I am grounded in you


For Simone & Priyanka

To whom it may concern,

In the last 10 years my address has changed 11 times. Flights across oceans; the occasional upgrades followed loyally by many downgrades. I’ve called many places home.

I am not grounded by a postcode, change appears to be the only constant of my vagrant life. So for a girl so well adjusted to change, it caught me by surprise when in the last 2 weeks I had the wind knocked out of me by change. Two of my closest friends moved to London for 2 years.  Scratch that – when you’ve seen my ugly-cry and vom as many times as they have, you’ve earned the status of family.

Not only do their parents know me, their extended family do as well. Their mums have fed me, their dads have driven us to clubs at ungodly hours, and I know where the ice cream bowls are kept in both households. Their homes have been more of a constant in my life than my own.

So although I knew in advance the feeling of family moving away, although I know that their faces are just a Skype conversation away, I was still unprepared for the sadness and loss of yet another constant. Because although I am not grounded by a postcode, I am grounded. My compass points north around family, and in their absence the friends who didn’t think twice about filling their shoes.

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It’s what’s underneath that counts

To whom it may concern,

Regardless of how bubbly and solar-powered your disposition may be, everyone has a phat day. Phat days are the times when you look at a cupboard full of clothes and mentally decide that you look like a whale and run around the house yelling “CALL ME ISHMAEL” or decide sweatpants will be your new uniform, or unfortunately stumble on that chocolate gelato tub that you decide will make a great meal.

Sometimes these days turn into a rut that I am all too familiar with. But I have found the solution. It’s what’s underneath that counts – sure they might’ve been talking about your generous spirit and kindness towards mankind but I think they were
being literal.

They were talking about lingerie…and potentially bone structure. But let’s pick one we can fix. I was having a phat day myself – ‘Scandal’ was on, so were the track pants. But the previous week I had been on a roll – hit the gym 5 days straight (unheard of), ate reasonably healthy, so I thought I’d give myself a treat and went onto http://www.herapparelintimates.com to get myself the bralette aka trend of the season.

I cannot explain to you how well timed the deliveryman’s appearance was. I don’t know\
who invented this most flattering piece of lingerie but I think most women would agree that the second you’re wearing matching underwear you are mentally transformed from a potato to Beyoncé in the Single Ladies dance. This feeling is irrelevant of size and you don’t even need to parade yourself half-naked to feel this confidence boost.

You’re just sitting there in public like a saucy ninja thinking “Booooy, if only you knew”. And BOOM rut is over. And this coming from me is huge because I have never felt sexy in lingerie.

I’m 5’2 and at an unfortunately young age I was only too well endowed with Sandy & Mandy (they’re sisters who refuse to be twins). This awkward combination happened before Bendon stocked real sizes and lingerie shopping has always brought back memories of discomfort, my mum unsure of who was the cause of this genetic malfunction and me wondering if I’d ever see my waist without a mirror again – still no sign.

But HER apparel makes custom-sized lingerie for those awkwardly endowed at the same price of the regular stock.

The package arrives in an awesome canister which you spend the first 15 minutes FullSizeRender_4inhaling because it comes perfumed…until you realize you’ve just spent 15 minutes inhaling underwear.

Yeah, it gets a little weird BUT THEN you try on your new lingerie and turn on femme fatale mode – you’re a no-good, sass-machine whose quiet confidence seduces men into dangerous and deadly circumstances. Symptoms may vary, terms and conditions apply.

Anyhoo, I’m so stoked with my new find that I want to share my new mojo with one special reader this week.

For a chance to win your very own Her Apparel Bralette:

  1. Check out HER apparel
  2. Like the Facebook post and PM us with the style of Bralette you’d like to own: https://www.facebook.com/whatthehallelujah?ref=hl

A winner will be drawn on Tuesday the 21st of April 8pm.






