Judge for yourself!


5. "We are a large multinational corporation that deals with international clients on a daily basis, our head office is based in London and we are currently expanding our network to incorporate the Sri Lankan market. You will be given the prestigious job of handling interplanetary trade and will be required to communicate with the starship Enterprise...."

Translation: We are a tiny ass piece-o-crap company that does the dirty work for some UK dudes so whenever we answer the phone we need to have a British accent and say " 'Allo Guv'nor!".

6. "We encourage independent work and self-motivated people to expand our borders and reach out to more diverse clientele. You will receive incentives based on your performance."

This means that after they hire you, they're not going to be around to tell you what to do or how to do it. Instead, they will expect you to go running around like a headless chicken in an attempt to figure out what exactly your job IS and then when you fail miserably, they will have an excuse not to pay you.

7. "What does your father do?"

He is currently involved in a secret government project aimed at retrieving the carcasses of stray dogs and turning them into super soldiers that are capable of spitting balls of fire and pooping kryptonite. What does it matter what my father does?! If you're so interested why don't you call him for an interview too?? OK please don't.

8. "What kind of remuneration package are you expecting?"

Wait, so, you're asking ME how much money I want?? Well I'd like how much you're getting, but I doubt that's going to happen, so why not just tell me how much you're willing to offer instead of playing these little games??

9. "Oh, well, err, since it's just a trainee position, and you're inexperienced, we can offer [insert insultingly low salary figure here]"

WHAT?! But you said it was a 'prestigious job'! You're a 'multinational firm'! I'll be responsible for communicating with the 'Enterprise'.....!

10. "Ah. Well. Of course, but that all takes TIME, and first you will be given training in [insert unheard-of-and-most-likely-war-torn city name here]... "


Feel free to add to the list, if you've had any interesting interview incidents. I'll probably have to append this post once I finish with this new interview, though it would take a lot to surprise me now.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Where Are The Dark(side) Girls?!

What women want - it's one of those questions that, if left to rattle around in a man's head for too long, tend to cause time and sanity to bend and augment the space/time continuum for a brief moment. Well, they result in a slight headache at least.

After glancing through my usual list of blogs, I first notice that I'm terribly jobless and need to get buried in mindless employment as soon as possible. After jettisoning that thought from my mind, I then realised that most of the blogs I read are by women; to be exact, 11 out of the 16 blogs I've bookmarked. No good conclusion can come from that train of thought, so I threw that one overboard without a life jacket as well, so to speak. I then realised that most of these writers had written a post about their 'perfect' man, or at least certain qualities that said hypothetical fairy tale individual should possess.

As expected, some were straight forward and some were, well, unique. Of course, he has to be tall and be 'nice' and 'understand them' and not have a vagina. Then there is the 'able to sing/play instrument' which is doing the rounds nowadays. Then there were the more interesting points, such as 'having a nice accent' and 'know how to start a bbq fire'. Naturally, while men are busy with hair gel, cologne and nose tweezers, the women are fantasizing about the geographical origins of his accent. A perfect example of how we know nothing about the female species. As for the barbecue fire, I can only imagine that she's some kind of pyro or really digs the smell of well cooked meat. Hmmm.

While there's nothing wrong in listing out a set of requirements for the man of your hopelessly unrealistic dreams, it is a tad dull especially when considering the women's lists. Most of the time they're just so confusing and, well, LONG! Either the list is full of cliches, or the points just contradict the very fabric of being male. For example; they want us to be calm and soft spoken. We're men, we want to blow things up all the time. We watch "Rambo" and "Die Hard" for pete's sake! We're just itching to destroy the first dude that looks at our girl the wrong way, and let's face it, you like that too! But no, calm and soft spoken to the girl, crazy homicidal maniac with the creeps. The perfect man is apparently 'Two Face'.

Sure, maybe I'm being too general. Who am I to speak for the entire female nation? But I am however an expert on, well, me.

I'm not exactly well versed in the art of love - I've been lucky enough to somehow trick two girls to agree to be my girlfriend, and to be honest expecting more would be pushing it. But still, I have some level of experience, and that should count. As most women say, I don't require much, and, just like most women, I don't mean it. I have many things which I would want 'her' to possess, most of which probably won't make sense but I'm not in the mood to explain, so let's just get down to the big one.

And that is wisdom.

It is often said that trust and love is the most important foundation for a relationship, and to a large extent I believe that. From my past two relationships, the bulk of the problems always originated from trust - either having too little of it or having too much of it. However, I like to think that if my girlfriend has a good head on her shoulders, that would enable me to be able to trust her so much more easily. The same goes for love, because love and respect are almost always intertwined, and hence being able to respect a girl would lead to being able to love her more.

