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Battaramulla then and some unforgettable characters

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(Excerpted from the memoirs of Rtd. Senior DIG Police Edward Gunawardena)

Ganahena is perhaps the highest area; and St. Mathew’s Anglican Church built in 1850 is located here. Sri Sudassanaramaya the oldest temple in the village is also located on a high location close to Ganahena. These were the only places of worship. There were no Mosques or Kovils. However on the site on which St. Mathew’s Church stands there had existed a Hindu place of worship called the Gane Kovil. I have myself seen large granite columns strewn about in the churchyard. These are no more to be seen. A remarkable feature was the unity in which the Christians and Buddhists lived. In fact no family was wholly Buddhist or wholly Christian. My grandfather once told me that when a Revd. Welikala was the Parish Priest of St. Mathew’s Church, his brother had been the Chief Incumbent of the Sri Sudassanarama temple!

The sub-village place names mentioned above served a very useful purpose particularly because the systematic numbering of houses had not commenced. Persons and places were identified with reference to these places. eg. ‘Ganahena Kanda Uda’, ‘Udumulla lindalanga’, ‘Deniye Simon’, ‘Minuwanvila Carolis’ or Averiwatta Romlas’.

Ownership of land was mainly in small-holdings. But certainly not small by today’s standards. It was not unusual for a family to own an acre or more. Most of these plots were planted with coconut, arecanut and ground crops such as manioc, batala, pepper and even coffee. It is indeed a matter for regret that with the demand for land in Battaramulla in the 80s and 90s and the prices rocketing many of the less affluent decided to sell their lands and move further away from Colombo to places such as Pore, Habarakada and Aturugiriya. The massive influx of the affluent, urban middle class who have built palatial homes has certainly transformed the tranquil, traditional, unspoilt village that I have lived from birth to a crude mix of Cinnamon Gardens and Maligawatta of Colombo. Indeed the face of the village which I have known so intimately from the forties of the last century has changed beyond recognition. Only the name ‘Battaramulla’ remains. The story of Battaramulla over the past five decades is the story of a ‘vanished village’.

Large extents of land were rare; and the few that existed were owned by non-villagers. The present Jayanthipura which originated as a housing project during the premiership of Sir John Kotelawela was a coconut land belonging to the de Livera family. The large extent of land that forms the residential complex of Subuthipura was a rubber plantation belonging to a lawyer by the name of Ebert from Kalutara. The area bordering Lily Avenue off the Robert Gunawardena Mawatha was a rubber land belonging to a Vanlangenberg. During the rubber boom of the late forties and early fifties my father was the lessee of this land. As children we were able to closely observe how the latex was collected and sheet rubber turned out. My parental house and the house in which I live today are on a land that once belonged to the Lady Obeysekera Trust which had been purchased by my father and his two younger brothers in 1931. A substantial part of this eight-acre land is to-date retained by the family.

The land on which the Battaramulla Maha Vidyalaya stands today belonged to the Dassanayake family of Mirigama. Until the time of its acquisition by the Education Department my father was its leaseholder. This was the land on which the four Gunawardena brothers started playing football. Soon other children as well as adults were to join, ultimately leading to the birth of the Wingers’ Football Club. More about football later.

 

Roads and other utilities

The two main roads that traversed the village were the Colombo – Kaduwela Road, and the Pannipitiya Road commencing from the Battaramulla bazaar. The former was better known as the Colombo – Godagama Road. The village stood between the sixth and seventh mileposts on this road. These were the only macadamized roads. The present Parliament roundabout and the road to Parliament and beyond to Pelawatta and to Koswatta did not exist. The present Parliament was built in the eighties. The by-roads of note the Averiwatta Road, the Udumulla Road. and the Korambe Road. were all Village Council (VC) roads and they were all single lane gravel paths.

My father’s residence where I lived with my grandfather, grandmother, my father and my brothers was on the large extent of land that my father had purchased abutting the Korambe Road. From the Ganahena turn off up to the village boundary, was the present Parliament Rd. The others who lived on this road were the Jansens and the Vanlangenbergs on the eastern side and the Wijewickremas, Jamis baas and Obiyas baas on the Western side. James and Obiyas were much sought after village carpenters. The Wijewickrema property which was adjoining our land was occupied later by Roy Perera and his wife who were from Badulla. They were a very amiable couple who were very fond of children. Hema de Silva a nephew of Roy was a regular visitor who became friendly with us and would even take us regularly to see Hindi films. He had just returned after graduating from the London School of Economics and joined the newly created Central Bank of Ceylon.

