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Not anybody would have the lavish luxurious of spending time with their grandparents from their delivery. I had been one of these very lucky ones who turned into able to experience the fine a part of my adolescents, until I was nearly 20+ years old, with both sets of my grandparents, paternal and maternal. In reality I even had the fantastic opportunity of residing with my maternal grandparents while my paternal ones lived proper next door in two sprawling mansions positioned at the beach of the Galle Road, at Bambalapitiya.

Life, as youngsters changed into beautiful at Bambalapitiya.


My paternal grandfather, Muhammad Sameer, son of Ismail, turned into born on 7 March 1890 at his parents’ home at No 111 New Moor Street, Colombo 12. His father, I L M Haji Ismail Effendi was born in 1854 and married his mother, Haleema Umma Ahmad Ali (Seevatamma), in 1886 at 107 New Moor Street, Colombo. Great Grandpa Ismail handed away on 18 Jun 1931.

Gramps, affectionately recognised to all 32 of his grandchildren, as “Sameer Appa”, turned into educated at St. Thomas’ College and entered the Colombo Municipal Council clerical provider in 1910.

He changed into employed as Chief Clerk underneath an Englishman named Orr and received acclaim and affection from Civil Servants which include, H.E. Newnham, H.P. Kaufmann, and W.L. Murphy.

He married Grandma, Raliya Umma, daughter of A.C.Noordeen in 1911. They had four sons and six daughters. The oldest son become Muhammad Thahir (1914-1989), my Dad, a surveyor by way of profession, who held the position of Superintendent in the Municipal Engineer’s Department on the Colombo Municipal Council. Dad passed away at the ripe age of 75 in 1989. Two of the other sons of Gramps, my paternal uncles, Muhammad Ismail (1919-1993) and Ahmed Farooq also took up the surveying profession and practiced it efficiently. Muhammad Sadiq, the youngest son, a bachelor, determined to searching for his pastures inside the United Kingdom in 1958, and spent nearly 45 years of his existence in England, and again to settle down in Sri Lanka and passed away in Colombo after a brief illness in 2003.

Gramps Sameer surpassed away on 24 May 1972 at No 298, Galle Road, Bambalapitiya, where he lived for nearly 30 years..

Learning the ropes

As a four year vintage, in 1952, I still consider Gramps, wearing his first-class, colonial style, beige suite, jacket and tie, gold pocket watch dangling on its chain into his breast pocket, his black Lion Brand umbrella rolled up to guard us from the sun, taking me via the hand and taking walks me along the sidewalk, at the beach of Galle Road, all of the way to the Wellawatte junction, then taking a proper flip towards the ocean down Lily Avenue in front of the marketplace, where I attended a nursery college run via a incredible antique Burgher female called Ms. Fay Poulier. Ms Poulier become an ex instructor of St. Lawrence’s School, Wellawatte, in which she became very popular with the staff, students and parents for her dedication and willpower to the schooling of little kids. She was the partner of a retired Railway gentleman known as Mr. George Dick. The college turned into housed in her garage and we had a shiny bunch of kids attending elegance there. Ms. Poulier turned into any such wonderful woman who cared so much for all people that she made us experience a lot at domestic faraway from home at her cosy storage college. Sadly enough I can’t consider a unmarried scholar in that class nowadays.

Right next door to the nursery faculty, at No. 45 and No 43 Lily Avenue, lived two of my paternal aunts and their households and Gramps used to move over and rest his limbs there, sipping tea and chatting along with his daughters till my faculty turned into over.

After that, I recall him on foot me lower back home along the railway tracks by way of the seaside. I used to invite him a thousand and one questions which he answered diligently and really. The trains, the railway station, the ocean, the Wellawatte bridge, the canal, the rocks, the waves, people, fishing boats, the Kinross Club. Who wouldn’t need to know about the trains, the bushes and the sea, even at age 4?

