Anil Gamini Jayasuriya, Bentota Beach Hotel, Bentota Rest House, Colombo, Coral Gardens Hotel, Ena de Silva, Gordon Mayo, Hope Todd, JR Jayewardene, Lakmahal, Lanka Oberi, Palm Court, Subash Hotel, Tholagetty Ashram
Twenty years before I moved into the main downstairs guest room at Lakmahal, to occupy it on what seems now a permanent basis, it had done duty as a permanent bedroom for about three years. That is my only recollection of its function having changed in my childhood, though I am told that my parents occupied it when they were first married. Later, in the early eighties, the small guest room downstairs was occupied by one of my father’s nieces and one of the Tamil refugees, a girl guide of my mother’s, who had come to us during the 1983 riots.
She stayed with us for three years in the end, for her home in Mt Lavinia had been burned, and the flat her family moved into after staying in a camp for some months was too small for all of them. She left only when the family, which included three boys who had been amongst the brightest students at S Thomas’ during my brief stint there as Sub-Warden, moved to Australia. Radha had not wanted to go, claiming she could not bear to leave home, but she had to in the end, and is lost to us now, as they all are, so many sacrificed on the smoking altar of JR Jayewardene’s ambitions and the ruthless machinations of his henchmen. And along with them, a victim in another way, was the best and brightest of Lakmahal’s progeny, Lakshman, Bishop of Kurunagala, who worked himself to death in the aftermath of the riots, traveling to Jaffna despite his delicate heart, visiting camps, praying, writing, urging, until the final inevitable heart attack took him away when he was just fifty six.