This road was generally deserted except for the few people from the village of Korambe who travelled to work on foot or to take bus from the Battaramulla bazaar. Most casual labourers came from Korambe. I remember Lewis Aiya, Burampi and Thomis Appu as extremely honest and hardworking. The last mentioned drove our buggy cart. In the nights these people returning home carried chulu lights (hulu athu) and sang loud to scare away serpents from the road. Snakebites were common on these unlit by-roads; and the snake bite specialist (Sarpa vedamahattaya) who lived in Korambe was a much wanted man. He was the brother of the best known Vedamahattaya of Battaramulla, Simon Vedamahattaya.

It was from the Averiwatta (Rajamalwatta) Road that we approached the paddy fields and threshing floors that belonged to my grandfather. Ambalangodella was a substantial extent of paddy land together with a well tended fodder grass land. Cartloads of harvested fodder grass were delivered daily to Elephant House that used bullock carts for the transport of aerated waters.

As children my brothers and I enjoyed working in these paddy fields during the school holidays. Harvesting time was particularly pleasant I still remember even the Kamath language eg. Batha, maduwan, ambaruwa etc. My brother Irwin showed a special liking for the paddy fields and did not shy away from the mud. Fittingly in later life he joined the Agriculture Department and eventually rose to be the Director General of Agriculture.

The Udumulla road which was quite narrow, led through footpaths to the northern fringes of the village, the scanty settlement of Hakurugoda and an extensive patch of thick shrub jungle called Bogahahena. Hakurugoda was characterized by three or four small families of the Jaggery caste. These people integrated well with the rest of the villagers. Being traditionally cooks by profession the men were much sought after at village weddings and other social functions. The women carrying baskets on their heads were a welcome sight. They went house to house with breakfast preparations of string hoppers, pittu and hoppers together with delicious vegetable curries and sambols. During the New Year time everybody looked forward to their Kevum, Kokis, Aasmi, Helapa etc.

Two landmarks that I distinctly remember on the Udumulla road were the public bathing well and an elevated garden of mangosteen trees with a fashionable house. The occupant of these premises was an elderly English gentleman by the name of Meaden. He had been a former civil servant in the colonial administration.

Another important footpath that I often used as a short cut, connected the Pannipitiya road from near the present Indrajothi Vidyalaya with the Sri Sudassanarama Temple. On this narrow by-way was located a coconut land where the Hamers lived. Opposite this land was a home for destitute dogs which was very caringly and efficiently run by an energetic English lady by the name of Mrs. Bartlam. I remember visiting this place that was well known as the ‘Balu Madama’ with a parcel of buns for the dogs. There were several others too from the village who had brought food for the dogs.

In the late forties there was no electricity in the village. Some shops and a few affluent households used Petromax lamps. Most people used kerosene lamps with chimneys. Bottle lamps were widely used. Hurricane lanterns were used for outdoor activities while cyclists used carbide lamps. We as children were not allowed by our father to study by kerosene light. He saw to it that the four brothers used candies. Even today whenever lights fail I make do with a candle.

There was no refrigerator or any other electrical appliance in our home. It was common to preserve fish or pork in salt. Delicious preparations were made of salted fish or salted pork. T

The butter, bacon and sausages that my father brought were salted and did not need refrigeration. It is no exaggeration to say that the bacon or sausages sold today are insipid compared to what we ate then. Whenever my father brought ice cream, the container was packed in dry ice. Although rare, whenever an Elephant House van had to pass the village, apart from two or three crates of aerated waters a few chunks of ice were delivered to our home. Making our own ice cream with milk, eggs and mango juice in a manually operated churner was great fun.

There was no water service or drainage. All households had wells and well kept pit latrines. Water for household use was kept in earthenware pots. Boiled drinking water was also stored in earthen decanters. It was a practice for most households by the road to have a large pot of water covered with a coconut shell for the use of thirsty wayfarers.

 

Schools

In the forties and the fifties there were only three schools in the village. The Christian Missionary School situated in the premises of St. Mathew’s Church which to-date remains a popular institution for juniors is perhaps the oldest. Even a century ago this school had been well known for discipline. My grandfather used to relate many stories about the headmaster of the time by the name of Hendrick Gurunanse. Children feared him so much that the mischievous ones wore gunny sacks under their sarongs. He had been a firm believer in the dictum “Spare the rod and spoil the Child”. His son H.D.L. Perera better known as Lennet Ralahamy was the Headman of Battaramulla until the Grama Sevaka system replaced the headman system.

