What's in Boxes


When I take occasional naps during the afternoons I occupy the bed in the study room upstairs. This afternoon after taking the nap I woke up sighting the six big cardboard boxes that have been taken refuge in the top of the fixed wall cupboard in the room. As long as I remember these boxes have been there at least last 14 years. Yes, since 2005 - the year I was graduated in my MBA. All these boxes are fully packed with almost every piece of material that I used during course of studies, mostly the stuff I used during my research project. It has collections of magazine articles, published academic papers of the subject, handwritten fullscap papers whatnot. These were the material that helped me to get through the final research project of the degree and taught me academic writing. At the time I had no iPad, no iPhone. Not much of internet with 24/7 connection. Most of the stuff were taken from printed copies of HBR, which I used to receive in mail every month. Soon, these boxes will have to come down from where they are being stacked. I don't want to discard them, but I will have to. Mrs had already mentioned to me a couple of times that I should get rid of them in prepping for our proposed move, though no dates are known or fixed whatsoever. Before they will be thrown away, I'd have a look once more time to bring back memories of those times I put lots of time and effort in completing the research project.

Going Back to the Uni

After 3 months & 15 days 1 being here on vacation at the end of her final year of Bacholor's studies, daughter is returning back to university tomorrow morning. She will puruse her Master's for another year. Like mother went to the UK to help her in packing and moving out from her shared accommodation at the end of May, mum will also be accompanying her this time around to the UK to help daughter in moving into new uni accommodation.

2019-05-30 - stephie flight lgw-dxb

Though daughter sleep till late almost evryday during her stay over last 3 months, as expected this home was very lively and brightened-up. Like dad, she doesn't talk much; but when she does, she talks wisely and to the point.
During the vacation, she had the opportunity to hangout with her friends from the church a couple of occasions, including overnight trip to Abu Dhabi to attend Life of the Spirit youth conference in the end of July.

2019-07-09 - with church folksjpeg

In June, the family had dinner out at Bab Al Yam as a surprise treat for the daughter for scoring impressive marks for her degree. She had got through with First Class honours - a standard I had never been able to achieve during my academic years.
We flew into the UK for Stephanie's graduation which took place on Friday the July 19th, 2019 at the Cathedral of Caterbury and it was indeed a happy occassion for all of us. Around the same time, soon after the graduation, she got the confirmation of the offer to study her MSc in Social & Applied Psychology

2019-07-19 - just graduated in bsc

2019-07-19-stephie graduation fly photo

Towards the end of July, we were quite busy with making necessary arrangements to obtain visa for the daughter and we were pleased that everything worked out well, except in the first instance we realised that her first name was spelled incorrectly in the vignette. That got sorted in about a week or so though without much of a delay.

In August, nothing much interesting happened particularly due to peak of the summer and rising outside temperatures & high levels of humidity. We did of course travelled to Sri Lanka in the end of August for about 10 days. It was a good opportunity for Stephanie to catch up with her relatives and cousins. During the month, we also received the graduation portraits and fixed one of them on the wall. As for the family photo, it still hasn't put in a proper photo frame just yet.

2019-08-29-stephie graduation potrait

Some Culinery Stuff During this vacation

2019-06-12 - banana _oats cookies

2019-06-10 - brownies by stephie

  1. 107 days

Asking too much?

Sometimes I wonder whether I'm asking way too much from Jason, our creator of 10Centuries in terms of feature requests, enhancements and whatnot. Jason mostly oblige and deliver most of those requests. Most recently he came up with a sleek solution for data import to Day One journaling app from any blog site on 10C. He delivered the solution in almost less than 24 hours time. Quite impressive! I immediately used the new data export function to export blog archive to Day One, which automatically created a journal called 10Centuries and all the blog entities started to appear along with meta data. Even the photos I had posted on my blog. Awesome!
Ain't I feeling guilty for asking these features, but not being using those and other features 10C offers to blog consistently…? To be honest, I'm.

