December Diaries: Giving Thanks to 2016

Where do I even start. I actually just took a break from writing to scroll through my Instagram that I believe has some of my key highlights and also because scrolling through my planner right now doesn’t sound too appealing. psht.

A lot of bad things has happened this year, the most significant of which is the flood that will probably be engraved in one to a side of my brain for a very long time. Today though, I am going to narrow it down to ten good things that happened this year because it’s important that we focus on the positives. So in no order whatsoever, here are my list of thankfuls for 2016.

The Month of December

December is always stressful., which is also probably why it is first on my list. There is not only the end of the year rush, but also all of our special (and expensive) days. This December was even more stressful because of work, a troublesome shoulder and back and lots of other little struggles that I continued to battle;

because end of the year = birthdays = end of expectations, loss of hope and basically cause for mental tantrums

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Also one of my favourite people got married this month. ❤

Big Changes 

I don’t get too personal in here because as a writer, this blog not only becomes a representation of some of the shitty work that I may do but also a space where a lot of the people I know refer to, lol. But career wise, there has been changes. Good changes I feel, or at least hope. Like many things in life, I try to continuously find stability within myself and my career as a writer (and whatever else that comes out of it) is an area I like to work on as well.

In other news, I got a car
In other news, I got a car.

Family

My sister has been fortunate enough to fly down almost every month since the middle of the year and we hope that she will permanently be here in Colombo very soon. My extended family suffered from the devastating flood but besides the house and some other material possessions, they are safe and good.

Food = family.
Food = family.

Mum’s Presentation

My Mum made a stellar presentation at the Human Rights Commission on the work she does and I was lucky enough to go see it. Akki and I are really fortunate to have a mother who believes and is truly passionate about the work she does.

Letter Earthlings Grew Closer to my Heart

My favourite past time is not only writing letters, but to inspire people to write letters. Letter Earthlings has become one of my most looked forward to activities every month and this year in particular has truly help bring the initiative really close to my heart. I sincerely thank my friend Nivendra for letting me be a part of it.

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Discovered a New Coffee Place

Or my favourite coffee place! It’s a pity that I don’t grace coffee shops as much any more but if I were to, I know where to go and might have a bit of a tough time knowing what I want.

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Travelled a bit more

Across Sri Lanka and to East Asia. Some trips were on work while the rest were adventures with those I adore the most. I am grateful for being able to do what I do and the opportunities I get.

I know Cambodia was a highlight but my heart will always be with the sea.
I know Cambodia was a highlight but my heart will always be with the sea.

Made New Friends, Grew Distant from Some Old Ones

It makes me a little sad to talk about this but the realisation has simultaneously helped me learn and grow closer to old and new friends who have come into my life in the most unexpected of ways. For those who I may have distanced myself from, I’m sorry but I guess it worked out for the best. You will always be in my heart and I will always remember your birthday.

Those who came into my life and for those who have been here with me, thank you. You mean more to me than I will ever verbally let you know.

Wrapped more gifts!

Gifted grew slowly on the side.

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We took on orders we could execute and didn’t for those of which we knew that we either didn’t have enough time or enough resources for. Thank you for all those who ordered with us and believed in us to add some magic to your loved ones special day.

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Fell in love, again

With the same man of course, haha. But this year has been one of truly understanding him (and I hope vice versa, lol), knowing that he will be there for a very long time. If he chooses not to, I will buy him back with all the confectionary, speakers and car parts left in the world. Muhaha.

This was from 2015 but the next picture in this series of pictures was definitely my favourite <3
This was from 2015 but the next picture in this series of pictures was definitely my favourite ❤

But thank you once again for all those who have been a part of my life and given me everything that you have. It’s been a rushed year, but a good one, I like to think, despite all that has happened. We are older, not necessarily wiser but have grown to become more content with what we have, the people in our lives and most importantly, the little time we have.

I hope 2017 brings you nothing but sunshine.

Written as part of the Giving Thanks series – Week 35

Week Thirty-Four: Giving Thanks

It’s been a chaotic week, to say the least and I cannot help but feel sorry for my unlucky self everyday. Of course I am quite aware that there are people out there who are having it worse, so I only needed have that thought down on paper (or screen) to remind myself that things aren’t as shitty as I thought they were.

