It is quite amazing the things you can hear from Three Wheel Drivers if you just listen to what they have to say. All they need is a sympathetic ear and it is nearly impossible to get them to stop talking. I have had quite a few conversations with them over the years, and while I usually prefer a nice quite ride (yes I see the irony) sometimes I get stories. I decided to write this one down because first, it is interesting, and second, you can often tell the pulse of the city by talking to Three Wheel Drivers. They are the corpuscles that carry the oxygen the city needs to survive. Now there’s a metaphor for you.
This is what he told me, paraphrased and translated to English:
“Sir, this is a Buddhist country, but I tell you the things that happen here are not Buddhist at all. Whether you are Buddhist or Christian or Muslim hanging a board around your neck that says what religion you are is useless. You need to have it in your heart. In your heart!
“If you travel down this road during Poya you will see a hundred Dansals. But what use is that if you don’t do anything good on other days? If I see a beggar I will give him 10rs. Whatever he does with it is not my business. I do it for merit. I keep the Dhamma in my heart.
“One day I was taking a hire into Kellaniya. There were 8 police men on 4 motorbikes. They had a row of Three Wheelers stopped. My light was not working properly so they stopped me and were writing me a ticket. Then a big vehicle (SUV) sped down the road and the police man tried to stop it. It swerved around him and stopped. The window was rolled down and a man asked why they were stopped. The policeman showed them the speedgun; they were speeding. The men in the vehicle were drunk. The driver said to the policeman: “You f**k. Do you know who I am? Do you think you can do anything? Do whatever the f**k you want and let’s see what will happen.” Then he sped off. Now there were 8 policeman and 4 bikes. I expected them to call it in or race after them but nothing. Sir, there are 2 laws, one for politicians and their friends and one for other people. What can we do? You know now policeman get commissions for traffic fines. They get 20% per fine, and they fine about 100 vehicles per day. They only stop bikes and three wheelers because they can’t stop the big business men. What is the point? They don’t have Buddhism in their hearts. What can the rest of us do?
“Sir, you work in an office. You associate with the same group of people, but me? I meet people from the highest to the lowest level. I used to work in Dubai, but you know, I learned so much more about life after running this three wheeler. You won’t believe the type of people I meet. Especially the women.
“One day I got a call to a residential area. It was a very rich place. The lady was nice and polite on the phone. When I came into their driveway she was carrying a Pomeranian and wearing tiny shorts and a strappy top that hid almost nothing. Now what am I supposed to do sir? She said to wait for her while she gets dressed and she came back down in a skirt that was too high and a top that was too low. She then lifted her leg and put it on the bar in front. What am I supposed to do sir? I am married and I have a kid but I am still a man. Every time I look in the side mirror I see her leg raised up and I miss the traffic. People in buses are craning their necks to look. People are overtaking the vehicle and slowing down to take a look. She really was very beautiful. So I stopped the three wheeler and told her: “Miss, would you mind putting your leg down and sitting in the middle please?” She then started shouting at me sir. In the middle of the road! She said even her mommy and daddy don’t tell her what to wear. Who am I to tell her these things? Now what can I do sir, I am also a man. I told her I can see her lifted leg in the mirror and have trouble seeing the road. You know what she said sir? She said “Never mind Uncle, you can look as much as you want” Sir, she was about twenty two. If it was someone bad driving her she would be kidnapped and never seen again. This world is changing sir. Even this country is becoming very bad.
“The older women are worse. They are about 45. They leave their homes in the morning and go meet younger men, like van drivers and such. They drive around and meet them at hotels and have fun. Later they fix their hair and makeup and ask me to drop them at some place. They then get picked up by their husbands in their cars and kiss the man and the kids and drive off. But they treat me well. Sometimes they give me an extra 100rs or buy me food. For some of them I write down their phone numbers and times that I drop them. You never know when you might need it.
“Anyway sir, I can’t tell some people these things because they won’t believe me, but this is how the country is. I will tell you more stories if we meet again. Call me when you need me to drop you and I will come. Alright sir, goodbye sir. Goodbye”
I have been a bit lax with my writing so I am going to have to combine two days worth of thoughts in this one post.
So far the biggest problems I have had are in selecting and preparing food. You have to constantly avoid the processed stuff, the starch, the wheat and the fats. Finding ingredients is another headache. A lot of recipes call for stuff like almond butter or tofu. I haven’t found tofu in the supermarkets for this entire week, and there is only so much salad I can stand. Getting hungry faster is also an annoying problem. Sri Lankans eat huge quantities of food and I think it takes quite some time to learn to settle for normal sized portions again. Healthy snacks help, but there are only so much nuts one can buy in Sri Lanka.
There are a few things that help make the change the a healthy diet. Fruit helps the craving for sugary food. I also allow myself dark chocolate (as dark as you can get it). This way one doesn’t have to fall into the temptation for chocolate covered cream filled donut. I also have a cheat day, where I can eat anything I want, and that is Saturday. A cheat day will ease cravings and maybe give me motivation for another week.
