March 9, 2022
Not all people would have the lavish luxurious of shelling out time with their grandparents from their start. I have been one of these quite fortuitous ones who was ready to appreciate the best component of my youth, right until I was almost 20+ years previous, with equally sets of my grandparents, paternal and maternal. In point I even experienced the great chance of living with my maternal grandparents although my paternal types lived ideal subsequent door in two sprawling mansions positioned on the seaside of the Galle Highway, at Bambalapitiya.
Everyday living, as children was gorgeous at Bambalapitiya.
My paternal grandfather, Muhammad Sameer, son of Ismail, was born on 7 March 1890 at his parents’ property at No 111 New Moor Road, Colombo 12. His father, I L M Haji Ismail Effendi was born in 1854 and married his mom, Haleema Umma Ahmad Ali (Seevatamma), in 1886 at 107 New Moor Street, Colombo. Excellent Grandpa Ismail handed away on 18 Jun 1931.
Gramps, affectionately acknowledged to all 32 of his grandchildren, as “Sameer Appa”, was educated at St. Thomas’ University and entered the Colombo Municipal Council clerical service in 1910.
He was used as Main Clerk underneath an Englishman named Orr and received acclaim and affection from Civil Servants this kind of as, H.E. Newnham, H.P. Kaufmann, and W.L. Murphy.
He married Grandma, Raliya Umma, daughter of A.C.Noordeen in 1911. They experienced 4 sons and 6 daughters. The oldest son was Muhammad Thahir (1914-1989), my Father, a surveyor by profession, who held the placement of Superintendent in the Municipal Engineer’s Office at the Colombo Municipal Council. Father passed away at the ripe age of 75 in 1989. Two of the other sons of Gramps, my paternal uncles, Muhammad Ismail (1919-1993) and Ahmed Farooq also took up the surveying occupation and practiced it efficiently. Muhammad Sadiq, the youngest son, a bachelor, decided to request his pastures in the United Kingdom in 1958, and invested nearly 45 several years of his existence in England, and returned to settle down in Sri Lanka and handed away in Colombo right after a temporary disease in 2003. click here
Gramps Sameer handed away on 24 May 1972 at No 298, Galle Road, Bambalapitiya, the place he lived for virtually 30 yrs..
Learning the ropes
As a 4 calendar year aged, in 1952, I nevertheless bear in mind Gramps, dressed in his finest, colonial style, beige suite, jacket and tie, gold pocket look at dangling on its chain into his breast pocket, his black Lion Brand umbrella rolled up to safeguard us from the sunlight, having me by the hand and walking me along the sidewalk, on the seaside of Galle Road, all the way to the Wellawatte junction, then taking a ideal transform towards the sea down Lily Avenue in front of the market, exactly where I attended a nursery faculty run by a wonderful old Burgher girl called Ms. Fay Poulier. Ms Poulier was an ex instructor of St. Lawrence’s College, Wellawatte, the place she was quite well-liked with the staff, college students and dad and mom for her dedication and determination to the education of minor youngsters. She was the husband or wife of a retired Railway gentleman termed Mr. George Dick. The university was housed in her garage and we had a vibrant bunch of kids attending course there. Ms. Poulier was these a fantastic woman who cared so significantly for all of us that she produced us really feel so much at home away from household at her cosy garage college. Sadly ample I cannot remember a solitary scholar in that class today.
Ideal upcoming door to the nursery school, at No. 45 and No 43 Lily Avenue, lived two of my paternal aunts and their households and Gramps employed to go more than and rest his limbs there, sipping tea and chatting with his two daughters till my faculty was above.
Soon after that, I bear in mind him going for walks me back again house alongside the railway tracks by the seaside. I made use of to inquire him a thousand and a person issues which he answered diligently and honestly. The trains, the railway station, the ocean, the Wellawatte bridge, the canal, the rocks, the waves, persons, fishing boats, the Kinross Club. Who would not want to know about the trains, the trees and the ocean, even at age 4?
My father was an aged Royalist, even while Gramps was a Thomian, and, appear 1953, when I was 5 years young, I was marched to my quite initially interview in life at Royal Key School for entrance to Class 1C English Medium. For my good fortune the Every day News reporter clicked a photo of me getting interviewed and there I was in the subsequent mornings news answering my job interview diligently, shorts et al. Father had saved that photograph and it even now remains in my documents somewhere deep in just my humongous documentary archives.
I try to remember each and every solitary experience and title in that class even until eventually now, which is a pretty nostalgic and wonderful memory for me. The the greater part of the class comprised Muslims and Burgers on account of the medium of instruction becoming English. The Muslims had the no cost selection of opting any of the 3 languages and my father appropriately selected English. Our trainer was Ms. Croning. Wow! was not she a toughie? It was sad to listen to that she experienced passed absent just lately as I uncovered out from an obituary in the neighborhood press. She absolutely sure should have lived to a ripe previous age.