Real School

My dad was an vintage Royalist, even though Gramps become a Thomian, and, come 1953, when I turned into five years younger, I become marched to my first actual interview in lifestyles at Royal Primary School for front to Class 1C English Medium. For my right fortune the Daily News reporter clicked a photo of me being interviewed and there I was in the subsequent mornings news answering my interview diligently, shorts et al. Dad had saved that photo and it nevertheless stays in my documents somewhere deep within my humongous documentary information.

I bear in mind each unmarried face and call in that magnificence even till today, that’s a very nostalgic and amazing memory for me. The majority of the elegance comprised Muslims and Burgers attributable to the medium of education being English. The Muslims had the free choice of opting any of the 3 languages and my dad appropriately selected English. Our teacher was Ms. Croning. Wow! Wasn’t she a toughie? It became sad to pay attention that she had handed away currently as I determined out from an obituary within the local press. She sure have to have lived to a ripe old age.
Some of my closest pals had been Allan Ebert (Dr in Aussie now), Philip Stork, Graham Koch (Hotel Management expert migrated to Australia and working on a huge hotel challenge in Peking now, 2005) Brian Lieversz, Maurice Chapman, (both migrated to Aussie), Mazher Fazleali, Mohammed Iqbal Najmudeen, (surpassed away in 2003), Mohammed Hassim, Premasiri Guruswamy, Jezley Hussain, (surpassed away), Jeremy Pereira, Nigel de Kretser, (both migrated to Aussie), Arooz Sheriff, (LA, USA), Imthiaz Jaffer, William Solomons, (Aussie), Ramlal Gunewardena, (surpassed away in 2002), Aubrey Willis and Rodney Vanderwall, (each in Aussie).

Other names I can nonetheless remember are IGCSE Maths Classes Alwyn Anthonisz, Dallas Grenier, Cedric Ernst, Michael Gray, (all in Aussie), S.T. Aziez, S.J. Bahar, (Brunei), Nihal Canagasabey, Monty Cassim, (USA), Suren Chitty, Bryce Fernando, (Geneva), Eardley Foenander, (Aussie) and Anthony Walpola.

Gramps Sameer used to take me to Royal Primary with the aid of rickshaw and stay at college inside the large cage like shape erected for waiting dad and mom, guardians, and maids, until it become time to head home. I nonetheless do not forget peeping out of the class and calling out to him “Appa, Appa!”, the Tamil equivalent of “Grandpa, Grandpa”, to the screeching of Ms. Croning shouting at him to go away and now not destroy his grandson. They have each passed away. May God Bless them.

Our Home

The homes, wherein I lived on Galle Road, were very antique villas constructed sometime circa 1900. They had been placed between Castle Lane and Sagara Road at the seashore of Bambalapitiya and the only we lived in turned into named “Sukhasthan”. We mentioned it as “three hundred” being the evaluation range given via the Colombo Municipality. The adjoining house, bordering Sagara Road, a replicate image of #three hundred, wherein Gramps and of my paternal aunts lived, became referred to as 298 for the same reasons.

It become narrated by means of my maternal grandpa, Muhammad Rasheed, that the homes had been constructed by way of the grandfather of my maternal Grand Uncle, Sir Razik Fareed, who turned into then famously referred to as Wapchi Marikar Baas (Baas is the Sinhalese word for builder, contractor, mason and so forth.) with the rubble and remnants of a constructing he had to demolish within the Fort where he changed into reduced in size with the aid of the government to build the General Post Office which nevertheless stands tall as one of the majestic old buildings inside the town of Colombo. Wapchi Marikar Baas additionally constructed the Colombo Museum, Customs Building, Galle Face Hotel, and plenty of other well-known old strong systems in Colombo that still stand tall and proud to his call and devoted workmanship. The Governor of Ceylon at that time asked him to searching for any choose throughout the hole of the Colombo Museum and the humble Wapchi Marikar Baas had asked that the region be closed on Fridays so that the individuals of his community could no longer spend their time in there and focus on their weekly Friday prayers on the Mosque.

The Colombo Museum is closed on Fridays until this day.