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Archive for February, 2009

Perilous theater

The Kodak Theater. Everything was set.

I exhaust myself running around in confusion, trying to figure out the pathways to the the dressing room and the corridoors to the stage. I’m feverish. Excitement or stress? My palms are covered in a dripping film of sweat. 

Shit. 

I suddenly realize that I’m all alone. In a dimly lit corridoor all by myself.  Sweat on my palms, and sweat on my palms while I’m alone? For a moment I’m amused that I’m not shitting bricks. This doesn’t look good at all. And to add to the pressure, I hear the chatter of the crowd ever so lightly making its way to my ears through the little cracks and pipes. If I can hear the crowd here it must be one heck of a crowd. It would make a full house at the Lionel Wendt look like little rabbit droppings. And it hits me again…….

Damn. this place is huge. 

As I muse on by myself about the enormity of the place, I wonder why the insides of the Kodak theater resemble the interior of a dark and musty industrial factory. Steam popping out of little vents in pipes, creaking floorboards, and the occasional rat scurrying along to a hole it calls home. 

Then I hear the first bell.

WHAT? First bell? I’m not even ready yet! I have quite a costume to sink myself into and I haven’t even started! And the first bell is going off! I run to the nearest staircase. It’s a weird staircase with Oak bannisters that have lost its sheen and aged velvet carpets adorning its steps. I climb the staircase furiously, part of me angry at myself for being so careless and losing track of time, and the other part; afraid of being the culprit in a part of a crime that is failure. 

I finally find my way to the dressing room after running through a huge maze and quickly change into my elaboarate costume. The second bell goes off just as I start putting on my boots. My goddamn boots. They ALWAYS give me problems. Now I slap myself on the forehead for never taking the time to adjust them. Lazy lazy lazy! And I hear the third bell go off as I struggle to put on my second boot. Confound it! I’m running!

And I run through another maze with a partially hanging boot on my right foot…

And after a frantic search I make my way to the wings of the stage. In a silent moment of relived introspection, I thank my lucky stars (I don’t belive in god) that there’s a couple of minutes more for my entrance. I work myself up and characterize like I’ve never characterized before. I feel the piercing focus of each member of the audience watching what is unfolding on stage. Time to enter. And enter I did with  the exuberance of the wildest mustang. All attention was on me. And it’s time to deliver my first line. An answer to a question of the guy I’m supposed to be interacting with. With a smile on his face, he fires the first question at me.

What the fuck? What the hell was THAT?

No. That wasn’t my line. I didn’t blurt it out either. I swear I was so vexed that the sweat just jumped out of me like the water would do in a fountain. My knees turned into jelly in tandem with the unfamiliar transformation of the music.  What the hell was happening? Everything around me lights up to see a set I’ve never seen before. I’m looking around in bewilderment as familiar faces stare back at me waiting for my line. I’m a mess. A mess in the spotlight. I hear prompts. I hear prompts of lines I’ve never heard before. I put together a couple of words and make a sentence that barely makes any sense or any noise. The other people take it as their cue for the next move and start swirling around me.

Shit. I think I’m supposed to do something.

I take a brief look at the audience only to see them staring at the inanimate object that is in the center of stage: Me. I didn’t know what to do. I was in a state of confusion that could have driven me wild. Why did this have to happen to me, I lamented as the orchestration reached its crescendo after some blank spaces of pure instrumentation. I think I was supposed to sing there. I was helpless. Like a deer stuck in the headlight, I didn’t know what to do. I was caught in a perpetual freeze with tears running down my face. A retarded actor in a big, shiny get up. From the distance I hear a bellowing cry of  STOP! The director stands up in the audience. He makes his way to the stage in the beautifully tailored suit he custom made to impress his crowd of luminaries.

He comes up to me.

“What THE F…….”

He is interrupted by a shrill ringing noise.

Fourth bell?!?

Alarm. Theater nightmare. Sigh of relief.

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Doubt

Imagine yourself in a dark room, where the light of day is just a memory, where the darkness is blacker than the sinister nothingness of a black hole. But from the distance you see lights. There’s one to your left and one to your right. You feel the presence of two people. Two people you can’t see or smell. You only hear their words. They each try to cajole you into coming with them. One paints a picture of a perfect world where perfect people live in perfect harmony. The other tells you one of a damaged one where you will have to pull your own weight to live. The first is more desirable, the second is not. The first is too good to be true, the second sounds like a bitter dose of reality.

Who will you go with?

As I write, I’m in a peculiar little alcove in my mind that I have never visited before. In this little alcove resides a sinister creature called doubt. No, it’s not the doubt that we meet and feed everyday.

This is the master of that doubt and all the insignificant little specks of doubt in my mind.

This is the doubt which questions my very existence in this world. This is the doubt that would make someone question every little thing that he held dear. This is the doubt which makes you think that you, independent as you are, are being controlled by a greater power that isn’t any god. This is the doubt of all doubts.

After watching the documentary; ‘Zeitgeist’, I’m coming to terms with bitterness of reality. My choice of going to the damaged world wasn’t an arbitrary one. I’ve always fancied the truth over illusion. It was more like a decision made after verifying some incorrigible doubts that were glued in a little corner in my mind.

