Witches*

*I remember when I was in sixth grade and a classmate held my somewhat pointy chin in her hand and said ‘you look like a witch’.

Obviously 12 year old me didn’t know about Salem or anything like that, I went home and cried about my abomination of a chin to my mother. She matteroffactly told me that yes, my chin has a pretty unique shape, and that’s not a bad thing at all, that in fact, it’s kind of cool.

Years later, when I was about 19 in architecture college – and this was when I wore the abaya, a long black cloak worn by some Muslim women with the headscarf or hijab – a boy in class pointed at my clothing and said ‘batakola aachi‘. Which I found out was Sinhala for witch. My defense mechanisms had developed quite a bit by this time and I promptly showed him my middle finger (a favourite gesture around this age, I thought I was being quite the rebel). He promptly shut up.

Years later, I was out watching a superhero movie with a few friends, the movie featured a very sexy Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow. I was still in my abaya. A male friend had told his other friend whom I didn’t know, that a Black Widow lookalike was going to join us. The joke was that I was the Black Widow lookalike, because I wore black. But clearly I was no Scarlett Johansson. When the guy arrived and heard the punchline he stood in front of me and laughed for five whole minutes till he teared up. I just stood there, feeling insulted, and exhaling quietly.

I’m 28 now. I don’t wear the abaya. A friend recently during a quiet moment together said, ‘you must be a witch.’ I looked at her quizzically. She said it’s because I seem to have an aura around me, a strange power on people and events. The word had changed its meaning. She meant it as a compliment.

On the shores of Hikkaduwa this June, me and two best friends who had traveled over the Indian ocean to come see me, we held hands around a bonfire with our feet in the sand, and we pretended we were witches under the night sky. And we felt like there was a strange kind of strength in how we felt like a bunch of weirdos, and we felt powerful.

All those times in the past the subtext in people’s words were, ‘You’re ugly. You’re not how a girl should look. You don’t act the way I want you to. You’re black sheep.’ Firstly it taught me that I was different, and that meant I had to have my own back at all times. Secondly it taught me that people were farcical – the same people who said they believed in women’s liberation, were the ones trying to intimidate me into dressing the way they wanted me to look, instead of the way I wanted to look. Thirdly it taught me that words are just words, vessels with meaning temporarily assigned, flung more frequently and more liberally by the ignorant.

What is a witch? A witch in the 17th century was a man or often a woman who was ‘unnatural’, she talked too much and claimed too much space and power as her own, and loved the company of her womenfolk too much. She was feared and loathed for being who she was, except by other witches. And she was defiant, so much so that she died for the fact. In the 21st century, in my lifetime, a witch is still someone weird, we don’t have witch trials anymore, we just have cruel kids in the playground and cocky men who see women as things they are entitled to. And we may not have angry mobs and pitchforks, but we find our ways to convey the same sentiments. We still respond to what’s different with fear and hatred. And witches are people who just don’t play by those rules.

I’ve grown into the word now. And I’ll take it and I’ll own it and I’ll revel in it. You can point your finger at a witch but be careful, you might get hexed. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of Family & Memory Spaces

It is strange how memory works. Almost as though we make homes for ourselves inside memories instead of actual physical spaces themselves. A lot of the safest memory spaces in my head, always associated with warmth and belonging, have been with the people on my mother’s side of the family.

My mother is the eldest of seven siblings, born in the heart of Akurana, a village turned town near Kandy. Their children and I make a group of 17, all roughly in our teens to late twenties. By some uncanny stroke of luck, we’re all able to have actual conversations with each other. I mean actual conversations, not the fake small talk ones you have with acquaintances you just meet at weddings and funerals. Some of us are even thick as thieves.

Their existence has created these immortal, twilight-zone memory spaces for me. One is our grandmother’s home, at the end of a steep almost totally vertical road, where we played cricket outside, or badminton on the concrete terrace up that staircase that smelled like brick and old books, or rested in our aunties’ laps as they spoke to each other, or told ghost stories about the legendary Mohini on the living room floor. Down the same road is my aunt’s house, where I remember spotting monkeys climbing the trees in the backyard, or sitting in the swivelly chair in her private clinic and surveying all her medicine bottles. I remember writing ‘Jilly aunty’ down in my ‘family tree’ in first grade class and my class laughing at me because ‘Jilly’ didn’t sound like an actual name – and then finding out that all my uncles and aunts and their uncles and aunts were referred to by special nicknames. In 2014, when the Bodu Bala Sena attacked a Muslim neighborhood and Whatsapp rumors about their next attack were flying around, nobody knew why exactly but I left Colombo and stayed in Akurana for a few weeks. Because that was the only place I could feel safe, at least for a little while.