The Indrajothi Vidyalaya on the Pannipitiya road had about four class rooms and three or four teachers. Today this is a popular school catering mainly to the expanding population on the Pannipitiya road to Pelawatta and beyond. This school and the Christian Missionary School which are government schools today, being on limited space have no land for any further expansion. At Mampewatta on the land of Henry Boteju a prominent local politician was situated a small school that was known as the YMBA School. The land adjoining my father’s property which was held by the latter on lease was acquired by the Education Department to accommodate the YMBA School. Fortunately for Battaramulla and the entire locality this school developed rapidly to become the present Sri Subhuthi Madya Maha Vidyalaya catering even to children from Colombo. The role played by the late M.D.H. Jayawardena when he represented the Kaduwela electorate and was a senior minister in the Dudley Senanayake government of 1965 in the development of this school will never be forgotten by the people of Battaramulla.

The English language was not taught in any of these schools. As a result before the Maha Vidyalaya took shape children wanting to learn English attended the Kotte Bangalawa School which subsequently became the Kotte Christian College.

My grandfather had come to know Rev. Dowbiggin, the head of the Christian Mission in Kotte. In fact the latter had succeeded in converting him to Christianity. My father and his two younger brothers had attended this school and been successful in the English School Leaving Certificate Examination (ESLC). Incidentally it was the son of Rev. Dowbiggin, Herbert Dowbiggin, who after his education at Trinity College Kandy and Cambridge became the Inspector-General of Police.

 

Transport & Retail Facilities

Travel to work or to school or places away from the village, particularly to Borella and Fort was by bus. Buses were few in number and belonged to the Colombo Omnibus Company. It was also called the B.J. Fernando Bus Company. The bus crews were extremely polite and even knew the regular travelers personally.

Travelling in the open bodied buses was fun. The Battaramulla terminus for the Borella buses was at the present turn off to the Battaramulla cemetery. As school children we were particularly fond of the bus that was driven by Yahonis Aiya. He was a very kind driver who was caring and helpful to the children. ‘Checker’ Patrick Aiya who usually travelled in this bus was also a friendly and amiable sort. Not long ago, in the mid eighties I often met Yahonis on my walks. He was old but strong enough to ride a bicycle. He never failed to get off the bicycle; and I made it a point to have a brief chat with him. He took great pride in the fact that the DIG Metropolitan traveled in his bus as a child. His funeral in the village of Korambe was well attended.

Fish and vegetable vendors who were mainly womenfolk also brought their goods from the Pettah market in these passenger buses. Baskets of fish and vegetables were accommodated on the hoods of buses and the loading and unloading was done by the conductor. He considered this as a part of his duty. Most passengers returning from Colombo after work also brought their vegetables, fish and meat in bags made of reeds as polythene bags were not even known at that time. Restrictions on this free and easy manner of transport of consumables commenced with the introduction of buses with fully enclosed bodies which were known as ‘Nelson body’ buses at the time.

 

Use of Bicycles

Cycling was a popular means of transport. Most people used bicycles to travel to their workplaces in Colombo. So did the children particularly boys in their teens to travel to schools such as Christian College Kotte, Wesley, St. Joseph’s and Ananda. The bicycles were all imported brands —Raleigh, Humber and Hercules. They were quite costly. As a result the theft of bicycles was a common occurrence. It was such a nuisance that bicycle theft was considered a ‘grave crime’ by the police. It was necessary for the OIC of the police station to visit the scene of theft and also report such theft to Police Headquarters. Every office, school and even shops had bicycles stands for parking bikes. At almost all the places reserved for the parking of bicycles there were warning boards in red, ‘Beware of Cycle Thieves’.

During the war because motor vehicles were not allowed to drive with their head lights on when the ‘black out’ regulation came into force it was difficult to spot cyclists ahead. As a result all bicycles apart from a rear reflector were compelled to paint the lower section of the rear mudguard white.

Much police time on the roads was spent on taking up offenses of cyclists. Riding without lights was considered a serious offense. Most cyclists used carbide or oil lamps until the dynamo became popular. Carrying a passenger on the bar or doubling and riding abreast were the other offenses that were detected by police. Most culprits were schoolboys. I remember having being detected ‘doubling’ on at least three occasions. However on all these occasions I was to plead with the sergeant or constable and escape being charged. One reason was because I made it a point to address the detecting officer as ‘Sir.’