I was always bemused by the proclamations of religion. I always respected their views, however farcical they sounded. But it didn’t erase the fact that these decrees sounded very impractical and ludicrous. I’m no atheist, but I never could believe the people who thought that all of mankind descended from Adam and Eve. I could never come to terms with the idea of utopia, or heaven, and the pits of hell. I could never imagine a god who could take away the people who you love and still love you with all his might. Almost all the major scriptures promise eternal pleasure for those who enter the kingdom of heaven. Likewise sinners are condemned to the infernal chasms of hell where they will suffer the wrath of the devil incarnate. After watching Zeitgeist, my doubts faced plausible fact. Plausible fact won.

 My doubts were more or less cleared.

It was only after watching Zeitgeist that I realized that the little alcove of doubt in my mind was the only thing that wasn’t corrupted by what the people in power wants us to think. This sinister creature was the only part in my mind that questioned the validity of what we hear and see on the TV, radio, and newspapers. Most of us implicitly believe everything that is said in the papers or TV. Why? We trust these media to make us laugh; make us cry, and show us a jolly good time don’t we? Then why not trust the news and views the tube and all other media dispense? I guess it’s a natural flaw of humankind that has now evolved into a characteristic, a flaw that started off as a submission to an invented religion that has now come to a dismal stage where we will all be enslaved by those who wield authority. Our credulity will soon make us slaves of the people who use the tools of religion and media to manipulate us into submission without even knowing it.

It’s kinda like the Matrix, only; this isn’t a movie.

The truth is harsh. It’s very hard to take in because it will shatter the bubble you have been residing in for the entirety of your life. Once you open your eyes to the world and come out of that bubble, you will realize that all the wars that we fight for and all the terror that we condemn is actually a little piece of a puzzle that we think to be a part of fate. It is not. It’s in fact a part of greater scheme to enslave humanity in a false sense of security and trust. It’s the embodiment of the machinations of a very human devil that cannot be defeated unless we open our eyes to the truth. It’s a scheme that will make us all helpless puppets on the strings of an unknown overlord.

I probably sound like one of those conspiracy theorists. I’m sure I do. But the fact of the matter is that I’m disgusted at the authority that controls us. And I’m not just disgusted for any reason. I’m disgusted at the reality that they will keep on brainwashing us with their media, with their education system, and with their religion and lull us into a place where we think is safe. Should you think that I’m some sort of deranged misanthropic nutcase, I don’t blame you. I don’t have any facts in this post to convince you to believe my opinions. Had I put in all the facts, I would have been typing to the end of my very existence. Yes. You heard me right. There are so many facts that will dispute the validity so called ‘trusted authorities’ we place our confidence in.

If you feel like coming out of your bubble, if you feel like you’re being controlled by religion, media, and politics; I urge you to watch Zeitgeist, a movie that will give you the bitter dose of reality that we so desperately need. 

 

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”– Jimmy Hendrix

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The Jingy Bingy Man

I usually am an annoyance when I’m truly inspired. I go from person to person proclaiming whatever it was I experienced should be experienced by everyone. I’m a bit loony like that. People probably make jokes behind my back for that, but what the hell, I try to make this world a better place. Or at least introduce them to something TASTEFUL. 😛 Thanks to the blogosphere I can now share my enthusiasm (and sarcasm) with the World and cut down on the unwanted labor involved in going from person to person. Textbook internet benefit.

Recently, I was raving on about ‘Machan’; an absolutely brilliant film based on a true story of a group of Sri Lankans that illegally migrated to Europe under the ingenious guise of a handball team. Today, four months later, I have something else to rave about.

It was just after the conclusion of the opening night of Hamlet at Elsie’s Bar. The brilliant performance by the cast made me break my vow of not smoking up for the day. Damn it! I wish I was on stage too! The air raid on Colombo that took place a few hours before we made it to the studio seemed to matter very little because we were going to celebrate the success of opening night and talk about stuff that would make us sound quite outlandish.

The herb was really good. 😀

Buddhima was going crazy with the papers and was rolling some big ones that could be easily mistaken for shotgun mikes. We would soon find out that rolling torpedoes was one of his less significant talents. And after some unbounded fits of laughter and mundane stories, we went into the studio to chill out to the suave tune of Ranil’s Takamine guitar but were pleasantly surprised to see Buddhima join in on the jam as well. And inside the studio illuminated by that eerie neon light, we went on a musical journey that transcended the very essence of original Sri Lankan music.

Buddhi and Ranil started off with a hauntingly brilliant rendition of House of the rising sun. The crisp tone of the new strings coupled with the layered harmonies of the 12 string Yamaha guitar complimented Budhima’s robust voice. I opened my eyes after that song and smiled. I just smiled. It’s the smile that appears on your face when your mind gives two thumbs up for satisfaction. The audience of 5 burst out into applause, giving the impression of an actual unplugged concert. In my intoxicated state I was visualizing myself on the set of something similar to that of the MTV Nirvana unplugged gig. It was brilliant. I was in a happy place.