Another space is my uncle’s house in Kurunagala. I remember staying over there when my cousins had holidays, lending my old Meg Cabot books to the three girls, and telling their little brother that there were fairies that lived in the skies who change the weather and marveling at how he believed everything, thinking what it must be like to be a tiny curious adventurer and the whole world was yet undiscovered and unknown. In the early mornings I’d hear my uncle recite Quranic verses during prayers, and they’d float through the house melodic and beautiful and self assured, falling like confetti on all the furniture and sleepy inhabitants. And in the afternoons my aunt would make the most delicious pizzas I’d ever tasted. I remember all the matching clothes she’d get for her three daughters. I remember thinking, when I was just a child and thought life was black and white: wow I guess this is what a perfect family looks like. Why is it that the ‘good’ parts of your childhood seem ridiculously ideal and idyllic on retrospect? Like illogically pristine. Maybe it’s because those memory spaces created back then were designed based on how as a kid, there was never any question about it – it was just: yes the sky is blue, yes trees are green, yes these people, my aunts and uncles and cousins, equals safety, equals happy. Some kind of crazy unadulterated trust and faith that one can only dream of trying to recreate in adult life.

Another memory space, now gone – my old house in Dehiwala, with the large overgrown garden, the chandelier in the living room, the backyard where I woefully buried pet cats who died, the cane armchair in the veranda, my bedroom often filled with all my school friends, epic fights and noisy laughter and my mother’s big extended family parties – I still wake up in that house in my dreams.

The three cousins from Kurunagala would enter the hall in their matching flannel frocks and white socks, my best friend from school and I posed with barbies as my dad took photographs for the family album with his silver digital camera, I painted amateur murals all over the garage walls, so many rounds of run and catchers and hide and seek. From being two feet tall and gasping for air as Siththi dhaatha bathed me with buckets of water, to being in my early 20s and arguing with my parents in the hall that I had to drop out of architecture college.

The house is probably replaced with a condo now. The Kurunagala home is likely to be sold off because the family’s moved to Colombo. And even my grandmother’s home is full of new renovations, that musty smell of old books in the stairway, the noiselessness of a yet untouched little town, the plastic yellow flowers in a vase by the door, are gone today. But they’re all still there, so real and tangible, the same floors and doors and walls, built inside little rooms inside my memory, deathless and always calling me to visit. And every time my mother, my uncles and aunts, now maybe a little more grey haired, maybe not as flawless as they seemed when I was nine, gather together, reclining in chairs, joking in Tamil, discussing politics and their late father and each other’s lives, there’s a flash like a bit of lightening and for a moment I’m back inside old memory spaces. Like life never happened and I was still that short haired girl in denim overalls, thinking the whole world was contained within just four walls where family took care of you.

Every time any of the seventeen cousins meet up it’s a little bit like that, a little trick of the light, just for a tiny bit, everyone looks way taller and the jokes are more adult and people admire kitchen fittings and talk about the cost of living, but still there are little moments when you’re laughing too hard together or you share some small  reference to some great uncle in the family, small moments where it is like life never happened, and I’m back in time, and I’m safe and everything is yet to come. Of course under the harsher light of your own quiet introspection you wonder now with all the politics that come with adult life, does this cousin have the same opinions as you do, does that uncle disapprove of the way you dress, does this aunty think I talk too much, but then there’s a trick of the light where everything suddenly falls silent and you’re just people born from the same blood, the same history, the same.

And that trick of the light, is pretty neat to have, when you know that life is really messy and sticky and that everyone young and old are in the thick of their own personal struggles and that in the middle of it all you’re all hoping the people around you will stay reliable and stay alive and, just, stay. It’s pretty neat to have those memory spaces packed into little boxes that you wake up in when you dream, spaces in your memory that come alive again when those people who created them for you gather in any room. It’s a little magical and it’s a little foolish, and it’s a constant reminder that growing up and growing old doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon how you saw the world with that naive burst of hope and anticipation, when you were a small child who knew far less than what you know now, a reminder of who you were and how you became you today, and that there’s some comfort you can’t really put into words in knowing that both those you’s still reside in the same body, inside the same golden little slivers of your memory.

