Posts tagged sri lankan culture
A cultural walking tour of Colombo

I remember being struck by John Gimlette’s observation in his book “Elephant Complex” that the people of Colombo had no collective word to describe themselves. They were neither a Colomban or a Colombite or anything else for that matter. Everyone it seemed was from the village or place of their ancestors. It made me think that the ethnic conflict which had marred most of Sri Lanka’s recent past was a testimony to the country’s inability find some collective identity amongst the many differences of its people. And yet, when I walked through parts of old central Colombo on a cultural walking tour with Pepper, I glimpsed at ways of worshipping and being which suggested, as always, that the truth was far more complicated.

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A fiery Sri Lankan chicken curry

It wasn’t until I started helping my mother roast the spices for this article that I realised how much I had forgotten. It wasn’t forgetfulness in any specific way, you know, the type that happens to you over time – like forgetting someone you went to school with or the year you got your driver’s licence (does anyone actually remember that??). But of aromas, sounds and feelings. The sorts of things that transport you back in time and to another you in another place.

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