Monday, February 4, 2013

Stories by elders

I don't get to spend a lot of time with my grandpa. We commute between our parent's homes each weekend and he's quite the busy man, doing his little charity work and other things which makes us miss each other often. I like to therefore take him out for coffee and a little rasthiyaaduwa to see the new developments in Colombo - which is often met with awe and then the sharing of awesome little stories on how things used to be.

Yesterday I took Seeya and Amma to the Racecourse -

Gramps took a good walk all over while Mom and I hung around waiting for him. Unfortunately Rn'R was closed for maintenance and I must say the dude handling their hotline is quite courteous - unlike much of the 'hotlines' in and around Colombo, specially on a holiday.

Sitting on the steps of the Racecourse, Granps nattered away about his father - a well respected government servant (when government servants were well respected) who worked first in the Nuwara Eliya kachcheriya, then in Colombo. Apparently he was quite the horse-better (is that what they call them? gambling sounds a!) and loved going to the races both in NE and Colombo. Rather cool I thought. Seeya even remembered how his father had books upon books on races, horses, winnings, trends etc. He said the entrance we were hanging out at (near McDonalds) was the "Ghandi" entrance where VVIPs, VIPS used to sit and watch the races in a rather dignified style. While the betting went on raucously in the other stand, presently being reconstructed by the Army.

The racecourse ground apparently went up to Buller's Road, which is quite a bit of land I must say. I'm sure there's tons of history attached to many of the places in Colombo, but there's nothing quite like getting it from the older generation who lived through it. And all it takes is a little time off and some effort to reconnect with them.


Jack Point said...

The wiki article gives some details of its extent:

"The Colombo Racecourse and the Colombo Turf Club and its grounds were taken over by the government and its large land extent was segmented and distributed to government entities. Southern parts went to the University of Colombo, the norther portion to the Department of National Archives while others to the Royal College Sports Complex, Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club and sporting bodies."

I think it extended all the way to the Salu Sala (where the Barista is).

There is picture here:

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