(And that paragraph is the most amount of emo-mumbo-jumbo that you will see on this blog for a long, LONG time!)

Sure, I want her to be hot too! Who wouldn't? I'd like if she was attractive and humorous, a good conversationalist, at least a bit of a sports fan, and have a big heart. But honestly, the day I meet 'the one', I know that it won't be her fantastic legs that draw me to her, nor her magnetic attraction to my very strong shoulders.

No, it will be her sharp mind. The kind of mind that will be able to throw some of my darkside comments right back at me, along with her own version of my evil grin.

Ah, girl from the darkside - wherefore art thou already?!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Drive Safely? Drive Me Friggin' Crazy!

Driving in Sri Lanka is an experience. If you can drive here, you can drive anywhere.

I remember the day I started to learn how to drive. I had just turned 18, and I was home for one of my semester vacations. Dad was working, I went over to him with my face full of innocence and anticipation (this was much before I founded the darkside movement) and said, "Dadda, teach me to drive!"

He looked at me for a full three tenths of a second and said - "No."

Wait, this doesn't sound right.

Correction, this was NOT the day I started learning to drive. Obviously. That day came a few weeks later. My dad had driven me to the Kandy lake, where almost 75% of all driving instructors take their classes. We were waiting for Mr. Saheed - an aquaintance of Dad's who had been teaching for quite a while, and who also laid claim to the dubious honour of teaching my mother. I say 'dubious' because though he did ensure she got a license, my mom has stepped behind the wheel a total of one time since. I believe I was 10 or 11 years old, and most of the (short) journey involved my mom and dad screaming at each other and the phrases "You're making me more nervous!" and "That's not the brake pedal!" being repeated often.

Finally my instructor arrived. Now, I knew that most learner drivers start off on very low powered small cars, so that they can learn the basics well and not end up pulling unintentional 'donuts' on their first day. Yet even I was unprepared for the white Daihatsu micro-van that pulled up at the curb. It made a golf-cart look like a luxury sedan.

Dad and Mr. Saheed exchanged pleasantries, the latter staying inside the vehicle for some reason and chatting from the passenger window. I was told to get into the back seat while another student went for a round first.

Saheed seemed to be a decent instructor; he was pleasant and spoke well, and had an air of colonial time Englishman about him which most Kandyan's above the age of 50 seemed to possess. And he had a wooden leg. And he was blind in one eye (seriously, I couldn't make this stuff up!). Soon it was my turn, and I was asked to take the wheel.

As I sat down, I suddenly realised that I couldn't breathe and that there was a stabbing pain in my gut. I was momentarily in a state of panic (appendicitis? kidney stone? I'm too young to die!) until I realised it was the steering wheel. Saheed smiled and advised me to push the seat back, which I did, only to find that my knees now touched either side of the steering wheel and made me look like I was going to shoot a baby out from between my legs. Just when the rather tempting idea of attempting to drive with me knees passed through my head, Saheed told me to remove my shoes. I looked at him with a confused look on my face; did he think I was going to put grime on the pedals? Then he explained that it's easier to get a 'feel' for the clutch and the gas that way, than when I wear shoes. Sounded fair to me, but there was just one problem. I have size 11 shoes. Despite this being an apparent advantage among the ladies, it was extremely bothersome in my current situation as there was now next to no room for my feet with my shoes squeezed into the little space between the seat and the pedals. No way was I sending my Nike's into the backseat either; not only did I not trust the weird dude sitting behind me, but I didn't want them being thrown all over the place while I drove.

And so it was for about three weeks; me squeezing my average sized frame into a clown car and driving around the lake at a tame 40kmph, with Mr. Saheed rambling on about life and politics and his stint as a taxi driver in Germany during the 60's ("Good money puttha! And these dirty foreigners, when they get drunk no? They don't know how much money they're giving you! Stupid buggers.. hahaha slow down puttha, this is not a race."). I did nothing of any difficulty whatsoever; the hardest thing I had to do was reverse into a lane that was so wide the Titanic could have backed into it without problem. The closest I got to an accident was when this new girl was driving. She had a terribly annoying habit of stomping on the brake pedal like her life depended on it, even when we were travelling at a breakneck 7kmph on an empty road. The first time she did this we were going at a considerable pace (maybe 20kmph) and suddenly I found myself being hurtled into the back of the passenger seat. This happened a few hundred times, until finally the entire backseat got dislodged as well. Getting down from the van was a relief; solid ground never felt so good.