JNU & What I’ve Learnt

jnu

My Masters degree at JNU has felt like ten years crammed into two. I feel like I’ve secretly physically and mentally aged, like taking DMT and feeling an hour pass in five minutes. It’s been dizzying, visceral, the highest highs and the lowest lows I’ve ever experienced.

When you spend years in a foreign country, you want to think at the end of it, okay that’s two years of my life, what did I learn? Because that’s why I left Sri Lanka. To learn. So here’s what I think I’ve learnt.

I’ve learnt that in life you can’t really ‘know’ anybody. There were people you’d laugh and cry with in your first semester and think wow this is a friendship that’s forever, and actually barely even make eye contact in your last semester as you pass each other in the corridor. Or the other way around. I’ve learnt that we just see what people allow us to see of themselves, little glimpses that you stitch together and say Okay This Is Who This Is. But that’s all they are, little glimpses, the tip of an iceberg bobbing in and out of sight.

I’ve learnt you don’t have to be an uneducated idiot to be racist or prejudiced. Learning about the Vedas from one of my first professors Makarand Paranjape, feeling like a Muslim outsider in that class, made me realize that prejudice hurts even more when it’s coated in velvety tones of intellectual academic jargon. I’ve learnt, after a long struggle, that just because it comes out of a smart person’s mouth doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true.

I’ve learnt from watching professors like GJV, Udaya and Brinda that I don’t have to be boring as I get older, I can stay strange and creative and open ended, that I don’t have to figure everything out by a certain age, that I may never stop having questions and that that’s okay, and sometimes commendable even. I’ve learnt that Beyonce and 80s cinema can inform literature as much as Shakespeare or classical poetry does.

I’ve learnt that language has its limits. That there are things you can’t articulate and that maybe you need to create whole new vocabulary to even try.

I’ve learnt how a community functions. Campus politics had both its bullshit and its high points, but I’ve never seen a student body move like that. A bee hive, tipped over, a single overwhelming relentless force, whether everyone agreed with it or not. I’ve learnt how spaces can be loved and fought for, how people can make homes for themselves inside ideals. I’ve learnt that the human capacity for pain and hope is potentially limitless.

I’ve learnt that everyone is in pain, everyone is lonely, in some style of their own, it’s likely they just don’t show it or you just don’t see it yet.

JNU is a strange little bubble in New Delhi. You enter the main gate like you’re entering the twilight zone. It looks different, sounds different, than the rest of the city, and its reputation is equal parts truth and fiction. Yes they have crazy conference parties, no the girls don’t sit around smoking cigarettes in bikinis (YES, AN ACTUAL CLAIM), yes it’s full of communists who attend rallies, no they don’t skip their education to do that, yes it’s far from average, no it’s no utopia, yes it’s internationally acclaimed, no the wifi and admin still sucks.

The hostel bathrooms would piss me off with their questionable sights and smells, and on the same day the trees for miles down the campus roads would surprise me by blossoming bright pink, the bees and crows would be incredibly pesky at campus restaurants in the summer, but I’d have some of the best conversations of my life around them. It was love and hate, it was extremes and nothing inbetween. I’ve learnt that I’d rather have it that way than a long calm period of so-so.

I’ve learnt that you can guzzle five rupee chai all day during winters till you feel like it’s replaced your blood stream.

I’ve learnt you can never be too sure of yourself or in fact of anything at all. But that paradox as it may be, it’s important to have some convictions despite it and to try to feel your way through the darkness and have some confidence as you stumble along. There’s no reason to feel embarrassed because everybody else is stumbling along too, even if you don’t see it.

Home Is Where The Food Is

After a 3-year study stint in India, I thought I was done with all that jazz. I nestled back into my comfy cosy spot at home, Colombo, Sri Lanka, surrounded by my beautiful friends, a great job that paid me to do what I love, and a man I’d unexpectedly fallen in love with and married. But then BAM, a letter came in the mail, calling me to Hogwarts JNU, a great university — the catch was, it was miles and miles away, back in New Delhi, India. The city was calling me back and I could not refuse.

The first two months here were hell. My subconscious was still sulking deeply about being far from my awesome life back home, I was in the classroom but my head was still looking down at the green carpet that was Sri Lanka from the aeroplane, and also long-distance-ing with the guy for two months was more challenging than I thought it would be. I was tired and I was lonely and I rushed back home screaming and flailing after just 60 days for a short holiday. It was the most blissful one week of my whole year. I literally savoured every conversation and every meal, like someone who’d just been handed a gourmet meal after years of prison.

