Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ally’s Day Out…:in Pettah

In search of stimulation yours truly takes to investigative journalism in the streets of Pettah…

Pettah is therapy to me. It’s a dirty, noisy, colourful hippies paradise of low priced marvels from China, India and goodness knows where else, brimming with cosy multi-lingual camaraderie, an absolute kaleidoscope of cooking types and an absolute conundrum of contrasts. I find strangely, in spite of the incessant noise from vehicles, loudspeakers and those cheesy beeping alarm clocks and bamboo bird cages, that it is a place to meditate , to be at one with yourself, to recharge those mental batteries. It’s a crossroads and a hub and some of the richest chaps in the country spend their working days in happy and unhygienic squalor in its tiny winding streets.
Its where I go to recuperate…

The people are so friendly…it could be because they have just lifted someone’s wallet or side lights or groped a passing damsel but those Pettah chaps all wear permanent and decidedly moony smiles. You stop to ask directions and there will be people bending over backwards to help you out and sell you something at the same time if possible. …if you’re out there alone and in tight jeans you will get a lot of very fervent compliments.

Its multi-ethnic ….Religions are represented simultaneously. From the gaudy little glass statue boxes inside tuk tuks and buses, to the eating joints (and I bet the drug dens too,) they have rows and rows of colourful symbols, gods and saints of the major religions hanging out side by side. Joss sticks, funny sweets and candles are presented to them equally. Pettah people like to insure them selves fully, to ensure prosperous businesses and personal safety and that’s probably why they are tolerant of each other too.

The food is awesome…- its cheap and it tastes good too. Not only that - its pretty obvious form the way they prepare it that if you actually survive it your immune system is running at peak performance and now isn’t that something to be thankful for? There are mounds of oily red blobs which scream “diabetes are us”, sugar encrusted yellow balls, rings and squares, not to mention stuff that looks like concrete debri from a demolition site,* dates, raisins and all manner of tropical fruit – can you believe that so many colours are actually edible?? (This is why I so totally approve of ethnic diversity! More choice in food and in guys!) Samosas , peanuts and mangoes with chillie powder and those joints where you drink out of aluminium and wipe your hands on squares on yellow typing paper…and don’t let me start on the waday..

The stuff is fantastic…. Phones, Aluminium kitchenware, Wedding Cards, Trouser Materials, Umbrellas ..whatever you are looking to buy has its own Street… Im not a thread buying person, in general, I go for the gadgets, and Pettah sells the weirdest things that run on batteries And cheap too and everything is multipurpose. Ive just brought this “battery less bulb less torch- and I’m reading the box which says “no need any power no environmental pollution low noise and good health” if those aren’t enough reason to buy it , further benefits are that “constantly using this health torch it can benefit your palm (!?) arm, shoulder and blood circulation so as to let your hands relax and make the brain clever improving hand & brain co ordination and promote memory” all that for 100 bux? Where has it been all my life? This has to be paradise! (hey and it lights up in the dark too, now fancy that!)

In conclusion then, whether you are searching for calm in the eye of the storm, cheap crockery or the higher meaning of life, head for Pettah; and of course, hold on to your purse, it could run off on its own!!!
* I’m told that the word for it is “Aluwa”


Rincewind said...

It occured to me that your description of the food in Pettah is somewhat like the stuff that one Gentleman I know of, sells.
CMOT Dibblar sells sausages-ina-bun that kinda reminds me of this.

Janus said...

I have no idea how you can find Pettah interesting..

avanka said...

I find so many things interesting Janus. Im a writer.