It’s at times like these that I feel that immense sense of gratitude towards especially the little things and good things that come my way because let’s face it, we all need some good news after continuous waves of shitstorms that have come at you. I’m also quite aware that waves and storms are two inherently different things but I’m not too worried about it. So here are the good things that I am grateful for this week:

  1. My ability to get things done by not raising my voice (and hopefully channeling whatever sense of assertiveness there in me) – basically on how I made Anim8 allow me to have the payment option I wanted because they messed up the quotation.
  2. My online delivery packages that came in yesterday – well ahead of time, yay! Also taught me to maybe plan shopping purchases ahead of time and save the not-very important bits for Black Friday deals.
  3. My PickMe tuk guy today. Such a gem of a man, who agreed to come back and get me after I got done with my stuff.
  4. The roll and hot dog from Cafe Ama – I might be bias because the venture is run by a friend, but the place is clean, a little slow (but that’s only because they are trying to maintain excessive levels of hygiene that is great!) and has great value for money. I paid only LKR 205 for three rolls and a hot dog (two rolls was for my good old tuk guy)
  5. My most recent vendors and service providers – they’ve been kind and nice to me and most importantly, answered my calls.

Giving Thanks

What has brought you happiness this week?

Let’s Talk about Failed Writing – II

You see, writing “well” for me was never easy. I always wrote, even as a child (since when I could actually start writing that is) but it wasn’t about being any good at it, but more so as a practice of documentation and now in retrospect (as an adult, lol), to keep at it. Because like the electronic organ that I used to play (for fifteen years mind you!) the more you practice, the better you get at it, yes?

Of course this was before a time when I started considering if “good” writing was even a question. This was before the time of competition, before the time the Internet would be a wonderful but terrible place where I would get to see “better” pieces of writing on the same thoughts that had run through my mind while driving home the previous evening but I had let go of it because I was just too tired to put it down once I got home.

This was before the time I had decided to make a career out of it.

See that’s the other problem. I like to call myself a writer but clearly, I don’t seem to be doing much of it. Mostly because of time. There simply isn’t time between navigating through traffic and replying to a gazillion emails. Second, is inspiration. When there is inspiration, there is no time (or there are more important tasks at hand – a time like now for instance) or when there is time there is no inspiration. I don’t write books or long form as much now so whatever discipline I used to have during my journalist days seems to have casually found its way out of the window.

With the problem of being called a writer – because it’s difficult to explain to people what exactly I “write” because I too don’t really know what that is any more – there comes the question of career. For those who know me well enough, you probably have heard enough about my existential career crisis. For most of the part, I don’t know what to do or maybe at times I do and then there is no clear definite path to get to where I have to go.

Maybe sometimes it would be better to go back to a time of no choice, no Internet and standard careers for all those who graduated school and ran into university. Choice supposedly makes us more creative, brings out the best in us and leaves us more confused than ever.

My career as a supposed writer may have failed because I’m only 434 words in and here I am trying to finish up my train of thought that began with some definitive goal at the beginning of this piece.

Let’s Talk about Prostitutes

A lot of people have already begun talking about it and clearly this post will not necessarily make a difference, but there are rants in my head that need to be written somewhere and if you don’t feel like reading it, no worries!

This is totes obvs with reference to the piece of shit writing on The Sunday Leader yesterday, which was shared by the lovely Aisha. I strongly suggest you read the ridiculous article by The Sunday Leader either way, in order to add some context to the story. 

Let’s start by saying that I, for a long time have been bias towards the cause of prostitutes. I’ve always thought that there was nothing wrong with selling your body and making a living out of it, because a) at corporates people tend to sell their souls anyway, haha and b) the way men leer is actually no different to the “male” customer that goes in search of female prostitutes.

Few disclaimers too (because the world gets ridiculously offensive at everything we have to say now):

  • I’m not going to call them commercial sex workers because it makes no difference anyway. Or maybe it does and it doesn’t really matter to me. It’s different to the differently-abled / disabled debate. Let’s just call a spade, a spade okay.
  • All supposed relationships in this are for heterosexual people. I don’t know too much on homosexual / bisexual prostitutes to speak as much on it.

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Dear Ashanthi,

As my friend Aisha points out, “young girls are suffering from the loss of virginity” is not a disease. Sometimes girls, if not women, lose their virginity at a young age due to rape. Or maybe due to consensual sex with their teenage boyfriend. You don’t “suffer” because of this “loss”. Such sufferings occur in the “loss” of a family member.

More on the “loss”, you don’t really “lose” anything. True there is the story of the hymen breaking and what not, but really it’s not a loss man, grow up for fuck’s sake. It doesn’t even work the same way for all women.

“In most cases innocent but naive young girls, seduced by their boyfriends, lose their virginity due to their affairs. But then, instead of coming back to the right track, they wander away in life astray dipping deeper into the abyss.” 