It puzzled me though — I asked myself, had I really gone that soft? Was it my age – was living away from my folks and my Colombo beaches so hard that I couldn’t just man up and focus on this kickass opportunity that had fallen in my lap, my dream degree?

I flew back to Delhi a little conflicted and apprehensive. Was I going to be miserable again? Am I living a shitty chick flick where the girl pursues her dream career but then halfway realizes her happiness is actually back home – cue super inconvenient life-changing epiphany?

THE ANSWER IS THANKFULLY: NO.

I had another epiphany instead: Sri Lankan spices = life.

Sure, back when I was doing my Bachelors degree abroad, I somehow managed to survive on a steady diet of cornflakes, McDonalds burgers, the occasional half-assed home-made plate of ‘everything lazily thrown together in the pot’. But I’m older now and my stomach, it seems, has become much, much more demanding. As a last minute thought, my sweet, sweet mother – bless her soul – filled my luggage with a bunch of Sri Lankan spices, freshly ground-up in the house of some beloved Sri Lankan aunty.

Very innocently, after arriving in Delhi, I bought some chicken, put it in a pan, and blindly tossed in 1 teaspoon of every spice my mother had packed for me, and closed the lid. What I smelled and saw when I opened the lid was PURE MAGIC. It was mouth-wateringly delicious. I was suddenly my favourite chef, thanks to the magical spices in my bag. Mother darling had also packed me an obscene number of packets of Sri Lankan coconut milk powder — also magical. (Mum-in-law added a block of amazing Dodol, to hit the spot right after dinner.)

The point of this ridiculous tale is that — no, I wasn’t down in the dumps here in India because I was having an existential crisis, I missed my friends and my family, I longed for the clean, beautiful roads and the smiling people of Colombo, I missed the lap of the evening tide on my toes — no, the root of my profound misery was my lack of Lankan cooking ingredients.

It’s been a week now and I’m a new woman. I love Colombo but I feel great here too. Delhi is my oyster. All thanks to Sri Lankan chicken curry. It’s ridiculous. Imagine what will happen next week when I make Parippu.

Art at the Rio Cinema

The Rio Cinema is an old crumbling relic from the 1980’s. It remains mostly unchanged since then, and has seen a lot happen on the streets around it, especially the madness from our communal riots and civil war. Maybe because I’m only in my 20s and have not been exposed to much art outside Colombo, or maybe I shouldn’t blame my naivety, Cinnamon Colomboscope’s Shadow Scenes at the Rio completely blew me away.

I’m no art critic. I love art though, I paint, and I studied literature so I love stories, so this is just a review of my personal experience while trudging through the discoloured, slightly damp corridors of the Rio.

A few people had mentioned here and there this week ‘go check out the exhibition at Rio, it’s nice.’ It sounded like any other art exhibition and so I put it off lazily, but Ruvin’s photographs on Scroll.in caught my interest and I decided to go today, the last day.

I really wish people hadn’t called it an exhibition – if only I had known what it really was: a festival, a wonderful maze, of not just one but countless kinds of art in conversation with each other – I would have spent all week calling everyone I know and didn’t know to go experience it. In broad terms, the art discussed Sri Lankan identity in relation to our rapid urban development and to our history of civil war. The Rio exhibit, curated by Natasha Ginwala and Menika Van Der Poorten, is only one part of the entire art festival that is Cinnamon Colomboscope, which apparently has hosted festivals twice before – this is my first time checking them out – and heads-up, they’ve got a Facebook page. 

DSC_4026

This ‘exhibition’ was a staggering 7 glorious floors worth of art. 41 different artists – painters, sculptors, photographers, musicians – all came together to orchestrate the journey to the 7th floor, and though this is a huge number of cooks working on one pot, they were all somehow on the exact same wavelength, and the execution was exactly on point. To me, one big way that art is successful is when you manage to convey what you have to say through your medium, with clarity. All the art pieces in the building screamed powerful, with interpretations of identity, conflict and human emotion, and every room – each floor had about six or seven rooms – conveyed a singular story, or at least produced a very distinct feeling in the visitor. 7 floors, 7 rooms each… that is a lot of feels. I was exhausted when I left Rio.

