The country is preparing for the Sinhala/Tamil New Year and people have begun their trek to their villages to be with family and partake in the rituals traditionally carried out in many homes, but becoming less of a custom due to mobility and distances that separate.
In my case I am on the farm in Godagama, Meegoda (just 20km from Parliament, the Capital City of Kotte or Sri Jayawardenepura) now really a suburb of Colombo just outside the perimeter of the new Half Circular Road that will soon ring Colombo. It is an 11 acre spread where I have the feeling of living out in the country surrounded by fields and Coconut and King Coconut around me and beautiful if rather odd looking farmhouse built in three stages when the need for larger space became apparent at intervals.
The house has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, dining room, hall and verandah along with a pantry and a store room leading from the pantry, where paddy sacks are stored. The whole place is furnished with hand me down bits of furniture that has seen better days and hence is just an eclectic mix, but functional. The house is surrounded by many small buildings from the firewood kitchen closest to the house and the misnamed canteen where coconuts and king coconuts are stored, where the milk is measured and prepared for distribution. Other nearby buildings include the large kennels and run for the dogs, and three new kennels under construction. There is a row of rooms for staff and the cow shed, as well as three little houses dotted around the property, a shop at the entrance to the farm and adjoining buildings where the people who have rented the chicken cages live. The unmistakable chicken cages round off this collection with a large building that doubles as the tractor garage and storage for wood as well as the chicken feed and feeders for that activity. Then the building across the road that used to be a gem cutting factory, has been rented and now houses a MFD furniture assembling plant.
I should not forget to mention the manicured garden with a fish pond and grotto, which my father prides himself in keeping in prime condition at all times with an Anthuriam section under the shade beside it. There are also the two sheds that house orchids and anthuriam plants that round off this menagerie. This really sounds like a farm ha!!!!
I am surrounded by homes built on 8 perch plots (160 perches to the acre), to whom this place must seem outsized and grand. No wonder coconuts get stolen from the trees, a very dear commodity, as we are unable to cook a curry without fresh coconut milk!
I am the sole occupant of the house, for this holiday period, as my young attendant, seems to have decided to extend his stay at home (after going home for a funeral) till after the New Year, no doubt influenced by his mates coming home for the holidays not wanting to miss out on the friends, festivities, food and fun. Needless to say my recent loss of wheels has cramped my style and the wheel chair being the only set of wheels will forcibly keep me at home with just the dogs for company.
Readers will note that last year I had a lot more company including the dogs at my Hingurakgoda, property with rural traditions and gift giving and day trip to Passekudah Bay a short drive away where the dogs enjoyed it too. Nevertheless there is a lot to do and a working farm has daily activity and everyone lives on the farm or just outside.