I didn't have to worry about my driver's test though; it was a complete joke. I drove in a straight line for about ten minutes and the tester stopped me and congratulated me on passing. Sri Lanka must have the lowest standards for driving, as is evident whenever you drive on our streets. People trying to overtake on the left, short shifting, braking too early, sticking to 2nd gear and revving the engine to pieces - nothing is surprising anymore.

But if you can survive driving on our roads for a few years - there is no brighter accolade than that! The razor sharp insticts required, the foresight to know when someone is going to cut you off, the mental toughness to control road rage, the ruthlessness required to merge onto the main road (here the 'Give Way' idealogy is replaced with the 'Get Out of My Way' principle) means that any driver that has survived on our roads for a certain number of years should be nominated for the Medal of Honor.

So to all you Lankan driver's out there - I salute you! Now get outta my way, you #$#*$#...!!?!?!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Late Goodbye

Leaves are on the ground
Fall has come
Blue skies turn to grey
Like my love
I tried to carry you
And make you whole
But it was never enough
I should go

And who is gonna save you when I'm gone?
And who'll watch over you,
When I'm gone?

You say you care for me
But hide it well
How can you love someone, not yourself?

And who is gonna save you when I'm gone?
And who'll watch over you,
When I'm gone?

And when I'm gone, who will break your fall?
Who will you blame?
I can't go on and let you lose it all
It's more than I can take
Who'll ease your pain, ease your pain?

And who is gonna save you when I'm gone?
And who'll watch over you?
And who will give you strength when you're not strong?
Who'll watch over you when I'm gone away.....?

Snow is on the ground
Winter's come
You long to hear my voice
But I'm long gone...........

"Watch Over You" - Alter Bridge

You know who you are. Cheers!

~October 9th, 2008~

Old School

I hate kids. Well, not hate; despise. Well, not despise; I just don't like them. Kids are annoying, they're always dirty, they're always trying to do something beyond stupid, and they're always loud. Generally when I'm confronted with a kid, they can sense this; and so the little gears in their undeveloped brains go clickety-clack, and tell the rest of the body to stay away from that tall dark mean looking person (me). Maybe they're not so dumb after all.

I believe that kids need to go through school before they can attempt to have a conversation with me. I just don't have the patience to discuss things like why the world is round and whether a tyrannosaurus rex could defeat a woolly mammoth in single combat. Come back when you graduate from high school please.

However, the way things are going in school these days, they may not come out of it as mature or intelligent as I would hope. The last time I stepped into school was 7 years ago, and while things weren't exactly ship-shape back then, there was always a level of sanity that existed amidst all the madness. Today, that level of sanity has dropped off the charts so to speak, and I kid you not (no pun intended), some of the stories I hear from my younger brother now just boggle the mind. No, I'm not talking about gun violence; thank God, that is reserved for the Yanks.

My brother plays basketball, and the school takes the basketball team as well as the girls netball team together to the university courts for their weekly practice. Now, the netball court is adjacent to the basketball court, and in between these two courts there is a tap for drinking water. Last week, during a break in the training, the boys from the basketball team went over to get a drink from the tap, at the same time that the girls from the netball practice were doing so. While they were all standing around the tap, suddenly from the distance one of the teachers in charge for netball comes running and starts yelling at the boys.

"Go away! Can't you see there are GIRLS here?!?"

Now, just to be clear - this is an open field we're talking about, with two concrete courts set in. The above mentioned tap is in plain view to one and all, and it's not some cordoned off ladies toilet. It's a tap, for crap's sake! Yet this 30 year old primary teacher went into a panic, almost as if the boys had somehow invaded the ladies locker room and were involved in 'vulgar' behaviour. And I've met my bro's friends - even if they did invade a girls changing room, the most outlandish act they'd accomplish would be to stick their tongue out at someone and run laughing from the room. They probably still believe in 'cooties' for crying out loud.

When my bro told me this story, I almost didn't believe him. These guys are in 10th grade! The girls were their classmates! They were standing in line at a tap to drink water! Did she think there was a chance of a spur-of-the-moment wet t-shirt competition breaking out?? Are we still living in the 17th century?! Are these the values our teachers are preaching to the kids?!

Further evidence that our teachers are still in the dark ages - recently I went for a school choir festival, in which our school was taking part. There were 16 items in the programme, with choirs from both primary and secondary schools taking part. They were all of varying talent, but one thing united them all, and that was their songs - only two schools performed songs that were less than 50 years old. The rest were smiling and singing "Home on the range" and "Old black Joe" and other such 'classics'. Later my Mom told me that she sang "Old black Joe" when she was 12 - and even THEN it was considered old!

