37 years ago at David Gamage’s funeral. That’s the road we still drive down and the paddy fields and hills look pretty much the same. I scanned and archived the photos from that day, now on Flickr. Uploaded a lot of photos today – May 1st
Today we went to Kitulgoda (near Agalawatte) for my grandfather’s Dhane. I think it is 37 years since he died, Amma was 13 or 14. He was a full and complex person, but all I have 2 generations down is a very general impression. A good one. He’s someone that I’ve looked up to for as long as I remember. When I think of people that worked hard and made it I think of him first. What I especially like was that he brought up everyone around him. You can see their faces coming to dana after dana, for 37 years. He made it for his family, friends, and the little village of Kitulgoda. I know the story in my mind is rose colored, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got the character of the man right.
The story I know starts with Seeya taking responsibility for his numerous siblings while very young. He dropped out of school and started working a little kade, sewing clothes, whatever. Eventually he moved into lumber, construction, and petrol. I hear that he had the first CAT earthmoving machine in SL, but I don’t know for sure. Later he contested a seat in Kekirawa, but in some pre-election violence people shot up his campaign headquarters. Seeya’s people shot back and killed someone. He spent election night in jail.
Seeya lost that election narrowly, though one of his sons would hold the seat for a while later. While only middle-aged he got chicken pox, which can be deadly outside of childhood. And was. From that point on Achchi raised the family. Raised them well, in my opinion. I mean, I like the six children and the myriad uncles and aunts they’ve become. That, in turn, leaves 10 kids in my generation, the littlest being baby Anouka. All in all, not a bad haul for a lifetime.
As to the day, dhane is an almsgiving, if you don’t know. Local monks came and had their meal and received gifts of dictionaries for their school. They chanted for a while. Afterwards we all ate and met the various Achchis and Seeyas. Explaining Web Design is a delight, especially freelance (re: unemployed) Web Design. Oh, to be part of the Trinity. Keeping Anouka in line is a job in itself. Played Sim City with Eran and Sen-Sen on a laptop for a while. We started accusing each other of cutting one, then we looked down and saw that the charger was on fire. That was the end of that.
Right before we was about to leave Lal Mama asks me to go take photos of some well. Don’t quite understand, but I got the general idea that we could go swimming. Was uncomfortably hot, so that sounded OK. Alas, not to be. Drive up some godforsaken hill and then hike to a hole in the ground. You could conceivably bury me standing up, but no swimming. Instead I just stand around in the shade of a twig as people try to figure out why the pipe is clogged up. Gets solved somehow, and I am of no help. Apparently everyone in Kitulgoda pitched for shares in this water supply. The pipe flows downhill, providing water for Achchi and like 25-30 families. That sounds great now that I think of it, but at the time I was just hot and miserable and wanted to go home.
Then I get another general idea (bad) that there is a shortcut out of there, and I’m like OK. Turns out that the shortcut is really more of a completely seperate trip than a shortcut, per se. We walk straight up through dense, ankle-twisting foliage and then down into some mossy crevice which is where the water seems to come from. End up in a cave full of water, which not cool like the Batcave or Indian Jones. It’s just a damp, natural armpit full of leeches. I lift my pant leg and my socks are tinged with my own blood.
Anyways, here’s a picture of the pipe leading downhill, and a Gamage hand and toe.