Wellampitiya… rocks! No seriously, I’m not saying this because it happens to be my home town, and I want to help jack up the land prices by at least 10 rupees per square foot in the area-. Its just that I find it one of the most colorful, interesting, downright adventurous places to live in .And its not that I have lived here all my life, no: I do hazily recall comparatively civilized places like Nawala, Manchester and even exotic Nairobi and they honestly bore me, they are refined, predictable , really sane compared with this joint.
It is also a mere 15 minutes drive away from Colombo’s Town Hall – that’s a maximum of $ 3.50 in a Six-Eight-Eight Cab if you can actually convince them to go that way ( we face the same problem with Pizza Huts unfortunately- I cant think what the natives have subjected them to, they do not give reasons but those cute Pizza delivery chaps would rather run their bikes off Lovers Leap than agree to deliver anything to us although we are technically within their allowed mileage: Sad)
The Local Economy
A substantial number of average Wellampitiya blokes do not actually attend day jobs but send their womenfolk out instead. Since I have a day job I too am not really sure what it is the employed ones do but I’m guessing its very macho and involves a lot of noise. Welding, masonry, truck driving – that sort of thing. And of course its more or less a homeland of tuk tuk drivers, those hairy, honest epitomes of lower middle class moral rectitude. Even the comparatively more effeminate Wellampitia bloke who ends up in the local Chinese food outlet, makes a lot of ruckus about it , chopping kottu roti as if it’s the necks (or worse) of rival gang members and actually manually assaulting the stir fried veggies which lends it that wonderful so called “umami” flavour.
Most male Wellampitians have excellent roofing in their homes but spend their lives on the road. The crack of dawn finds these ernest over-zealous early birds walking up and down the main road in banians and gym shorts , brushing their teeth, drinking kola kanda and waiting for the morning newspaper(no doubt for updates on the latest local throat slitting incident ).
Safety : D
Organised Crime (we’re talking really organized)
But it’s a different story if you are a stranger in Wellampitiya. The silent looks of calculating concentration from the locals and the decidedly hostile snarling of about 15 under-sized, blotchy but vicious looking stray dogs per average road will send any but the most determined intruder back where they came from within a few minutes at most.
I am personally convinced that thieves, rapists and criminal elements do not stand even a remote chance here unless they have actually agreed through prior bookings with the locals on whom to rob/plunder/molest and to what extent, etc.
I also suspect aspiring criminals from other towns are sent here for final year training and if they ever do get out alive it means they are ready to graduate. Most of these resultant “honors” students leave minus superfluous appendages like noses, thumbs and the occasional eyeball but then those are the subject of good drinking stories later on (plus you get landed with short pithy names like Potta Nihal or Sedawatte Sudo). A very good friend of mine, an ex-Wellampitian who has subsequently moved to Nugegoda and reformed recounted to me that after being attacked by half a dozen knife welding rivals, he regained consciousness in a ditch on the “Bundt” at 3 am with his scalp partitioned into three distinct flaps, and thought to himself- “this cant be my bedroom”
Next week: Youth Activities, Endangered Fauna, and garbage disposal in Wellampitiya
also available at http://www.dailymirror.lk/sections/supp/w@w/211106/03.asp
(illustration property of Daily Mirror )