Brief Vacation in SL

Our vacation time in Sri Lanka every year was used to be either in July or August since we started living outside the island. It was driven by the fact that the daughter's academic holidays has always been during those months. However, last year it changed due we had to travel to Sri Lanka unexpectdly in September to attend mother's furneral. It was followed by another visit in December to organize the 3 month's memorial in accordance with buddhist traditions.

This year we planned to be in Sri Lanka from August 30th to September 8th, 2019, again not really for a holiday; but main purpose was to organize and attend mother's 1st year death anniversary memorial functions. I had proposed my sisters that we do a all night pirith pinkama in memory of mum as well as dad 1 She agreed. In addition to this main objective of the visit, there were a couple of other important tasks we wanted to do while we were in Sri Lanka.

  • To rent our house in Bandarawela
  • To make some plans for rennovation/modifications of the house in Nawala my parents had gifted me.

During the 10 days stay in the island, whilst Monica & the daughter mostly spent their time with the mother-in-law, I stayed in the house my mum used to live. This allowed me to be more invloved in organizing the memorial function(s) and also spend time with the siblings back home. It was also a good opportunity for me to be able to catch up with the little sister who flew on from Toronto. Additionally, I was also able to work with my brohers-in-law in making plans for the house rennovation. A rough sketch for modifications and a list of things to be carried out was drawn up. I also managed to get a contractor coming over and giving a estimate for the costs for such modifications/rennovations. All these were completed before the memorial functions were held.

As, it was after 8 years we organized a pirith at our place, significant number of tasks had to be done within a short span of time - inviting the monks, placing orders for tents, chairs, lighting, making arrangements for food for the guests, transportation and whatnot… Thankfully, my two energetic brothers-in-law(s) living in Sri Lanka were all there to help & support in getting things done, so passionately. There were long days of work and some sleepless nights. Naturally, brothers-in-laws' knowledge, skills and talents in the Buddhist Department was an enermous asset in completion of all activities to the highest standards and on time. On the other hand, my three sisters and also other cousins & relatives actively contributed from their part to make the occasion a successful one. There were approximately 140 guests turned up to listen to pirith, though only a handful of people stayed up all night as expected- mostly close relatives. Following all night pirith, an almsgiving was held according to buddhist traditions the next day morning. We hope that our parents and all those family & friends who had departed us will receive all the merits from these memorial functions and that they attain supreme bliss of nirvana

pirith mandapaya-sept 2019

drums-sept 2019

During the stay, I also managed to spend briefly bonding with my besties in two occassions. We had a meal & a drink and chatted about good old times as well as a few retirement plans that we could pursue. Of course, more discussions and work to be done in that area.

Amongst other things of significance during this visit were, the opportunity I had in seeing the first grandson in the family 2 and he's quite an adorable & pleasent baby and also the family was being present for the anniversary mass of Mother Theresa that was held on September 5th and everyone was happy about it.

seeing 1st grandson

All in all, it was indeed a good few days spent in the motherland, specially being able to meet both close & distant friends & relatives!

  1. They both passed away in the month of September 8 years apart

  2. Born to my niece on March 21st, 2019

1st Half - 2019

First half of 2019 has just been completed. I thought it is good to look back and review the last six months - good, bad & the ugly.
If I think of my favorite single day or the single event of the first half, it was not just one single day or an event, but a few. On Wednesday the June 5th, Stephanie was informed that, she was awarded a Scholarship to pursue her MSc in Psychology. In less than two weeks, she got through her Bachelor's degree in Psychology with a First Class Honors, immediately after that news, she got the conformation of acceptance to continue studies to pursue MSc in Social & Applied Psychology. In my own professional font, In the same week on Thursday June 20th, I was informed of my job role in the new org structure 1 There you go, the month of June brought the family a much happiness. That doesn't mean to say I haven't had challenges, in particular with my health, in which ultimately that I had to undergo a minor surgery in the last week of the month. During the month, I also had the opportunity for a date with Stephanie in a little bit of shopping at IKAE, followed by quick snack in the cafeteria. All in all a good June indeed.

