Sunday, July 19, 2009
Here, Watson let us examine this strange woman whose seeds of strangeness started sprouting from puberty onwards. I am in a dilemma here folks because I don’t want to call myself strange online. This blog does seem to enjoy some little traffic. Mainly because I direct people here in a shameless bid to toot my own horn. Calling oneself strange is not considered the done thing in certain circles. But Watson how else can we explain this thing. Here we have a girl entering puberty and sprouting breasts. And resenting it! Because they make her feel unsafe and threatened. They spoil her pre pubertal pristine silhouette, attract unwelcome attention and unwelcome restrictions. The attention of adults, the bad sort.
I remember after a bath walking from the well towards the gate in wet knickers and nothing else. And a rug seller was walking along the road and he gave me this hot scalding smoldering once over. This thin kid of 12 or so with just sprouting breast buds. And why was a 12 year kid in the early stages of breast development walking around in knickers you might ask. Because the kid in addition to resenting the breast development is also in denial about it. Covering up would be an admission, an acknowledgment of breasts. So she does not. May be if she pretends they are not there…. they might go away. I remember my last uncomplicatedly happy April. Was in my 13th year. The last year that I could get away with being one of the boys with my brother and cousin brother. The last year of total kid freedom. Next year I would be told not to accompany them to the paddy fields to fly kites because there would be jd types about. My last year of being totally comfortable with my family members in public places without feeling unpleasantly singled out and creepily special because of all the male stares directed at me. And all this was without the complication of breasts! From my 12th year to about 18th year I could still pretend in certain clothing that I was flat chested. I remember looking at my fully endowed mates and thinking what hell their life must be. Having to carry that conspicuous luggage around.
When I was 15 to make matters worse this creepy crawly male life form developed a thing for me. He wasn’t even going to school at the time, was short, wasn’t at all the kind of male qualified to frequent my fantasies and yet he dared to cast his eyes at me. Actually gave me a letter all wrapped in brown paper via a friend of his. I received this packet when I was in the act of getting down from the bus. Tore the brown paper. Saw red flowers and hearts drawn with a red pen. Dropped it in the bus halt like a radio active titanium rod and forgot about it.
Next thing I hear the whole neighborhood is buzzing about our affair (how my skin crawls even now to use the word ‘our’), the short creep is routinely following in his bike the bus I take to the tuition class, I see him with depressing frequency in my haunts, my mother is interrogating me, my brother is teasing me, my friend’s mother is advising me, my friends are telling me stories of how they heard the creep had vowed to lift me. All this without one word being passed between the creep and me. Can you believe it? I remember a nightmare I had shortly after hearing this ‘lifting’ story. In it I was being lifted, carried by a friend of his. And this was a nightmare. There was nothing sexual about it although being carried by a man, had always had deeply sexual connotations for me on account of witnessing when very young my father carrying my mother. I think it was a kind of foreplay act for them and they did it in front of us kids because they thought we wouldn’t be aware. And there was another nightmare spawned by this lifting talk. In it my legs would be covered in some thick wart like gray skin. The real skin would be under this covering and extremely itchy. But no matter how hard I would scratch the warty gray second skin I would feel nothing and the itch would remain. It was very fortunate that I didn’t have any obvious assets back then because if I had I would have felt like cutting them off. The presence of assets would have made me feel worse as if I was inciting the creep in some way.
Then in my 18th year there came this point of no return when I could no longer pretend even in my school uniform that I was flat chested. At 19 it was worse. Uniform had been bad but T shirts made it worse. Not for nothing do they have wet t-shirt contests. To make matters worse Watson the girl is still not wearing any bras. Because she is still in denial. To wear bras, to be seen to be wearing bras, to go to mother and ask to be bought bras would be an admission, an acknowledgment of the existence of breasts. If she pretends they do not exist they would go away? Perhaps not. But at least she would be part of a manufactured set of reality where breasts don’t exist because they are unacknowledged.
However going bra less presents serious mobility issues. Not at all conducive to comfortable, smooth streamlined movement. So the girl wondered. Could a bra actually help? Would it have a reducing effect too as well as a restrictive effect? The girl decided to experiment. Only rather than telling mother she just decides to embezzle some funds and buy it on her own.
The girl tries it on and wears a t shirt over that and it is a disaster. The effect is totally Pamela Anderson. A little explanation here Watson. Getting a bit above herself this girl. No way could she have looked like Pamela Anderson. It is a genetic impossibility. That fabled 19 year old bust can’t have been more than a 34 B at the most. Here we have a girl whose body perception is way out of touch with reality.
So now what. The bra doesn’t help? Maybe if she pinned it up real tighter? Would she be able to do with her breasts what the Chinese did with their feet? Real tight like with about a ten pins? Faint inducing, rib crushing, permanent welt forming tight? How about that folks will that work? What I remember about this period and it lasted around two years, is the pain of having to sit long hours in the classes enduring the pain and the suppurating cut marks and the welts. And finally the gradually easing pain as the bust shrank gradually. And at the end of those two years, eureka! a totally acceptable non threatening bust. Then gradually awakening to the knowledge of the terrible achievement, the remorse, the yearning for the lost fullness, the depression and then pinning hopes on hormones or even plastic surgery. And that was how I ended up in front of the Prof naked to the waist.
I told him the tale. A likely tale he must have thought. As you must too. But it really happened I swear. It made my bust go down one or two sizes. From around 34 B to 32B. Or was it from 36 to 32? I will never be sure. I have to believe it’s the former and not the later. Makes it easier to sleep at night.