Mike Masilamani – The Boy Who Speaks In Numbers

Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 11.21.29 amThis week on The Grinders of WhatTheHallelujah?! we have a cool cat by the
name of Mike Masilamani, Copywriter, Creative Director, lecturer, Sunday School teacher and more recently house painter. Mike currently works at the Sydney Survivorship Centre, Concord Hospital: doing all things from organising fundraising to being the most enthusiastic guest-student of the knitting class and generally encouraging cancer survivors to regain their mojo. Mike has many “non-achievements” such as being expelled from Loyola College hostel, Chennai and failing all his subjects in his 5th semester. Undeterred he went on to join the family business and won a scholarship to the Chartered Institute of Marketing, United Kingdom. He went on to write a few sick ads, winning a couple of awards for them along the way and pioneered Sri Lanka’s first dating website. We spoke to him about his first book ‘The Boy Who Speaks In Numbers’, that follows The Boy, on his journey to a refugee camp with the Constantly Complaining Cow and the Kind Uncle who Never Speaks for company.

WTH: Hi there Mike, do you mind if I call you Mike?

Mike: Yes, I do mind.

Front cover of : The Boy who Speaks in Numbers Artwork: Matthew Frame

WTH: Congratulations on your new book. I hear your early reviews have all been great thus far. Are you excited for the launch itself?


Mike: To be honest, the only reviews have been from you and your mum and as we all know, both aren’t the most objective audience. But yes, it is an exciting turn of events – something I’ve prayed for, for many years.

WTH: The book initially was written as short story for a children’s magazine that was later performed as a play. How did this evolve into the novella it is today?

Mike: Well if you remember, I used to read parts of it to you and your brother long ago. Then, there came a point, that I couldn’t do that anymore. You two were still young and impressionable then.

At some point, I sent it to my dear buddy Tracy who runs Mind Adventure Theatre Company in Colombo who turned it into a play despite my protest that I hadn’t finished with the story. The story doesn’t end there; a couple of years after we performed it in Colombo it got invited to the Hindu Metroplus Theatre Festival in Chennai. Interestingly it got far better reviews than it did in Colombo. To be fair it had gone through some refinements.

Still later I was introduced to Nia Murphy, a designer then at Tara Books who took it back to Chennai and interested V Geetha the editorial director of Tara Books. There followed what is best described as a master class in writing from Geetha, that in no small measure contributed to what the Boy is today.

WTH: this sounds like no quick and easy feat. How long did the whole process take and did you envision the book as it is today from the beginning?


Mike: You’re right it was no quick and easy feat. I compare it to bringing up a child. I read somewhere that the Talmud says there are 3 things a man should do: plant a tree, have a child and write a book. Since I had limited success with the first two I had to try and do a better job with the third! *laughs* (…)

550604_10152149486620487_444474800_nOn a serious note, yes the story has evolved. On one-hand it got bolder in reflecting what was happening on the ground in Sri Lanka. At the same time it took on a universal resonance.

Then of course there are the illustrations. There is a story behind them too- Rathna Ramanathan, who is responsible for design at Tara spent a whole year illustrating the book herself (which rarely happens) and then decided she didn’t like them! That’s when Mathew Frame took over, responsible for the current illustrations, which I think are awesome.

All in all, I would say the project has taken 6 to 7 years.

WTH: This book was initially written for children, however has clearly taken a more mature turn with darker themes. Who would you say this book is written for?

Mike: That’s a difficult one. I would say it is for everyone rooting for a child growing up through a war. It is a fable of our times.

WTH: Writing as a discipline is a difficult one to cultivate – did this skill come naturally to you? What advice would you give our future copywriters cum authors?


Back Right: Mike Masilamani, Second generation wordsmith Front Left: Cyril Masilamani, First generation wordsmith

Mike: As you know some of the best writers have been copywriters – Salman Rushdie, Peter Carey to name just a couple. As for me, I’m fond of describing myself as a second-generation wordsmith, as my dad was not only a copywriter but also a journalist.

However none of this automatically qualifies one to be a writer -it is more the love of writing and the determination to make it as a writer. Writing can be a lonely occupation.

One practical tip for would-be writers –read your writing out aloud. Jonathan Swift and Jonathan Franzen are two authors who practice(d) this. Remember that’s how this story started-with your brother and you as my audience. At the end of the day a good novel is really about good storytelling.

WTH: Thank you for sitting with WTH this evening, how can our readers get their hands on The Boy Who Speaks in Numbers?


Mike: The book is currently available in India at Tara Books

And can also be bought online http://www.tarabooks.com/books/. It is being launched in Colombo on the 8th of May and will be available at Barefoot bookshop there. The book will be available worldwide in November 2015 and you can pre-order it at www.amazon.com.

WTH: Looking forward to it Mike, is there anything else on the horizon we should keep a look-out for?