And just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, Buddhima took the liberty of knocking our socks off with three of his original compositions. The name of his first song escapes my memory, but what a song it was. This was the first time I was hearing this and I was blown away. It wasn’t the technical intricacy of the song; there wasn’t anything intricate about it. It was simple music laced with honest words that were rooted deep in the heart of a brilliant man; Buddhi. It pored over the tribulations of a forthright man who enjoyed life the way it was; unfair yet beautiful. And after listening to the rest of his English-Sinhala compositions, I felt proud. Proud to know a guy like him. Those words stirred me to the point that I hugged him right after he finished playing his band’s song; Jingy Bingy Blues. I couldn’t keep my excitement to myself. I don’t think anyone in the studio could. That lead us to the question; What the hell was Buddhi doing all this time? His words are monumental. A throwback to the era of folk music where injustice was spat on and the beauty of everyday life was appreciated. I felt myself in the presence of the next Bob Marley, Rage Against the Machine, or Bob Dylan. Such was the vividness of those words. It made me proud as a Sri Lankan to hear those songs. I was proud that we; Sri Lanka; a country polluted with prejudices and corruption still have people like Buddhi; people who could see the unfairness of life, take it as it is and enjoy our breif stay in this world as well as we could in the face of all those adversities.

It was a great day for me. I was stirred by the simple yet beautiful music. I felt the power of words that I never thought I’d hear in a Sri Lankan song. It was beautiful. I’m still taking all of that in. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that a cynic like myself would be stirred by words that were simple yet momentous.

The sad thing is that no authority in the right mind would let this material go out to the public unless they want a state of free thinking and ouspoken constituents. The thought itself would turn the gleaming smiles of our crooked politicos into grisly grimaces. But I envision Buddhi being one of the cult icons of our generations. That is the effect that his words had on me. I never thought I’d find inspiration so close to me. Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, Richard Branson, and Maynard James Keenan have been the only people who have fostered a change in me.

I’m proud to add Buddhima de Mel of Wagon Park to that list.

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A very peculiar two months

I don’t believe in superstitions. But give me your opinion. Do you think being in the loo on the dawn of the new year is a bad start for the year to come?

If it is, I think I screwed myself over right royally.

What was I doing when everyone else were watching the fireworks set off on that beautiful beach in Hikkaduwa and were tripping to a techno version of Auld Lang Syne? Yeah, if you deducted correct, you’d find out that I was taking a piss… In my defense, it really was a very gratifying piss. 🙂

And you might wonder why I started this post off with the story of my inauspicious leak, but for some reason, I feel that weird start kicked off a very weird year. Almost two months have elapsed in 2009, and I feel very weird. I don’t know why. I feel melancholy, cheerful, pleased, and dissatisfied at the same time. It’s a total emotional overload that probably is a consequence of the transition from the teen years to adulthood. Or it’s probably one of those phases you go through while trying to decide on what to do with your life. I still don’t know.

I’ve messed up these two months in many ways; starting with the fact that I’m sitting around at home, doing nothing with my life while hoping that all my university stuff works out. I’m procrastinating on the little things that might make a difference as I type in these words. I could well be in the gym, doing some cardio or pumping some iron. I could be in CIM class, trying to earn a qualification while waiting for the university stuff to work out. I could be looking for a job for goodness sake!!! But here I am, at home, typing. I’ve been getting high way more than I want, piling on the pounds (in Sri Lanka’s case; Kilos) and I messed up an exam that I studied for close to 4 months, with the purest intention and greatest commitment that I could muster, and I’m losing all those great skills that I learned as a prefect in college. I NEED TO DO SOMETHING!!!

But, on the other hand, there have been some real gems that have made me think that these 2 months weren’t all that bad.

Hamlet at Elsie’s Bar! I hate musicals, but for some reason, I’m becoming more attached to this production every passing day. I guess it’s the people in this play that has made these rather lousy 2 months tolerable. I met people from the super high to the super eccentric, from crazy to reserved, from popular to obscure, and from talented to inspiring. It has been the sugar in the tea, the sunlight in the day for me. I’ve made so many friends that I hope, will last me a lifetime.

Come to think of it, I think that’s the only [Significant] good thing I have to write about. Of course, I haven’t included the crazy new ways I’ve learned to trip on herb… 😀

But I guess, it’s too early to judge whether or not that ill timed leak had a bearing on the year. I’m definitely going to set myself straight and return to be the proactive, boisterous and opinionated person I was after the play is done with. And I have some things to look forward to as well. Come April and I’ll find out whether I’m Georgetown University material or not. If not, I guess I’ll have to settle with Northeastern or Dickinson and work my way to Georgetown. But one thing is for sure, I’m going to do my utmost to make sure that this year is going to be the compensation for the time I lost during the tenure of Prefectship and move on with life.

And a word of thanks to Natty and Brandon who (kinda) inspired me to start blogging! 🙂

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Hello world!

Welcome all to my blog! I’ll be blogging away once I actually find something blog-worthy to blog about… 🙂

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