All in a day’s run

Yesterday – Saturday – was an exceptional day, and I will tell you why. From nine to three was at Trans Asia for the workshop “How to Retire Rich” organised by Colombo Stock Exchange. The market’s devastated so they want people to come in and pick up stocks. The workshop was great. I mean for the material girls and boys. The first session convinced us that our kids will not be able to look after us, our government will not look after us (for purely demographic reasons, if not for others), the inflation will suck the value of what we earn and save and that by the time we retire in say 2030, at the rate of 20% inflation you would need more than five million bucks a month to survive. Ofcourse before that, you got to build your house in say, Boralasgamuwa, and buy a Toyota Corrolla at least and send your son to Middlesex for his IT degree, and oh, you have to afford at least a Pomenarian, right? Say your EPF runs out by 75…if you are a woman your avarage life expectancy is you’ll live till 76. And if you live till 80, HOLY SHIT! 

So in one slide:


So basically, there were more graphs, calculations, predictions, speculations, analysis. The bottom line was you got to have an investment portfolio. Then, you got to calculate: diversify your invenstements. Plan. Research. Strategize. Invest. Buy low – sell high. Shave off. Cut-loss. Re-invest for highest interest rates. If you loose money, don’t worry, the world is not going to end tomorrow. Think Long Term. Think Real Income.

See, now I know a thing or two about Financial planning.

Please don’t misunderstand. I am not mocking this whole logic. It’s probably right; it;s probably true; it’s probably sane. But I cannot live on DELAYED GRATIFICATION!!! I cannot forgo life in order to live rich in retirement. I don’t want a house, unless it is a creative excersice to build one. I do not want dependents. My whole counterpoint was that: you get started on that line, you gonna go sleepless, baby. SLEEPLESS NIGHTS FOR A SECURE FUTURE. Sounds like a way too late sequal to FOR A FEW DOLLORS MORE!

So I walked out saying that I got to have my kinda strategy. Live Simple. Die Early. While living simple invest as much as possible in food, sex, wine, travelling, movies, books, good music, good clothing, make up, friends, good art. (I might be missing a lot here, but anyway…)Also help a couple of people who are needy, who are around you…say the security guard at your office, or the cleaning lady, for instance. Talk to them! My security guard has a wife with cancer. She cries every time when he bathes her propped on a chair. The cleaning lady wants to send her son to Abu Dabi. See… 

So that was nine to three, Saturday. In the evening, I went to join a group of friends. the art house crowd, ofcourse. No flashy mobiles dangling in their hands like in those in the workshop in the morining. Jesus, it’s like a diffferent planet. So they talked politics for a while. And then, they start singing. Sunil sang a Russian song from his college days, playing the guitar…raising his voice to a pitch that would make any woman’s heart toss!  I was mad about him for those moments, sitting beside him!

And loosing myself in that revelry, I just felt, a fleeting sensation, my heart skipping from on clapping pair of hands to the other, that THIS  is happiness. This is life and the best it could ever be. I loved every one in that room, yet I was not attached to any. I was not aching or pining for anyone, or anything. I had no dreams of things to achieve, personal or higher. material or intellectual. No more money to be earned, cars or houses, no more exams or certificates, no more need for husbands, babies, or even the urge to travel more…or live more…to change the political system of sri lanka…or anything really…i did not want, crave, need, yearn, pine, for anything, or anyone.

Driving back home alone in the night, with Sunil’s voice reverberating in my heart, I decided for myself: I will live simple (like a queen). And die early.

And the rest of the world can keep calling me insane for the rest of my life.


The Most Important Journey

For a long time, I have been searching for this advertisement. I saw it first in one of my early workshops at JWT, when I was just a junior copywriter. This was done by JWT Buenos Airis and won a Cannes. Even if it wasn’t made by JWT and hadn’t won a Cannes it would still be my best add to date. The Dream this add stood for – an affinity to true and guneuine art – sustained me through many miserable late nights in advertising, writing unbearably frivolous lines for Celltell and Lux, I remember. Of course, it couldn’t sustain me for long…I could only last for eight months in advertising. Not even the possibility of an add like this, which I feel is a masterpiece, I will say it without wincing, could keep me longer.

I suddenly remembered this add today, out of the blue…maybe I was thinking about ‘The Journey’. From the one that we were, to the dream that we want to be. It is amazing, I knew instantly the line was from the Air Argentina add.

So, even an add could offer you some imagination, some wisdom.

How I wish, we had more of such adds, instead of the stuff we are forced to see daily…but then, I shouldn’t complain. I don’t watch TV. So I don’t see adds. So I don’t even know if they are better or worse.

Together We Will Live Forever

Clint Mansell. It’s the first time I heard of him or his music. I am yet to see the film by Darren Aranofsky: The Fountain, but it seems promising. Somebody described it ‘a poem’.

Together We Will Live Forever is again a simple A major composition (you could make it B flat, too), that reaches deep into the twilight of our emotions. My emotions. At this point in life.

It has happiness and sadness in the same note. Simplicity and complexity in the same chord. Hope to hang on and the urge to let go in the same scale.  

So I sit at the piano and a small enlightenement comes to me: whatever the tune it is, it has to be in these keys…with a little bit of fumbling and not quite the same scale I start to play Clint Mansell. It’s amazing…

Can day-to-day mundane realities have such a dreamlike quality?

The Heart Asks Pleasure First

pianoListening to Michael Nyman early in the morning…before work begins. Just close my eyes and let the piano keys draw inside a part of me a most beautiful mosaic of moods. I have been so tired this week…even after last night’s dreamless sleep, there’s a yearning for a camatose… a complete black out. A need to loose conciousness for a week or two…perhaps longer…

And I wonder, how much longer will I live? Another 20, 30, 40 years? Jesus! It’s a long time…

What kind of pleasure does heart ask for? It is something my best poetic expressions cannot do justice to, the way Michael Nyman does, in his haunting theme for “The Piano”: The heart asks pleasure first.

I am so lukcy that way, I could find a sort of intimacy so easily, in music; something so elusive to find in another human being. The moment I reach out for someone, they run away for miles…the moment someone reaches for me, I clam up and shut down.

Perhaps, this is why art exists: to fill the gap we cannot fill in ourselves…to complete that  missing piece in our soul, we serach for so badly but cannot find, except perhaps in a poem or a painting or a book or a film or music . What a dream, ah!

And I still wonder, what kind of pleasure do our hearts ask for?