DSC_4009

Thinking it would just be an ‘exhibition’ I took my camera and foolishly thought I could capture the art and show it to others, but this is one of those ‘you had to be there’ things. Before going into some of my favourite exhibits – I have to mention that the best part about this was the location of the exhibition itself. The location, Rio Cinema, with its damp floors, musty old smell, and mossy but resilient walls, participated in the art. Its broken windows and its dark corridors had brushed shoulders rustily with time and with days that would be recorded forever in Colombo’s history, and like the artists, it told its own story and helped to tell theirs too. Rio Cinema isn’t new to art, it was the location for a theatre production by Mind Adventures too (which is a group who once, in a spectacular move, took their actors and audience onto a moving bus). It’s refreshing to me that the art is being moved out of the clinical walls of the gallery and the theatre, into real living spaces. Genet is grinning in his grave.

DSC_4025

I liked the exhibit at the entrance – something very simple, but striking: a wall covered in newspapers with the taped words: IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU. Looking closer, you find they are newspaper clippings from 1983, the year of the July riots in Sri Lanka when thousands of Tamil civilians were slaughtered on the streets and in their homes in cold blood. After Rio I visited a close friend of mine in Slave Island and she told me stories of how her father and uncle, Muslims, had been shot at in the crossfire on the streets in ’83. And how she had hidden under the furniture as a child in 2001, when the LTTE used rifles and grenades to lead an assault on the Katunayake airbase. These are important turning points in our story as Sri Lankans. It was incredibly unnerving to me, and also strangely beautiful, how the art here imitated real life – it was not just a lovely story or message, but a very real recollection of our lived past.

DSC_3976

DSC_3991

DSC_4013

Many of the rooms played generously with texture and colour – walls covered in patterns, or a giant sculpture covering most of the floor. These were my favourite kind of room, because the room was a part of the art, not just a container for it. So you were very close to the art when you stepped inside. A wall in a dark room covered in black tar, a wall with squiggly red patterns with a crime-scene tape across it, a wall dripping with gold paint, a wall plastered with a collage of broken CDs and Lion beer cans, a wall covered in eerie shadows – they each made you feel something very distinct. For me, what was different about Shadow Scenes at Rio compared to other exhibitions was that instead of critiquing the work from outside the frame, I felt myself thrown into it, and made to feel, than think.

DSC_3981

One room that made an impression featured pillows and bags hung from the ceiling, strung together in strange shapes, throwing shadows on the walls and the water below – you got the eerie sensation that you were standing in a dark room in a butcher shop, and these were animal (?) parts hung from meat hooks.

Another fave was an exhibit called ‘De(Generative) Processes’, by Asvajit and Lalindra. It was a room that only admitted one visitor at a time. Once the door is closed behind you, the walls come alive with moving scribbles and shapes from a projector, with an emotive cacophony of sounds playing in time to their movements. This one is obviously one of those subjective things, but to me it was extremely intense, to be standing at the center of a dark room, flooded with visuals and sounds – I loved when at one point the white visuals disintegrated little by little and it all faded to black, and I felt myself standing in a kind of nothing.

DSC_3968

There were much calmer exhibits too, photographs of Slave Island’s changing landscape, from ghetto to high-rise capital, and photograph collages that discussed war, and abstract paintings that spoke in subdued tones. There were a few very personal stories too – I remember a room of belongings that seemed to belong to the dead uncle of the artist: a pair of polished shoes, a folded shirt, a jar of bottle caps, a box of old cassettes, newspapers. Very frightening and very poetic and very, very real. Again there was this feeling of the art getting uncomfortably close, it was not just an exhibit to stand apart from and critique with the occasional name-drop of Monet or Dali, in a pretty vacuum – but it was this clean mirror held close to your very pores.

DSC_4000

After what felt like ages, only an hour in fact, we reached the 7th floor, the terrace of the Rio. The exhibition was beautifully timed, open between 4.30 and 5.30, so once you reach the top at 5.30, there is the view of the yellowing evening sky over the ocean, and the mishmash of Slave Island itself, from the cluster of houses to the construction cranes. Two Greek statues still stood on the Rio terrace after all this time, holding up the concrete columns above us. Here I took a seat and was given a pair of headphones and looked out at the view that seemed to almost be staged now – cool breeze, golden sun, slow-moving kites.  Pedro Gomez Egana spoke in a slight accent into my ears over soft piano music, taking me on an imaginary journey from the 7th floor of Rio through the Colombo landscape, from Galcissa to Maradana and back to Slave Island. And along the way we saw siyambala trees and calm rivers, and we explored quietly like a little insect in search of plants and flowers, glancing around from east to west, before ending our journey, whimsically, inside a flower.