I love the classics, but why are we teaching songs that my parents sang when they were in primary school? Surely there are better choices from the modern contemporary scene they could choose from! Instead our schools are sticking to their old tried and tested practises, refusing to attempt something new. Why can't school at least be relevant to the students in the music department?

There was a time when we used to curse our educators for not having an open mind towards sex and alcohol, but now we have a new and darker evil; teachers that are preparing our kids for the 'real world'. The world their grandparents lived in.

Monday, October 6, 2008

What's In A Number?

As I logged into my blog today, I noticed my hit counter had just hit 800. Wow, this site has been viewed 800 times in a little under 6 months! That's about as cool as my apparent Australian following.

This brought to mind a Calvin and Hobbes strip that I had read a long time ago. It's taken from the 1996 collection titled "It's A Magical World", and talks about Calvin's obsession with chewing gum.

Calvin (while chewing gum): I need to get a heart rate monitor.

Hobbes: What for?

Calvin: To make sure I'm chewing at my aerobic threshold! Everyday I want to see that I'm chewing more gum faster, harder and longer!

Hobbes: What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?

Calvin: If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun.

Hobbes: .... Science to the spirit's rescue once again.

How true.

Ooh I wonder when I'll hit 1000!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

"Silently dying as the pain and the misery wash over the pieces of my broken heart"

Breakups. Breakups are one of the most common sources of angst, depression and self-loathing in the universe. The heartiest and most cheerful of men have been known to turn into raving suicidal maniacs after a breakup. Women shed tears of anger, then tears of sorrow, then tears of self-pity, followed by more tears of sorrow once she sees her credit card bill from her "drown-my-sorrows-in-a-shoe-store" shopping spree. Breakups suck.

My first breakup occured at the tender age of 14, though I admit it wasn't much of a relationship per say. We met during a 4 day youth camp. Day 1 was a talent show. I got up on stage and sang; she got off her seat and fell in love apparently. The next days were filled with weird teenage flirting, and we parted ways, her with my phone number and me with a somewhat confused look on my face. Soon the parents figured something was up when I started receiving calls from some new friend in Colombo. Naturally, the mother told me to end it, and the next time she called I did. Unfortunately, she had just broken up with her boyfriend, and was calling me to tell me the good news (now all I had to do was 'elope' to Colombo apparently!). There was screaming and crying and then the harsh slam of the phone.

It was the first breakup, and so I remember it with special 'fondness'. But that isn't the reason for this post.

I've been through some rough times in my life; a couple of messy breakups, the occasional bout of depression, the whole 'identity crisis' phase - basically the usual crap that normal people go through in their lives. Yes, life sucks, its works you over, it breaks you, yada yada yada.

What I've noticed especially over that last couple of weeks is that much of the blogosphere is filled with excruciatingly detailed accounts of people's misery. I mean, hardcore 'this-is-what-I-felt-first-and-then-I-felt-this-and-then-I-took-a-deep-breath-and....' type accounts. It makes for painful reading to the unbiased reader, and I can only imagine how traumatising it must be for the author to read his/her post once it's published! Most of these posts spawn from some heart-wrenching and ball-crushing break-up, and honestly after a while you run out of sympathy. Then there are those that come out with extremely artistic prose and/or reflections when faced with difficulties in their lives.

Now this is my problem - why is that we only expose our inner artist when we're faced with a brick wall in our lives? Let's face it, if you can write great prose when you're depressed, you can do the same when you're not, surely! Yet it's almost impossible (almost) to find someone writing a blog post about a GOOD day, or expressing joy or optimism through song!

People that can write songs or poetry are gifted individuals, and I have loads of respect for them. I just wish that they would choose to use their gifts both ways instead of feeding the blogosphere with more stories of heartbreak, betrayal and psycho babble. Make no mistake, I don't expect people to put on a happy face all the time, but at least ONCE in a while, it couldnt't hurt to try and say 'hey, the world hasn't tried to kill me today, my girlfriend still loves me, I just got a raise, my friends are cool, slashing my wrists may not be such a good idea, and my parents aren't the worst people in the world'.

This may seem rather heartless on my part, but I assure you it's not. Contrary to popular belief, the 'dark one' HAS a heart. But I also have a brain, and a generally sunny disposition; besides, I'm not exactly vying for a job on the 'suicide hotline'. I just wish all the great writers out there would lighten up a bit.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Global Gassing

If you've been reading this blog for a while (not that it's been around long - probably 6 months at most) then you'll know that it isn't uncommon to read a rant of mine about some accepted social or global issue such as dress codes, terrorism, movies and marriage.