Some of my closest associates were Allan Ebert (Dr in Aussie now), Philip Stork, Graham Koch (Hotel Management specialist migrated to Australia and performing on a substantial resort challenge in Peking now, 2005) Brian Lieversz, Maurice Chapman, (both migrated to Aussie), Mazher Fazleali, Mohammed Iqbal Najmudeen, (passed away in 2003), Mohammed Hassim, Premasiri Guruswamy, Jezley Hussain, (passed away), Jeremy Pereira, Nigel de Kretser, (each migrated to Aussie), Arooz Sheriff, (LA, United states), Imthiaz Jaffer, William Solomons, (Aussie), Ramlal Gunewardena, (handed absent in 2002), Aubrey Willis and Rodney Vanderwall, (each in Aussie).
Other names I can nonetheless try to remember are Alwyn Anthonisz, Dallas Grenier, Cedric Ernst, Michael Grey, (all in Aussie), S.T. Aziez, S.J. Bahar, (Brunei), Nihal Canagasabey, Monty Cassim, (United states of america), Suren Chitty, Bryce Fernando, (Geneva), Eardley Foenander, (Aussie) and Anthony Walpola.
Gramps Sameer applied to take me to Royal Main by rickshaw and stay at faculty in the enormous cage like structure erected for waiting mother and father, guardians, and maids, right up until it was time to go residence. I nevertheless don’t forget peeping out of the class and calling out to him “Appa, Appa!”, the Tamil equal of “Grandpa, Grandpa“, to the screeching of Ms. Croning shouting at him to go absent and not spoil his grandson. They have both passed away. May possibly God Bless them.
The two homes, the place I lived on Galle Highway, ended up very old villas crafted someday circa 1900. They have been located among Castle Lane and Sagara Road on the seaside of Bambalapitiya and the a person we lived in was named “Sukhasthan”. We referred to it as “300” remaining the assessment number provided by the Colombo Municipality. The adjoining property, bordering Sagara Street, a mirror image of #300, wherever Gramps and two of my paternal aunts lived, was referred to as 298 for the similar motives.
It was narrated by my maternal grandpa, Muhammad Rasheed, that the residences had been constructed by the grandfather of my maternal Grand Uncle, Sir Razik Fareed, who was then famously regarded as Wapchi Marikar Baas (Baas is the Sinhalese phrase for builder, contractor, mason and so forth.) with the rubble and remnants of a building he had to demolish in the Fort in which he was contracted by the federal government to establish the General Post Business which nonetheless stands tall as one particular of the majestic outdated properties in the town of Colombo. Wapchi Marikar Baas also crafted the Colombo Museum, Customs Making, Galle Confront Lodge, and quite a few other renowned previous durable constructions in Colombo that still stand tall and proud to his identify and devoted workmanship. The Governor of Ceylon at that time requested him to seek out any favor through the opening of the Colombo Museum and the humble Wapchi Marikar Baas had requested that the position be shut on Fridays so that the associates of his group would not spend their time in there and concentrate on their weekly Friday prayers at the Mosque.
The Colombo Museum is shut on Fridays right until this day.
Most of the outer walls of 298 & 300 were being built of Kabook (a huge rectangular shaped brick built of small crimson stones and sand). They had been the abode of lots of a termite colony through our remain there and we employed to delight in seeing the small white headed bugs carrying on their masterly work of setting up and transferring particles of sand to and fro in just their nests. Each and every property, formed like an L stretching considerably down to the yard, experienced 3 substantial bedrooms, a verandah, Corridor, Study, Eating Corridor, Retail outlet Area, and two kitchens found at the far end and a pantry. There were being only two toilets, a person in the middle of the property, at the intersection of the “L”, and one particular at the much conclude which was utilised largely by the servants. The roof was distribute with area (Sinhala) tiles and stood high earlier mentioned the ground as opposed to quite a few properties of modern-day instances. A picket ceiling shielded the tiles and coconut rafters from the within. Home windows were all picket with glass panes and admirer lights in the bedrooms.
The gardens at 298 & 300 were a position full of pleasure and wonders that just one has to personally knowledge to fully grasp. I utilized to dream of being buried underneath it someday after I pass absent.
The serenity and tranquil it provided beneath its shade was a thing out of this world. The backyards had their wondrous share of fruit, vegetable and nut trees. Guava and mango were the major delicacies. It was rather a trauma preserving the bats absent at night time and the urchins away throughout the working day. Jak and Breadfruit were being also mouth watering delicacies that our garden grew. Each Grandmas were being constantly fond of the scrumptious pomegranate fruit that she claimed had great medicinal benefit, particularly for expectant moms. A sprawling umbrella like Jam Fruit tree adorned the heart of our front lawn at 300 adjacent to a tall and superb Sapodilla tree that was always attacked by passers by for its fruit. Coconut and Tambili (King Coconut) have been sprinkled all across the estate, generally in the back again garden. Two monolithic Tamarind trees stood side by aspect somewhere about three quarters of the way down the yard and
I nevertheless bear in mind the tone of the old Owl hooting from its lofty branches. All sorts of previous wives’ tales, based mostly on devils, demons and ghosts, were being wound around these wonderful plants to preserve us absent from the yard at sunset and after dim. A sprawling Kottang (Almond) tree was situated almost at the still left hand corner of the end of the yard bordering the fence that separated the property from the neighbors on the Castle Lane aspect.
