The Shoat Statements

Random musings by the multiple voices inside my head.

I won a radio competition last October, and was promised a delightful gift from Levi's. Come November, I was told that I'd have to wait till the competition ended to collect my gift, which was fine by me. Come December, I was told to wait till the new showroom was complete to collect my gift. Now, the last time I won something from Levi's it was a miserable cap, so I didn't take too much interest in the matter. January came and went, and yesterday, I heard the selfsame RJ on, repeating the phone number of the station. So I called her, asking about my gift. She asked me to call the marketing people, which I did. Without any sort of apology for the delay, she proceeded to give me directions on how to collect the gift.

Marketing woman: Show your ID, and you can collect it from the Levi's showroom.
Me: Which one?
MW: The one in Nawala
Me: Where is that?
MW: On the Nawala-Narahenpita road.
Me: Ok, but where exactly? Is there a landmark?
MW: It is near the Keells Super.
Me: Near the Keells?
MW: Actually, just next to it.
Me: Thanks.

Armed with these directions, expecting nothing more than a cap, I went down the Nawala-Narahenpita road. I couldn't even find the Keells. There was a big board that said Keells, but no Keells. Now I called up a friend from Nawala, and was promptly told that while he had no idea where Levi's was, a Keells should not be so difficult to find. Feeling utterly moronic, I tried going down the road once more. This time, I realized that the Keells board pointed at a building behind the carpark, but there was no Levis in the vicinity. Rather desperate, I called up another friend. He promptly tells me that the said Levi's is not next to Keells, but inside Keells!

Now seething at MW, I make my way down this miserable road, for the third time. I turn into the Keells, and like my friend predicted, there is the Levi's showroom, sitting INSIDE the Keells building.

And what did I get for all my trouble? A mug.

I've been flying the Sri Lankan flag (on my car) for the last three years - basically, since I've had a car. And I've seen lots of other people do it, so I didn't think much of it. I figured it was a way of showing one's patriotism.


Then, it happened. A classmate had to walk up to my car (before the 4th), and exclaim 'Oh, look, you have a flag!'. Surprised though I was, I managed to ask her if she was unaware of the fact that our independence day was coming up. That duly shut her up.

Then, yesterday, I had to drop another classmate home, and he said 'Never figured you to indulge in patriotic sentimentality'. WTF?? What is so sentimental about flying the flag, that too in honour of independence day? Is it then Christian sentimentality to have a Christmas tree up during Christmas? Is it Buddhist sentimentality to put up Vesak lanterns?

I've noticed that there is this class of people in Colombo - the 'Colombo Elite', I call them. Anything remotely patriotic is either looked down upon, or laughed at. Why is that? Did they land here just yesterday? Are they not Sri Lankan? People love to preach about how patriotic Indians are, but are faint to actually practice half that patriotism themselves.

Which brings me to my next point: the kalu suddas one finds here. And there are so many of them here. Why is it that these Colombo elite are so proud of the fact that they can't speak/read/write Sinhala (or Tamil, as applicable)? I think it's ridiculous. Even if one attended an international school, surely it doesn't take much to learn at least one out of the two local languages spoken here.

Then you get the other kind (who may speak the languages) - born, bred and buttered in Sri Lanka, they don't know any culture, history or even the geography of the country, save for Odel, the relevant residential neighbourhood and a mandatory down south resort. Nuwareliya as well, if you chance across an advanced kalu sudda. I find it absurd that there are people belonging to this jet-set who can name every alley in Bangkok, but struggles to place Kettarama. Or they could close their eyes and describe the Singapore shopping district, but are at a loss when wondering in which direction Kaduwela is.

The most absurd point is that they are actually proud of their ignorance!! Don't they know that every sane Sri Lankan is laughing at them behind their back? Have we come to such a point that ignorance is so valued?

As ashamed as they are of their country, I think their country is twice as ashamed of them.

About to make a radical change in my life, and am rather scared about it. I've been thinking about it so often - it's not easy taking a big step, whether it's forward, backward or sideways. I'm being told to stay positive, though.

For some reason, the following soliloquy comes to mind. I know some critics say that it's a passage wherein Hamlet contemplates suicide, but I think he's contemplating a wider meaning to life. As am I.


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To be, or not to be (from Hamlet 3/1)

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action. - Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.

- Shakespeare

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