In terms of my own simple creativity side, though it was not a big deal, for the first time, I managed to built a couple of shortcuts on iOS, that would hopefully help me to do work competency related entires in Day One on the go.
As for the most impactful decision, that I've made during last six months, I believe, it has been sorting out my health challenges and improving physical & psychological wellbeing comes top.
In terms of finances, both Mrs & I have been able to manage well, that allowed us to put food on the table & pay bills. Towards the later part of the 1st half, with daughter was being awarded with the scholarship, it was a much welcome relief for both of us for future financial planning.

As for my personal & professional development, even though it was by force, I managed to complete at least half a dozen of on-line courses of which some of the learning was applied for driving actions in the day job. That doesn't mean to say that I haven't had times of frustrations for not being able practice & apply some of the management theories which I've been reading in HBR though. Personally, I have been developing my listening skills too over the last six months and I'm very pleased about it. In my mind, I think that has been the hardest lesson I learned over past six months. Towards the end of June, when I was off-sick at home, I've also slowly developed a new hobby, passion or habit or whatever you want to call it - writing daily Morning Pages and a Journal 2

In closing, the one thing I am gratefulfor this past six months is, being employed in one of the world's reputable organization & the value, trust & confidence people I have on me. If I can also give another, it is definitely my wife & the daughter for being super supportive to me in coping up with some of the life's challenges over last six months. I'm most grateful!

Personal goals for the next half of the year..hmm..there is one I can think of right now and that is to complete 12 weeks guided course of "The Artist's Way" in the workbook by Juila Cameron and perhaps put the learning into practice consistently next 12 weeks. More about that later.

I have to say, writing this post was a spur of the moment thought that came to mind while I was trying to get some sleep, but could not. Thank you for reading! it is past 1.00 am and I must try & get some sleep.

  1. Due to restructure that has been going since July 2018

  2. I use Apps on my iPad to achieve that

Neem Tree...

When we first offered the company accommodation about two decades ago, we were given the opportunity to view a few houses rented by the company. We viewed about 3 available houses which located in the same compound. Finally, we selected the current house we live in. We have been since year 2000. As all the houses in the compound are in the same lay out and design, the decision to choose this one was mainly because of the neem tree that is in the front yard. As you will see in the link, neem tree is known for wide variety of good things, mainly when it comes to health & well being. This was one of the key criteria Monica & I considered in choosing the house.

This neem tree, over the years has been a good friend of mine. This has been the place I go to first thing in the morning with my cup of coffee & a cigarette in my hand. It has been under the neem tree, I prayed to the lord, taken time to think through about the good & bad things I go through life. It has also been the place that I’ve been fantasizing. There have also been memories coming to my head - both pleasant and unpleasant. No matter what time of the day or even what season of weather, I’ve always enjoyed standing under the neem tree 1

More the tree grows, I have been the happiest. It not only gave me a place to wind down and relax, but also plenty of shade & coolness during the hot summer months. Of course on the other hand as the tree grows, it roots could have damaged the tiled floor on the pathway to the main entrance. This is what Mrs has always been worrying and commenting. So every now and then she wanted the Gardner to trim the tree and it was just been done during last couple of days. Though I wasn’t very pleased about it, in the end I agreed, hoping the tree will continue to grow & nourish, no matter what.

Neem Tree last week

Neem Tree today

  1. I’m considering installing a chair/bench fixed to wall to sit

Too much connected.. Are we...?

I’m here seated in the couch downstairs at home, when I got a message from the daughter who is in her room upstairs asking

Anyone be available to drop me at the train station at 4, because I’m meeting my friends.

I responded

Okay, I will.

Soon after that, I was thinking to myself, why in the world, she could not have asked me in person. I’ve been seeing her almost the whole day at home, she did not utter a word. Was it because, she felt brave to ask in a message rather than face to face in person, assuming that I’d refuse her request? Was it because she was lazy to walk downstairs or even to scream from upstairs to ask it? Was it because she felt that her phone was in easy reach and it was more comfortable to type in a bunch of text?

I thought to myself, what a strange world we live in. Being in a connected world is absolutely fine if the intention is to build & foster relationships and to share ideas & thoughts collaboratively. It isn’t good, if that takes away most important human touch by being able to communicate face to face and express ourselves.

