Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bamba

Bamba

Once, there was a town,
Where we used to roam;
Through the straight and narrows,
Romping all the way home;
Skimming the beach sands,
Across Railway Lines;
Putting bat to ball,
On every street defined;
Ringing on every doorbell,
Scamping down the Streets;
Frolicking in the Sunshine,
Dripping in rainy beats;
The patter of small feet,
Those days were filled with smiles;
A child’s delightful retreat,
We’ve walked a million miles.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Feb 25, 2009

The Bambalapitiya Flats Website

The Bamba Flats Video

Trains at Bamba

1 comment:

Fazli Sameer said...

Daily News Tue Sep 8 2009:
Childhood memories of Bambalapitiya flats

When we were children we were brought up in a multi-cultural community at Bambalapitiya flats. We had Tamil, Muslim, Malay and Burgher friends with whom we played. Of course sometimes we had disagreements and fought and stopped talking to each other for a while. But we were happy children, never corrupted by the communal feelings which destroyed Sri Lanka.


Flat dwellers belonging to different communities living in harmony. Flie photo

When 1983 Communal riots erupted, Bambalapitya flats was the only community in Colombo which was not affected. Sinhala dwellers of the flats protected their Tamil neighbours. Hence not a single house was attacked. I still remember that day when a mob came to attack Bambalapitya flats from the seaside probably on July 26, 1983 at about 3.30 pm.

We ran towards them (I was an A/L student at that time) Chamley Abysuriya said to them in Sinhala “we are attacking here you guys go somewhere else “ so the mob believed us and went towards Wellawatte.

Soon the Sinhala youth of Bamba flats organized a vigilant service to protect the lives and property of their Tamil neighbours.

Gamini Walgama gave the leadership to organize the day and night vigilance service. (Gamini is a STF officer now). Our family protected Mr and Mrs Emerson and their children. Emerson was a dentist.

He had his house near the Liberty Cinema and it was burnt by the mob. We kept them in our house until they were safely taken to a refugee camp. Later the Emerson family went to UK.

After finishing my A/L I went abroad to do my Medical Degree and I came to Sri Lanka in 1993, I worked in Matale, Negombo, NHSL and Chilaw, hospitals where I met good Tamil friends. When some Sinhala doctors from secluded communities were reluctant to move with their Tamil doctor colleagues I was able to freely move with them, to have a common bond.

I believe Bamba multi-cultural community erased my racial thoughts since I was a child. I still have great friends Dr. Ram Manohar (UK) Dr. Sudarshan (NHSL) Dr. Pathmaraj (USA), Dr. Govi (Negombo) Dr. Quentan Ratnadev (Chilaw), Dr. Sandirasekaran (Puttalam) etc. We all are like a big family always ready to help each other.

Bambalapitiya flats taught me a lifelong lesson - not to believe in communalism.

- Mangala Jayatunge also known as (Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge M.D.)