by Anura Guruge
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I know that this year it started on April 13th
but I tend to think of April 14th as Sinhala New Year.
So Happy New Year, AGAIN.
Third (and last) New Year of the Year I celebrate.
April 13th to I is ‘Old Year’
— when I would take a bath (even when I didn’t need to)
It was also the birthday of the grandmother who brought me up
and, at birth, straightened my twisted limbs and made sure
I could ‘pee-pee’ because my foreskin was fused together.
Since she was the matriarch of a powerful family
her birthday was a big deal.
So for me New Year, in Ceylon, started in April 12th
and went on, non-stop, with people, food, presents
and celebrations till the 14th.
Rather than trying to reproduce the traditional pictures, e.g., oil lamps, betel leaves, milk rice etc., I wanted to share some OLD pictures from Ceylon — from the 1950s.
I don’t have as many as I should. About 10 years ago I threw away over dozen very large cartons of old photos — because I just didn’t have the space to keep them. I still have some BUT those from the 1950s and 1960s are SMALL and are mainly of family members. I found these two, of interest, and two pictures I had drawn, in Ceylon, c. 1963.
When I was in Ceylon I used to go to art school etc. and I was supposed to be able to draw and paint. I did do a lot of it.
I painted a lot of planes and trains. Here are two examples, probably from when I was about 10. Notice the brown pilot.
Judging from the engines I was trying to capture a Comet-4, the first jet plane I encountered and one that held me in thrall for years.
The train engine looks like what we used to call “Canadian Diesel” — but it might have been a “Power Unit”.
What is interesting is that it is not steam. I not only remember the steam trains I even worked on them! Different stories.
Helps when you have an uncle who was an inspector of railways.
Click to ENLARGE.