Mike: Stick to Dad, and thank you for asking. Yes there is a second book in the works10417757_1090896637594262_1926553296944930785_n for the same publisher, Tara Books. It’s titled The Story of Stories, and is an ancient Indian fable that I have been asked to reinterpret, beautifully illustrated by the Brazilian artist Jose Francisco Borges whose works are exhibited at the Louvre and The Smithsonian.

WTH: No big deal then. For updates on The Boy Who Speaks In Numbers check out the Facebook page www.facebook.com/theboywhospeaks and the twitter page www.twitter.com/theboywhospeaks

Square one – Re-starting the fitness journey.

Someone forgot to tell me when PT sessions at the gym became a full blown therapy session.

PT: “What do you want to get out of this session?”

Me: *Give me a Mila Kunis Body now*

“Just want to get my fitness up”

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PT: “How’s your nutrition?”

Me: *I could destroy a medium-spicy chicken burger combo from Maccers with a Fanta (no ice) right about now*

“It could do with some work”

PT: “Well I’ve found this 30-day shake cleanse that has really helped curb my over-eating”

Me: *Oh god*


PT: You basically have a shake in the morning, a boiled egg for morning tea, regular lunch, a celery stick for afternoon tea and a shake at night for five days then over the weekends you just have the shakes. The presidential package costs around $720.00 but its worth it.

Me: *wtf…who is paying $720 for a celery stick? I don’t wanna brag but I can chew solids now*

“I think I might try and get into the discipline of working-out regularly first…”

PT: “Yes good call – let’s ease into it. How about we measure you now?”

Me: *Bitch, I will eat you*

“Yeah let’s do that!”

PT: “Just raise your arms and i’ll measure around your belly”

Me: *Treasure tum –  you’re measuring my treasure tum*

Let’s start with the leg press – how does that feel?”

Me: *I want that burger*

“Great, I mean its hard – I can already feel the burn but its good”

PT: “Um… this is just your warm up”

Me: *dies*

PT: “Cool, think you can give me 15 burpees now?

Me: *You know what, Forget Mila Kunis – i’ll settle for an out of shape Tyra Banks  – she’s still hot, its fine* 

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The test of living with a man.

To whom it may concern,

Sri Lankan mum’s have this thing about their sons, this intrinsic need to pamper and look after their little princes. Now they get the odd disciplining, enough to make a practice out of please’s and thank you’s but for the most part it leaves them with a slight sense of entitlement and strong indignation when they’re called out about said entitlement. Mum’s brush away acts of inconsideration and unhelpfulness with “Oh boys are like that”.

If you’re a Sri Lankan male disagreeing with the above statement ask yourself: do i feel indignant right now? am I closing myself off to the rest of this post because I feel entitled to my lifestyle?

Whilst the men try and solve the answers to these questions – most likely with the help of their mothers – the rest of us may move on.

For the last few months I have been flatting with my brother who has frankly been the victim of the “boys are like that” excuse. So I decided to conduct a study of,let’s call him male, over the last week whilst taking into consideration the progress made over the last few months.

In the early stages the addition of extra chores of dusting and vacuuming 2 rooms seemed to confound the male, instructions had to be written in order for him to not use the excuse “I don’t clean it as well as you do though…”, setting alarms were suggested to remind said male to take the bins out which despite having been his only chore for the last 10 years seems to slip his mind weekly.

Thus far the only solution that has resuted in male actioning his 2 chores have been for me to reach the brink of my sanity with tears in my eyes and usually end with me screaming “FORGET IT, I’LL JUST DO IT MYSELF” to which his remark is the ever-confused “Fine I’ll do it…there’s no need to yell” This point is usually reached after having reminding the male to do his chores, re-reminding the male to do his chores, the male telling me to stop bugging him, me pointing out I wouldn’t be bugging him had he done his chores and OH MY GOD I’VE TURNED INTO MY MOTHER.

Anyway for the last 5 days I have not reminded male of chores. I’ve made sure to clean up after myself and do my own chores and my own laundry and see if male notices the carnage that he leaves behind and also that he doesn’t have clean clothes.

Day 5: Male’s dishes from day 1 are still in sink. It looks like Hagrid died in my bathroom sink. Male appears to be completely  unaware of said test and does not give a flying fart in space that he has almost no clean clothes. I give up.