Like what the actual fuck. What if these girls who have gone “astray” have done so because it is a choice that they have made? Just as the misogynists would say that rape is something women bring upon themselves because of the clothes they wear (another rant for another day), sometimes women go astray, sleep around with multiple men, BECAUSE THEY WANT TO. Grow up lady, the world is not as rosy as you think it and there are women who enjoy having sex with one man or multiple men, and if they are sexually consenting adults who would do it for a fee, what on earth is your problem?

“However, in Sri Lanka, this has become a serious issue due to the ignorance of the authorities for many years.”

Dearest Ashanthi, have you stopped to realise why there is an increase in “commercial sex workers” and an increase in rape? Because men are fucking frustrated. I’ve always thought (and I know that I’m not alone in thinking so) that if prostitution was legalised that there might be a slight decrease in rape because of the increased number of sexually consenting women? I might be wrong, I don’t know, because I don’t have the numbers. But logically, this works out well in my mind and in my utopia, male and female prostitution will always be legal and girls can walk home in mini skirts at eleven in the night. (and so can men, without being harassed or mugged, because we are all equal here, Jesus.)

“But the second group which consists of the majority, are women who have become helpless without anyone to look after them…. The opinion in the society about these women varies as some have criticised their work while some have felt sorry about their misfortune. When we look into the real reasons that have compelled them to become sex workers, we too tend to justify their fate.”

I actually agree with you on this statement. When men who are husbands, fathers, care takers, breadwinners or whatever else you feel fit to call them, fail to do what “society deemed them to do”, women have to take on their role of providing for the family. Some women, who are fortunate enough to have basic education, finds work at a minimum-wage job and the more fortunate middle or higher-class ones are able to find work in the private sector. The rest of the women who are not at such an advantage have to fall back on either daily labour or prostitution. Those who are able to would naturally choose the latter because it’s human to want to make more money faster. I work three jobs, you see.

“In a corrupt society, the lack of solutions for their social problems have compelled many women to become sex workers.”

Our society is corrupt for a number of reasons that I think include: those who come in to power, mismanagement of people’s money, greed, lack of solid foundation for education (and the necessary tools that come with it) that can lead to things like prostitution yes. (I can rant on infrastructure and inefficient government services but I don’t think that’s what we are ranting about now).

Besides your blatant ignorance, supposed reasons for gallivanting at three in the morning in the name of trashy investigative journalism and most importantly the lack of really good sub-editor, I am yet to find enough reason as to why The Sunday Leader would run something on these lines. Or perhaps, they were needing a publicity stunt and thought that this trashy piece of writing would make us buy the paper despite the terribly cheap print quality they have.

Go get laid woman.

From, a lot of angry women.

Week Thirty-Three: Giving Thanks

Tuesday September 27, 2016

Hello loves,

It’s been too long since I last gave thanks. Work, life and usual and some unforeseen shenanigans happened and before we even know, September has come and gone.

Today, I don’t want to count my list of thankfuls. Instead, I want reminisce and recollect some of the people and times in life that have truly made me feel grateful (that may also not necessarily be limited to this week).

I am grateful for all the hardworking people. This can be anyone from the superbly infamous YouTubers I watch and waste my data on to the security guard basking in the sun trying to successfully make the most out of a parking lot while simultaneously hearing an earful from some drivers like me. It’s because of you that I am (most of the time) motivated to work and keep doing what I am doing. Sometimes, I may not like what I do. There are parts of my curious, supposedly pyjama-loving lifestyle of a job that has moments where I am needed to wear that dress and a pair of heels in order to go out and be social (no, I’m not an escort. Have you even seen me!) But looking at all the other hardworking people out there, it reminds me on how this being one step towards a what I call,  “successful rest of your life”

I am grateful for those who chase their dreams. Cliché but true. Too true even. Never has a generation been as blessed as they are now. More clichés coming at you. Neither has any generation before us been able to dream up or cook up career goals and actually achieved them. Most things are no longer #TumblrAF but are actual goals that people are able to achieve. It’s these sort of people that actually make me adamant on not working full-time and embracing this supposed-pyjama living life. Also, I may have not yet found the perfect fit to do full-time too, I don’t know. This twenty-something is still figuring things out. Also, I don’t own actual “pyjamas”. More like some shorts and t-shirts I pair together for sleeping reasons.

I am grateful for the little things that make my day. I sometimes try very hard (and fail) to capture moments through either photograph or text on how a little girl reaches out to hold her Mother’s hand while crossing the road. Or even better, when a dog crosses the road using a pedestrian crossing! Yes, I have something to do with pedestrian crossings, just in case you haven’t realised. Or seeing people celebrating love, happiness or even sharing the last cigarette until pay day while having tea from a nearby kadey. 