I haven’t noticed any increase in energy though, no matter what Steve Jobs says. It could be because I have always been a vegetarian anyway, and stay away from caffeine. I haven’t lost significant weight, but there is a bit of difference. Either way, it is not realistic to expect a huge change in just five days.
Am I going to continue this? Probably with a few relaxed rules. I would allow small portions of red rice or brown bread into my diet. What I will continue to try to do is cut down on processed sugar. It really is very damaging to your system. The same goes for all the spice and chilli. Spices tend to irritate your system and I have been enjoying the feeling of cleanness(?) that I have now. Really, all those veggies make you feel a bit sharper and clean inside. I don’t even know if ‘clean’ is the word to use here but you know what I mean if you try it.
Have a good week and hope you try a change to your diet.
Probably the hardest thing about a really good diet is finding and preparing your food. I believe it is even harder for a vegetarian. I mean how much salad can one eat (unless you are a rabbit, then it is quite a lot)? If you eat meat, then a lightly grilled piece of chicken or fish will flesh out your meal and replace that rice and bread. But it’s harder for a vegetarian, unless you have a thing for beans. And you know what they say about beans:
Beans, beans, the musical fruit
The more you eat, the more you toot
The more you toot, the better you feel
So we have beans at every meal!
So unless you are into the whole background wind instrument thing, you can’t keep eating beans.
It’s also amazing just how much processed food is in our daily diet. It takes a lot of effort to eat a more natural diet but it’s worth it, considering all the nasty stuff that happens to you on a bad diet.
Ok, its only day 2 and I am already having a hard time. Ha ha. I miss my spices and chilli. It’s like going off a drug, you suffer from withdrawal. It’s also hard to find food that is not heavy in starch and processed stuff, and I am not interested in eating raw carrots all day. I ain’t a rabbit.
Breakfast was toast (kurakkan) and avocado substituted for butter. Lunch was soy cutlets and lightly cooked veggies and a banana. I absolutely did not look longingly at a colleague’s lamprais.
So far the results are me not feeling so sleepy after breakfast and after lunch. I don’t feel as lethargic and am a little more alert. The downside is that I get hungry faster, so my dinners are usually done by 6.30. Perhaps it will take some time for my stomach to adjust to the lack of heavy starch.
Kottu is being weird this morning.
There are a couple of similar posts from different blogs scolding Sanjana, also giving him a lesson in anatomy. Either there is something wrong with the Kottu feed, or there is an angry person with multiple blogs or there is someone mucking around.
Clicking on any of these links lead you to nothing really. Just a notice that says “Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist.”
So I have decided to eat healthy for a week. And I mean real healthy. Now I am not obese and I don’t gorge on pizza and cake on a regular basis, but even a slight lapse into the delightful realm of junk food gets me wondering why my pants don’t fit anymore, and why my face keeps getting rounder.
I have come to the realization finally that we don’t really eat healthy at all. The food we eat on a daily basis is not even close to being healthy and it affects the way we look and feel and think. This is what my daily meal list would look like
- Breakfast – Toast and jam or toast and egg and baked beans or soy sausages
- Lunch – Standard rice and curry (vegetarian)
- Dinner – Bread and a curry or a rotti or two and a curry.
I tend to have chocolate or ice cream for dessert fairly often, with a piece of cake off and on. Now this diet is not terribly terrible but even a slight ice cream binge gets me bloated. Here’s what I think is wrong with the diet: too much starch, too much sugar, too much processed food, and too much spice.
As Sri Lankans we eat too much bread and too much rice. Our food is over salted and our tea is basically tea flavoured sugar syrup. I believe the spice too plays a part in irritable bowels and irritable moods. So, I am going to experiment with a diet without (or very low on) rice or wheat products, without processed sugar and without the heavy spices and chillie we are known for. I vaguely considered trying a paleo diet but that was too hard core for someone with my sweet tooth. I will see what it does for me in terms of weight, energy and mood.
Breakfast today was muesli and lunch is a small portion of potato salad, a small slice of brown bread, lightly steam green beans and carrots and a banana. I wonder how long it will be before I miss my bath parcel, but I am going to rough it out for the week.
I have to admit that it was reading about Joel Runyan and his impossible abs is what inspired me to give this a shot. It would be nice to see my abs again. I mean it’s there and all, but it’s just.. hidden.
After reading about Mediated on Groundviews, I simply had to go to the Sasika Fernando Gallery and see it for myself, even though all of the information was available on their site. The exhibition is brilliant. I have been a fan of visualizing data for the past few years, and while I have experimented a bit, this exhibition reaches new levels of awesome. The marriage of solid research and acclaimed artists has resulted in a baby that is like baby superman, but cuter.
It is worth the trip to actually see the exhibits live – Ameena Hussein’s piece is a sculpture covered in loudly ticking bulbs and there are magnifying glasses for Mika Tennekone’s painting. There is also a wireless headset but I have no idea what it was for. It might have actually been the property of the girl sitting at the computer, and if it was I apologize for fiddling with it. That is the peril of modern art for you..