I was once ‘doubling’ a friend, who in later life became a member of the Ceylon Civil Service (CCS) and was detected at Maradana. The sergeant let us go. But he deflated the tyres and asked us to push the bicycle home!

There was another friend of mine who adopted a unique ruse. Whenever he was detected he gave his name as ‘Abraham Lincoln’. In his carrier basket the three exercise books on top carried this name. He also gave a false address. Often he made it a point to be at the Maligawatta Courts on days that these cases were usually heard to enjoy the fun when the name Abraham Lincoln was called loud by the court Mudaliyar. This exceptional prankster in later life became a President’s Counsel and an Ambassador. That was at least 25 years before the National Identity Card was introduced.

 

Goods Transport

There were no vans, double cabs, tractors or landmasters in the village. It was rarely that a lorry was seen. Transport of all types of goods was by bullock carts which were in plenty. It was a common sight to see handcarts being pushed along with vegetables, young coconuts (Kurumba) etc.

My grandfather had two bullock carts in addition to a passenger carrying tirikkale which he enjoyed driving. The bullock carts that were kept in our premises were used mainly for the transport of paddy, coconuts and rubber. Occasionally these carts were hired to cover the expenses of the carters and the cost of fodder for the cart bulls.

Even large business establishments such as Elephant House and the Colombo Commercial Company used bullock carts. The former used bullock carts extensively for the transport of aerated waters whilst the latter transported building materials to their work sites in bullock carts.

In the late forties and early fifties Uncle Sam, my fathers younger brother had a licensed tea cider manufactory in Battaramulla. This became a popular alcoholic drink particularly in the estate areas upcountry. It was a common sight to see hundreds of bullock carts lined up to load tea cider crates to be transported to destinations in the Kandy, Ratnapura and Kalutara districts.

It was a highly profitable business, but Uncle Sam gave up this business as his wife, Auntie Florence, was not very happy with the production of an alcoholic beverage. She was the daughter of a leading Baptist minister and Principal of Carey College, Revd. W.M.P. Jayatunga. Subsequently Uncle Sam began the manufacture of mirrors which turned out to be a successful venture. His son, the late Herschel Gunawardena, became a well known astronomer.

 

Retail Trade

There was only one grocery store of note in the Battaramulla bazaar. This belonged to an Indian by the name of Abraham. Vegetables and fish were mainly sold by women seated on the roadside. There were so many such roadside vendors that the bazaar resembled a fair. Women carrying baskets of vegetables, dry fish etc. also visited homes regularly.

My father purchased provisions for our home monthly from a wholesale grocery in Welikada, W.D. Paulin Appuhamy & Sons. The bulk of the goods that came in a bullock cart from Welikada consisted of poonac and kollu, a seed akin to cowpea, as fodder for our cart bulls and the large herd of cattle that roamed our land. The cows in this herd yielded adequate milk for our home consumption. The breakfast of each of the four brothers, before leaving for school was a large mugfull of hot milk mixed with two eggs and sugar. Even the eggs were from the free run poultry in the garden.

The only shop that sold clothing and other personal goods like shoes, slippers etc. was Rajamoney’s also in the Battaramulla bazaar. However cloth as well as numerous other personal requirements ranging from shoes, sarongs, banians & socks to items such as mirrors, combs and soaps were brought by Chinese and Moor traders to the door step.

The ‘China man’ who pushed his bicycle along with a large bundle of cloth on the luggage carrier and the Moor man wearing a fez with several coloured umbrellas hung on the handlebars were regularly seen on our road. They were both good humoured men who happily tolerated the annoyance caused to them by mischievous children. I still remember how the China man pretended to be angry and threatening when children shouted, “Cheena booku, booku, chinare” and ran away.

The man carrying a bread basket was a welcome visitor to our home. The black barrel shaped basket with a pyramidal cover kept the bread and buns fresh and warm. Apart from bread and buns he brought popcorn sugar coated balls and fresh thala ‘gull’. During the week-ends, when we did not have to rush to school, we looked forward to the visit of the ammes’ who brought breakfast preparations of string hoppers, hoppers, pittu etc. Curries made of kebella leaves and gotukola with maldive fish were delicious indeed.

Electricians and plumbers were unheard of in the village. Of course there was no electricity or water service. Obiyas Bass and Jamis Bass were excellent carpenters. Appuhamy from the village of Korambe was a much sought after mason and Coranelis who was partially deaf was the painter that my father always employed for the colour washing of our walls. The village blacksmith was also a busy man. He was well known in the village as Mattha. Our ‘dhoby’ or laundryman who was addressed as ‘Hene Mama’ was an elderly man from Korambe who visited our home every week. I remember him contacting leprosy and ending up at the Leprosy Hospital, Hendala.

