Some years back I wrote a column for the ‘Daily News’ about ‘Lakmahal’, the house in which I have lived for half a century and more. It was about people though, as much as about place, and it described some aspects of my mother’s family, significant as two of her brothers had been in terms of the social and political changes of the post-independence period. It ended with the events of July 1983 in which both played seminal parts.
In writing about all that, however, I had glossed over some of the physical changes that had taken place in the world in which ‘Lakmahal’ was set. When I was asked then to contribute a column to the ‘Observer’, I thought I would try to make up for this, by trying to capture the changes in Colombo, social as well as physical, between the time in which I grew up and that of adulthood, in the eighties.