WITHIN REACH OF THE BEACH – BY Des Kelly
From my very early days in Ceylon, as it was then called,
we were nearly always within reach of a beach, somewhere. Starting with Moratuwa, the wide, beautiful, sandy beach, leading out to the magnificent Indian Ocean, was within a stone’s throw. I still remember the “catches” of thousands of the smaller fish variety actually spread-out on the beach to dry, before being sent out to be turned into the tasty morsels of “dry-fish”, enjoyed by thousands of folk who lived there. I remember being taken down to the beach by my dad
who also enjoyed going out to watch the fishermen, back from their very early hours of fishing on what were known as “Catamarans” singing “Ho-di helei heleiya” as they manually hauled these flimsy-looking home-made craft, back onto the beach in order to secure them there, mend damaged “nets” in preparation for their next trip out to sea.
Before moving back to Colombo Central, I can never forget that we temporarily rented a little cottage where, if we looked over our backyard fence, we were staring down at the beach itself. We could practically smell the salty sea-breeze and feel it on our faces. That is how close we were to the beach at Moratuwa. Then, we moved to Colpetty, or Kollupitiya, as it is now known, and lived, sharing the home of an Aunt, whose house was right at the bottom of a Street called Sea Avenue, again, cross over the railway line, clear if any on-coming trains, of course, and we were on the beach at Colpetty. From there, we moved to Vaverset Place, Wellawatte, and guess what ?, on the beach (whenever we got the chance), at Wellawatte.
Then, horror of horrors, we had to move to Nugegoda, & from there to Kirillapona, and, too far from any beach for the next few years, before, oh, goody goody gumdrops, we moved to Lorensz Rd., Bambalapitiya, on the “land-side”, mind you, but still just a 10 minute walk to the beach at Kinross Avenue, where, every weekend saw us LIVING on the beach, there. To make a long story short, my young life was always “within reach of a beach” somewhere.
Then, we came to Australia, also surrounded by beaches, everywhere, but son-of-a-beach!!, none close enough to spend time at, and even if we had the time, it was impossible for me to be doing one full-time and sometimes, two part-time JOBS, to go to the beach, at all.
But, here comes CHULA, Ladies & Gentlemen, to bring us a variety of Beaches in Sri Lanka, simply to reminisce and dream about better days gone by.