Another topic that fits the above list is global warming, which in my opinion is one of the most bizarre and least understood "potential apocalyptic disasters" that are out in the world today. When I was in school back in the good ol' 90's, the Maldives was supposed go underwater in ten years. Well it did - briefly - during the tsunami, for about five minutes; but last time I checked it was still there. And the last time I checked was this February (ok I put that part in just so I could attach this picture I took - sue me!).

Yes, global warming does exist, but global warming is bizarre. And so it's only natural that we come up with bizarre ways to counter it.

According to an interesting article I came across, "The belching and farting of millions of farm animals is a major contributor to Australia's greenhouse gas emissions".

Their solution?

Eat kangaroos instead of cows and sheep. Why? Because they don't fart as much.

I swear I'm not making this up. You can't make this kind of stuff up anyways. Click the link to read it for yourself.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - the whole world has gone stark raving mad!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Redefining Pay-Phones

My first cell phone was a blue Motorola Talkabout T180. I emphasise the 'blue' because that was by far the only redeeming quality about the phone. It was bulky, ugly, devoid of basic cell phone features save for calls and messages, had horrible ringtones and was just downright daft. But I was young, and I had just started college; the sole purpose of the phone was to stay in touch with the family back home anyway.

I had bought a SIM, and soon I was in business. I'm no techno-dinosaur, but even if I was, the simplicity of my phone meant that even one that was completely fossilised could still text and make calls with ease. However, there was one little bit of information that I wasn't quite sure about, and that was the tariff plan for my connection. I was brutally reminded of it when I made my first call back home. I spoke for about 2 minutes when the call got cut. I checked my balance and found that the small fortune that had existed on my prepaid connection (thanks to Dad) had been vapourised!

After that mortifying incident, I was much more cautious with regards to my cell phone usage. No more international calls, thank you very much! I also realised that the package I had at that time was extremely forgiving when it came to messaging - it was free! Yes, no strings attached, free messaging anywhere inside of India! Even calls between numbers of the same network were free between midnight and 6am, needless to say this spawned many late night conversations that ended only when someones battery gave up.

However, just when I was convinced I would never have to put credit in my phone again, the service providers suddenly decided to change their scheme to one that didn't have 'happy hours' for calls and which charged for messages! Within days, every single one of my friends that had this connection were broke. Since messaging had always been free, people were unable to suddenly break their 200 messages/day habits, and as a result ended up paying for it - literally.

Which brings me to the point of this post - what is up with telecom providers? Today's call rates are about as predictable as a game of Russian Roulette. Every country has different tariffs and plans, every provider has different packages, every segment of the day has a specific rate - it's enough to drive a man into resorting to smoke signals! In India, all incoming calls to mobiles are free. In Dubai, all local land line calls are free. In Australia, sending an international text message is only a fraction cheaper than making an international call. In China if you speak too long, the police arrest you for noise pollution.

I can understand the need for different providers to promote different packages compared to their competitors, so as to attract the market. But surely there should be some form of sense here! Instead, while one telecom provider boasts great coverage and crystal clear voice clarity, the other promises to pay you when you receive a call. No, that is not a typo.

But what bothers me the most is the almost random IDD call rates. For some reason, calls to the US and to the UK are ridiculously cheap when compared to other countries. Not that I have anyone to call in either country (though I'm working on it!) but the point still stands!

Allow me to demonstrate - let's assume I have a certain special someone in India. For the sake of argument, let's also assume that I feel the burning need to call her as often as possible. It would cost me Rs.15 per minute with my current connection. Now, let's assume she visits her parents in, say, Kuwait. Once again, because of my burning need (to call her, to CALL her!) I pick up my phone and dial. But wait, according to my tariff plan, the call will cost me exactly twice the amount it did when she was in India! But what's even more interesting is that if she decided to vacation in the Bahamas, travel half way across the world to the States or accidentally end up on a plane to Iceland, that call would be a lot cheaper than if she travelled to the Gulf! Calling Iceland is cheaper than calling the Gulf! In fact, calling Iceland is cheaper than calling India!

I'm sure there's a perfectly technical and acceptable reason for all this, involving satellites and economics and exchange rates - and then they'll tell me calls to certain mobile carriers in Uganda entitle me to free pedicures. That makes total sense.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Shout Out To The Aussie's!

I was just going through the monthly stats of my hit counter, when I was surprised to find that the country from which I received the most number of hits (after Sri Lanka) was Australia!

I find that somewhat surprising, considering the amount of effort I have made to promote my blog through my Indian circle of friends. India however lies in a distant 6th, behind Bahrain (you know who you are), UK and the US.

Just goes to show you how strange the workings of this magical thing we call the 'internet' are.

So to you mysterious readers from down under - many thanks, and keep reading!

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