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Features

Govt.’s choice is dialogue over confrontation

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By Jehan Perera

Preparing for the forthcoming UN Human Rights Council cannot be easy for a government elected on a nationalist platform that was very critical of international intervention. When the government declared its intention to withdraw from Sri Lanka’s co-sponsorship of the October 2015 resolution No. 30/1 last February, it may have been hoping that this would be the end of the matter. However, this is not to be. The UN Human Rights High Commissioner’s report that will be taken up at the forthcoming UNHRC session in March contains a slate of proposals that are severely punitive in nature and will need to be mitigated. These include targeted economic sanctions, travel bans and even the involvement of the International Criminal Court.

Since UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s visit in May 2009 just a few days after the three-decade long war came to its bloody termination, Sri Lanka has been a regular part of the UNHRC’s formal discussion and sometimes even taking the centre stage. Three resolutions were passed on Sri Lanka under acrimonious circumstances, with Sri Lanka winning the very first one, but losing the next two. As the country became internationally known for its opposition to revisiting the past, sanctions and hostile propaganda against it began to mount. It was only after the then Sri Lankan government in 2015 agreed to co-sponsor a fresh resolution did the clouds begin to dispel.

Clearly in preparation for the forthcoming UNHRC session in Geneva in March, the government has finally delivered on a promise it made a year ago at the same venue. In February 2020 Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena sought to prepare the ground for Sri Lanka’s withdrawal from co-sponsorship of UN Human Rights Council resolution No 30/1 of 2015. His speech in Geneva highlighted two important issues. The first, and most important to Sri Lanka’s future, was that the government did not wish to break its relationships with the UN system and its mechanisms. He said, “Sri Lanka will continue to remain engaged with, and seek as required, the assistance of the UN and its agencies including the regular human rights mandates/bodies and mechanisms in capacity building and technical assistance, in keeping with domestic priorities and policies.”

Second, the Foreign Minister concluding his speech at the UNHRC session in Geneva saying “No one has the well-being of the multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural people of Sri Lanka closer to their heart, than the Government of Sri Lanka. It is this motivation that guides our commitment and resolve to move towards comprehensive reconciliation and an era of stable peace and prosperity for our people.” On that occasion the government pledged to set up a commission of inquiry to inquire into the findings of previous commissions of inquiry. The government’s action of appointing a sitting Supreme Court judge as the chairperson of a three-member presidential commission of inquiry into the findings and recommendations of earlier commissions and official bodies can be seen as the start point of its response to the UNHRC.

 

 

NEGATIVE RESPONSE

 

The government’s setting up of a Commission of Inquiry has yet to find a positive response from the international and national human rights community and may not find it at all. The national legal commentator Kishali Pinto Jayawardene has written that “the tasks encompassed within its mandate have already been performed by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC, 2011) under the term of this President’s brother, himself the country’s Executive President at the time, Mahinda Rajapaksa.” Amnesty International has stated that “Sri Lanka has a litany of such failed COIs that Amnesty International has extensively documented.” It goes on to quote from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that “Domestic processes have consistently failed to deliver accountability in the past and I am not convinced the appointment of yet another Commission of Inquiry will advance this agenda. As a result, victims remain denied justice and Sri Lankans from all communities have no guarantee that past patterns of human rights violations will not recur.”

It appears that the government intends its appointment of the COI to meet the demand for accountability in regard to past human rights violations. Its mandate includes to “Find out whether preceding Commissions of Inquiry and Committees which have been appointed to investigate into human rights violations, have revealed any human rights violations, serious violations of the international humanitarian law and other such serious offences.” In the past the government has not been prepared to accept that such violations took place in a way that is deserving of so much of international scrutiny. Time and again the point has been made in Sri Lanka that there are no clean wars fought anywhere in the world.

International organisations that stands for the principles of international human rights will necessarily be acting according to their mandates. These include seeking the intervention of international judicial mechanisms or seeking to promote hybrid international and national joint mechanisms within countries in which the legal structures have not been successful in ensuring justice. The latter was on the cards in regard to Resolution 30/1 from which the government withdrew its co-sponsorship. The previous government leaders who agreed to this resolution had to publicly deny any such intention in view of overwhelming political and public opposition to such a hybrid mechanism. The present government has made it clear that it will not accept international or hybrid mechanisms.