Anyway to get back to the main scene. Me bare breasted in front of Prof Colvin Gunaratne and telling him “But Sir my breasts used to be pretty” and he coming right back at me “And they are still pretty”
“No Sir, they are not” “Have you seen breasts of other females?” “ No Sir” “I have seen thousands and I am saying they are pretty”. End of story. The girl goes home. She will play with her silicon ideas and hormones ideas a little bit longer. But it has ended right there. In Colvin Guneratne’s room”. With those words “I have seen thousands of women… And they are pretty”.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
I am sorry if I caused you offense by my behavior. I want to assure you that, I really meant you no disrespect and was fully aware of your professional stature, from day one. If I gave you the impression; that I was ignorant of it and that my behavior stemmed from that ignorance, my apologies. At the same time, I wonder if I may try to place the whole thing in its proper context.
As I understand it, my first protocol faux pas was calling you by your first name. This was because I had the impression that Zest Biscuits Sales and Marketing division was a first names office. Sorry if I was wrong. Even if it is a first names office I normally stop short of using first names when it is a case of approaching senior citizenship status. That did not seem to apply to you. In fact Vic once told us ‘Roger is young’. I suppose I could have called you Mr. Roger. But it would have been the wrong etiquette. Mr. Janus frankly seemed too…. stiffly formal .
My second protocol related faux pas it seems, was passing you the story board to look at and asking you to cue me on what the voice over says;
"Roger could you read out what the voice over says?”
At the time, this seemed to me to be a perfectly acceptable bit of interactive presenting. If this seemed to be an offensive breach of protocol; I am sorry.
All I can say in my defense is that; my notions of protocol were formed or warped (depending on how you look at it) by the profession I am in ; advertising. Starting ten years ago as a Trainee at AlfredHarry Co. and doing time in six agencies before coming to Sanctuary this April, my notions of protocol were formed and defined at ad agencies. When one has practically grown up in a setting where relaxed protocol is a way of life one tends to adopt certain behaviors and mannerisms. Wouldn’t you agree? For example, I have worked with creative directors, who wouldn’t take their feet off the table even when the MD comes visiting, and I have also worked with creative directors who stood to attention when talking to the MD.
I started off thinking that the former were heroes and the later were suckers. Then again as time passed, I learned to see such loud and overt displays of nonchalance, as signs of insecurity and set my protocol meter at some point midway between these two extremes. All these inroads into my biography must be boring you, but my intention is to explain.
Another reason for this mail is to clearly communicate three vital issues, which I tried but failed to convey to you due to my lack of diplomatic finesse.
- You told us, not to try to short circuit the proper channels of approval, in place in your organization. This was so; far far far from being our policy, that I simply couldn’t help speaking up at that time. Nobody in our team ever tried to short circuit the process. In fact we simply wouldn’t even know how to short circuit the proper channels, even if we wanted to do that. And we do not; most definitely; want to short circuit. To us Vic and Brett, your marketing managers are the client. We always have gone through them. We have never felt any urge to short circuit or circumvent them because they are the ideal clients. In fact, they are a throw back to the clients that used to exist, in the long past, golden age of advertising. Clients, who were prepared to roll back their sleeves and get down to business with the agency team. Clients, who do not entertain the mistaken belief, that a client’s involvement with the agency team is limited to two points; the briefing and the presentation. Clients, who share the belief laid out in the most basic advertising book, that for good ideas to emerge the agency and the client have to exist in each others pockets. In fact, it was due to your marketing managers’ commitment and willingness to get involved in every phase of the ideation process, that the whole Zingers campaign went swimmingly and also the Raspberry campaign. So when you said words to the effect “ my marketing managers know better than you. They have better concepts than you” my jaw literally dropped from amazement. Whoever suggested that they weren’t? Of course they are, and thank God for them. If you have somehow got the impression, that we had any complaints against your marketing managers that is wrong; so totally wrong.
- Then you accused me/the team; of putting a family in the Lean Zingers commercial and wasting your time, when it should have been perfectly obvious to us, that the primary target group was the 30 + adults. But my dear Sir, the idea of using the family, was totally cleared with, approved by and endorsed by Vic beforehand. I am sure Vic will bear me out.
- Then Sir, you made it clear that you don’t want me to keep pushing. Once you have spoken, that’s it. You are right Sir, I accept I am a very pushy person. But once you get to know me, I am not such a bad person. I merely believe in free and frank discourse between people to resolve issues. In fact Sir, if you have the time and the inclination (And I am fully prepared to concede that you would have neither) to get an idea about the real me; visit this blog “indi.ca” and search for ‘six questions for tamils’ page and you will see the comments of a blogger called ratnawalli That is me. And you will see the discourse currently being carried out between ratnawalli and nayagan. Nayagan is a member of the Tamil Diaspora. And you may see how healthy, how illuminating and how refreshing discussion can be. If you click on the name ratnawalli, you can go to my blog and you can really see, the essential me. But of course you would not have the time or the inclination and that’s fine.
But my point Sir is if a member of the Tamil Diaspora based thousands of miles away can enter into a dialog with a Sinhalese and build an endearing forum, why can’t we, Sanctuary and Zest (who according to our Chairman are practically family members) discuss things without offending each other? We can Sir. We really can. I will do my part and I hope you will be kind enough to give us a helping hand.
Once more I am sorry, if I have offended and hope you will see me as I really am.