I’m just saying!

Keep Writing...

There have been a couple of recent posts that has been of much interest to me about writing and in particular blog posting The most recent two that stands out are, our own 's Something to Write About and the other is from Ron Chester's Write About What's interests you. Then there was this one from my niece - Rebecca, to which answered the question, posed by on 10C, here. , in his reply to , highlights an important point, that writing allows people to think and put those into words backed by context.
I believe there are a some good take-aways from all three articles. What stands out for me particularly are 's point about the context 1 and other is putting thinking into words. I also like Ron's humble approach in his writing, whenever he has something that interests him to say.
To and Ron, please keep writing & I always look forward to read yours. And also to @booksbyrebecca, continue writing, no matter what. Here is note to myself Write Better!

  1. Which I have to admit, lots of my blog posts lacks


Yesterday was an important life event for daughter, that she was inducted as a Eucharistic Minister in the parish church. Understandably, Mother was quite pleased that, after serving in same role her self for last three years; she managed to encourage daughter to agree to serve. That's said, daughter would be available to serve only during her visits to the church whenever she fly down for her vacations.

As expected, mother has taken a few photos during the induction ceremony and posted in the family group chat for everybody to see. Rather than let them get buried, as it's usually the case with most of the photos taken from her iPhone, I decided to post at least the most important one here.

Stephanie EM induction

Missing Notebook

I've taken a day off from work today, though I was awake by 0600 this morning. Family is still asleep and here I am sitting down in the couch. I was flipping through Notes app on my MacBook, when I came across a link I had saved in Notes. The title of the post is When life get tough. I can't remember how and where I came across it; but there are some good takeaways from it. Among a few others, this one stood out for me right now when I'm contemplating about my note taking tools.

Take notes. Don't believe you are capable of remembering every thought you will ever have. Write! It! Down! Notebook, apps, doesn't matter. Write it down for fuck's sake.

I've always in the habit of taking notes and have always enjoyed it and found valuable in helping to remember things - important things. When I was a Boy Scout, I've always ensured entires and notes in my Logbook was clearly written, neat and up to date. I briefly mentioned about it in a blogpost I wrote a few months back. Even after I started using iDevices about a decade ago, I continued taking down notes using pen & paper. I still keep 2-3 dozens of notebooks filled with handwritten notes and once in a while I keep going back to them. They are mostly work related notes from meeting notes, quick thoughts & ideas to notes made during business travel assignments overseas. Reading some of those old notes bring me memories I will always cherish, in particular about my career in the fascinating world of aviation. In early to mid 2000(s), though I owned a couple of hand-held devices like Palm, HP iPAQ, imate with stylus support for digital note taking, it never attracted me. I continued with pen & paper and I liked it. Then came 1st Gen iPad Pro with Apple Pencil support and I got my hands on with it no sooner it was available in retail. It did not take long to die down my pen & paper note taking habit; instead I gradually got used to taking notes in iPad with Apple Pencil and it worked well for me, until recently when I purchased iPad Pro 2018 with new Apple Pencil. Daughter had already requested for me to give my 1st Gen iPad Pro to her and I did, when she arrived here for her Spring vacation in early April. With that, my interest of digital note taking slowly faded away, even though I had set up my shiny new iPad Pro, with supposedly improved Pencil. At the same time a close business associate of mine had given me a paper notebook in Memo taking format. Naturally, I kind of switched back to pen & paper. I started to bring the notebook along with me to meetings in the day job. I begun to jot down thoughts and ideas that came to mind. It seemed to work well. However, that did not last long until I realized last week that I do not have my notebook with me. I searched in my EDC bag, my desk in the day job and even a couple of meeting rooms that I had been to last week. Now it has almost been a week, I still haven't found it. Not that I had sensitive contents written down in my notebook; but there were a few important quick notes and ideas that I had written down for future reference. In hindsight, I should've digitized those notes by scanning or capturing images. Should I keep hoping that I'd find the notebook back? Should I continue pen & paper note taking in a new notebook and scan my notes, or should I go back to handwritten note taking on iPad….