I am grateful for this year. It’s too early for an annual review just as yet but where the hell has this year flown by? It seems like it was only yesterday when we were playing Monopoly and nomming on my cheese stuffed chicken while New Year was dawning. It’s been a good year. There have been difficult times and the next few months to come will be filled with an anticipated few too. But we carry on. We hustle. We stay strong.

Giving Thanks

What are you thankful for in your life so far?

Why I Want to Write about Financing (or “Budgeting” predominantly)

If I start to count the number of videos I watched before starting this post, trust me I would’ve failed having tried to keep track of em. As far as most writers go, I am pretty Jon Snow when it comes to financing. The most I would’ve gotten as far as financing goes would be that o/level commerce class and a/level accounts option weirdly paired with some English literature. As most people would admit too, I’m not that book smart. I like to think that I’m street smart instead because let’s face it, if it’s not the books it has to be the “streets” until someone comes up with alternate terminology.

My “budgeting” days start somewhere in 2007-2008 when I did “odd” – but legal – jobs on the side. Then it was more on getting pocket money that I would dish out at once because, well, the chief finance officer = the mother!

Starting 2009, there were regular pay cheques coming in monthly that ranged from four figures to lo and behold, five figures every month. It wasn’t a steady stream of money but in retrospect, I actually did more with that money than I do now. This might also be because I didn’t use four-to-five-figure face products as I do now. Gah. I remember shopping for everyone after my first real “pay cheque” and even throwing a little birthday party for my mum with her closest friends and family (that amounted to around fifty people) – with only four-five figures!

Next it was India. No, my degree was neither in financing nor commerce. On the contrary, it was in communications (though I later went on to major in English with minors and psychology and communications, because I tend to be indecisive as fuck). My Mother paid for my degree and my sister for accommodation and survival as I was not book-smart enough to look out for scholarships.

I would like to think that my real journey in to budgeting and finances began then.

The first two weeks of the month was always glorious. My lovely Sri Lankan roomie and I would try out different restaurants that were forever in our bucket lists and the next two weeks spent getting as creative as you could get with sliced bread, Maggi noodles, lots of canned food (read: tuna) and the x-number of sauces. I would’ve said cereal but in reality trying to get creative with cereal sounds a little too gross.

I know I could've just done the same with my Scrabble board but we have Google to save our souls
I know I could’ve just done the same with my Scrabble board but we have Google to save our souls

But this was somewhere in 2012 and fast forward to four years now, I am a little surprised at how not much has changed! Haha. No, I’m not proud of it either. I’m laughing because that’s what I do in situations where I don’t cry.

See interestingly, the routine is still the same. Except that I work three jobs (+ odd jobs – all legal!) now and expenses and all that jazz have significantly increase. Let’s not even start with the other vices now, haha. I recently bought myself a car, or will continue to buy (or pay) sounds just about more accurate as that’s what I will be doing for a while and have decided on travelling far more than my travel quota the coming year completely disregarding my shaky job situation.

For the umpteenth time, I’m neither book-smart, nor am I feeling very brave but as the book of English idioms would have it, I’m feeling very “take the bull by its horns” these days.

Fingers crossed this goes well!

Week Thirty-Two: Giving Thanks

Tuesday September 13, 2016

Hello loves,

Happy September! I know forgot last week but let’s try to pretend as though it never happened okay. Because, it never did, haha – get it? ohgoshIlovemydryjawkssomuch.

Here are what I am grateful for this week:

  1. My sister, who is home this week – YAY.
  2. Holidays on weekdays, need I say more?
  3. Not allowing myself to work on weekends, unless it’s something that can’t wait. Because we all need to have boundaries at some point. Even those of us who work from home.
  4. Being published on Bad Yogi, again! YAY.
  5. Finally pulling myself together and editing my Cambodia video even though it was deleted the first time :/

Giving Thanks

What are you thankful for this week?

Week Thirty-One: Giving Thanks

Tuesday August 30, 2016

Hello loves,

My self-imposed deadline was 1500h but I was running errands at that time and tell me who can buy eggs, pay bills, pump petrol and blog at the same time?

Since I’m now back to making money for the day, let’s get straight into my list of thankfuls for this week:

  1. This week. Has been much better and big improvement from a lot of things.
  2. My family. For giving me the house for the weekend! Haha.
  3. For great friends, who come home with alcohol in exchange of cooked food.

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    Some matar-less paneer (some fool decided to eat all of it at the supermarket), murgh do pyaaza, bit of a failed dhal fry and jeera rice!
  4. The positive unexpected turns in life. Sometimes you find yourself in strange but good situations when you stop looking for it.

Giving Thanks

What are you thankful for this week?