Mirror Magazine
15th October 2000
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Country Road X is tonight!

It's tonight. The show all you country and western fans look forward to all year long. Yes, it's Country Road X, the tenth anniversary concert tonight at the Trans Asia Hotel.

The show was a sellout last year and so if you haven't got your tickets already, be sure to hurry, for there's even more exciting fare lined up this year. And as the strains of that well-loved country classic 'Country Road , take me home...' swell through the hall, you can sit back to some superlative music from both local and foreign bands.

Joining the bandwagon this year is country and folk singer Katya Kaye who makes her first trip to Sri Lanka. Katya from Germany is presently based in the USA. The Mavericks, familiar to all those who attended previous Country Road concerts, have taken time to fit Sri Lanka into their busy schedules and will be there to present their brand of swinging stuff.

On the local front, there's the ever popular Mariazelle, Flame, Anton Gunatilleke and others who all have something special lined up for this show.

Why special you may ask? That's because Country Road is a concert for a cause. A cause that most of us feel strongly about but do little to help. All proceeds from the show go to the needy children in our land and in the show's ten year history have made a significant difference in the lives of many which is why UNICEF, the United Nations children's organisation lends its support to the cause. Country Road is organised by the Country Music Foundation headed by journalist Feizal Samath, who has worked tirelessly through the years to make this charity show a reality. 

Many other sponsors like Ceylinco Insurance, Sri Lankan Airlines, for instance have also stepped in to make the show possible. TNL Lite has been providing publicity via the radio, Dynavision via TV and The Sunday Times which has been with Country Road from its inception does its share as the print media sponsor.

So the music's ready and all you've got to do is join the Country Road tonight at 7p.m at the Trans Asia Hotel. 

Confessions of a love-letter receiver

By Gooseberry 
That impish grin flashing on her face should have warned me. But I was too peeved to notice. Here I was trying to finish my homework just ten minutes before the bell and she insists upon an urgent need to visit the bathroom.

Halfway down the corridor she starts running, dragging perplexed me behind her. After bumping into half a dozen people, pillars and walls we crash into the bathroom banging the door shut. By now I'm convinced that she needs medical help. But before I get a chance to open my mouth she is flourishing what looks like an envelope in my face, accompanied by an unearthly "voila!!!"

Guess what it is. A solemn declaration of steadfast and abiding affection, from an ardent and faithful admirer who desires to be my betrothed. In other words, a love letter meant for me.

FOR ME!!!?

Now I'm positive I need medical assistance and hope my friend is discerning enough. Our breathing processes temporarily suspended, we both rush through the sublime communication, lavishly drenched in sentiment and dipped several times in a well of perfume. Once is not enough but even after three times, we are both in the dark about what exactly some of it means. But one does not concern oneself with such mundane tasks like reading between the lines when confronted with rapturous declarations of love. Such tasks are for literature lessons and other people's love poems. When it comes to your own you think about more important matters like, well, how to conceal it from prying eyes while not actually departing from it. 

The first period for the day passed in a daze, as you can well imagine. By the second period I knew everything in the revered epistle by heart. (Amazing to think that even John Donne's literary pursuits did not receive the same treatment from me). A thousand stars were lit up in my head and I would have had an exceptionally moony look on my face that whole day (and many weeks to come). But my friend who usually takes much delight in rudely jolting me awake from my daydreamings kept quiet, perhaps realizing the delicate state I was in. After all, aren't love letters scientifically observed and theoretically proven to be the cause of moonstruck madness in many souls?

But by noon the gravity of the situation had seeped into me. I couldn't possibly carry this around. Me being myself I'm bound to leave it around sooner rather than later to be seized upon by those sworn enemies of young love; teachers and parents. Besides, I strongly suspected that the aspiring Romeo expected an answer from me. But first for disposal: carrying a loveletter addressed to you was as bad as carrying cocaine. I turned to my nearest and dearest for help.

"Pssst. What do I do with this?" I hiss across the row at her during the science lesson. She seems to be engrossed in the process of photosynthesis, but must have heard the sheer desperation in my voice. After a moment's consideration she says with the straightest face ever, "Normally when you get such a communication you prepare an answer and deliver it via a trustworthy channel."

I look for a swear word, but decide to let it go.

"What I mean is, how do I get rid of this?"

"Oh. Well that should be easy enough. Shove it down the drain."

I think of all those literary and romantic jewels dissolving in discoloured water and feel a pang. And there's also the danger that someone might fish it out before dissolution, and fit the pieces together, and seeing my name on top shrouded by endearments, hand it over to a teacher. 

"Or go home and burn it," she suggests seeing my lugubrious face.

"Definitely not. Mother will want to know what's burning."

"Then chuck it in the toilet and flush."

That's as bad as the first one but at least without the danger of falling into someone else's hands. The day was nearing the end and I had to do something. I just couldn't take it home because mothers have second sight. When the bell rang I headed valiantly towards the toilet, my eyes stinging and heart breaking, angry at the world that doesn't let one love and be loved.

Few years later

I find myself reading confessions of a most interesting kind. Good samaritans of two types, in the same business, have come out with their experiences; writing love letters on order and delivering them. Though I thoroughly enjoy both I find myself needled by various pangs.

Uneasily, I ponder the journey of the love letter that came to me so long ago. The aspiring Romeo was the cousin of my friend's brother's best friend. A long way to go, surely and the letter would have passed through many hands. Oh no! Why wasn't I sensible enough to look for messed up Sellotape and a crumpled envelope? 

But one thing is, I don't feel half so bad about the Shakespearean aspirations that were so heartbreakingly flushed down the toilet. According to the confessor of letter-writing fame, many were in this business of writing other people's loveletters. The masterpiece that came my way would not have constituted the literary dreams of my aspiring Romeo after all.


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