Went to the corner to get some booze and the entire male population of Battaramulla was there. That, my friends, is Avurudu. Street puts his bottle of arrack on the counter and pays, the coins falling out of his hand, landing next to his raggedy flip-flops. I’ve got some Old Reserve and eye-blinding rum for people in Galle. Everybody in line is pushing up on me like this is the last flight out of the country. This week has been a complete toss work-wise, Tuesday was Mohammed’s birthday or something, I don’t remember Monday, and everybody was wearing flip-flops on Wednesday. The Colombo l33t is in Nuwara Eliya watching the races, getting Tanquerayed and ogling each others wives. The servants have all gone back to their villages with their New Year bonuses, getting school books and clothes or whatever for the kids. I dunno. I got a T-Shirt with an alligator on it. Maybe it’s a crocodile.
And that’s about all I know about Avurudu. It’s a time where Sri Lankans stop working, supposedly bathe, clean up the house, paint, bond with family, etc. Colombo is hot like fire in April so everybody goes to the New Elephant where it’s cooler. I was at Tea Factory with my family, till we had to come back for a funeral, the last of the Gamage Seeyas. The ceremonies continue for 7 days, with a pirith tomorrow I think. There’s family out the ears and no one in the country is gainfully employed. It’s probably a good thing but in all seriousness, the entire month of April is a blackhole for business. Also a good time to rob houses.
If the line at the Arpico is any indication, Avurudu – like any Sri Lankan holiday (including Poya) – is also an excuse to drink. There’s no alcohol served on the 13th or the 14th, so the line at about 8:30 on the 12th is out the door. I’m going to Galle in like 20 minutes to somebody’s house. And that is Avurudu. Happy happy. Hope you’re with the people you care about.