It was a Sunday, and I was doing the usual which is hanging in my room just binging on some Netflix when my brother came in to ask me if I had any change on me as there was a snake charmer outside the gate. A snake charmer?? With a monkey attached by a leash?? It’s been a while since I saw one of those around Colombo. The memory of it distinctively vague. This obviously opened up a can of worms in terms of memories of growing up in and around Colombo.
- The gem biscuits we oh so loved. With its hard icing on top in pink, yellow, green and white. I’d always take off that part though. It always interfered with the taste of the biscuit. To add to the list of after school snacks, that Rs. 5/- ice packet was everything. Cooling, refreshing and unhygienic but nothing short of absolutely delicious and satisfying during that tiresome after school walk.
- How did you classify yourself cool if you didn’t have an already fading tattoo on you from the chewing gum you just bought? The taste nor the tattoo lasted for over 5 seconds but that didn’t stop us from buying 5-6 at a time.
- Our evenings were nothing without our Sinhala dubbed cartoons. Did you even know Asterix WAS “Soora pappa” till you were much older?
- The Nataraj color pencils were all the rave back then. Unless you were one of the fewer lucky ones and had Faber Castell to brighten up your coloring books and was not really phased by Nataraj. Our art classes were nothing without our Pentel oil pastels and envying the kids with the 36 pack.
- The cartoon drawing from the 7 UP commercial, the “Athi Wishishtay Sir” from the Munchee Lemon puff commercial, and the weekday 8.00 pm - 9.00 pm string of ‘Sirasa’ TV shows starting from ‘Mahagedara’, to turning the lights out for bed with ‘Praveena’ and her drama.
- Whether it was Barbie themed beach balls, funky shaped balloons or disco light Yoyo’s, Galle Face was THE place to get some of the coolest little toys.
- Sathutu Uyana and Milennium Park were the days! Given that a ride was always broken, there was so much fun in going on every other ride and observing which animals move up and down on the merry-go-round to pick and sit on.
This is only a fraction of what it was like to grow up in Colombo and while the city I call home is comparatively developed and has so much more to offer today, nothing compares to the peacefulness and serenity of life back in the day.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amra is a full time sustainability auditor who makes time to follow her passion in journalism as a part time writer and presenter. Something she loves doing is meeting people and learning what their outlook on a given situation is. She also happens to be a big foodie and is always down for a good meal.