We made use of to go finding almonds each morning from what the bad bats experienced skipped out the preceding evening. Banana trees, of various flavors, were also waving their shady arms throughout most element of the backyard. All in all it was a wonderful shady grove for any form of relaxation and slumber. A small Paradise identified as home.
We experienced a cow and two goats named, Laila and Majnoon. We also had hens, roosters, ducks, Muscovy ducks, and a full host of geese, all meandering by way of the garden in flexibility and splendor. With a few of elephants and lions the location could have very easily been categorised as a mini zoo. Grandpa and Father used to have a whale of a time trapping the bandicoots and mongoose that used to occur sneaking at night time to dine on the chickens.
The twin properties stretched significantly back into Sagara Road to practically midway down to the sea and bordered a lot of neighbor9ing households on the other facet of the street who used to be part of us in having fun with its splendor and fun.
Royal Primary Faculty
Royal Main College, from 1953 to 1958, was a environment entire of pleasure and wonders that lingers sweetly in my memory for all its stunning times and times. The boys in the class comprising mainly of Burghers and Muslims carried on with each other for six excellent several years as mates as a result of some of the ideal situations of my existence. My first trainer was Ms Croning of 1C, adopted by Ms Pereira, Ms Dissanayake, Mr Pinkamage, Mr David, and last but not least Mr J E de Silva. The annual Sporting activities Meet up with was a further memorable situation that every person of us savored. The college magazine was a pleasure to take dwelling and the Headmaster and teachers have been individuals to be definitely very pleased of and cherish for all occasions. A rapid activity of cricket through the lunch split or strolling all over the massive grounds was a everyday routine for most of us right after possessing enjoyed an ice lolly or some gram from the vendors, Bella, Achi or Kadalay (the gram seller) at the gate.
Transferring to College in 1959 was a great adjust for anyone. Some of the Burgher boys were in the system of migrating to Australia with the Sinhala only policy coming into put. Some didn’t make it possessing failed the entrance take a look at. New guys joined us from a variety of other schools. We experienced a batch of above 200 in the initial calendar year at Royal University in 1959 unfold out into 7 courses categorized as Sort 1A to Variety 1F. I was in 1E and my class trainer was Mr Justin de Silva, affectionately regarded as “Abraham Lincoln” for his incredible enjoy and respect for the former American President whom he used as a purpose model in each and every attainable way. He even sported a beard and attempted to glance like outdated Abe in the finest of his have inimitable design and style. 1A was taken by that splendidly dynamic instructor Capt. MKJ Cantlay renowned for his actions and contributions with the Scout Troop and the Cadet Corps. I also bear in mind Mr MM Alavi using just one of the courses in Variety 1. My Variety 2 class learn was Mr Sivalingam, Mr JH de Saram getting Variety 3, Ms Samarasekera getting form 4 and then Mr Canegaratne also having Variety 4 as I had to shell out yet another calendar year in the exact variety in 1963 on account of an eye personal injury I experienced while taking part in “Elle” or Rounders (the community variation of baseball) and experienced to commit 6 tricky months warded at the Colombo Eye Healthcare facility from June to December 1962. The a person whose bat strike me on the deal with was KC Fernando and it was the past “pitch”of the working day just before the bell rang to conclude the lunch interval. I was rushed to the Accident Service in an unconscious point out after acquiring been taken to the hostel for quick awareness to the reduce earlier mentioned my still left eye that subsequently had to have a few stitches implanted to close the gaping wound.
Returning back to Royal in 1964 I was able to transfer by my GCE (O) Amounts with 6 credit score passes and one basic go (Sinhalese Language) supplying all a few streams of Arithmetic (Pure, Utilized & Innovative), Physics, English Language, & Islam. I flunked Chemistry, the bane of all my lecturers. Hardly ever appreciated it. Never ever nevertheless do.
Possessing attained proficiency in all 3 maths the craze was to transfer in the direction of engineering sciences and Dad was really keen that I observe in his footwear.
Shifting to the upper echelons of Royal in the Lower and Higher Sixth Course was a really prestigious period in my daily life. Daily life was relatively severe, filled with experiments and further hrs in making absolutely sure I could get in excess of the hurdle of University entry. Appeared for the GCE (Superior) degree assessment in 1966 and arrived out properly with two credit score passes (Pure and Used Arithmetic) and just one regular pass (Physics) obtaining a big more than enough aggregate mark to get entry into the University of Ceylon, Colombo Campus, for a degree class in Bodily Science.