DSC_3985

The trip through Rio was very weird and fantastical, and I feel like I felt and gained so much, and saw so much – through the art – of my own real life. It sort of re-acquainted me with Slave Island, with Colombo, with my past. I’m extremely excited that this kind of art is happening in Sri Lanka, that art is entering real spaces and discussing uncomfortable, gritty subjects in a clear, loud voice. I think it would be interesting to see if next time there could be even more interaction with the Sinhala and Tamil languages, because it blows my mind to even imagine – what these ideas and spaces could do if they played with Sri Lankan mother-tongues, and also what would happen if they interacted with the average man off a Slave Island street.

DSC_3974

I’m so sad that the show is over and no one can experience it after today – I literally shouted ‘I’m so sad!’ at my nonplussed friend on leaving Rio. So I’m crossing my fingers and toes hoping for another spectacular collab by the Colomboscope artists and EUNIC Sri Lanka soon. It’s an exciting time to be in Colombo.

Children are tiny drunk people

They are, if you really think about it. They waddle around, giggling and crying at random, and if you don’t hold them steady they bump into things, they sing incoherently, they suddenly lie down on the floor and wave their arms around, occasionally puking, streaking or losing control of their bowels. I actually know a five year old who acts exactly like an adult on cocaine, flitting back and forth, hyperactive and fidgety, suddenly falling flat on the ground then getting up and going to the nearest potted plant and sniffing its leaves. Quite mad really. Catch a grown up following the same motions and you’d put him on meds. I envy them in a way, that they get to be utterly unabashedly coo-coo on a regular basis and nobody bats a lid.

2015: An Update Yo

Wow it’s been a really longass time since I sat down to write a blogpost hasn’t it? I guess I’ve been half too busy, half uninterested in talking about my life to the world. I remember when I thrived on the stuff back in school, making blogpost anecdotes out of my aunties and Muslim stereotypes. Since I’m not even on Facebook, I wonder if anybody even reads this anymore. Hello?

Anyway, I know some of you still do, for some unfathomable reason. Hi. Here’s a hug. The writer in me is thankful towards anybody who reads what comes out of me, even if it’s occasionally, on a silly personal blog.

Today I’m sitting on the balcony of our new house, we moved in recently, it’s a mess, but that’s a story for another time, with some free time on my hands, listening to my friend Kygo, and thought I’d drop a meandering, going-nowhere-really post as I tend to sometimes do. This year has been the best year so far.

Two incidents really marked the great trip I’m on now: the first I can’t really go into it without incriminating myself! BAHAHA! But let’s just say I have seen some amazing out of this world things and at one point I felt like a third eye grew out of my forehead. Yeah. I’m going to just leave that to sink in. The second is that the unbelievable happened – I fell in love with somebody. I would actually put the Colombo Design Market as a podi third reason, because it’s encouraged me to really paint and think of myself as an artist.

I think this year has been the best not just because it’s been good to me, but because I’ve grown. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still that girl who marvels at aunty politics and likes being a hobo on the grass at the park and is trying to figure out how her weird little self fits into things, but I think I’ve gotten a tiny teensy bit wiser, a wittle bit closer to wherever I should be heading.

I’ve learnt that we talk way too much, man. Seriously. I used to talk a lot, I mean I’m still the chatty type but I like to think I’ve reeled in the jabberwocky, and there’s actually a lot of stuff you start noticing and savouring when you’re quiet. I’ve also learnt that I don’t ever want to get into advertising – I’ve met a lot of wonderful, chilled out, creative people in Colombo’s ad circles, but truly put, it is where writers go to die. Because it’s not at all about what you write, it’s about how the words can be salesmen, and if you can’t sell the product, the words become valueless. I bet some people can handle it well but I know if I stepped in there, it would suck my soul up and chew and spit. I’ve decided to stick to my guns, and write or at least work with literary writers, paint and photograph, no more indecision.

Being in love is a pain in the ass sometimes. I know they don’t cover this part much in the romcoms but it’s true. I’m usually a very independent person so suddenly somebody having an impact on my mood can be a hitch. On the other hand, it actually is as ridiculously amazing as they say, they weren’t exaggerating even a bit, take it from me, someone who used to hysterically laugh at people who gaga-ed over this thing. It’s actually one of those strange stories – three days after we met each other, we kind of just knew this was it.

Anyway enough of that gay shizz (apologies to the gay community, it’s a poorly placed expression). This is ruining my street cred so I refuse to explore this topic further. In conclusion, I irrelevantly implore you to follow Mystic Tamil, an excellent Jaffna-born UK-based comedian, but you need to know some Tamil to get some of the best jokes. Pure gold. Until next time, dahlings.