 

 

SEQUENTIAL IMPLEMENATION

 

In the preamble to the establishment of the COI the government has made some very constructive statements that open up the space for dialogue on issues of accountability, human rights and reconciliation. It states that “the policy of the Government of Sri Lanka is to continue to work with the United Nations and its Agencies to achieve accountability and human resource development for achieving sustainable peace and reconciliation, even though Sri Lanka withdrew from the co-sponsorship of the aforesaid resolutions” and further goes on to say that “the Government of Sri Lanka is committed to ensure that, other issues remain to be resolved through democratic and legal processes and to make institutional reforms where necessary to ensure justice and reconciliation.”

As the representative of a sovereign state, the government cannot be compelled to either accept international mechanisms or to prosecute those it does not wish to prosecute. At the same time its willingness to discuss the issues of accountability, justice and reconciliation as outlined in the preamble can be considered positively. The concept of transitional justice on which Resolution No 30/1 was built consists of the four pillars of truth, accountability, reparations and institutional reform. There is international debate on whether these four pillars should be implemented simultaneously or whether it is acceptable that they be implemented sequentially depending on the country context.

The government has already commenced the reparations process by establishing the Office for Reparations and to allocate a monthly sum of Rs 6000 to all those who have obtained Certificates of Absence (of their relatives) from the Office of Missing Persons. This process of compensation can be speeded up, widened and improved. It is also reported that the government is willing to consider the plight of suspected members of the LTTE who have been in detention without trial, and in some cases without even being indicted, for more than 10 years. The sooner action is taken the better. The government can also seek the assistance of the international community, and India in particular, to develop the war affected parts of the country on the lines of the Marshall Plan that the United States utilized to rebuild war destroyed parts of Europe. Member countries of the UNHRC need to be convinced that the government’s actions will take forward the national reconciliation process to vote to close the chapter on UNHRC resolution 30/1 in March 2021.

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Features

Album to celebrate 30 years

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Rajiv Sebastian had mega plans to celebrate 30 years, in showbiz, and the plans included concerts, both local and foreign. But, with the pandemic, the singer had to put everything on hold.

However, in order to remember this great occasion, the singer has done an album, made up of 12 songs, featuring several well known artistes, including Sunil of the Gypsies.

All the songs have been composed, very specially for this album.

Among the highlights will be a duet, featuring Rajiv and the Derena DreamStar winner, Andrea Fallen.

Andrea, I’m told, will also be featured, doing a solo spot, on the album.

Rajiv and his band The Clan handle the Friday night scene at The Cinnamon Grand Breeze Bar, from 07.30 pm, onwards.

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Features

LET’S DO IT … in the new normal

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The local showbiz scene is certainly brightening up – of course, in the ‘new normal’ format (and we hope so!)

Going back to the old format would be disastrous, especially as the country is experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases, and the Western Province is said to be high on the list of new cases.

But…life has to go on, and with the necessary precautions taken, we can certainly enjoy what the ‘new normal’ has to offer us…by way of entertainment.

Bassist Benjy, who leads the band Aquarius, is happy that is hard work is finally bringing the band the desired results – where work is concerned.

Although new to the entertainment scene, Aquarius had lots of good things coming their way, but the pandemic ruined it all – not only for Aquarius but also for everyone connected with showbiz.

However, there are positive signs, on the horizon, and Benjy indicated to us that he is enthusiastically looking forward to making it a happening scene – wherever they perform.

And, this Friday night (January 29th), Aquarius will be doing their thing at The Show By O, Mount Lavinia – a beach front venue.

Benjy says he is planning out something extra special for this particular night.

“This is our very first outing, as a band, at The Show By O, so we want to make it memorable for all those who turn up this Friday.”

The legendary bassist, who lights up the stage, whenever he booms into action, is looking forward to seeing music lovers, and all those who missed out on being entertained for quite a while, at the Mount Lavinia venue, this Friday.

“I assure you, it will be a night to be remembered.”

Benjy and Aquarius will also be doing their thing, every Saturday evening, at the Darley rd. Pub & Restaurant, Colombo 10.

In fact, they were featured at this particular venue, late last year, but the second wave of Covid-19 ended their gigs.

Also new to the scene – very new, I would say – is Ishini and her band, The Branch.

Of course, Ishini is a singer of repute, having performed with Mirage, but as Ishini and The Branch, they are brand new!

Nevertheless, they were featured at certain five-star venues, during the past few weeks…of their existence.

 

 

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