Sunday, April 02, 2006

Smokers Corner

The Cycle Shed Puffers

Can you all remember the two cycle sheds adjacent to the Tennis Courts at College? It was sort of a deserted and lonely place. I am referring to the one on the left side when you face the tennis courts adjoining Racecourse Avenue. The place was not used and had overgrown Gandapana bushes et al.

In the RC Hostel, one of the famous "Tobacconist" was Solomons (’58 Group) flicking cigarettes (B&H) from his father's stock and selling to us at 10 cents per fag. He used to walk up and down the junior study with fags cupped in both palms and displaying them to all potential buyers (Sri Muruga Ratnasingham, SJW Ambe, UCJ, Luki Welikanna, DERH etc were some of the regular customers)

There was a papaw tree at the furthest corner. We used to go there and sit on the cycle stands and enjoy a good puff. That particular day we had spent 20 cents on the forbidden stuff and had to share between four, UCJ, Muruga, SJWA and DERH. We had two matches in the box and both went susurrus!!!! Ambe nearly burnt himself in the process. Cursing the match manufacturer, I came out, went round the cycle-shed, to see Kadalay seated at his usual place, with his wood/glass kadalay box. I pretended to walk past him, and stopped, as if suddenly remembered something.

DERH - Kadalay ginikoorak thiyanawada.
Kadalay - Mokatada
DERK - Data haranda

(Kadalay pulled out the box from his shirt pocket, gave me just one match)

I joined the waiting smokers in no time, and we were really enjoying. All of a sudden who appears behind the Gandapana bush Kadalay. "Ade, mekai data haranawa kiyala karanne".With that he came to us."Doray, you leave school, Go university and smoke. If I catch you again, I report.OK. Go! GO!! Go!!!.

Later he told me how he caught us. At the further end of Cy.shed,and where Kadalay is seated at the entrance is only a wall away. He smelled the ciggy smoke coming from a strange place.Whenever he sees me thereafter, he would wave the index finger, "No smoking Doray".

More when time permits,

Edward Hapuarachchi
April 1 2006


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